Reinventing the wheel! The amazing Japanese bus… that turns into a train in 15 seconds flat
Behold the bus that can turn into a train.
This dual-mode vehicle, or ‘DMV’ for short, can transform from a road-going bus to a track-travelling train in just 15 seconds thanks to steel wheels that can be lowered onto the track at the press of a button. This ‘mode interchange’ goes into reverse when returning to the road, with the steel wheels retracting so the rubber tyres can take the lead.
The DMV can carry 23 people – including the driver – and measures around eight metres (26ft) in length. It weighs just 5,850kg (5.85 tons), making it significantly lighter than a regular train carriage.
On the tracks, it can travel at speeds of 60kmph (37mph), but on the road, it can go faster, depending on the speed limit.
It’s due to start operating on Christmas Day under Asa Seaside Railways, and will link the Tokushima and Kochi prefectures in Shikoku, one of the four main islands of Japan.
Once up and running, the bus will travel from Awa Kainan Bunka Mura in the Tokushima prefecture to Umi no Eki Toromu in the Kochi prefecture.
Asa Seaside Railways currently has a fleet of three DMV buses – each brightly coloured in shades of green, red and blue.
The madcap form of transport is intended to attract tourism to the district and to ‘curb the depopulation’ of the area.
Along the route, passengers can stop off at the Shishikui hot springs, one of the area’s biggest tourist draws.
It passes by beaches, the small rural town of Kaiyo, and a part of the coast that faces out onto the Pacific Ocean that’s ’ideal for sightseeing’, according to Asa Seaside Railways.
What’s more, the DMV can be used in the event of an earthquake, providing ‘rapid assistance’ to victims by either road or rail.
Asa Seaside Railways also hopes that the DMV will strengthen the local transport system, particularly helping out the elderly local population.