China is contemplating a radical solution to the increasing congestion problems facing its major cities – hanging trains. The China Daily reported this week that plans for the first German-designed ‘H-Bahn’ hanging monorail system have been unveiled in Beijing, adding another novel option to the increasingly innovative methods the country is consdering to ease gridlock in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
The H-Bahn is composed of four passenger carriages suspended from an overhead track. As the track comprises a single rail supported by iron pillars, it has a smaller ground footprint than standard monorail systems. Each electric, driverless train is designed to carry around 75 passengers at speeds of up to 50kph.
The trains, engineered by German company Siemens, were introduced to China by the China Business Unit of Air Train International. According to the company’s President, Lin Youling, Air Train International plans to build up to 30 trains in China within five years.
The H-Bahn trains, which are already in use at Germany’s Dusseldorf International Airport and Dortmund University, are the latest in a series of novel solutions to China’s urban traffic problems. Last year a Chinese engineer unveiled the ‘straddle bus’ concept, which was designed to travel above the traffic, allowing cars to pass underneath. China also recently started work on a low-speed maglev subway train, which uses magnets to allow trains to float above the rails.
The H-Bahn meanwhile, has also been touted as a solution for smaller cities, as it is likely to cheaper and faster to develop than underground subway systems.