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RE: [carfree_cities] Re: Traveling Rail Retail

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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
            ... 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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@...
                      To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...

                    • 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 10 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 11 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 12 of 29 , Jun 1, 2000
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                            >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 13 of 29 , Jun 1, 2000
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                              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 14 of 29 , Jun 1, 2000
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                                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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