Qingdao monorail to be first for commercial use
China's first commercial suspended monorail, known as a "sky train", has been rolled out by its manufacturer in Qingdao, Shandong province.
Its design and development have employed many advanced technologies, making it not only a new style of rail transportation, but also a new tourist attraction, its manufacturer CRRC Qingdao Sifang Co said.
The train was designed for part of a tourism sightseeing project for the Optics Valley of China in Wuhan, Hubei province. Work on delivery and the debugging process is in the pipeline, said CRRC Qingdao Sifang, a subsidiary of State-owned China Railway Rolling Stock Corp.
Different from traditional modes of transportation, the train can "fly" in the sky with its steel track above it.
It has both commuting and sightseeing functions with many advantages such as not using up much space on the ground, low cost, a short construction period, strong environmental adaptability, safety, eco-friendliness and a nice landscape effect, the company added.
Liu Yuwen, deputy director of the company's technology center, said the train, named Guanggu Guangzi, adopted multiple state-of-the-art technologies that make the vehicle intelligent and low carbon.
The train is completely autonomous, meaning it can start, stop, and open and close the doors on its own, without manual operation, said Liu, adding that staff onboard only need to deal with emergencies.
The vehicle also uses a cutting-edge shock absorbing system to bring its stability up to international standard, according to Liu.
Its low carbon technology includes an energy-saving permanent magnet motor, lightweight material and a variable frequency air conditioner to reduce energy consumption.
In addition, a host of technologies have been employed to ensure the safety of the train, and in case of power failure it can be driven to the nearest station by its own super capacitor.
Liu said that the sky train demonstrates an effective way of designing urban space, which can relieve traffic pressure and provide a magnificent sightseeing view.
"Floors in each car within the train are designed as transparent windows that enable the vehicle to have a 270-degree view, giving passengers a prime riding experience," Liu added.
According to CRRC Qingdao Sifang, the train has a maximum speed of 70 km/h and can accommodate more than 200 passengers.
The train will run on the tourism sightseeing route within the Optics Valley Central Ecological Corridor, which stretches 26.7 km. The first phase of the project is 10.5 km and has six stations, according to the company.
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