What is Train and what are the types of Trains? 12 Important Points

By November 11, 2020April 9th, 2021Pway / Railways, Civil Engineering

You must have boarded trains many times, whether for a long journey or short commute,  but do you know what is a Train and what are the types of trains?

Please read this blog for details.

What is Train?

A train consists of one or more than one railway car units that are moved together along a fixed railway line. The train can be moved with its own power unit or external power unit. Trains are broadly known to carry passenger or freight traffic but sometimes it carries both in separate car unit.

Trains are further categorised into the various group based on their use, track design, power system, etc.

Types of Trains based on their Source of Power

Electric Locomotive Trains:

Electric Locomotive trains are one of the advanced type trains of modern time. Almost all over the world, Electric trains are widely used almost all over the world for long-haul passenger trains, freight transit or for short commute via mass transit system or light transit system or high-speed trains like Bullet trains.

Diesel Locomotive Trains:

Diesel Locomotive Trains are primarily driven by diesel engines. They are mainly used as freight trains to transit coal and goods car units. In recent times diesel locomotives are used in a combination with electric engines.

Types of Trains based on their Usage:

Freight Trains

Freight Trains carry goods of all types from all nodal centres and ports (dry port and or wet port) to various parts of the country. The goods that are carried through with these Freight trains varies from solid goods to perishable goods to liquids to gasses.

Freight movement is more important from the commercial and economic point of view for any country. That’s why in many countries freight train corridors are constructed separately from passenger train corridors to minimise the interface and disruption of one system to the other.

Passenger Inter-city Trains

Passenger inter-city trains transit to long distances and connects cities to cities. In European countries, these inert-city trains travel from countries to countries.

Commuter Trains

Commuter Trains primarily serves the major district centres and connects them to major residential settlements or satellite towns. Working professionals of service sector units and or industrial unit generally commute via commuter trains to move in and out of the district centres.  These trains are further split into Light Rail transit trains system and Mass Transit Systems.

 Mine Trains

Mine Trains are used to carry natural minerals from mines to various production plants. The minerals such as coal, iron ore, etc transported to various part of the country and sometimes exported to foreign countries, therefore transported to dry and wet ports too.

Types of Trains based on their Track Design

High-speed Trains

High-speed Trains runs way faster than normal trains. Their rolling stocks and tracks are designed with much more precision for design speed, safety, etc. The track design of high-speed trains is directly related to the turning radii, that’s why high-speed tracks are designed with larger radii to minimise the Cant (super-elevation).

High-speed trains generally run above 250 kph speed. Japanese high-speed trains are also known as Bullet Trains have the potential to run above 300kph speed. Recently the UK government has started building their high-speed train network connecting London to Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, etc.

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Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS)/ Metro

Mass Rapid Transit system also knows Metrorail network is constructed to carry a higher volume of commuter traffic to connect satellite towns to the central business districts. In big metropolises, it is preferred to minimise car usage and as a result, government organisations built Mass Rapid Transit System to cater to a large amount of passenger traffic at a faster pace.

Mass Rapid Trains provide several trains stops at frequent interval along their tracks and trains run at a faster pace and halt to all those stops to cater to commuter traffic. These trains commute to longer distances at a faster pace and connect numerous satellite towns to city centres.

Light Rail Transit System (LRT)/ Tram

Light Rail Transit System is also known as Light Rail or Tram system.  LRT generally runs with relatively slow speed within the central business district and nearby areas. It connects major nodal business parks and major residential developments around a town centre.

Similar to MRTS, LRT also provides several trains stops along its corridor and cater to commuter traffic through those stops. LRT generally runs parallel to urban streets and sometimes crosses the road junction at grade level. That’s why the design of LRT along with urban streets is a very complex task.

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SkyBus System

Skybus System is a unique type of urban transit system where the trains system runs along the elevated corridor through suspended passenger coaches. Skybus are lightweight coaches and they run in fix elevated corridor in a suspended position.

It comes with numerous advantages such as low construction cost, low operation and maintenance cost, environmentally friendly, etc.

Just like LRT, Skybus also runs at a slow pace within the central business area and connect nodal business parks.

Hyperloops (Innovation Stage)

Hyperloop Train System is a new innovative concept and still at the trial stage.  Hyperloop is a tube-based system where passenger coaches (also known as pods) runs within the tube under low air pressure. Hyperloops are tested for a very high speed (1200 kph) in San Francisco, USA.

The Hyperloop system is considered as a game-changer in terms of reducing passenger commuting time and covering huge catchment area, but it is still under testing mode because various design and safety parameters need to suffice before considering it as the safe mode of the transportation system.

I hope this blog enlightens you with various types of train systems. Please feel free to share your views with us.

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