The Anonymous Widower

Road-Rail Services Inaugurated

The title of this post, is the same as that as this article on Railway Gazette.

This first paragraph tells all.

The start of regular road-rail services on the Asa Kaigan Tetsudo in southeast Shikoku was marked with a ceremony at Awa-Kainan-Bunkamura on December 25.

I have found this video of the vehicles.

I do wonder if there is a simpler way.

In Zwickau in Germany on the Vogtlandbahn, standard Stadler diesel multiple units, run through the streets from the main station to a tram-stop like station in the centre of the town.

They are more of a train-tram, than a tram-train.

  • The train is fitted with orange warning lights.
  • The train shares the same corridor with a tram, that uses a different gauge, using three-rail track.
  • Access between the train and platform is more-or-less level and as good as, if not better than most German trains.
  • The platform at Zwickau Zentrum is an island platform, where the trams call at the other side.
  • The concept would work with any independently-powered multiple unit.

I am sure, where there are places where this will work in the UK.

We almost do the same thing at some seaside stations like Saltburn, Sheringham and St. Ives.



December 27, 2021 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , ,


  1. The UK had Pacers (BR Class 14x) decades ago. They were dire when new! The gauge in Japan is 1067mm, so normal width PSV vehicles will fit.

    Comment by R Mark Clayton | December 27, 2021 | Reply

  2. I looked at all the Japanese buses and worked out that the DMV is based on a 4th generation Mitsubishi Fuso Rosa. The Mitsubishi Fuso Rosa is based on the Mitsubishi Fuso Canter truck used for the Severn Tunnel Fire and Rescue vehicle and a number of other special purpose road rail vehicles.
    What’s more Mitsubishi Fuso Bus and Truck is part of Daimler’s worldwide Bus and Truck Group.
    I hadn’t realised that the majority of track in Japan is 1067mm and certainly is for the Asa Coast Railway, however all of the major high speed lines in Japan are standard 1435mm gauge. As regards a PSV fitting, you can see from my earlier remarks that a Mitsubishi Fuso Rosa is likely work here too.
    Yes early Railbuses were truly awful, I remember going from Manchester Victoria to Bolton in the rush hour when BRB had assigned “travelling mechanics” to fix the Self Changing Gears transmission at each station in order to keep it working.

    Comment by fammorris | December 27, 2021 | Reply

    • The video says it’s based on a Toyota Coaster.

      I didn’t like Pacers, but they could have scrubbed up into something temporary, whilst replacement was arranged.

      Is This Really A Pacer In A New Outfit?

      Comment by AnonW | December 27, 2021 | Reply

      • Thanks for the correction, I can now see the difference, still they could have saved themselves some time and effort had they chosen a proven platform

        Comment by fammorris | December 27, 2021

  3. The Germans created the system at Zwickau using a proven Stadler DMU and I think in a lot of cases it is a better solution to a road-rail vehicle.

    Comment by AnonW | December 27, 2021 | Reply

    • The subject of the Class144e must have passed me by so I had a look at the Ricardo PR
      Looks a nice job but it’s more likely the unit you rode on just had the bushes renewed and a few bits tightened up.
      You couldn’t really drive the Zwickau vehicle down Dalston Lane, though the DMV should manage it 😉

      Comment by fammorris | December 27, 2021 | Reply

  4. DMV’s are not exactly new in this country. We’ve been operating road-rail vehicles for rail infrastructure enhancements for years. There must be a reason why this technology has not progressed to the levels seen in Japan.

    Comment by Andrew Bruton | December 29, 2021 | Reply

    • I am beginning to form the opinion that the Asa Coast Railway announcement of the DMV (now running on Hokkaido) is a version of the supposed report in a British newspaper many years ago……. “Fog in the Channel, Continent Cut Off”. In this case Hokkaido seems to be cut off from the rest of Japan.
      After all this 2018 Japanese clip rather makes the point

      Comment by fammorris | December 29, 2021 | Reply

  5. Not quite sure I understand the relevance to Sheringham (the current occasional use level crossing is short and could be just a normal level crossing if there was demand).

    And train-trams are unlikely to suit the proposed (fantasy) Norfolk orbital rail, as they are too long to make the necessary turns en route especially exiting the (modern) Holt Railway station on Poppy Line (on the strip of land bought to protect the route from station to old trackbed which is now Holt bypass). Norfolk Orbital rail would need to take a different route with gentler curves to make these useful.

    They could have a role in restoring train service King’s Lynn to Hunstanton (bridging partial loss of trackbed via road alignments), or Sudbury (Suffolk) to Bury St. Edmunds via Long Melford (existing trackbed partly built over, so trains would need to route up the high street to make them useful).

    Comment by MilesT | December 30, 2021 | Reply

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