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World first solar train arrives in Byron Bay

November 8, 2017 Rail No Comments Email Email

Following six years of planning, restoration of a 1949 heritage train and 3km of railway line, the construction of two platforms and a train shed and the upcycling to produce the world’s first solar train, the two carriage rail motor has arrived in Byron Bay.

The monumental project comes from not-for-profit heritage rail organisation Byron Bay Railroad Company. Their Byron Bay train will take locals and visitors between Byron township and the burgeoning North Beach precinct incorporating the Byron Arts Estate, the Sunrise residential community and Elements of Byron resort. The 3km journey along the coastal track will cost just $3 for adults with some concessions provided for children.

“This is another big milestone for the project and we’re just glad to see our beautiful train in its new Byron home” said Byron Bay Railroad Company Development Director Jeremy Holmes. “Even more so, we’re really looking forward to running first passenger services and sharing this experience with residents and visitors soon”.

The train, which has been fully refurbished in its heritage colours, seats 100 passengers with additional room for standing passengers and luggage including prams and bicycles.

While there are some trains throughout the world with technology that allows them to run parts of the train like lights and air conditioning on solar power, this is the first real train to run fully on power from the sun.

“This is an exciting world first, powering a train with solar power, day, night and in every type of weather” said John Grimes, Chief Executive of the Australian Solar Council. “It shows Australia’s fantastic sunshine can be harnessed in smart ways not just to power our homes and businesses, but to address another pressing problem – cutting emissions in the transportation sector.”

Byron Bay Railroad Company is hopeful that passenger services will commence pre Christmas. In the meantime they will begin training the nineteen new local staff, undertaking test runs and commissioning the new solar equipment.

“Solar doesn’t stand still” said Dan Cass, Strategist at The Australia Institute. “It has been growing exponentially for a decade and more solar PV generation capacity is being installed than any other technology internationally. This train demonstrates that Australian solar scientists and their innovations are changing the world”.

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