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Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Travelling Rail Retail

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  • Todd J. Binkley
    Louis Luc: Put the big-box stores on a train, what a fabulous idea! This also sounds like a wonderful improvement on a popular form of commerce that s been
    Message 1 of 29 , May 29, 2000
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      Louis Luc:

      Put the big-box stores on a train, what a fabulous idea!

      This also sounds like a wonderful improvement on a popular form of
      commerce that's been around a long time: the flea market. Flea market
      vendors are already accustomed to packing their wares into a space about
      the size of a rail car (or smaller). Many of them (in Southern
      California at least) routinely schlep their stuff by truck around a
      circuit of markets that are held in various towns throughout the year.
      It takes several hours to unpack, set up tables, tents and displays and
      then reverse the process six hours later when the event is over. At
      the Ventura flea market, scores of trucks often arrive the night before
      and line up in the parking lot outside the grounds and then wait for
      several hours for the gates to open. Who wouldn't rather roll in on a
      train an hour before show time with their stall already set up? Most of
      the infrastructure for this is aready available here: freight trains
      pass adjacent to the existing flea market site everyday. There's an
      Amtrak stop here as well.

      This might also be a great way to organise a Farmers (fresh produce and
      cut flowers) Market that could travel from district to district in a
      carfree city. Or a mobile branch of the municipal library. Or an adult
      education annex of the local university offering small classes on
      evenings and weekends. Amtrak has done traveling museum exhibits in the
      past. Almost any operation that's periodic in nature would seem to
      benefit from this model.

      Cheers from Ventura

      T.J.
    • EXPORTATION QUEBEC
      ... Sure, and also a labeling system that identifies the item as a property of the seller. So whenever and where-ever it gets sold along the route, the money
      Message 2 of 29 , May 29, 2000
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        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Martha Torell [mailto:eyrehead@...]
        > Sent: 30 mai, 2000 07:24
        > To: carfree_cities@egroups.com
        > Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Travelling Rail Retail
        >
        >
        >
        > > Put the big-box stores on a train, what a fabulous idea!
        >
        > Since rail retail would necessarily be more free form than fixed brick
        > and mortar, ie, corporate headquarters would not be dictating
        > inventory
        > and display with such ridigity so there would also be an
        > opportunity for
        > locals at any given stop to sell their handiwork by sending
        > it round by
        > rail. Of course there would be a commission in it/something
        > per cubic
        > foot per mile and maybe a commission for sales, but a lot of people,
        > without quite making a profession of it, make sellable items, dolls,
        > quilts, furniture.
        Sure, and also a labeling system that identifies the item as a property
        of the seller. So whenever and where-ever it gets sold along the route,
        the money automatically goes back to the right seller when it's
        infrared scanned and paid at any station.

        Therefore any given shop owner in any given district could operate in
        a small shop or even in his private house, with some or all of his
        merchandise riding round and getting sold on a train! He could even
        order some stock from the factory, and get it transfered into the
        cars of his choice at the switch station. When the train passes by his
        station, he goes to label his merchandise on site (if the factory
        is not equipped to put the right labaling).

        He could keep track of his inventory and sales at any given point in time,
        with his
        computerized inventory and labeling systems working in real-time as items
        are getting sold anywhere. So he will know what kind of stock and
        how much of it to prepare before the train passes by his local station
        the next time.

        There will be some timetables at each mall station, telling people what
        train will be (and an overview of its contents) at the station each day
        of the week. At the end of the day after closure time, each convoy is
        moved to the following station for the next day. Therefore people could
        have say 7 different malls at the same place, one for each day of the week!
        Don't you find shopping cool!

        Louis-Luc
      • EXPORTATION QUEBEC
        ... In the mall station, tents, tables, and displays would be permanently set up, only part of the merchandise is taken off the train at arrival and put back
        Message 3 of 29 , May 29, 2000
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          > Louis Luc:
          >
          > Put the big-box stores on a train, what a fabulous idea!

          > It takes several hours to unpack, set up tables, tents and
          > displays and
          > then reverse the process six hours later when the event is over.
          In the mall station, tents, tables, and displays would be permanently
          set up, only part of the merchandise is taken off the train at arrival
          and put back in the car at closure. What an improvement in time saving
          and economy.

          At
          > the Ventura flea market, scores of trucks often arrive the
          > night before
          > and line up in the parking lot outside the grounds and then wait for
          > several hours for the gates to open. Who wouldn't rather roll in on a
          > train an hour before show time with their stall already set
          > up? Most of
          > the infrastructure for this is aready available here: freight trains
          > pass adjacent to the existing flea market site everyday. There's an
          > Amtrak stop here as well.
          What do they wait to get rid of those trucks! How about putting each truck
          box on a train trailer like the ones we have here in Montreal (Mr. Dawson
          gave us a link with photo of such a trailer, but I don't remember). This
          could be a transition setup towards the mall station concept.


          >
          > This might also be a great way to organise a Farmers (fresh
          > produce and
          > cut flowers) Market that could travel from district to district in a
          > carfree city.
          Absolutely. Since farm products, vegetable and flowers are perishable
          goods, they could be sold much quicker if they visit 7 sites in the same
          week rather than staying at the same place. Straberry season here lasts
          2 weeks or so, therefore the harvest could travel each day on the train
          and get sold all over districts rather than seeing a part of it decaying
          because it's not sold at a far unaccessible site.


          Or a mobile branch of the municipal library.
          > Or an adult
          > education annex of the local university offering small classes on
          > evenings and weekends. Amtrak has done traveling museum
          > exhibits in the
          > past. Almost any operation that's periodic in nature would seem to
          > benefit from this model.
          Yes. Therefore 2 persons residing at both ends of the city could claim
          they live steps away from the same library! And say there is a small
          book return box on each train, so a person doesn't have to wait the
          library comes by to drop a book back!

