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Six Tracks: Rail’s New Directions in a Changing World

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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The quest for sustainability is reshaping the rail industry. We look at the directions of travel—the tracks that rail is on.

Track 1: Connectivity
Connectivity brings technologies like IoT, AI and machine learning together. 5G will fuel the use of connectivity across the rail world.

Track 2: Diversification of Power Systems
Rail will be powered by a more diverse set of technologies. Diesel-electric and full-electric will co-exist with emerging technologies such as fuel cells and batteries, often through hybrid applications.

Track 3: Towards the All-Renewable Future
The world is targeting an all-renewable future. Diesel emissions have already decreased more than 80% over the past two decades. Across rail, diesel-hybrid and fuel cell applications will lead the way. 

Track 4: Urbanization
Urbanization is expected to increase the demand for rail transportation. Rail offers the highest capacity per hour in a transitway setting. Digital innovations point to a future of autonomous operation. 

Track 5: The Global ‘Middle Class’
The middle class is growing rapidly worldwide. This demographic trend is expected to fuel the growth in the rail industry worldwide.

Track 6: Building on Rail’s Advantages
Rail has long been considered one of the most efficient forms of mass transportation. From this advantaged position, rail will continue to decarbonize. The first passenger train powered solely by Cummins hydrogen fuel cells is operating today.

Alstom Coradia iLint, powered by Cummins.

Rail has a bright future in a digital and decarbonizing world. Cummins is working to keep the industry ahead of the curve.