Bus or train? Check out world’s 1st ‘dual-mode vehicle’ that can ply on roads, rail tracks

Japan has created the world’s first dual-mode vehicle (DMV) that can run on both roads and rail tracks. The railbus is set to make its public debut on Saturday in the town of Kaiyo in Japan.

The vehicle looks like a minibus and runs on normal rubber tyres on the road. The moment it arrives at an interchange, steel wheels descend from the vehicle’s underbelly, effectively turning it into a train carriage that can run easily on a rail track. The front tyres are lifted off the track and the rear wheels stay down to propel the DMV onto the railway.

The CEO of Asa Coast Railway company, which operates the DMVs, said that the vehicles could help small towns like Kaiyo with an aging and shrinking population, where local transport companies struggle to make a profit.

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 views of the seaside.

Miura said he hoped the project would encourage railway fans from around Japan to visit Kaiyo, a small town in Japan’s Tokushima prefecture.

(With Reuters inputs)

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