          Hey! This physical setup will be competing with Internet, because they
          both somewhat cut transport of people and goods down and make you
          less dependant of your position and the position of your target.

          >
          > Cheers from Ventura
          > T.J.
          Sincerely,
          Louis-Luc
          Montreal, Quebec, Canada
        • Ronald Dawson
          Todd J. Binkley wrote ... This reminds me of the Artrain . Dawson http://www.diamondbullet.com/artrain/
          Message 4 of 29 , May 29, 2000
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            Todd J. Binkley wrote

            >This might also be a great way to organise a Farmers (fresh produce and
            >cut flowers) Market that could travel from district to district in a
            >carfree city. Or a mobile branch of the municipal library. Or an adult
            >education annex of the local university offering small classes on
            >evenings and weekends. Amtrak has done traveling museum exhibits in the
            >past. Almost any operation that's periodic in nature would seem to
            >benefit from this model.

            This reminds me of the "Artrain". Dawson
            http://www.diamondbullet.com/artrain/
          • Ronald Dawson
            ... Some forms of rail intermodal freight could be, Trailer(s) on flatcar(s)(TOFC) http://www.trainweb.com/railpix/cs1101s1.jpg, Container(s) on
            Message 5 of 29 , May 30, 2000
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              Louis-Luc wrote:
              >> the Ventura flea market, scores of trucks often arrive the
              >> night before
              >> and line up in the parking lot outside the grounds and then wait for
              >> several hours for the gates to open. Who wouldn't rather roll in on a
              >> train an hour before show time with their stall already set
              >> up? Most of
              >> the infrastructure for this is aready available here: freight trains
              >> pass adjacent to the existing flea market site everyday. There's an
              >> Amtrak stop here as well.
              >What do they wait to get rid of those trucks! How about putting each truck
              >box on a train trailer like the ones we have here in Montreal (Mr. Dawson
              >gave us a link with photo of such a trailer, but I don't remember). This
              >could be a transition setup towards the mall station concept.

              Some forms of rail intermodal freight could be,
              Trailer(s) on flatcar(s)(TOFC)
              http://www.trainweb.com/railpix/cs1101s1.jpg,
              Container(s) on flatcar(s)(COFC)
              http://www.trainweb.org/nwrp/ttx/vttx305048-1.jpg,
              Double Stacks
              http://www.steelcar.com/INTER1.htm
              http://www.trainweb.com/eastpenn/images/s01-02.jpg,
              Roadrailers
              http://www.trainweb.com/mdamtrak199/amtpp/amtrrer.html
              or etc.

              Plus here is some thing rail related to Quebec City.
              http://www.mediom.qc.ca/~epelleti/home.html

              Here is some thing relating to passenger rail in Southern California.
              http://www.pacificsurfliner.com
              http://www.trainweb.com/cgi-bin/top/tw_do.cgi?routes/route_ps/index.html
              http://www.AmtrakWest.com/pacificsurfliner/psl_tvspot.html
              Salut, Dawson
            • Martha Torell
              ... Since rail retail would necessarily be more free form than fixed brick and mortar, ie, corporate headquarters would not be dictating inventory and display
              Message 6 of 29 , May 30, 2000
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                > Put the big-box stores on a train, what a fabulous idea!

                Since rail retail would necessarily be more free form than fixed brick
                and mortar, ie, corporate headquarters would not be dictating inventory
                and display with such ridigity so there would also be an opportunity for
                locals at any given stop to sell their handiwork by sending it round by
                rail. Of course there would be a commission in it/something per cubic
                foot per mile and maybe a commission for sales, but a lot of people,
                without quite making a profession of it, make sellable items, dolls,
                quilts, furniture.

                The rail retail would not be a travelling junk yard; probably every car
                or set of cars would have its own character and reputation, but there
                would be an opportunity for the return of cottage industry.

                Martha
              • Henning Mortensen
                ... Just remember people that routing trains is not as easy as routing packets on the internet. (collisions are much more troublesome). Anyone with railroad
                Message 7 of 29 , May 30, 2000
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                  > > Put the big-box stores on a train, what a fabulous idea!

                  >Hey! This physical setup will be competing with Internet, because they
                  >both somewhat cut transport of people and goods down and make you
                  >less dependant of your position and the position of your target.

                  Just remember people that routing trains is not as easy as routing packets
                  on the internet. (collisions are much more troublesome). Anyone with
                  railroad experience care to comment on the impact of thousands of little
                  trains being added to the daily traffic on our rail lines.

                  This is such a good idea, I hate to bring up logistics but I worry that the
                  grain/coal/car/etc trains who currently run on the rails may object to this
                  added trafic.

                  Out on the prairies in Canada, where I live, we have grain companies
                  shutting down grain elevators and abandoning rail lines to small communities
                  who are dying as people drive to the big centres to shop at the large
                  stores. Something like this could bring new life into these communities.
                  However, if the railways see it as insignificant troublesome traffic on
                  their main lines, it will never fly.

                  How would your local rail companies take to this idea?

                  Henning Mortensen
                  Regina Saskatchewan Canada
                  ________________________________________________________________________
                  Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at http://www.hotmail.com
                • EXPORTATION QUEBEC
                  ... Yean! And how about a train-hotel. A special train with couches and compartments where you could spend say a week or two of vacations on. This one would
                  Message 8 of 29 , May 30, 2000
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                    > > >carfree city. Or a mobile branch of the municipal
                    > library. Or an adult
                    > > >education annex of the local university offering small classes on
                    > > >evenings and weekends. Amtrak has done traveling museum
                    > exhibits in the
                    > > >past. Almost any operation that's periodic in nature would seem to
                    > > >benefit from this model.
                    >
                    > At the moment rails need all the help they can get to compete with the
                    > heavily subsidized auto. But here's something autos and
                    > house trailers
                    > cannot match.
                    >
                    > If we start thinking of trains as mobile buildings as well as
                    > transportation, possibilities open. They could support
                    > almost anything
                    > a fixed building could, from the new liquid carbon dioxide
                    > dry cleaning,
                    > much less toxic than the usual method, to grocery stores,
                    > clinics, even
                    > a restaurant that will be stopped in such and such a town for
                    > a week, so
                    > many of the places to which people drive would be within walking
                    > distance. A sort of rotating downtown. It could even be a
                    > school, so
                    > many courses require only once a week attendance -- you
                    > attend the train
                    > class, do the work at home with email correspondence with your
                    > instructor if necessary, and when the train pulls in next
                    > week, show up
                    > for class again.
                    >
                    Yean!

