Osaka-based company Senyo Kogyo announced plans to build a test line for “Eco Ride”, an energy-saving transportation system, this October. The system will be constructed in Chiba, east of Tokyo.
The company already operates similar railways in Ibaraki prefecture, Nagoya and Osaka. Just like a roller coaster, Eco Ride is planned to make use of height differences on the railway. Reportedly, the cars (see the concept art pictured) therefore don’t need a drive unit, making them and the test line itself more compact and cheaper to produce. The name “Eco Ride” derives from the fact that the cars also need less energy.
One kilometer of the test line is expected to cost between $18 million and $22 million per kilometer, which amounts to just 10-20% of the costs for conventional railway systems. The company also claims its medium-scale transportation system (up to 10km in length) is lighter and relatively quiet when in operation.
The new system is expected to handle between 2,000-2,500 passengers per hour, with trains running as fast as 20 to 30km/h.