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Hump-Back Stations illustration: an above and below ground cross-section of an urban environment is shown, displaying the rise and fall of an underground transit tunnel as it approaches and departs a station platform - allowing gravity to play its part in slowing the train down, uphill as it comes into a station and accelerating it away, downhill on departure.

Hump-back stations

A rather clever way of capturing energy as vehicles slow down is to store the energy you'd use in braking as gravitational energy. This way of storing energy is used on a number of central London underground stations by constructing the stations at the top of a small hill in the track. Once built, the hump-back-station design has the handy effect of naturally slowing trains down as they approach a station and naturally accelerating them as they leave a station. Apparently, on London's Victoria line this saves 5% in energy and helps the trains run 9% faster.

You're not always going to be able to put a slope just where you need to slow down, unfortunately. However, it makes a ton of sense for pedestrian crossings where raising the crossing to the level of the payment means pedestrians don't have kerbs to negotiate and cars are naturally encouraged to slow down.

Victoria line data from Sustainable Energy without the Hot Air, by the late David JC MacKay

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