Dankal – the Light Rail of Gush Dan
Here comes the train – let’s get to know it
Ten things you didn’t know about the Light Rail
You are standing on the platform at the station, waiting for the train to arrive in exactly two minutes. How many cars will it have? How many passengers can it carry? What moves it and how does it stop? Who drives it?
We’ve collected here ten interesting (some even fascinating!) facts about the Gush Dan Light Rail.
1. How many busses can fit inside a train? the technical term for the train itself, the one that arrives at the platform and opens its doors, is “rolling stock”. Every such train is made up of two cars connected to each other. The cars are 2.65 meter wide, and their total length is 70 meters. For the sake of comparison – the length of an articulated bus (a long bus) is 18 meters.
2. An entire school in one train – each train has room for 450 passengers. Each car is equipped with fixed sits, folding sits and space for comfortable standing using various easily accessible handholds. In other words, each train can accommodate 15 school classrooms (of 30 pupils each).
3. Accessibility above all (even underground) – all the cars of the Light Rail are accessible to wheelchairs and trollies.
4. Riding and surfing – all cars have free Wi-Fi and information screens that provide information about the ride and additional changing data. Prefer to read a good book? Innovative LED lighting certainly makes that much more convenient.
5. Riding and stopping – the train is equipped with a complex mechanism of vertical and horizontal shock absorbers that is designed for movement in tunnels and at street level. This mechanism allows a fast, smooth and quite ride.
6. A safe ride – all cars are equipped with security cameras that constantly transmit to the driver’s cabin as well as to the train control center. In an emergency, a digital intercom system located in every car can be used to communicate with the driver or the control center.
7. No locomotive, no smoke – the Light Rail is electrical and has no locomotive. Cars carry eight electric engines fed by an overhead cable installed along the track.
8. A power station on wheels – when it moves, the train requires electricity, but when it stops, the breaking mechanism converts the train’s kinetic energy into electricity that is fed back into the system. Since the train stops quite often – there’s a station about every one kilometer – it’s able to refund 15% of the energy it uses.
9. No wheel, but there’s a driver – trains have no steering wheel since they can’t turn right or left. The driver has a “stick” (or throttle) to control the speed of the train. But the control of the stick is limited. When moving inside a tunnel, the speed is determined automatically by remote control, just like in metro trains. The stick is used by drivers when moving at ground level, where the train needs to merge into traffic.
10. Brakes like sand – the magical powder that helps the train stop is actually not magical at all – it’s simply sand. In an emergency brake, sand is injected on the track in front of the wheels to increase the friction between the wheels and the track and help the train stop.