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8124Re: [carfree_cities] Re: McLanes vs. Train Lanes

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  • J.H. Crawford
    Feb 27, 2005
      >Well, don't feel too bad. I can't imagine anything you might have
      >written could have been more ridiculous than Joel's suggestion that
      >non-standard, 9-foot(!) track guage be used to deal with a problem
      >solved eons ago by the Japanese, Germans, etc.

      Sorry, I fail to see why a 9-foot gauge is ridiculous.
      The Great Western was over 7 feet. This does presume that
      solid axles are not used, which is desirable for noise and
      rail wear considerations anyway. (The wheels turn independently.)

      >> Finally finally, I am not sure if the IR system has been seriously
      >> considered as it should be by the rail industry

      Nobody has considered it seriously, as far as I am aware.

      >Consider the new East Span of the Bay Bridge -- an interesting
      >example as the lower deck of the Bay Bridge once carried intercity
      >trains. The replacement span, being built to standard Caltrans
      >specs, could not possibly support a TGV or ICE train, let alone an
      >Acela. At a bare minimum, running trains (i.e. anything other than a
      >streetcar) might require the replacement of a lot of overpasses.

      You're assuming conventional rail axle loadings, which can today
      exceed 50 tons. The TGV is, according to a posting by Todd, (I think)
      is designed for 17 tons, which is still high. However, the US
      Interstates operate with 8 ton axles loads already, and the loading
      is not distributed by the rail and involves punishing shock loads
      which are avoided in the kind of track structure I envision. In any
      case, the short-length Talgo-style coaches I would propose can
      probably get the axle loadings down to near the current truck
      loadings anyway (assuming we get aircraft manufacturers to bring
      their knowledge of light weight and extreme reliability to the

      >There are quite a lot of other problems too. The idea of creating
      >train stops at interchanges is problematic because (in the current
      >regulatory environment),

      This entire proposal obviously includes sending the FRA back to
      the drawing board. It's about time, too (especially given the
      comparatively poor rail safety statistics in the USA).

      >train platforms can only be built on level
      >ground, which generally is not the case for an over/under-pass.

      Actually, it IS generally the case, if not always. (I'm not talking
      about on the cloverleaf section; only the through lanes.)

      >well, I found the so-called freeway standards (12' lanes, exits on
      >the right side, etc) to be unrealistic. In most built-up areas,
      >these standards are thrown out the window - there are fewer

      not needed

      >narrower lanes,

      rare on real interstates

      >complicated interchanges, etc.

      definitely an issue

      >And it is
      >in the built-up areas where ROW is most valuable.


      >In the case of BART, the I580 freeway was designed from the
      >beginning to accomodate rail in the median. Nonetheless, the 13 mile
      >BART extension to Dublin/Pleasanton still managed to cost over $0.5
      >billion -- and that's after the West Dublin station had to be
      >dropped due to 100% cost overruns.

      I can't imagine how US cities are having to pay these kinds of
      prices. This stuff is not THAT expensive. The only plausible
      explanation is that this kind of work is so rare that there are
      no economies of scale (nor any standardized equipment--BART
      does not use standard gauge).

      This WAS only a proposal and has never been subjected to serious
      consideration. I do, however, still think that the idea is at
      least worth the trouble of exploring with an open mind. Current
      regulatory and technological approaches will kill it immediately.


      -- ### --

      J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
      mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
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