Trains have certainly made advances since they were first introduced in the 1800’s. Many people wonder about the future of trains. There are many different ideas about them. Some researchers believe we will be going back to steam locomotives in the near future as they are better for the environment and we won’t be wasting our natural resources. With the technology available today, these new steam locomotives will be much more advanced than those of the past.
Others believe trains will soon be something we no longer use for transporting goods or people. Of course this was the thought about trains back in the 1990’s when it was believed that by 2000 we would have cars that flew around and space shuttle trips for common folks to the moon and back. The people with this mentality in relationship to trains simply don’t realize that they are responsible for transporting thousands of tons of material and millions of people annually.
You can be assured that trains will still be with us in the future but as technology continues to grow there will be plenty of changes. There is plenty of focus on making trains safer for hauling dangerous chemicals and nuclear waste. This is to protect people in the event of a train wreck or a terrorist attack. Most of the focus has shifted to providing protective boxcars that won’t allow access without codes and that are durable even if the train ends up being in a wreck.
All of the railways continue to strive for safer trains on the tracks out there. Even with all we know today there are still numerous accidents involving trains derailing or hitting cars that shouldn’t have been crossing at that point.
Safety features that ensure all signals are working properly at railway crossings will continue to improve. You will also find technology allows the trains to move faster and haul more materials so that fewer trains have to be in operation in order to meet the issues of supply and demand.
As a result of this, the job outlook for train engineers and other crew members will decrease. This is one area of industry that has a ten year forecast with less people being added to the workforce. Computer technology will allow more of the actual train operations to be done by the equipment. The materials used to create the tracks continues to improve so there are fewer repairs that have to be done on a regular basis.
One idea that is being used in various areas is the use of magnets to actually hold the train in place above the train tracks. There are test tracks in Germany and Japan that have been able to travel at speeds over 300 miles per hour. There is still plenty of research that needs to be done in this area but should magnetic levitation prove to be safe and efficient it could significantly impact the railway industry.
Yet many in the train industry believe the focus should be on being able to haul heavier amounts of material at one time instead of focusing on increased speeds. You also have the concerns that engineers can manipulate the train out of the way of cars, animals on the tracks, or dangerous areas where the train isn’t in good condition. The chances of trains being in a wreck at 330 miles per hour without serious injuries or death just isn’t practice. There is also the concern about how much damage would be done to the materials on board.
It will be very interesting to look at trains 10, 20, or 50 years from now and compare them to what we know now. Trains have a rich history that is a very important part of the global economy. This isn’t something that is going to change any time soon. If anything you will find the train industry becoming more successful as they continue to implement positive changes.