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Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Fuel-Sipping Trains

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  • J.H. Crawford
    ... Not to pick nits, but the German ICE wreck facts are: Nearly 100 killed Speed only 200 km/hr (not true high-speed operation) A tire came off a wheel, train
    Message 1 of 18 , Jun 13, 2007
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      >As far as I know there has been one fatality in forty+ years of
      >bullet train travel: in Germany (faulty wheel caused a derailment).


      Not to pick nits, but the German ICE wreck facts are:

      Nearly 100 killed
      Speed only 200 km/hr (not true high-speed operation)
      A tire came off a wheel, train derailed several km. before
      a switch at which the train split, rear 2/3s of
      train ran into an abutment at full speed

      This was a really terrible wreck, and I think many
      more were badly injured.

      The steel tire coming off a wheel is a known risk but
      is supposed to be detected before disaster strikes.
      (manufacturing defect in this case)

      If an alert passenger had pulled the rip cord when the
      wheels started to hammer on the concrete (?) ties,
      there probably would have been no wreck.




      ----- ### -----
      J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
      mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
    • Richard Risemberg
      Hmmm--sorry about that. I was working from memory and did not double check as I did with the Japanese info. Rick ... -- Richard Risemberg
      Message 2 of 18 , Jun 13, 2007
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        Hmmm--sorry about that. I was working from memory and did not double
        check as I did with the Japanese info.

        Rick

        On Jun 13, 2007, at 4:24 PM, J.H. Crawford wrote:

        >
        >
        >> As far as I know there has been one fatality in forty+ years of
        >> bullet train travel: in Germany (faulty wheel caused a derailment).
        >
        >
        > Not to pick nits, but the German ICE wreck facts are:
        >
        > Nearly 100 killed
        > Speed only 200 km/hr (not true high-speed operation)
        > A tire came off a wheel, train derailed several km. before
        > a switch at which the train split, rear 2/3s of
        > train ran into an abutment at full speed
        >
        > This was a really terrible wreck, and I think many
        > more were badly injured.
        >
        > The steel tire coming off a wheel is a known risk but
        > is supposed to be detected before disaster strikes.
        > (manufacturing defect in this case)
        >
        > If an alert passenger had pulled the rip cord when the
        > wheels started to hammer on the concrete (?) ties,
        > there probably would have been no wreck.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > ----- ### -----
        > J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
        > mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >

        --
        Richard Risemberg
        http://www.bicyclefixation.com
        http://www.newcolonist.com
        http://www.rickrise.com
      • Joel Siegel
        I m hoping this is on-topic (certainly follows the subject line). It concerns the fuel/energy requirements for _high-speed_ rail. George Monbiot has an
        Message 3 of 18 , Jun 13, 2007
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          I'm hoping this is on-topic (certainly follows the subject line). It concerns the fuel/energy requirements for _high-speed_ rail.

          George Monbiot has an article in the 7-May-2007 issue of The Nation. Titled "Flying Into Trouble", it mostly covers the environmental damage (particularly greenhouse emissions) resulting from air travel.

          http://www.thenation.com/doc/20070507/monbiot (subscription required)

          A paragraph from the article on that topic: "Carbon dioxide emissions per passenger mile from a standard airliner are very similar to those from cars. But you can cover nearly 15,000 miles in one day by plane. The CO2 produced by planes is augmented by the other greenhouse gases they release, magnifying its effect by 270 percent. This means that flying is one of the most destructive things we can do."

          Monbiot also observes that "new [aviation] fuels are the stuff of fantasy[]", that "[t]he standard jet engine has more or less reached the limits of efficiency, and there is no replacement anywhere near production[]", and that new aircraft designs which might cut fuel consumption by 30% or so are barely in the "concept" stage, with unproven workability or stability.

          High-speed rail does not escape criticism, however.

          "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."

          In general, the last sentence is the important one: Monbiot contends that high speed is incompatible with environmental stewardship, particularly with preventing runaway climate change, at least with today's technologies or those whose viability becomes reasonably foreseeable in the near future.

          Thoughts?

          Regards,

          Joel (Siegel)
        • J.H. Crawford
          ... That s physics at work: resistance increases with the square of the speed. There are ways around it, to a degree. If the trains are light, energy
          Message 4 of 18 , Jun 13, 2007
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            Joel Siegel said:

            >High-speed rail does not escape criticism, however.
            >
            >"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."

