Byron Bay celebrates the arrival of the world's first fully solar-powered train
Author: Josh Cole
An obsolete red rattler has become a hot topic as the first of its kind to run completely on solar energy.
Following its first run on December 16 the train has gotten global attention while giving locals and tourists a $3 ride between Byron Beach and North Beach on New South Wales’ north coast.
It took $4 million from a local entrepreneur, Brian Flannery, to get the train running on a disused section of track between Casino and Murwillumbah. It was originally intended to be a diesel service that would be later upgraded to solar but rapid advances in solar technology lead to the decision to go solar prior to its launch.
Powered by curved panels on the train’s roof, the service can mostly coast on the smooth track between the beaches, though it can tap into backup green-energy as well as fire up a diesel engine in case of emergencies.
The train can tap into solar power at its station if in need, and has been able to make 16 trips, or 8 return trips, and only use 25% of its onboard battery power, without any top up charging.
These systems, designed to compensate for bad weather or unexpected circumstances, are a small scale version of the kind being rolled out for electricity grids in South Australia and around the world to ensure that renewable sources can provide reliable energy to consumers and business.
That demand for stability may prevent widespread use of solar power for public transport in the short term but the Byron Bay Railroad Company hope that if the initial route becomes value neutral they’ll be able to expand further along the now out-of-service trackline.
Brian Flannery has also suggested inner-city public transport providers consider using solar to power light rail options such as trams, making for an even more sustainable way to get around.
If you’re a Byron Bay resident or planning on a holiday, find out more about the train and its timetable at the Byron Bay Railroad Company website.
- Sign up for solar power, solar hot water heating or green energy options with your energy provider
- If you’re a business or government employee looking at turning a site solar, visit Planet Ark Power
- Cut back on CO2 emissions by replacing unnecessary car trips with a ride on public transport
- Take a ride on the Byron Bay train if you’re in the area!
Subscribe to Positive Environment News
Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.
Josh comes to Planet Ark after a stint in legal communication and from a background in print journalism. He studied Communications and Media as a mature age student in Wollongong where he re-discovered his love for the natural environment.
- A turning point in carbon dioxide emissions? »
- A stewardship scheme for safety seats »
- E-bikes to become the transport of the twenties »
- The solar-powered plant bringing drinking water to those in need »
- Bringing back the beauty of darkness »
- South Korea’s capital leading the way on solar »
- Australian university saving big with innovative renewable energy project »
- After over a century as Australia’s coal capital, Newcastle is going renewable »
- Scottish council harnessing energy from wastewater for heating »
- Barcelona ‘superblocks’ going car free to cut air pollution »
- Climate activism empowering youth worldwide »
- Kenya powers forward with Africa’s largest wind farm »
- Australia on track for an electric revolution on the road »
- The tyre recycling plant putting Warren on the map »
- Public transport that provides more than one public good »
- Canberra to become first Australian jurisdiction powered by 100% renewable energy »
- Britain's coal-free week the first since 1882 »
- The Icelandic project turning dangerous emissions to stone »
- Former prison providing site of community-led energy revolution »
- The remote community that saved its water and its future »
- California reaches 2020 renewable energy goal ahead of schedule »
- Australia's biggest coal mining company to freeze production »
- Global energy giant to produce household battery systems in Australia »
- Aussie posties to go green with electric trikes »
- First power to flow from world's biggest offshore wind farm »
- The man proving electric vehicles are more than ready for Australia »
- Positive steps in climate change action in 2018 »
- The tiny archipelago blazing a trail towards sustainability »
- New renewable energy now as cheap as existing coal stations »
- World's largest shipping company commits to phasing out fossil fuels »
- Spain bids farewell to coal »
- The new zero-emissions fuel made from mankind's most common byproduct »
- California commits to 100% clean energy by 2045 »
- 1 terawatt global solar and wind target reached early »
- Ireland divests from fossil fuels in world first »
- The light at the end of the tunnel is made with LEDs »
- Mexico City is bartering its recyclable waste for food »
- Monash's 100% renewable electricity plan »
- African women joining the microgrid revolution »
- Renewables produced more than twice as much new energy as fossil fuels in 2017 »
- RMIT develops new proton battery prototype »
- South Australia declared a world leader in variable solar/wind energy »
- UK renewables created three times the power of coal in 2017 »
- Liddell's renewable replacement will flick the switch and come in cheaper than coal »
- Planet Ark Power and Llewellyn Motors launch one of Australia's largest privately owned solar and smart battery rooftop power stations »
- Supercharging South Australia with Tesla Powerpacks »
- Flying Dutch claim victory for the 7th time in the World Solar Challenge »
- Aussie innovators compete for the climate on the world stage »
- In the wake of the quake: Japanese towns choose energy self-sufficiency »
- Better demand management essential as electric cars hit the road »
- HIH GreenSmart Awards celebrate Australia's most sustainable homes »
- An electric future for driving »
- Aurora, the world's largest solar thermal plant coming to Port Augusta »
- India's renewable energy target to create 300,000 jobs »
- AECOM and Canadian energy storage start-up will cut costs by putting power under the pump »
- Aiming for a zero-carbon future within 10 years »
- World's largest crop of tequila plant set to fuel green energy in far north Queensland »
- Capturing Carbon to Tackle Climate Change »
- Printable Solar Panels a Game Changer »
- LEGO - Building Environmental Milestones One Block at a Time »
- Video: Tesla's Elon Musk Talks Solar Homes, Boring Company and Electric Trucks »
- South Australia Leading the Way on Renewable Energy Target »
- The Pollution Reducing Billboard »
- Indigenous Communities Embrace Renewable Energy »
- A New Wave of Energy for Western Australia »
- Using The Energy From a Soccer Ball to Light Up Learning »
- The Sky's the Limit for the Humble Push Bike »
- Increased Battery Use Proves Reliability and Accessibility of Solar Power »
- Solar and Wind Energy Now Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels in More Than 30 Countries »
- Pilot Flies 500 Miles On 10 Per Cent Plastic Waste Fuel »
- Winds of Change For Dutch Trains »
- Power to the Pedal - Copenhagen Has More Bikes Than Cars »
- Launch of Positive Environment News »