The world’s first track-less trains have begun the test runs in China.  China had unveiled the train that runs on “virtual tracks” in the city of Zhuzhou and the rail system successfully began the test runs in the Chinese city. ‘World’s First smart train,’ the vehicle operates on virtual rail lines and could travel as quickly as 70 kmh.

The smart train is called Autonomous Rail Transit (ART) and was created to cope with the urban traffic problems. The Chinese city of Zhuzhou, in the Hunan province, has debuted a train that runs on “virtual tracks. The product, named Autonomous Rail Transit (ART) by railcar-maker CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive, has been created with the hope to fundamentally solve urban traffic, emissions and other congestion related problems, by combining a bus-rail combo rapid transit system.
Virtual Development - The ability to simulate and test early in the design and development phase of a project - is a technique widely used in the aerospace and automotive industries, but until now its railway application has been limited. However, advances in the capability of simulation, improved understanding, faster affordable computers, now means that it is practical to model all aspects of railway vehicle design. In fact the practice of successful automotive and aerospace companies shows that it is more than just practical, it is essential to getting the design right early on and so producing a better vehicle for lower development costs. The use of virtual trains is not limited to vehicle manufacturers however. This paper looks in detail at an example of how virtual development is used to design a track geometry recording vehicle used for track maintenance management. It then goes on to show how the same virtual train methods can be used by the civil engineer to assess the response of a fleet of virtual vehicles to the track quality measured by the vehicle. The development of this process to work on-train, in real time, is making it practical for the civil engineer to maintain the track based on the safety (derailment risk), vehicle ride, and passenger comfort, of the vehicles that run on their track, rather than just based on geometric limits

The ART reportedly runs on rubber wheels with a plastic core, and its sensor technology understands the dimensions of the road, allowing it to track the guiding system that's laid out. The train currently has three carriages, but can expand up to five, and can hold over 300 passengers. The length of the train, 31.64m, and its two locomotive body allow it to turn easier on the streets, and its twin-head system eliminates the need for U-turns. The company, which has been testing the ART technology since 2013, announced that the train will be ready to roll out to the public by 2018. The sporty train was first shown to the world in June and has been developed by one of the world’s largest train manufacturers, CRRC Corporation Limited. being cited as a hybrid between a bus and tram, the train runs on virtual railways that are represented by white lines and is 3.75 metres wide. The virtual train system is said to be much cheaper than the tram and subway system and the engineers are expecting this chic ride option to help beat the urban traffic.The train itself endorses a sleek body with comfortable seating and runs on rubber wheels with a plastic core. The sensor technology helps the train in understanding the roads and helps the train to glide through. The operations on the road of Zhuzhou is a way of testing the smart trains, and several passengers were seen boarding the vehicle. The vehicle will begin full fledges operations in spring and the three compartment train can carry as many as 300 passengers comfortably through the city.
Feng Jianghua, chief engineer of the train was quoted that it would cost around 150 to 200 million yuan (Rs 147 to Rs 196 crore) to build one kilometre of the tramway in China while the virtual railway line would reduce the cost to 50 to 100 million Yuan ( Rs 49 to 98 crore). While these trains are currently run by motormen, the project also aims at making them automated in the near future.

Advantages:
1.    The reliable provision of additional capacity requires improved system ‘self-knowledge’ for traffic control and management purposes, as well as for system reliability and safety.
2.    The use of smart infrastructure for fault prediction and the guidance of preventive maintenance helps to maintain operational capacity.
3.    This approach also helps to reduce track access requirements for traditional maintenance and renewals activities, thus increasing network availability and total capacity.
4.    Climate change presents the railway industry with significant challenges, notably in terms of flooding and earthworks failures resulting from increased rainfall intensity.
5.    Smart infrastructure includes the prediction and monitoring of such events to maintain safety and enable the timely implementation of operational contingency plans.
6.    This paper draws upon a range of sources to identify the needs for and potential benefits of increased deployment of smart infrastructure and other assets on railways in Britain and elsewhere.

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