                    And how about a train-hotel. A special train with couches and compartments
                    where you could spend say a week or two of vacations on. This one would
                    ride on longer distances (in many districts of many cities), and stop
                    at stations with attractions. You choose your tour, book a place on board,
                    and you're off to a good vacation without worring about the huge trailer or
                    motor home that sucks up your money and pollutes.

                    You don't have to worry about planning your route as in solo trip, and
                    you don't have to run to a train or bus each morning like in an organized
                    tour. On a train-hotel, you're already on board! The departure day you
                    settle
                    in your room at a near station, and at night you're gently moved to the
                    destination of your first day. You wake up at your convenience, visit the
                    first city the whole day at your convenience, and you just get back on
                    the train at night and you're transported to the second day destination. The
                    next morning you wake up and you're at a walking distance to the beach,
                    and so on.

                    In a more sophisticated tour settlement, you could even take your luggages
                    off the train and stay a couple of days in a local hotel at your convenience
                    and then settle back onto another train-hotel to continue...

                    Cheers.
                    Louis-Luc







                    > There are fortunes to be made in this.
                    >
                    > Martha
                    >
                    >
                    > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
                    > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
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                    >
                    >
                  • EXPORTATION QUEBEC
                    ... A solution to this would be adding more tracks, even more parallel tracks. The traffic on this model could also be made one-way in a loop fashion, with
                    Message 9 of 29 , May 30, 2000
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                      > > > Put the big-box stores on a train, what a fabulous idea!
                      >
                      > >Hey! This physical setup will be competing with Internet,
                      > because they
                      > >both somewhat cut transport of people and goods down and make you
                      > >less dependant of your position and the position of your target.
                      >
                      > Just remember people that routing trains is not as easy as
                      > routing packets
                      > on the internet. (collisions are much more troublesome). Anyone with
                      > railroad experience care to comment on the impact of
                      > thousands of little
                      > trains being added to the daily traffic on our rail lines.
                      >
                      A solution to this would be adding more tracks, even more parallel tracks.
                      The traffic on this model could also be made one-way in a loop fashion,
                      with more tracks to permit dodging. If car roads can be many parallel
                      lanes wide, I don't see why it wouldn't be possible to use more dense
                      rail traffic as we cut down car roads.

                      It's a shame to see those large stores attracting those autos like magnets
                      in your province too. We must do something to revive small communities and
                      local shops.

                      A Canadian salute.
                      Louis-Luc
                      >
                      > Henning Mortensen
                      > Regina Saskatchewan Canada
                      > ______________________________________________________________
                      > __________
                      > Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at
                      http://www.hotmail.com



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                    • Todd J. Binkley
                      Louis-Luc: Rail Recreational Vehicles! I love it! Even the freeway-philes would love to get all those bloated RV s of the roads, especially in California.
                      Message 10 of 29 , May 30, 2000
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                        Louis-Luc:

                        Rail Recreational Vehicles!  I love it!   Even the freeway-philes would love to get all those bloated RV's of the roads, especially in California.  Some of these things are so big they block out the sun.  The trick here would be appealing to the mentality of the folks that buy these things.  These people are generally not interested in visiting cities.  Hotels are out of the question.  These people want to go to bed every night and wake up every morning in the same familiar bed....in a place that to them at least, feels like 'home'.  They also seem to have an enormous affinity for things that are, well, enormous.  Bigger is always better.  Hey, rail cars are even bigger than these oversized recreational buses we see now.  What they mostly want to see are national parks, mountain vistas, pretty sunsets, starlit skies accompanied by the sounds of 'nature' and other people like themselves (not too many though!).

                        Why not build rail-spur RRV parks in the scenic and out-of-the-way rural areas these people like to frequent.  The fuel savings could offset the higher overnight fees.  Existing 'RV parks' could be converted if they're close enough to the rails.   As more and more baby-boomers retire, the market for RV's is going to (unfortunately) dramatically increase.  But as this same group ages, more and more of them will be losing their ability to drive safely.

                        Crawford mentions some interesting demographics that could support such a scheme (pp.281-2,285).  He believes that a market for a carfree city somewhere in US sunbelt already exists.  In a retiree-filled carfree city outside Phoenix say, these folks could store their RRV's in the utility districts on the edge of town.  When they're ready to take off, they call ahead to have their home-on-the-rails waiting for them at the station.   An expensive and resource intensive form of travel to be sure, but lots of these people have lots of cash.  I'd rather see dozens of them lined up behind a train engine than lined up at roadside petrol station.

                        Cheers from Ventura,

                        T.J.

                      • EXPORTATION QUEBEC
                        ... From: Todd J. Binkley [mailto:tjbink@bigplanet.com] Sent: 30 mai, 2000 19:18 To: carfree_cities@egroups.com Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Traveling
                        Message 11 of 29 , May 30, 2000
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                          -----Original Message-----
                          From: Todd J. Binkley [mailto:tjbink@...]
                          Sent: 30 mai, 2000 19:18
                          To: carfree_cities@egroups.com
                          Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Traveling Rail Retail

                          Louis-Luc:

                          Rail Recreational Vehicles!  I love it!   Even the freeway-philes would love to get all those bloated RV's of the roads, especially in California.  Some of these things are so big they block out the sun.  The trick here would be appealing to the mentality of the folks that buy these things.  These people are generally not interested in visiting cities.  Hotels are out of the question.  These people want to go to bed every night and wake up every morning in the same familiar bed....in a place that to them at least, feels like 'home'.  They also seem to have an enormous affinity for things that are, well, enormous.  Bigger is always better.  Hey, rail cars are even bigger than these oversized recreational buses we see now.  What they mostly want to see are national parks, mountain vistas, pretty sunsets, starlit skies accompanied by the sounds of 'nature' and other people like themselves (not too many though!). 

