High speed “bullet” train. Image credit inhabitat.com

ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: Transport:Modern Developments in Transport: Rail transport

  • In advanced countries, high speed rail transport has been developed.
  • For example the Japanese have developed their high speed Bullet train which can reach speeds of 350 – 400 km per hour.
  • All rail lines have been electrified to improve on speed and reduce dependence on costly and polluting fossil fuels.
  • Containerization has also occurred to transport goods.
  • Another developed train called the Mag-lev which travels along a rail line on the physics principle of magnetic levitation.
  • Maglev (derived from magnetic levitation) is a transport method that uses magnetic levitation to move vehicles without making contact with the ground.
  • With maglev, a vehicle travels along a guideway using magnets to create both lift and propulsion, thereby reducing friction by a great extent and allowing very high speeds.
  • In itself, maglev technology includes no moving parts.
  • In developing countries, some countries are building railway lines where none existed before.
  • For example Mali which is building a railway line to link it with Mauritania and the Atlantic coast.
  • Between countries, standardized railway gauges are being established so that trains pass freely from one country to another.
  • This is being done between Zimbabwe and Botswana for example.
  • Many countries are also replacing their old wagons with new ones.
  • New locomotives using the more efficient diesel are replacing steam ones fired by coal.
  • Electrification of rail lines is taking place to also increase on efficiency and speed.
  • In some urban areas in developed countries tunnels are being used to accomodated highspeed railway lines

To access more topics go to the O Level Geography Notes page