Since When Was Freight Cool?
The Japanese have designed the most amazing train ever. It’s a freight train, yet it is just pure genius for the network out there.
Japan has two railway gauges in use. For the ‘standard’ railway, they use a 3ft 6in (1067mm) gauge railway, due to the mountains terrain. Their high speed lines use the standard 4ft 8 1/2 in (1435mm) gauge for speed and stability. Between the northernmost island and mainland, there is the Seikan Tunnel, a mixed gauge tunnel. Freight uses the smaller 1067mm track and the heigh speed trains use the standard 1435mm track. However, freight cannot be transported as quickly through the tunnel due to the gauge.
The Genius Solution
To solve this issue, JR Hokkaido have designed the Train on Train. This is a freight train that the narrow gauge trains can be driven on to, ferried through the tunnel on the faster standard gauge track, and then can be unloaded on to the regular narrow gauge lines. It is a work of genius. However, it is still in development. I hope it gets exported round the world, just for the cool factor.