                          Yes, the even richest of these kind of people could buy their RRV. They could lease it when they don't use it, say like a time-sharing condo, but which is on rail. When not in use their car is parked at the nearest switch yard or in a garage, and they have a timetable where they know all departures and arrivals of recreational trains. When they want to leave, they call the railway company to get their car attached to the train and rolled at the station to get ready for the journey. They could have say a 3000 HP engine in front of them, so big motor fans will be proud to be part and ride in a so powerful vehicle. Of course the owners of such units would be rare and most people would rent a room or a whole car for a vacation.

                          As for scenic adventures, we could use existing or build new railroads that go in mountains, or on riversides and where they stop in a giant nature spot on a side track with one campsite (typical water, electricity, picnic table, fireplace site) in front of each car. There would always be a limited amount of people (the max number of cars allowed) and of course since all sites are close to each other there would be plenty of walking trails, wild nature, lakes, etc farther accessible by foot, with common washrooms, restaurants, entertainment spots, all like an usual campground setup.

                          Furthermore a group could reserve a smaller space in a car, get off with a backpack, sleep a night or two on a near tent site, get on a 5-day hike through *real* nature, end up on a different campground elsewhere in the country, and get back home on a totally different train using a different route, etc... Hiking fun is cut in half for people who own gas cars or RVs, simply because they have to walk back to their gas vehicle.

                          Therefore you`d get sound of nature with no other motor sound than the arrival or departure of your long vehicle.

                          Crawford mentions some interesting demographics that could support such a scheme (pp.281-2,285).  He believes that a market for a carfree city somewhere in US sunbelt already exists.  In a retiree-filled carfree city outside Phoenix say, these folks could store their RRV's in the utility districts on the edge of town.  When they're ready to take off, they call ahead to have their home-on-the-rails waiting for them at the station.   An expensive and resource intensive form of travel to be sure, but lots of these people have lots of cash.  I'd rather see dozens of them lined up behind a train engine than lined up at roadside petrol station.

                          We have the idea, basically removing individual motors and putting in a single one, but more powerful.

                          Louis-Luc 

                           Cheers from Ventura,

                          T.J.

                        • Martha Torell
                          ... Competing and cooperating. The delivery would be more efficient and there could be a rolling Internet auction, so people bid for what s going to be
                          Message 12 of 29 , May 30, 2000
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                            > Hey! This physical setup will be competing with Internet, because they
                            > both somewhat cut transport of people and goods down and make you
                            > less dependant of your position and the position of your target.

                            Competing and cooperating. The delivery would be more efficient and
                            there could be a rolling Internet auction, so people bid for what's
                            going to be arriving. And of course if an item survived a circuit
                            without being bought the price would go down it would be a bargain.

                            The fixed price brick and mortar, as well as factory outlet stores
                            should be worried. The internet makes for ecommerce for small items
                            that can be fairly easily shipped, but a rail store in conjunction with
                            the internet could handle the big items and bidding as well.

                            Rails would not be just for travel and shipping; there would be shopping
                            spurs. It would be like a mall that holds only a hundred stores
                            suddenly hosting a thousand.

                            Martha
                          • Martha Torell
                            ... At the moment rails need all the help they can get to compete with the heavily subsidized auto. But here s something autos and house trailers cannot
                            Message 13 of 29 , May 30, 2000
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                              > >carfree city. Or a mobile branch of the municipal library. Or an adult
                              > >education annex of the local university offering small classes on
                              > >evenings and weekends. Amtrak has done traveling museum exhibits in the
                              > >past. Almost any operation that's periodic in nature would seem to
                              > >benefit from this model.

                              At the moment rails need all the help they can get to compete with the
                              heavily subsidized auto. But here's something autos and house trailers
                              cannot match.

                              If we start thinking of trains as mobile buildings as well as
                              transportation, possibilities open. They could support almost anything
                              a fixed building could, from the new liquid carbon dioxide dry cleaning,
                              much less toxic than the usual method, to grocery stores, clinics, even
                              a restaurant that will be stopped in such and such a town for a week, so
                              many of the places to which people drive would be within walking
                              distance. A sort of rotating downtown. It could even be a school, so
                              many courses require only once a week attendance -- you attend the train
                              class, do the work at home with email correspondence with your
                              instructor if necessary, and when the train pulls in next week, show up
                              for class again.

                              There are fortunes to be made in this.

                              Martha
                            • Martha Torell
                              ... I like the truck box on the train trailer idea. As roads become more congested and slower and more expensive as shipping routes, putting the boxes on
                              Message 14 of 29 , May 30, 2000
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                                > >> the infrastructure for this is aready available here: freight trains
                                > >> pass adjacent to the existing flea market site everyday. There's an
                                > >> Amtrak stop here as well.
                                > >What do they wait to get rid of those trucks! How about putting each truck
                                > >box on a train trailer like the ones we have here in Montreal (Mr. Dawson
                                > >gave us a link with photo of such a trailer, but I don't remember). This
                                > >could be a transition setup towards the mall station concept.

                                I like the truck box on the train trailer idea. As roads become more
                                congested and slower and more expensive as shipping routes, putting the
                                boxes on trains will happen. Then fill and empty them from the train
                                and the truck tractors will be cut out of the picture.

