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8135Re: [carfree_cities] Re: McLanes vs. Train Lanes

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  • J.H. Crawford
    Feb 27, 2005
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      I guess what isn't clear here is that I'm proposing a blank-sheet
      re-start of railroading. Get rid of all the problems that have
      plagued the industry since its beginnings 180 years ago.


      >Except that it would involve running custom-built (i.e. more
      >expensive) rolling stock that is utterly incompatible with the rest
      >of the world. But yeah, other than that...

      All of this rolling stock is going to be completely custom built.
      If it's done right, we'll build more perfectly-identical passenger
      coaches than the sum total of all passenger coaches ever built in
      the USA. We're talking tens of thousands of absolutely identical
      train sets.

      >> It permits independently suspended wheels right
      >> out at the edges of the coaches, allowing passage through the
      >> train without steps--just articulate the coaches
      >You mean like this?

      Yes, except that the whole section of the coach in way of the
      wheels doesn't have to be pinched in at floor level in order
      to accommodate the wheels (assuming these are low-floor units).
      We're not going to do high-floor units because the platforms
      cost too much and the frontal area of the trains is too great
      and the underbody too ragged for good air flow.

      >The reason why the Boeing LRT's were such a disaster, and BART cars
      >spend 25% of the time in the shop, is because an aircraft
      >manufacturer has none of the experience or institutional knowledge
      >for building rail vehicles. So, if you were to try again at having
      >an aerospace company build rail cars, the same result seems
      >inevitable. Or, to put it another way: Would you buy an automobile
      >from Honda or Lockheed? (Ok, maybe a bad example for this listserv.)

      But we have the problem that rail vehicle manufacturers have
      never understood the need for light weight (except Alsthom,
      I believe, which builds the TGVs). And I'm afraid they have
      never understood the need for reliability, either.

      >> We really DO need light weight, and we really DO need high
      >> reliability. Historically, only airplanes have this characteristic.
      >That simply isn't true. Lots of industries know how to build with
      >aluminum and carbon fiber. On the other hand, not too many know the
      >intricacies of ATC, signaling, bogies, and general rail
      >infrastructure issues.

      So, we pair the remains of AdTranz with AirBus. Or Boeing with
      the remains of Budd.

      Remember, conventional rail manufacturers are going to have to
      figure this stuff out too, because the environment is going to
      be completely different from anything they've ever seen. Nobody
      in the rail business is familiar with mounting 6% grades at high
      speed. Nobody knows about running trains around fairly sharp
      curves at high speed in a fully-balanced condition. Nobody has
      built high-speed equipment that is independently suspended.

      This is not a timid venture. We're throwing out all the rules.
      We're throwing out the FRA. We're going to do it all over again,
      this time right. We'll be shooting for passenger safety that's
      at least an order of magnitude better than anything that's ever
      been achieved.


      -- ### --

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