Electric trackless trains launched in China

Electric trackless trains launched in China

Trackless train 3
The train was developed by China's CRRC Corporation and is run on virtual lines embodied by dots painted on the street. (Photo: People's Daily Online)

ZHUZHOU, China: A futuristic transport system featuring "trackless trains" that run on virtual rail lines has been put to the test on the streets of Zhuzhou, Hunan Province.

Dubbed as the world's first smart train, the new Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit (ART) system has a maximum speed of 70kmh and carry up to 300 passengers in three carriages, reported local news outlet People's Daily Online on Monday (Oct 23).  

Trackless train 2
Th train has launched in Zhuzhou before expanding to other cities in China. (Photo: People's daily Online) 

The system was first unveiled in June 2017. 

Developed by China's CRRC Corporation, one of the world's largest train manufacturers, the aim of this system is to speed up public transportation in Zhuzhou before expanding to other cities in the country. 

According to reports, the train - described as a hybrid between a tram and a bus - runs on virtual railways tracks measuring 3.75m wide, embodied by dotted lines painted on the road. 

Trackless train 1
Th trackless train is said to be a hybrid between a bus and a tram. (Photo: People's Daily Online)

With only 10 minutes of charging, the train - which has rubber tires instead of steel wheels - can run for more than 25km and is reported to have a life-span of about 25 years. 

The train also uses hi-tech sensors to collect travel information and identify pavements on the road.

According to People's Daily, ART is much cheaper than an ordinary subway, which costs about 400 million yuan (S$82 million) to 700 million yuan per kilometre in China. Compared with electric streetcars, which cost 150 million yuan to 200 million yuan per kilometre, ART is only about one-fifth the investment, the report said.

Currently, the trains are reportedly only being tested in Zhuzhou and will open to the public next year.