It’s a bus, a train, and a DMV all rolled into one! On Saturday, a dual-mode car that can travel by road and train will make its public premiere in Kaiyo, Tokushima Prefecture, Japan.
The DMV resembles a minibus and travels on regular rubber tyres. When it reaches an interchange, however, steel wheels detach from the vehicle’s bottom and fall onto the rail track, thus transforming it into a train carriage. To move the DMV onto the railway, the train wheels lift the front tyres off the track while keeping the rear wheels down.
The CEO of Asa Coast Railway company, which operates the DMVs, said the vehicles could help small towns like Kaiyo with an ageing and shrinking population, where local transport companies struggle to make a profit. “This (DMV) can reach the locals (as a bus), and carry them onto the railway as well,” CEO Shigeki Miura told Reuters on Friday. “Especially in rural areas with an ageing population, we expect it to be a very good form of public transport.”
The DMV can carry up to 21 passengers and runs at a speed of 60km/h (37 mph) on rail tracks and can go as fast as around 100km/h (62 mph) on public roads, Asa Coast Railway said. Powered by diesel fuel, the small fleet of vehicles, which come in different colours, will run along part of the coast of Shikoku island in southern Japan, connecting several small towns and offering passengers attractive seaside scenery.
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Miura said he hoped the project would encourage railway fans from around Japan to visit.
(With inputs from Agency)