43-year-old Ashwani Kumar Upadhyaya has concepted a unique train system that has won him a global competition on innovations at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
The Indian Railways engineer’s idea of “caterpillar trains” (cTrain) might soon be a reality. The elevated train coaches that are lightweight are designed to ply overhead, rather than on ground; thus, it won’t add to the traffic on road. The train coaches can run at about 100 kmph on tracks supported by poles bent into arches. The coaches will be like small cars that can hold upto 20 people. These coaches will have seating-only system and hence will make the load limited. It will have wheels on its top and as well as at bottom. Hence the name “caterpillar”.
The idea won in both the popular choice and judges’ choice category out of 500 entries from across the world.
Upadhyaya, a 1997-batch officer of the Indian Railway Traffic Service will present his idea to academicians and town planners in September at a global conference at MIT. He developed this unique idea during his tenure as a PhD scholar in MIT. He is joined by Emil Jacob, Upadhyaya’s fellow PhD scholar at MIT and his collaborator for the project.
The cTrain will require lesser space and expense than a regular metro because, unlike the heavy pillars used in metro, it will run on poles. It will primarily run on electricity but will have a battery backup system in case of emergencies. Interestingly, cTrains can also run through residential areas because of the small space. A passenger will be able to choose his/her preferred destination by clicking on a console in front.
If this becomes a reality, then it will revolutionise the transport system.