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Pictured: DMV – an amazing Japanese bus that turns into a train


Reinvent the wheel! The amazing Japanese bus that turns into a train in 15 seconds

  • The DMV bus, operated by Asa Seaside Railways, will connect Tokushima and Kochi prefectures in Shikoku.
  • To drive on the tracks, the driver activates the “mode switch” to lower the wheels of the rail-fit steel bus
  • It is hoped that the DMV bus will promote tourism, as the route passes through hot springs and coastal scenery

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Japan can always be counted on to conjure up a strange, exotic tool — and most recently, a gem.

Look at 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-running train in just 15 seconds thanks to steel wheels that can be lowered onto the track with the push of a button. This “mode switch” switches to the opposite direction when back on the road, with the steel wheels retracting so the rubber tires can take the lead.

A DMV bus (pictured above) can turn into a train in a matter of seconds

The DMV can carry 23 people—including the driver—and is about eight meters (26 ft) long. It weighs only 5,850 kg (5.85 tons), which makes it much lighter than a regular train car.

On the tracks, it can go as fast as 60 km/h (37 mph), but on the road, it can go much faster, depending on the speed limit.

Scheduled to begin work on Christmas Day under the supervision of Asa Seaside Railways, it will connect Tokushima and Kochi prefectures on Shikoku, one of Japan’s four main islands.

The innovative dual-mode car is scheduled to start work on Christmas Day under the Asa Seaside Railway

The innovative dual-mode car is scheduled to start work on Christmas Day under the Asa Seaside Railway

The bus is equipped with rubber tires suitable for roads and steel wheels that can run on railway tracks

The bus is equipped with rubber tires suitable for roads and steel wheels that can run on railway tracks

Asa Seaside Railways currently has a fleet of three DMV buses - each in bright colors in shades of green, red, and blue.

Asa Seaside Railways currently has a fleet of three DMV buses – each in bright colors in shades of green, red, and blue.

A map showing where the DMV operates

A map showing where the DMV operates

Once work begins, the bus will travel from Awa Kainan Bunka Mura in Tokushima Prefecture to Omi no Ike Toromu in Kochi Prefecture.

Asa Seaside Railways currently has a fleet of three DMV buses – each in bright colors in shades of green, red, and blue.

The crazy form of transportation aims to attract tourism to the area and “reduce population migration” in the area.

Along the way, passengers can stop at Shishikoy Hot Springs, one of the area’s biggest tourist attractions.

It runs through beaches, the small rural town of Cayo, and a portion of the coast that overlooks the Pacific Ocean, which is “ideal for sightseeing,” according to Asa Seaside Railways.

Furthermore, the DMV can be used in the event of an earthquake, providing “rapid assistance” to victims either by road or rail.

Asa Seaside Railways also hopes that the DMV will strengthen the local transportation system, particularly helping elderly locals.

A statement from Asa Seaside Railways read: “The DMV is the ‘world’s first’ vehicle that can be operated on both tracks and roads, making local transportation more convenient.”

This crazy form of transportation aims to attract tourists and

This insane form of transportation aims to attract tourists and “reduce population decline.”

Asa Seaside Railways hopes DMV will boost the local transportation system

Asa Seaside Railways hopes DMV will boost the local transportation system

Dual mode vehicles, also known as “road and rail vehicles” or “high rail vehicles” are not a new invention. They are commonly used for railway maintenance and inspection purposes.

In the 1930s Britain experimented with a rail bus – a modified single-decker bus – called the “Karrier Ro-Railer” on the Nickey Line, an abandoned line in Hertfordshire. Although it has been working for a few months, it hasn’t worked.

The concept has since been implemented around the world with varying degrees of success – State Railways of New South Wales experimented with a road rail bus in Australia in the 1970s, and in Germany, Schi-Stra-Bus was in operation from the 1950s to the 1970s.

The Schi-Stra-Bus, pictured above, was in operation from the 1950s to the 1970s in Germany.  Image courtesy of Creative Commons

The Schi-Stra-Bus, pictured above, was in operation from the 1950s to the 1970s in Germany. Image courtesy of Creative Commons

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