Three Upcoming Train Technologies

Train Technologies pic

Train Technologies

A resident of Westbury, NY, Valerie Varnuska enjoys learning about engineering technology. Valerie Varnuska is particularly fascinated by large, intricate machinery such as trains.

Today’s trains are impressive marvels of technology, and they are advancing rapidly. The following leading-edge train technologies are still in development but are poised to transform the industry.

Hydrogen fuel cells. Germany is leading the way in hydrogen fuel cell technology for trains. The country is home to the Alstom Coradia iLint train, which is due to enter service in 2018. An onboard fuel cell combines hydrogen and oxygen to power this zero-emission train without the need for diesel fuel.

High-speed rail. China is developing a hybrid propulsion system that will allow passenger trains to run at 310 miles per hour or carry cargo at 155 miles per hour. The current fastest train in the world, also from Chinese technology, is a magnetic train with a top speed of 267.8 miles per hour.

– The Hyperloop. Elon Musk’s futuristic train-like system relies on some of the same principles used by vacuum tubes. Low-pressure tunnels and friction-reducing measures could allow these advanced trains to reach speeds of 700 miles per hour. Preliminary testing is underway.


Geophysical Survey Reveals Lost Viking-Era Manor in Sweden

Viking-Era Manor pic

Viking-Era Manor

A resident of Westbury, NY, Valerie Varnuska spends her free time studying topics that interest her. Valerie Varnuska’s favorite topics include archaeology, paleontology, and paleoanthropology.

For centuries, Nordic scholars have debated and speculated over the location of a great manor in Sweden’s oldest town, Birka. This manor belonged to Herigar, a royal bailiff of Birka, according to the influential text Vita Anskarii.

In the spring of 2016, teams conducted a noninvasive geophysical survey in the Korshamn area. Using ground-penetrating radar, the teams discovered a large Viking hall, measuring 131 feet, from around AD 810. In this process, surveyors also identified the remains of what is almost certainly the manor in Birka.

This discovery is significant because it dates back to the first Christian missions to Viking Scandinavia during the time of the archbishop Ansgar. Research conducted with help from the Stockholm County Museum and the Stockholm University Archaeological Research Laboratory will be published soon.