Now approaching its one hundredth birthday, the metro hasn’t yet got off its two rails, despite all its advances. To propel it into the 21st century, a designer has conceived a levitated, separated double-decker train. Time to put your car away?
The exterior is very simple, fully glazed down to platform level. But there’s a surprise: it has two, identical, separated decks. The lower deck is reserved for persons with their own private vehicle: bicycles, electric skates, gyropods, overboards, etc. The top deck takes pedestrians only. In both cases, the journey is extremely comfortable. And, above all, there is no screeching of brakes. As simple as that, that’s already an innovation.
Far from fantasy, magnetically suspended train designs are multiplying and the metro on rails could be on the way out. In Sweden, the designer Prathyush Devadas has just unveiled a revolutionary project; a twin train (“Tvillingar” in Swedish), guided in silence by magnetic pillars. Like the Maglev, the high-speed Chinese train, the Tvillingar is levitated by magnets that both steer it and drive it.
Compared to other types of urban rail transport, magnetically suspended trains have high acceleration capacity and can reach very high speeds (430 km/h). However, they do have some drawbacks, like high price and low compatibility with the existing railway system.
But the Tvillingar’s innovations are not just about its magnets. Driverless, fitted with wifi and information multimedia, this online metro captures information continuously to make traffic more fluid. It delivers real-time information to users on the traffic status, estimated journey times, occupancy rate per carriage, etc. A visual colour aid at door level indicates whether there are any more seats available in the carriage. It means a lot of time saved in stations, but also better travelling conditions.