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A train that runs of sunlight? Hop on board!2 min read

November 18, 2020 2 min read

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A train that runs of sunlight? Hop on board!2 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Here’s some good news for all you choo-choo lovers – India has its first fully solar energy-driven rain! The miniature train was launched at Veli in Kerala, and is one of many initiatives being taken by the government there to promote tourism. Veli, a tourist village that is also eco-friendly, is located in a special place – where a lake meets the Arabian sea! 

The solar-powered miniature train in Veli, Kerala.
Photo: Twitter

A tourist facilitation centre, a convention centre, and an art cafe will also be opened at the village soon. “The solar-powered 2.5-km miniature railway will enable all kinds of visitors to enjoy the beauty of nature,” Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had announced, adding that the surplus energy generated by the train will be used for electricity purposes.

This mini set up has all the facilities of a fully-equipped rail system, including a tunnel, station and even a ticket office. The station house is designed in the traditional Kerala style, while the art gallery will have a digital display board to showcase some of the major tourist attractions the state has to offer.  The train itself, with three bogies, can accommodate around 45 people at a time. 

Solar-powered trains – easy on the environment,
easy on the pocket!

Solar panels on top of a train. Photo: Earthbound Report

Countries have been working towards reducing their carbon footprint by employing more sustainable alternatives in various sectors, and one such way is to bring solar power to the railway industry. So how solar-powered trains work? Does sunlight make those wheels turn? Well, not quite. 

Solar-powered trains are usually put in motion by placing photovoltaic panels close to or on rail lines. Sunlight then hits the solar panels, and creates an electric field, which helps the train run. When a train stops at a station, it can be recharged using the electricity generated. However, whether this can be adopted on a large-scale, and if trains can run solely on solar energy, is yet to be seen. 

Sources: NDTV, Economic Times, Railway Technology