            That's physics at work: resistance increases with the
            square of the speed. There are ways around it, to a degree.
            If the trains are light, energy requirements are much
            reduced. If the streamlining is good, resistances is
            also reduced. I have heard (no substantiation) that the
            double-decker TGVs running from Lyon to Paris use about
            the same amount of seat-mile energy as conventional
            trains despite running at 300 km/hr or so. They are
            very light weight, have low frontal area for the number
            of seats, and the streamlining is good. That's about
            the limit of the technology, IMHO. I also think that
            it probably doesn't make sense to run trains much above
            300 km/hr. The newest TGVs are 360, but the cost is
            large and the actual reduction in travel time is not
            great. Not worth the cost?

            It is NOT all that hard to store electricity, although
            there are losses. Pump storage is proven and can be
            used, essentially, to store electricity. Pump water
            up hill when there's plenty of electricity. Let it
            flow back down hill to turn generators when there's
            not enough. Losses are about 30% IIRC.

            But, in general, things are probably going to have to
            slow down, unless you go with the nuke option.

            Regards,

            Joel




            ----- ### -----
            J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
            mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
          • dawie_coetzee
            There are secondary effects that are not reflected in any of these comparisons. For instance, a railway station within easy reach of pedestrians will both be
            Message 5 of 18 , Jun 14, 2007
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              There are secondary effects that are not reflected in any of these
              comparisons. For instance, a railway station within easy reach of
              pedestrians will both be symptomatic of and increase the viability of
              pedestrian-accessible destinations in general. Compared with car travel
              there is therefore at worst a lesser tendency to generate a need to
              travel. In practice there might well be a tendency to reduce the need
              to travel.

              We all know how car-dominated environments create dependence on cars,
              requiring that we take longer trips more often. A truer comparison
              might be 1km by train to perhaps 8km by car, 7km of the latter
              contributed solely by the sort of environment associated with that mode
              of transport. Has anyone actually quantified this?

              -Dawie

              --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, Richard Risemberg <rickrise@...>
              wrote:
              >
              > > Fuel-sipping trains
              > > June 11, 2007
              > >
              > >
              ...
            • Jym Dyer
              ... =v= In the U.S. cars are rarely filled to seating capacity. The average ridership is slightly over 1 person per car. So it s hard to take numbers like that
              Message 6 of 18 , Jun 14, 2007
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                > A 26 MPG Honda Civic fully loaded with five passengers?
                > 130 passenger miles per gallon.

                =v= In the U.S. cars are rarely filled to seating capacity.
                The average ridership is slightly over 1 person per car.
                So it's hard to take numbers like that seriously.

                =v= Also, wow, Honda Civics are way down to 26 MPG now?

                =v= One complication in these comparisons is that passenger
                rail in the U.S. has very little dedicated track. For the
                most part Amtrak runs on track owned by freight companies.

                =v= Another complication is that Amtrak is subject to a dogmatic
                "business model" that competing modes are not. The ideology is
                that Amtrak should turn a profit, and there's a budget fight for
                its small subsidy every year. So service keeps getting hurt and
                the trains do such things as haul freight along with passengers
                (preventing a switchover to lighter trains).

                =v= Meanwhile, of course, cars and planes enjoy a staggeringly
                high and rarely-mentioned subsidy.
                <_Jym_>
              • Greg Steele
                There is an accountant joke I once heard where three accountants are applying for an executive position. The CEO of the company asks each of the candidates
                Message 7 of 18 , Jun 14, 2007
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                  There is an accountant joke I once heard where three accountants are
                  applying for an executive position. The CEO of the company asks
                  each of the candidates what is 2+2. Two of the applicants says 4
                  and don't get the job. The third, who gets the job, asks the
                  CEO, "What do you want it to be?"

                  I am not aware of any studies that would answer some important
                  questions raised in this discussion and in the larger discussion
                  about funding for rail.

                  The laws of physics say that the faster an object moves through
                  space the more resistance it will encounter, therefore, more energy
                  is required to achieve higher speeds. I am sure that the field of
                  aero-dynamics has can provide formulas to quantify this in terms of
                  frontal area and speed. What is lacking is a quantified functional
                  relationship of increased weight and drag from adding one additional
                  coach car to a train-set. Intuitively, it seems that adding cars
                  (therefore, more passengers) would add a very small increase in
                  energy usage while greatly improving the passenger- miles/gallon
                  ratio. Therefore, one could state the passenger- miles/gallon to be
                  anything they wanted to by adding or subtracting the number of
                  coaches/passengers per train. There are of course practical limits
                  to how long a passenger train can be in terms of station platforms
                  and crews. In addition, at some point the weight of the train will
                  require an additional locomotive which alters the equation.

