On Track to a Greener Future
As the world’s population grows more aware of its environmental footprint, the importance of developing environmentally friendly methods of transportation cannot be understated. The mission to develop planes and cars that run entirely on renewable energy sources is well underway, but the railway industry has already been actively involved in this development for some time.
Billions of people use passenger trains every single day around the world, not to mention the countless miles of land covered by cargo trains each year. Historically, trains have been considered relatively low impact in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and fuel efficiency when compared to planes and automobiles; in the United States, for example, freight railroads move on average one ton of freight nearly 500 miles per gallon of fuel, as opposed to a freight truck that may consume about seven miles per gallon for the same weight and distance.
However, there is always room for improvement and innovative approaches. In the rail industry, there is a push for creating fully electric systems. Switzerland, for example, is on track to have all of its trains on their SBS system powered entirely by electricity by 2025, just a few short years away. Other western European countries such as France and Norway have similar goals, and Hong Kong, South Korea and India have been investing heavily in revamping their railway systems to wean themselves off of dependence on fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy sources such as hydrogen, solar and wind.
The Hybrid Approach
Even if fully electric power sources aren’t possible for some rail systems at present, hybrid models are also a possibility. A rail system may use electricity and an electric battery alternative, such as a traditional gas-fueled motor, similar to a hybrid vehicle. In such applications, high current, high voltage connectors like Radiall’s CP power connectors allow for more seamless integration of electric power. The CP power connector is explosion-proof and allows for the use of power contacts to safely switch from the electrified rail to the alternative power source. Our CP connectors can be used in railway applications for car-to-car jumpers, power distribution and traction motors, providing a robust connection and no risk of damage to the contacts due to the robust shell. Not only are they easy to install, providing fast and reliable coupling with alignment columns and accessories for fastening cables, but they are also fire-resistant with a halogen-free compound. In the same CP series, the CP-Box, a junction and distribution box, is a self-protected product that can connect to several lines, both power and sensor.
As the railway industry continues to innovate, from improved communication systems to renewable power sources, Radiall is on board with multiple offerings to facilitate this transition. If you’d like to learn more about our railway portfolio, book a virtual meeting today.