Solar train awarded for design innovation


Byron Bay’s heritage world first solar train has been recognised at the 60th Annual Good Design Awards Ceremony, held at the Sydney Opera House last night. The highest honour for design innovation in Australia, the Awards attracted a record 536 entries this year.

The Byron Bay Railroad Company 1942 era train was both a Good Design Award Gold Winner in the Product Design category and a Good Design Award Winner in the Engineering category, in recognition for outstanding design and innovation.

The Byron Bay Railroad Company team were presented with their trophies by Jan Utzon, son of Jorn Utzon who designed the Sydney Opera House. Whilst the train itself will not be present, it will be celebrated among other award winning innovations during Vivid Sydney from 25-27 May at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, Circular Quay.

The train will commence its Winter schedule on June 1. Existing services will be maintained with the exception of Friday and Saturday evening services. The last evening service will be 26 May until evening services resume again after Winter.

Judges praised the train service, which is run on a not-for-profit basis with tickets costing just $3.00. “What is truly brilliant about this project is that it uses currently available technology applied to a sector in a clever and innovative way” they said. “This project has the potential to raise much needed awareness about sustainable design. A sign of things to come”.

The net carbon positive train service is entirely funded by Byron Bay Railroad Company and receives no government support whatsoever.

“Solar power can be seen and felt” said Jeremy Holmes. “Riding on a train powered by the sun proves that it is possible”.

“This is very Byron Bay,” said Dr Brandon Gien, Chief Executive of Good Design Australia. “The designers retained the overall aesthetics of the old train while pointing the way to a sustainable future.” The Byron Shire continues to punch above its weight, with Byron’s Flow Hive taking the major award in In 2016 for their backyard beekeeping invention.

Gien attributes these successes to a sunny disposition and tolerance for risk. “Designers and architects are optimists” he says. “We look at design as a way of creating a better future. We’re living in a volatile, topsy-turvy world. If we are going to provide a better future for our planet, it requires imagination. Design is one of the ways we can make it happen.”