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10274Re: Fuel-Sipping Trains

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  • Matt Hohmeister
    Jun 17, 2007
      Actually, this brings up a question I've been wondering for some time. In an era of dwindling
      oil supplies, are we better off with jets or ships? 747 or QM2? Or is there another solution?

      > "The obvious replacements for planes are scarcely better. Fast passenger ships appear to
      be even worse for the environment than jets. ... [Paragraph] Nor are ultra-high-speed trains
      the answer. Though trains traveling at normal speeds have much lower carbon emissions
      than airplanes, Professor Roger Kemp of Lancaster University shows that energy consumption
      rises dramatically at speeds above 125 miles per hour. Increasing the speed from 140 to 220
      mph almost doubles the amount of fuel burned. If the trains are powered by electricity, and if
      that electricity is produced by plants burning fossil fuels, they cause more CO2 emissions
      than planes. Running trains on renewable electricity is certainly possible, but this faces
      problems: Trains must run on time, and that means there is little room for 'demand
      management,' which means reducing the electricity load in response to fluctuations in
      supply. In all transport systems, high performance is incompatible with low consumption.
      The faster you go, the more energy you need."
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