Future Rail: Issue 54

In this issue: Thailand’s link to China, Stockholm’s landscape bridge, an air-propelled prototype, breathing in London’s underground, drone-based surveying, riding the Mail Rail, and more


Thailand finally approved a $5.2bn high-speed rail link to China, after a long series of delays. The link will be part of China’s huge regional infrastructure plan to connect its mainland to Thailand, Laos, Malaysia and Singapore. We see what’s in store for this ambitious project.

We also talk to American engineer Max Schlienger about his air-propelled high-speed concept, investigate the air quality of the London Underground, and hear from Plowman Craven about its drone-based surveying system for rail infrastructure. Plus, we take a look at Stockholm’s ‘landscape’ wildlife bridge, ride the UK Post Office’s underground Rail Mail and consider what the rail industry can learn from media strategies.

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In this issue

All Aboard the Mail Rail
In July, a new museum celebrating the UK Post Office’s underground railway opened its doors to the public. Mail Rail transported post under the streets of London from 1927 to 2003 and during its peak operated 22 hours per day. Future Rail takes a ride to find out about the history of this unique railway.
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Flight Rail: Could a new type of train take off?
American engineer Max Schlienger has proposed a new type of railway through his Flight Rail Corporation, which proposes a high-speed rail system propelled by air pressure, capable of operating at speeds in excess of 200mph and climbing up to three times steeper grades than traditional trains. We talk to Schlienger about real world applications for this prototype.
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Thailand to China, at high speed
Thailand’s Government recently gave the green light to a $5.2bn high-speed rail link to China, after a series of legal and technical difficulties forced the project to be delayed. The new link will be part of China’s huge regional infrastructure plan to connect its mainland with Laos, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. We assess what’s in store for this ambitious project.
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The Future of rail surveying
Plowman Craven has launched a drone-based surveying system for rail infrastructure. Here, the company tells us more about the technology Vogel R3D system, which it says can capture track condition and measurement data even during traffic hours, and its future applications.
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Fit to breathe
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has instigated a new review of air pollution on the Tube and will introduce a series of measures to minimise dust levels. While taking action is no doubt welcome, the move does beg the question; just what kind of air are tens of millions of people breathing in every day?
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Striking wildlife corridors
A ‘landscape’ bridge has opened in Stockholm, providing a corridor for wildlife to pass over the railway. The 63m-long bridge connects a residential area with Görväln Nature Reserve. Future Rail takes a look and rounds up other wildlife areas which have been incorporated into rail networks.
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Captive audience: taking lessons from the media
Rail companies have access to huge audiences every day, so should they be thinking more like the media and implementing similar strategies in order to grow and develop? Exterion Media Group development director Jason Cotterrell discusses key lessons could be adapted to enhance the customer-provider experience.
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In the next issue

Ground has been broken on the massive $13bn East Coast Rail Link in Malaysia, funded by an 85% loan from China Exim Bank and to be built by China Communications Construction. We take a look at the East Coast Rail Link and beyond to ask how China uses rail technology to bolster its influence in Asia.

Also, we profile Australia’s proposed freight rail corridor between Melbourne and Brisbane as it gains an additional $8.4bn equity investment, assess the implications of Network Rail’s raft of reforms to open up the organisations, and ask why the rail is still being plagued by cable thefts.

While in technology, we catch up with the facial recognition tech trial at Berlin rail station, and ponder the complications of introducing reliable onboard WiFi to trains.

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