                                Martha
                              • Ronald Dawson
                                ... When you say little trains how many cars are you writing about? ... That s a good question, that would have to be a line by line basis or a the cars for
                                Message 15 of 29 , May 30, 2000
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                                  Henning Mortensen wrote:
                                  >Just remember people that routing trains is not as easy as routing packets
                                  >on the internet. (collisions are much more troublesome). Anyone with
                                  >railroad experience care to comment on the impact of thousands of little
                                  >trains being added to the daily traffic on our rail lines.

                                  When you say "little trains" how many cars are you writing about?

                                  >This is such a good idea, I hate to bring up logistics but I worry that the
                                  >grain/coal/car/etc trains who currently run on the rails may object to this
                                  >added trafic.

                                  That's a good question, that would have to be a line by line basis or a the
                                  cars for such trains could coupled on to existing trains?

                                  >Out on the prairies in Canada, where I live, we have grain companies
                                  >shutting down grain elevators and abandoning rail lines to small
                                  communities
                                  >who are dying as people drive to the big centres to shop at the large
                                  >stores. Something like this could bring new life into these communities.
                                  >However, if the railways see it as insignificant troublesome traffic on
                                  >their main lines, it will never fly.

                                  I know what your writing about, I was on the prairies (Manitoba,
                                  Saskatchewan & Alberta) 2 years ago. There is a real symbiotic relationship
                                  between the grain elevators and rail lines.
                                  What will happen long term is raise the cost of shipping grain.

                                  A great book I would like to suggest is "Wheat Kings" by Greg McDonnell, The
                                  Boston Mills Press, 1998.

                                  >How would your local rail companies take to this idea?

                                  Here in Canada it is either Canadian National or Canadian Pacific which the
                                  most control, but there are companies like short lines that have better
                                  attitudes. What is most needed in North America is open access. Dawson
                                • Ronald Dawson
                                  Todd, your idea of a rail RV ain t new, the concept has been around for over a century and is still in limited practice today. What you are writing about are
                                  Message 16 of 29 , May 30, 2000
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                                    Todd, your idea of a "rail RV" ain't new, the concept has been around for over a century and is still in limited practice today. What you are writing about are called "private cars".
                                    To make things cheaper,  a private car could be some thing along the lines of a caboose?
                                    http://www.trainweb.org/cwt/photos/spcab/sp1133cwap.jpg                    Dawson
                                    -----Original Message-----
                                    From: Todd J. Binkley [mailto:tjbink@...]
                                    Sent: Tuesday, May 30, 2000 7:18 PM
                                    To: carfree_cities@egroups.com
                                    Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Traveling Rail Retail

                                    Louis-Luc:

                                    Rail Recreational Vehicles!  I love it!   Even the freeway-philes would love to get all those bloated RV's of the roads, especially in California.  Some of these things are so big they block out the sun.  The trick here would be appealing to the mentality of the folks that buy these things.  These people are generally not interested in visiting cities.  Hotels are out of the question.  These people want to go to bed every night and wake up every morning in the same familiar bed....in a place that to them at least, feels like 'home'.  They also seem to have an enormous affinity for things that are, well, enormous.  Bigger is always better.  Hey, rail cars are even bigger than these oversized recreational buses we see now.  What they mostly want to see are national parks, mountain vistas, pretty sunsets, starlit skies accompanied by the sounds of 'nature' and other people like themselves (not too many though!).

                                    Why not build rail-spur RRV parks in the scenic and out-of-the-way rural areas these people like to frequent.  The fuel savings could offset the higher overnight fees.  Existing 'RV parks' could be converted if they're close enough to the rails.   As more and more baby-boomers retire, the market for RV's is going to (unfortunately) dramatically increase.  But as this same group ages, more and more of them will be losing their ability to drive safely.

                                    Crawford mentions some interesting demographics that could support such a scheme (pp.281-2,285).  He believes that a market for a carfree city somewhere in US sunbelt already exists.  In a retiree-filled carfree city outside Phoenix say, these folks could store their RRV's in the utility districts on the edge of town.  When they're ready to take off, they call ahead to have their home-on-the-rails waiting for them at the station.   An expensive and resource intensive form of travel to be sure, but lots of these people have lots of cash.  I'd rather see dozens of them lined up behind a train engine than lined up at roadside petrol station.

                                    Cheers from Ventura,

                                    T.J.
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                                  • Randall Hunt
                                    ... Speaking of a retiree-filled carfree city outside Phoenix ... Arcosanti, an experiment in car free architecture, is holding its 30th year reunion and
                                    Message 17 of 29 , May 31, 2000
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                                      Todd Binkley wrote:

                                      >Crawford ... believes that a market for a carfree city somewhere in US
                                      >sunbelt already exists.  In a retiree-filled carfree city outside Phoenix
                                      >say, these folks could store their RRV's...

                                      Speaking of a "retiree-filled carfree city outside Phoenix"...

                                      Arcosanti, an experiment in car free architecture, is holding its 30th year
                                      reunion and get-together for alumni, friends and interested parties from
                                      Saturday, June 17 to Sunday, June 25. The site is located at Cordes
                                      Junction (central Arizona), at the intersection of Interstate 17 (N-S
                                      between Phoenix and Flagstaff) and Hwy 69 (toward Prescott). Telephone
                                      520-634-7135. Say hello to Shirley at the switchboard.

                                      I've been involved with the project--off and on--since 1970 and currently
                                      maintain the database for the Arcosanti Arcology Network (formerly the
                                      Alumni Association). I am on the steering committee coordinating the annual
                                      reunion.

                                      I would like to extend an invitation to any on this list to attend this
                                      gathering. This year the event is very low key, with light and spotty
                                      attendance but there is to be discussion of the potentials for creating
                                      ecological cities and arcologies in particular. I will be debuting a book
                                      that examines elements of arcology design.

                                      If anyone is interested in coming together for a great time, please contact
                                      me directly off-list and I will provide additional information.

