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
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