Flywheel assisted rail car

Parry People Movers, a UK light rail company, are producing a series of lightweight tramway systems for smaller towns, and lightweight rail vehicles for use on regional railways. The rail cars are powered by small engines and offer significant fuel savings compared to normal engine driven light rail systems. The secret to their ability to transport 50 people in start/stop conditions using only a 2 litre diesel engine is the use of a large flywheel that stores the energy captured during braking and enables its re-use when accelerating.

Parry People Mover 50

The rotating flywheel is a store of kinetic energy that is used to power the vehicle. A typical PPM flywheel is made from steel laminates, 1m in diameter and 500kg mass, rotating at a maximum speed of 2,500rpm. According to the Parry People Movers web site the 50 seat rail car is good for 15 miles per gallon of diesel whereas transporting the same number of people by bus would only get them 7 miles and a by diesel train a measly 2 miles.

Parry People Mover chassis

So far an prototype people mover have been tested from December 2005 and December 2006. With over 4,000 trips operated in passenger service, reliability and punctuality stood at 99%. British railway franchisee Govia plans to operate all services on the short branch line between Stourbridge Junction and Stourbridge Town using 60 seat Parry People Movers.

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