                                      Randall Hunt
                                    • J.H. Crawford
                                      ... Traffic can be added to most lines; extra tracks can be added where needed. This entire idea might float better if reworked to use tram tracks rather than
                                      Message 18 of 29 , May 31, 2000
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                                        Henning Mortensen said:

                                        >Just remember people that routing trains is not as easy as routing packets
                                        >on the internet. (collisions are much more troublesome). Anyone with
                                        >railroad experience care to comment on the impact of thousands of little
                                        >trains being added to the daily traffic on our rail lines.

                                        Traffic can be added to most lines; extra tracks can be added
                                        where needed. This entire idea might float better if reworked
                                        to use tram tracks rather than conventional heavy rail. If
                                        sidings are added for the "store-trams" to stop at, then they
                                        could use the regular tram tracks without causing service
                                        delays. The metro-freight as proposed in the book delivers
                                        containers to the basements of buildings, and these containers
                                        could serve the purpose of moving stores. Metro-freight is
                                        single-directional, so containers would have to start out
                                        at the edge of town and move into town stop-by-stop (or
                                        skipping stops, but always moving inone direction).

                                        >This is such a good idea, I hate to bring up logistics but I worry that the
                                        >grain/coal/car/etc trains who currently run on the rails may object to this
                                        >added trafic.

                                        There's lots of capacity on most lines.

                                        >Out on the prairies in Canada, where I live, we have grain companies
                                        >shutting down grain elevators and abandoning rail lines to small communities
                                        >who are dying as people drive to the big centres to shop at the large
                                        >stores. Something like this could bring new life into these communities.

                                        Just pricing driving at its real cost would be enough to
                                        bring new life to local merchants.

                                        >How would your local rail companies take to this idea?

                                        Most of them would love to see the extra traffic.



                                        ###

                                        J.H. Crawford _Carfree Cities_
                                        postmaster@... http://www.carfree.com
                                      • Martha Torell
                                        ... I can see objection to market trains screwing up the schedules of cargo and passenger trains, but the market trains will be on market spurs, out of the
                                        Message 19 of 29 , May 31, 2000
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                                          Henning Mortensen wrote:
                                          >
                                          > > > Put the big-box stores on a train, what a fabulous idea!

                                          > Just remember people that routing trains is not as easy as routing packets
                                          > on the internet. (collisions are much more troublesome). Anyone with
                                          > railroad experience care to comment on the impact of thousands of little
                                          > trains being added to the daily traffic on our rail lines.
                                          >
                                          > This is such a good idea, I hate to bring up logistics but I worry that the
                                          > grain/coal/car/etc trains who currently run on the rails may object to this
                                          > added trafic.
                                          >

                                          I can see objection to market trains screwing up the schedules of cargo
                                          and passenger trains, but the market trains will be on market spurs, out
                                          of the way, while business is being conducted, and they may very well
                                          have a lower priority than other traffic but I do not think the
                                          railroads would really object to more business.

                                          These next paragraphs refer to another message that I accidentally
                                          deleted. It concerned the bike paths running parallel to expressways
                                          and some the difficulties of working this.

                                          One of the difficulties was that cars parked on it. I would like it to
                                          be far enough away from the auto traffic that it is not even thought of
                                          as a parking area. In the US there are huge, wide easements for a lot
                                          of expressways and it is with these in mind that I write. The bike path
                                          could easily be separated from the shoulder of the auto lanes by a
                                          'median' of its own, trees, bushes, a berm or a ditch between the bikers
                                          and the cars. I like to think it would be scenic bike ride and cars
                                          zooming by is not my idea of beautiful scenery.

                                          Martha

                                          Martha
                                        • Martha Torell
                                          ... Sortof trailer parks for railcars -- neat, wonderful. It would be much better than the bloatmobiles on the expressway, the awful wide loads on their way
                                          Message 20 of 29 , May 31, 2000
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                                            > Rail Recreational Vehicles! I love it! Even the freeway-philes
                                            > would love to get all those bloated RV's of the roads, especially in
                                            > California. Some of these things are so big they block out the sun.
                                            > The trick here would be appealing to the mentality of the folks that
                                            > buy these things. These people are generally not interested in
                                            > visiting cities.
                                            >
                                            > Why not build rail-spur RRV parks in the scenic and out-of-the-way
                                            > rural areas these people like to frequent. The fuel savings could
                                            > offset the higher overnight fees. Existing 'RV parks' could be
                                            > converted if they're close enough to the rails. As more and more
                                            >

                                            Sortof trailer parks for railcars -- neat, wonderful. It would be much
                                            better than the bloatmobiles on the expressway, the awful wide loads on
                                            their way to being an eyesore somewhere. There could be the usual
                                            hookups for sewage, power and phone, and if the RRV park owner was on
                                            the ball he would arrange xDSL lines brought in. The RRV cars would
                                            have resale value. This would also help out the rail industry, building
                                            cars for this use. There would of course be codes to keep them
                                            railworthy, but people could follow the sun without being menaces on the
                                            road.

                                            We have been talking about market spurs and now RRV spurs. I think we
                                            are on to something. By the way, this would be good business for the
                                            railroad, they would get the fee for hauling the car someplace, scenic
                                            or straight route; it would not have to be on a just-in-time business
                                            schedule. These RRV's could be lifeblood for remote areas, bring in
                                            retirees to spend money and appreciate the scenery without contributing
                                            to sprawl.

                                            Martha
                                          • Todd J. Binkley
                                            Louis-Luc wrote: As for scenic adventures, we could use existing or build new railroads that go in mountains, or on riversides and where they stop in a giant
                                            Message 21 of 29 , May 31, 2000
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                                              Louis-Luc wrote:

                                              As for scenic adventures, we could use existing or build new railroads that go in mountains, or on riversides and
                                              where they stop in a giant nature spot on a side track with one campsite (typical water, electricity, picnic table,
                                              fireplace site) in front of each car. There would always be a limited amount of people (the max number of cars
                                              allowed) and of course since all sites are close to each other there would be plenty of walking trails, wild nature,
                                              lakes, etc farther accessible by foot, with common washrooms, restaurants, entertainment spots, all like an usual
                                              campground setup.

