A new light-rail train manufactured by Kinkisharyo that features an electric battery system was recently unveiled in Dallas, Texas at a special ceremony. The train, called the ameriTRAM, is a prototype of the company’s typical low-floor design that is partially powered by lithium-ion batteries.
The train is propelled by overhead catenary wires, but can run on battery power alone for up to five miles, allowing it to run under bridges and other areas where overhead wires may not be permitted to be installed. The batteries are charged through a regenerative braking system, but the exact storage capacity has not been made public.
No word yet either on what areas the prototype may eventually go on to service. With a top speed of 50 miles per hour, the ameriTRAM certainly has the ability to cover the 1.4 square miles of the downtown area, however, the majority of the Dallas population, approximately one million people, lives in the surrounding neighborhoods.
Still, Dallas Area Rapid Transit recently became the largest operator of light rail in the United States, suggesting the ameriTRAM may someday be used for a variety of regions around the northern Texas city.