                  I have heard passenger – miles/gallon figures that are all over the
                  map. Until someone does some hard science on this that deduces the
                  issue to friction of steel wheels on steel rails vs. rubber wheels
                  on assault. I suggest that we look at any calculation of passenger –
                  miles/gallon will a great deal of skepticism.
                • J.H. Crawford
                  This is all pretty tangential. The basic physics are: It takes lots of energy to accelerate a train, and the total amount of that energy increases with the
                  Message 8 of 18 , Jun 14, 2007
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                    This is all pretty tangential. The basic physics are:

                    It takes lots of energy to accelerate a train, and the
                    total amount of that energy increases with the SQUARE
                    of the speed.

                    It takes lots of energy to drag trains up hills; this
                    is related to weight and elevation, not to speed.

                    Long, thin objects have high "Reynolds Numbers" which
                    means that the amount of air drag is considerably lower
                    than for short, fat objects.

                    Mass of a train has no effect whatever on the amount
                    of aerodynamic drag.

                    Light, long, streamlined trains are the most efficient.
                    Slower trains are more efficient than faster ones, all
                    other things being equal.

                    Again, the TGV double-decker gets good efficiency despite
                    its very high speed.

                    Regards,


                    ----- ### -----
                    J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                    mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
                  • Matt Hohmeister
                    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?
                    Message 9 of 18 , Jun 17, 2007
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                      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?
                      Anybody?

                      > "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."
                    • Richard Risemberg
                      ... Ships do not have to be powered by oil or coal. Highly refined sailing vessels with solar auxiliary power for days of calms and for harbor maneuvering can
                      Message 10 of 18 , Jun 17, 2007
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                        On Jun 17, 2007, at 8:40 PM, Matt Hohmeister wrote:

                        > 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?
                        > Anybody?
                        >
                        Ships do not have to be powered by oil or coal. Highly refined
                        sailing vessels with solar auxiliary power for days of calms and for
                        harbor maneuvering can move considerable tonnage and numbers of
                        passengers. However, it is obvious that if we are serious about
                        sustainability, we will have to accept that international trade and
                        travel will be slower and more expensive. (Although someone, upon my
                        telling them this, suggested that sail transport labor costs could be
                        lowered by using crews of slaves...I hope they were kidding.)

                        And no, I don't think nuclear-powered ships are the answer!

                        http://tinyurl.com/25u5bt

                        Rick
                        --
                        Richard Risemberg
                        http://www.bicyclefixation.com
                        http://www.newcolonist.com
                        http://www.rickrise.com
                      • dawie_coetzee
                        Localization. ...it is obvious that if we are serious about sustainability, we will have to accept that international trade and travel will be slower and more
                        Message 11 of 18 , Jun 18, 2007
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                          Localization.

                          "...it is obvious that if we are serious about sustainability, we
                          will have to accept that international trade and travel will be
                          slower and more expensive."

                          Precisely. I know Joel Crawford takes a somewhat contrary position in
                          his book, but I'm a firm localist. Pedestrian cities and localized
                          economies are perfect for each other. Indeed, the one only comes to
                          full fruition in the context of the other.

                          -Dawie



                          --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, Richard Risemberg
                          <rickrise@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > On Jun 17, 2007, at 8:40 PM, Matt Hohmeister wrote:
                          >
                          > > 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?
                          > > Anybody?
                          > >
                          > Ships do not have to be powered by oil or coal. Highly refined
                          > sailing vessels with solar auxiliary power for days of calms and
                          for
                          > harbor maneuvering can move considerable tonnage and numbers of
                          > passengers. However, it is obvious that if we are serious about
                          > sustainability, we will have to accept that international trade
                          and
                          > travel will be slower and more expensive. (Although someone, upon
                          my
                          > telling them this, suggested that sail transport labor costs could
                          be
                          > lowered by using crews of slaves...I hope they were kidding.)
                          >
                          > And no, I don't think nuclear-powered ships are the answer!
                          >
                          > http://tinyurl.com/25u5bt
                          >
                          > Rick
                          > --
                          > Richard Risemberg
                          > http://www.bicyclefixation.com
                          > http://www.newcolonist.com
                          > http://www.rickrise.com
                          >
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