                                              Perhaps the RRV's could be a good test project for the special tram technology proposed by T. van Popta (see Carfree Cities, p.204):  After the RRV's arrive at their 'RRV park' siding, they then leave the tracks and run on rubber tires using battery power to reach their 'campsite'.  This would allow more cars into each 'park' and give the 'campers' more flexibility regarding the duration of their stay.  It would also minimize the amount of rail infrastructure that would have to be built at each site, easing the conversion of existing RV parks.

                                              Furthermore a group could reserve a smaller space in a car, get off with a backpack, sleep a night or two on a near tent site, get on a 5-day hike through *real* nature, end up on a different campground elsewhere in the country, and get back home on a totally different train using a different route, etc... Hiking fun is cut in half for people who own gas cars or RVs, simply because they have to walk back to their gas vehicle.

                                              Mountain bike rentals, some with electric power assistance for those who tire quickly, would be a nice service here.  They could be equipped with GPS systems for (navigation and) security and rented one-way to any other affiliated site.

                                              T.J.

                                            • Todd J. Binkley
                                              Ronald, You wrote: Todd, your idea of a rail RV ain t new, the concept has been around for over a century and is still in limited practice today. What you
                                              Message 22 of 29 , May 31, 2000
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                                                Ronald,

                                                You wrote:

                                                Todd, your idea of a "rail RV" ain't new, the concept has been around for over a century and is still in limited practice today. What you are writing about are called "private cars".

                                                Actually, what I think I'm writing about is a way to adapt more-or-less existing technology to an already-large and set-to-explode market of people who prefer decidedly more lowbrow accomodations.  The beautiful private cars you sent seem a little fancy for the RV crowd.  Try imagining a typical midwestern-American/Canadian couple, with lawn chairs, hot dogs, marshmellows, potato salad and a portable TV/VCR, emerging from one of luxury trains in those photos.....just doesn't fit.  And RRV trains would be going to Yellowstone and Yosemite, not Chicago and St. Louis.
                                                That shot of the caboose looks more like it, though... http://www.trainweb.org/cwt/photos/spcab/sp1133cwap.jpg

                                                Also, I believe Louis-Luc started this wild idea. :^)

                                                By the way, Mr. Rail Wizard, what would one of these babies (reproduction vintage caboose fitted with standard RV fixtures: fridge, microwave, big-screen-TV, camper-sized Lazyboy recliners, etc.) cost?    [....hey, Vern, for an extra five-grand, you can put a digital satellite dish on the roof with a computer-controlled tracking device so those same 5000 channels of bland infotainment will be there for you, wherever you go...]
                                                 

                                                Just between you and me, I'd rather take a restored, vintage AAPRCO luxury car to Seattle, San Francisco, Portland or Vancouver (or Manhattan, Boston, Toronto or Montreal) then check into a nice hotel for a week or two and explore the city on foot..... Or take the QE2 'across the pond' and spend a couple of months tooling around France on the TGV, premiere-classe....

                                                As always, thanks again for the great photos.

                                                T.J.

                                              • Ronald Dawson
                                                ... In regards to those tram tracks would some thing like Lawn Track be O.K.? http://www.railway-technology.com/contractors/engineering/weiss/weiss3.html
                                                Message 23 of 29 , May 31, 2000
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                                                  J.H. Crawford wrote:
                                                  >Traffic can be added to most lines; extra tracks can be added
                                                  >where needed. This entire idea might float better if reworked
                                                  >to use tram tracks rather than conventional heavy rail. If
                                                  >sidings are added for the "store-trams" to stop at, then they
                                                  >could use the regular tram tracks without causing service
                                                  >delays. The metro-freight as proposed in the book delivers
                                                  >containers to the basements of buildings, and these containers
                                                  >could serve the purpose of moving stores. Metro-freight is
                                                  >single-directional, so containers would have to start out
                                                  >at the edge of town and move into town stop-by-stop (or
                                                  >skipping stops, but always moving inone direction).

                                                  In regards to those tram tracks would some thing like "Lawn Track" be O.K.?
                                                  http://www.railway-technology.com/contractors/engineering/weiss/weiss3.html
                                                  Dawson
                                                • Ronald Dawson
                                                  ... From: Todd J. Binkley [mailto:tjbink@bigplanet.com] Sent: Wednesday, May 31, 2000 10:57 AM To: carfree_cities@egroups.com Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Re:
                                                  Message 24 of 29 , May 31, 2000
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                                                    Todd J.Binkley wrote:
                                                    -----Original Message-----
                                                    From: Todd J. Binkley [mailto:tjbink@...]
                                                    Sent: Wednesday, May 31, 2000 10:57 AM
                                                    To: carfree_cities@egroups.com
                                                    Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Traveling Rail Retail

                                                    Louis-Luc wrote:

                                                    As for scenic adventures, we could use existing or build new railroads that go in mountains, or on riversides and
                                                    where they stop in a giant nature spot on a side track with one campsite (typical water, electricity, picnic table,
                                                    fireplace site) in front of each car. There would always be a limited amount of people (the max number of cars
                                                    allowed) and of course since all sites are close to each other there would be plenty of walking trails, wild nature,
                                                    lakes, etc farther accessible by foot, with common washrooms, restaurants, entertainment spots, all like an usual
                                                    campground setup.

                                                    Perhaps the RRV's could be a good test project for the special tram technology proposed by T. van Popta (see Carfree Cities, p.204):  After the RRV's arrive at their 'RRV park' siding, they then leave the tracks and run on rubber tires using battery power to reach their 'campsite'.  This would allow more cars into each 'park' and give the 'campers' more flexibility regarding the duration of their stay.  It would also minimize the amount of rail infrastructure that would have to be built at each site, easing the conversion of existing RV parks.


                                                    [Ronald Dawson] Are you writing about going "hi-rail" ?

