The Byron Solar Train is the world's first solar-powered train, connecting the three-kilometer coastal track between Byron Town Centre and Byron Arts Estate. Relax on vintage lounge seats in the first-class carriage or converse with fellow passengers in coach class while admiring the Littoral Rainforests and Belongil Creek.
It is the world's first photovoltaic train. Since last December, it has been running successfully on Australian tracks using solar energy. It is particularly interesting that it was built from an old convoy.
Australia's rails have the world's first solar-powered train
The world's only solar-powered train is running sustainably on a railway line that had been disused for nearly 10 years in Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia.
People of the global society, here as Byron Bay Railroad Company, have taken the initiative to carry out this recovery project, and have achieved a great result. Although they initially proposed the restoration of the carriages using diesel propulsion, they finally opted for a much more sustainable way of rehabilitating them. In fact, it was the complaints of the civil society itself that led to the search for another solution to get the railway line back in operation.
The result: the first sustainable train that runs on solar energy. It can reach 115 km/hour, although it runs at 50 km/hour. In spite of this, its users assure that it is a wonderful experience. So much so that the number of passengers increases every day and measures are being incorporated to meet the high demand.
And it is rare that there is anyone who could not be attracted by the idea of touring this Australian coastal town, Byron Bay, in the first train that runs on solar energy and retains its original aesthetics.
From old convoy to solar-powered train pioneer
It operates with only two carriages, and thanks to the installation of solar panels and batteries, it runs entirely on solar energy. It does, however, have a diesel canister so that it can continue to run in the event of any problem thanks to the emergency engine.
In terms of aesthetics, the company has tried to respect its original appearance as much as possible, so that it retains all its charm. The solar panels are installed on top of the train and on the roofs of the stations, so they are practically invisible.
It has 100 seats and it is difficult to find a free seat on any day of the week and on any route; waiting lists are frequent! The train has been received with great enthusiasm and continues to gain fans for its smooth operation.
In this sense, and from the point of view of Brian Flannery, the millionaire businessman who has carried out the project, it will still take some time to recover the investment, since no public aid has been provided. However, seeing the success it is having, it seems that it will not be long now.
The first photovoltaic train already travels at night
Given its great acceptance and the number of users of the first electric train in the world, it already travels at night. They decided to incorporate them last March due to the great demand from passengers.
The train has certainly caused a furor among locals and an incredible number of visitors; how could it be otherwise? If the daytime journey on the refurbished and charming train fascinates its users, the night journey must also be very special, as well as practical, for those who do not only make the trip for pleasure.
In order to be able to incorporate night travel, the number of batteries in the train has had to be increased. There is no doubt that, little by little, this project will grow and consolidate. At the moment, the route is very short, only 3 km, and the price per passenger is 3 Australian dollars. It takes 7 minutes to complete the route.
The route, specifically, runs along the old Casino-Murwillimbah line, from the tracks that currently connect the North Beach station to the Elements complex, which is, by the way, owned by the entrepreneur and project manager, Brian Flannery, and his wife. It really is a great little project.
The only train that runs 100% on solar energy.
Already in 2017, in India they were testing with 250 solar trains. However, the Byron Bay Train is really the first train to run on solar power because it runs entirely on solar energy. It is also the first to have officially left the experimental phase, as the solar power supply covers all its needs.
In other words, the traction, control circuits, compressors and lighting are powered exclusively by the energy received from the solar panels.
Brian Flannery's idea, however, did not come from a desire to use renewable energies. Initially, it occurred to him that it would be a good idea to rehabilitate old railway lines because of a personal and purely business problem: as the owner of several Byron Bay hotels and a resort, he took note of the major traffic problems in the area, especially in summer.
It was then that Flannery began to think about the idea of providing an sustainable alternative means of transport and came up with the idea of rehabilitating old trains. At first, he thought of an old train line, abandoned in the 1970s, which was built after World War II.
The train demonstrates what can be accomplished with solar-powered transportation. Although the train would not disrupt rail transportation, it does demonstrate the potential of sustainable solar power.
More information: https://byronbaytrain.com.au