Lighting Solutions for Rails with Trails

train - solar trail lightsEvery day, trails along active rail lines provide transportation, access to transit, as well as exercise and recreational opportunities for thousands of Americans. Ideal for activities like as walking, inline skating, bicycling, cross-country skiing, and wheelchair use, rail-trails are exceedingly popular. There is also a growing number of former rail lines being converted into multi-purpose public paths.

Safety should always be the primary concern when developing a rail-with-trail. Illuminating rails is one of the ways to make the trail safe and more convenient to use at night. Solar trail lights are an efficient, green and economical solution. Here are all the possibilities.

Types of lighting

ThereÔÇÖs a myriad of factors influencing lighting choices, such as trail location and features, overhead clearance, weather, soil content, etc.

Wired lights. Wired lighting is a costly decision. If well-designed and of high quality, wired lighting can be easy to maintain and operate. However, it is expensive to install and complicated to repair.

The wires could be strung overhead or underground. Underground wiring is expensive but durable. It wonÔÇÖt be damaged by poor weather conditions. Though cheaper, overhead lighting is more vulnerable.

Battery powered lights. This option is the cheapest to install and repair but difficult to maintain. Batteries may need to be frequently replaced. If dead batteries go unnoticed, trail users have to face a dark section and their safety is jeopardized. For this reason, battery-powered lights are practical only on high-traffic trails, where a dead battery is likely to be replaced promptly.

Solar trail lights. These lights are powered by the sun so they are the most environmentally conscious solution. When solar trail lights are installed in more sunny regions, they are sure to operate at maximum strength.

Therefore, though the installation of photovoltaic cells can be pricey upfront, it can mean little or no cost of operation. Also, because there are no wires connecting solar lights, repairs are contained to a single fixture at a time.

LEDs. In comparison to standard incandescent bulbs, LEDs are extremely energy efficient and need very little power to generate light. They do have a higher initial cost but have an exceptional operational lifetime. Therefore, LEDs can provide huge long-term savings.

Reflective striping. Trails with dark spots and limited night use may benefit from the striping, which is the addition to the already existing lights. These white, flat and narrow reflectors can increase the amount of light and are especially useful if a trail is near a lit street.

Placement and design

To develop a secure and accessible bicycle, pedestrian and trail system, consult a professional who will plan out a proper design strategy. Its implementation will help create a safe environment for trail users and rail operators.

Trail lighting that is well-placed, properly installed and regularly maintained can enhance visibility, improve overall trail access and convenience, giving trail users a sense of security while passing through at night.

Unlike highway lighting, trail lighting should be done on a small scale and only when necessary. Fixtures should shed light only on the path below. Preferably, there should be no glare or loss of light. In some cases, bollards would cast just enough light.


Wired lighting poses a challenge due to difficulties in tracking and repairing outages. A whole string of lights could go out when initially only one is the problem. With solar lighting, these problems can be avoided. Solar trail lights are practical because of their long lifespan, low cost and maintenance. They can last for many years of stable operation if they are well cared for.

Solar trail lights for a well-lit rail with trail

Solar trail lights are a sustainable solution for well-lit spaces thatÔÇÖs built to last. They are a reliable and cost-effective choice. Solar lighting provides energy savings and contributes to the safety of anyone going jogging at night, cycling after dinner or taking an early-morning walk along a rail.

At Greenshine New Energy LLC., we specialize in developing and manufacturing solar street lights, garden light, path light, park lights and lawn lights for outdoor applications. Our solar lighting solutions work on innovative technology to provide communities with top-notch solar trail lights at competitive prices and free of maintenance.