This bus in Japan can run on wheels and tracks, may debut during Tokyo Olympics

Ever heard of a vehicle that can run on both tarmac roads as well as train tracks? A small transport company in Japan have been developing such a dual-mode vehicle for some time, and is likely to be operational soon.

The dual-mode vehicle has a bus mode and a train mode and can easily switch between regular roads and railroads. (Photos courtesy: Asa Seaside Railway)
The dual-mode vehicle has a bus mode and a train mode and can easily switch between regular roads and railroads. (Photos courtesy: Asa Seaside Railway)

The vehicle is a modified version of a regular minibus with a seating capacity of up to 23 passengers. It is being developed and tested by the Asa Seaside Railway Corp in Japan's Tokushima Prefecture.

At the press of a button, the vehicle can switch between its bus-mode and train-mode. A pair of wheels for train tracks emerge from under of the vehicle in about 15 seconds, and turns it into a small rail coach which is capable of running on train tracks with ease.

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On the railway tracks, the dual-mode vehicle can ran at a speed of 30 kmph on six wheels, including two rubber tires at the rear and two pairs of iron wheels. It also claims to save fuel by up to 75 percent besides reducing other maintenance costs.

The vehicle is being developed to encourage tourism in the area as well as help local residents to travel without having to switch between buses and trains.

The dual-mode vehicle was tested on the line between Awa-Kainan station and Kaifu station for the first time in December last year. The dual-mode vehicle (DMV) that can drive both on roads and move along the tracks is planned to be included on the ASA Seaside Railway.

If all goes well, this unique public transport may begin during the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. When launched, this would be the world’s first commercial dual-mode vehicle transport service.

First Published Date: 20 Jul 2021, 13:34 PM IST
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