It’s a bus or a train, the world’s first commercial “dual-mode car” is here

Let’s first guess why this "bus" is driving on the rails?

▲ Picture from: japan station

It is a bus and a train at the same time, with the dual functions of road and railway.

▲ Picture from: Asa Coast Railway

This Dual Mode Vehicle (DMV) was publicly unveiled in Haiyang Town, Tokushima Prefecture, Japan on December 25. It looks like a bus, but in fact it is a railway passenger car with a diesel engine and is equipped for road use. Rubber tires for driving and steel wheels for railway tracks.

Its road and rail modes can be switched in about 15 seconds.

▲ Picture from: Reuters

When it reaches the intersection of the road and the rail, it will lower the front and rear steel wheels of the vehicle, retract the front tires, and use the rear tires running on the track as a driving force. Extending the service life of power-driven rubber tires is an important issue.

During the conversion period, the local traditional drumming performance of a high school club in Haiyang Town will be played in the car.

Asa Coast Railway is responsible for operating the DMV. The company's railway service connects Tokushima Prefecture and neighboring Kochi Prefecture. It took about 10 years for them to launch the DMV.

CEO Shigeki Miura said in an interview with Reuters that these "amphibious" vehicles can be a very good form of public transportation suitable for small towns and rural areas with an aging population.

▲ Picture from: Reuters

On the one hand, it is more convenient for locals because they don’t have to change between trains and buses.

On the other hand, the area is sparsely populated, railways are difficult to operate, and they have been threatened by closures for some time.

The DMV can drive along part of the coast of Shikoku Island in southern Japan, connecting surrounding towns and railways that are not directly connected, providing passengers with charming coastal scenery and encouraging railway fans and travel enthusiasts from all over Japan to come.

▲ Picture from: mainichi

In addition, these vehicles can also play a role in natural disasters such as earthquakes, which can render some roads or railroad tracks unusable.

A total of three DMVs of different colors are put into operation, each with a total route of approximately 50 kilometers, of which 10 kilometers will travel on rails.

▲ Picture from: nippon

Except for two staff members, each car can carry up to 21 passengers and travel on the railway track at a speed of 60 km/h, and the road speed can reach about 100 km/h.

DMV is lighter than traditional trains, which means it requires less fuel and is easier to maintain.

▲ Picture from: mainichi

Asa Coast Railway originally planned to put the DMV into use in time for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer, but these plans had to be postponed after the Ministry of Transport instructed it in June to strengthen the welding of the fixed telescopic wheel arm.

In early November, a technical team from the Ministry of Transportation reviewed the test results using upgraded components and gave the green light to put the vehicle into operation.

In fact, the idea of ​​DMV was born very early, but it has never been put into practical use.

Hokkaido Railway Company developed its own version in 2004, but did not put it into operation, partly due to financial difficulties. Therefore, the DMV in Tokushima Prefecture will be the first road and rail "amphibious" vehicle of its kind to conduct regular commercial operations.

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