Vladimir Afonsky: Russia Needs Railroads, Other Modes of Transport are not Suitable. Comment from SkyWay

Vladimir Afonsky: Russia Needs Railroads, Other Modes of Transport are not Suitable. Comment from SkyWay

29 January 2018 2748

SkyWay Technologies Co. deals with the creation of innovative transport and seeks to spread knowledge about the prospects for the development of infrastructure, especially in our areas. Therefore, we could not ignore the opinion of Vladimir Afonsky, Deputy to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Russia-Belarusian Union, Deputy Chairman of the Committee on information policy that he shared in an interview (in Russian) to the official website of the Permanent Committee at the Union State.

From the position of a member of the Committee on transport and construction, Mr. Afonsky commented on the prospects for transport technologies that may become a substitute for railways. He noted that in the near future, the development of string and vacuum transport does not seem feasible and they are unable to fulfill social and infrastructure functions that are now charged to the railway network.

skyway, railway, russia, yunitsky, transport, hyperloop

Of course, the significance of railways for such a vast country as Russia is difficult to overestimate and we fully agree with Mr. Afonsky in it. The extensive network of railway lines connects the most remote regions with industrial and commercial regions of the country. The main value of the railway is in the prevalence of this transportation system. It not only enables passengers and goods to move around the country but also provides employment to a huge number of people that maintain proper condition and operation of tracks, terminals, stations, rolling stock and other components of the railway.

Certainly, new modes of transport cannot yet boast of such a widespread infrastructure. However, it also took railways dozens of years to grow from a local “metropolitan” phenomenon to a kind of “backbone” of the economy. The string transport will have to pass this same path: with the development of its routes, cities will grow and industries will develop along them. However, this time these processes will be faster and more efficient due to the use of new technologies. Alongside with the string transport, lines of communication and electrification vital to modern humans will be spread; transportation will become faster, greener and safer. In addition, all of it will be at a very competitive cost.

A new way of life will prosper around the new transport system. Due to the increased speed and improved transport logistics, travel time from suburbs will be less, people will be able to live closer to nature. Urban planning will also change ― second level transportation will free significant areas in new cities and relieve the transport burden of old cities. People getting newly-opened subway stations or convenient public transport stops near their houses, would not let us lie ― life becomes much more comfortable with the improvement of infrastructure.

skyway rolling stock and vehicle at EcoTechnoPark in Minsk, Belarus

At the same time, no cosmetic changes of the railway would be able to move it from the XIX and XX century into the XXI century: most of them are based on very simple, but long-outdated solutions. No matter how locomotives are upgraded, they will not run faster on the rails that did not have fundamental changes for over half a century. It is understood throughout the entire world: Japan and China are developing ultra-fast, but super expensive Maglev ― a fundamental rethinking of rail transport. The United States and Europe are constantly developing new transport infrastructure including the options of flying cars, vacuum trains and much more. The list of innovative developments includes also the string transport ― it has enough strong features to participate in the transport race.

The most alarming thing is that in the discussion about the fate of the new transport, the most conservative critical position is taken not by the representatives of currently leading railway transport sphere, but the people in charge of the task to find the best solutions ― officials and public figures. It depends on them whether we shall be stuck in the past or move into the future. They often choose the first, easier way because of fear to face changes and an unjustified distrust to innovations.

Artsiom Sapryka