Spain is home to the Alta Velocidad Española train service, which operates high speed trains at up to 300 kilometres per hour on dedicated tracks throughout the country. And according to a new study published in the journal Transportation Research Record these AVE trains consume 29 percent less energy than conventional trans per passenger transported, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by the same proportion.
“A high speed train operating in normal conditions consumes less energy and produces less CO2 emissions per passenger transported (on average 29% less) than a conventional train travelling between the same two points at a lower speed,” said Alberto García, author of the study and a researcher at the Spanish Railways Foundation.
Garcia explains that the AVE trains consume less energy because of the features of the system, “such as its more standardised speed profile and the lower number of stops and curves during the journey.” Additionally, consumption of auxiliary services such as air conditioning, lighting and ventilation is also reduced in direct proportion to the speed travelled.
And because the trains are electric, using an electric traction system, they do not emit greenhouse gases in transport. (One would assume there is a similar amount of greenhouse gas used in the production of the trains as for traditional trains.)
However Garcia stresses that the prime advantage of a high speed train system such as the AVE system is not in substituting traditional trains, but rather substituting for aeroplanes and cars used on long distance journeys.
In example, the AVE prevents 3 kilograms of carbon dioxide per passenger being emitted into the atmosphere in comparison with traditional trains, but prevents a whopping 31 kilograms of carbon dioxide if the traveller chooses the train over a car or aeroplane.
Source: Plataforma SINC (Spanish)
Image Source: Mikel Ortega