A reconfigurable train carriage system designed to allow trains to automatically switch between passenger and cargo modes is poised to undergo trials on the UK rail network. Developed by Cambridgeshire product development firm 42 Technology the so-called 'Adaptable Carriage' system allows the seats and tables within a passenger train carriage to be automatically stowed to create space cargo that would otherwise go by road. The system - which can either be retrofitted to existing carriages or integrated into new design - has been developed as part of a two-year programme funded by RSSB (Rail Safety and Standards Board). According to 42 Technology the carriage features three key innovations: a concept that enables spare passenger-carrying capacity on, for example, off-peak services, to be used for cargo; a forward-folding seat design that allows any rubbish left on seats to be tipped onto the floor for easier cleaning; and a sliding mechanism to configure the seats into a seated position and to lock them in position along the carriage. The reconfiguration process is fully automated, takes under three minutes to complete and as a result the 20 rows of seats in a typical passenger carriage (with four seats per row) can be compressed to create cargo space equivalent to the capacity of an articulated lorry.
The Engineer Newsletter, 12th May 2017