                                                    http://www.trainweb.com/railpix/crpix/hi-rail1.jpg     http://www.trainweb.com/railpix/hirail-b.jpg  http://www.trainweb.com/videosort/trains/trackwork/

                                                    Furthermore a group could reserve a smaller space in a car, get off with a backpack, sleep a night or two on a near tent site, get on a 5-day hike through *real* nature, end up on a different campground elsewhere in the country, and get back home on a totally different train using a different route, etc... Hiking fun is cut in half for people who own gas cars or RVs, simply because they have to walk back to their gas vehicle.

                                                    Mountain bike rentals, some with electric power assistance for those who tire quickly, would be a nice service here.  They could be equipped with GPS systems for (navigation and) security and rented one-way to any other affiliated site.

                                                    T.J.
                                                    To Post a message, send it to:   carfree_cities@...
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                                                  • Todd J. Binkley
                                                    Dawson, You wrote: Are you writing about going hi-rail ? Je ne sais pas, looks like it could be similar. Can hi-rail vehicles leave the rails under their
                                                    Message 25 of 29 , May 31, 2000
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                                                      Dawson,

                                                      You wrote: Are you writing about going "hi-rail" ?

                                                      Je ne sais pas, looks like it could be similar.  Can 'hi-rail' vehicles leave the rails under their own power?  I know nothing about 'hi-rail' or van Popta's work other than what's in The Book.  I rely on you for the technical details.  Perhaps Mr. Crawford will clear this up for us....

                                                      Now, what about those train car prices?

                                                      T.J.

                                                    • Ronald Dawson
                                                      Hi-Rail vehicles can leave the tracks under their own power, they are most often used for maintenance or inspection purposes. I once even saw a hi-rail Ford
                                                      Message 26 of 29 , May 31, 2000
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                                                        Hi-Rail vehicles can leave the tracks under their own power, they are most often used for maintenance or inspection purposes. I once even saw a hi-rail Ford Explorer.  As for pricing I haven't a clue.   Dawson
                                                        -----Original Message-----
                                                        From: Todd J. Binkley [mailto:tjbink@...]
                                                        Sent: Wednesday, May 31, 2000 8:36 PM
                                                        To: carfree_cities@egroups.com
                                                        Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Traveling Rail Retail

                                                        Dawson,

                                                        You wrote: Are you writing about going "hi-rail" ?

                                                        Je ne sais pas, looks like it could be similar.  Can 'hi-rail' vehicles leave the rails under their own power?  I know nothing about 'hi-rail' or van Popta's work other than what's in The Book.  I rely on you for the technical details.  Perhaps Mr. Crawford will clear this up for us....

                                                        Now, what about those train car prices?

                                                        T.J.
                                                        To Post a message, send it to:   carfree_cities@...
                                                        To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...

                                                      • Henning Mortensen
                                                        ... Very nice, I sure like the idea of grass rather then oil soaked ties. How is the price?
                                                        Message 27 of 29 , Jun 1, 2000
                                                        • 0 Attachment
                                                          >From: "Ronald Dawson" <rdadddmd@...>
                                                          >In regards to those tram tracks would some thing like "Lawn Track" be O.K.?
                                                          >http://www.railway-technology.com/contractors/engineering/weiss/weiss3.html
                                                          > Dawson

                                                          Very nice, I sure like the idea of grass rather then oil soaked ties. How is
                                                          the price?
                                                          ________________________________________________________________________
                                                          Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at http://www.hotmail.com
                                                        • J.H. Crawford
                                                          A hi-railer is a Jeep Wagoneer sort of vehicle that has small, flanged steel wheels mounted to the frame with hydraulic actuators that press them down below
                                                          Message 28 of 29 , Jun 1, 2000
                                                          • 0 Attachment
                                                            A hi-railer is a Jeep Wagoneer sort of vehicle that
                                                            has small, flanged steel wheels mounted to the frame
                                                            with hydraulic actuators that press them down below
                                                            the level of the normal rubber tires when commanded
                                                            by the operator. This makes it possible to run the
                                                            vehicle on rails, with the driving force applied
                                                            by the usual rubber tires, running on the rail heads.

                                                            I believe that fairly stringent speed limits are in
                                                            force when running a hi-railer on track, and of course
                                                            youhave to make sure that you have proper train orders
                                                            to avoid any conflict with other traffic. In their
                                                            current incarnation, they probably aren't very useful
                                                            for much beyond their current purpose, which is as
                                                            a maintenance access vehicle for railroads.

                                                            The freight trams might work in a somewhat similar
                                                            way, but would have to be more sophisticated and
                                                            robust. Also, the weight of a full shipping container
                                                            can reach 80,000 pounds, so the vehicle would have
                                                            to be very heavy duty in comparison to a hi-railer.


                                                            ###

                                                            J.H. Crawford _Carfree Cities_
                                                            postmaster@... http://www.carfree.com
                                                          • Ronald Dawson
                                                            ... O.K.? ... l ... is ... I think the best thing to do would be to contact the manufacturer in regards to a prices, also ties treated with creosote so they
                                                            Message 29 of 29 , Jun 1, 2000
                                                            • 0 Attachment
                                                              Henning Mortensen wrote:
                                                              >>From: "Ronald Dawson" <rdadddmd@...>
                                                              >>In regards to those tram tracks would some thing like "Lawn Track" be
                                                              O.K.?
                                                              >>http://www.railway-technology.com/contractors/engineering/weiss/weiss3.htm
                                                              l
                                                              >> Dawson
                                                              >Very nice, I sure like the idea of grass rather then oil soaked ties. How
                                                              is
                                                              >the price?

                                                              I think the best thing to do would be to contact the manufacturer in regards
                                                              to a prices, also ties treated with creosote so they last longer. Dawson
                                                              http://www.railway-technology.com/contractors/engineering/weiss/index.html#w
                                                              eiss3
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