The world’s first fully solar-powered train has successfully gone on its first run. The Australian Byron Bay Railroad doesn’t go very far but it will begin making regular solar-powered journeys this January 2018.
Byron Bay, New South Wales, is located in eastern Australia and is known for being a surfer and traveller paradise with a population of around 5,000. This new train service covers 3 km between the city’s center and its North Beach district. It is part of longer 132 km line that connects Australia’s Northern Rivers region north of the capital Sydney.
While this solar-powered train lacks distance, it makes up for it in style. The train is a 1949 refurbished ‘red rattler’, and it uses curved solar panels that have been custom-built on its roof. It can carry a capacity of 100 passengers.
“We searched the country and found a dilapidated vintage train, restored it, and are now powering it with a 4.6 billion-year-old power source,” Jeremy Holmes, Byron Bay Railroad Company’s development director said in a press statement.
The towns in New South Wales have over 200 sunny days a year, but when the sun isn’t out the train can charge in a special shed.
If ever the town would have a prolonged cloudy weather, the train is equipped with on-board batteries that it charges with local green energy sources. In addition to that, in case of prolonged lousy weather and an electrical failure, the train also has a diesel engine on board as a last-case scenario. According to the train website “Due to the fact that the track is level with only one small curve, the train can run on a minimal amount of energy with the engine idle most of the time,”