Seibu Railway to debut solar-powered train

A Japanese railway operator is launching a zero-emissions, solar-powered train as part of its effort toward a carbon-free society.

The train will debut from the start of April in the prefecture of Saitama, north of Tokyo. It will service the Yamaguchi Line, which runs for 2.8 kilometers. The operator, Seibu Railway, says the line carries one million people a year.

Officials say the train will be virtually emission-free. It will run off Seibu's solar generation plant in the prefecture of Kanagawa, and another utility.

Up until now, the average carbon-dioxide output of the line is about 300 tons per year.

Seibu Railway official Honda Naoshi says, "We thought about contributing something to the reduction of carbon dioxide because trains consume huge amounts of electric power. Hopefully we can raise environmental awareness."

Other train operators are expected to accelerate their moves to green energy. Tokyu Railways has already switched to renewable power for one of its lines in Tokyo.