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Re: [carfree_cities] Old Electric Trains, Hydrogen, etc.,

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  • Simon Baddeley
    Yes. There are so many questions about this subject that are simply outside the perspective of politicians and other leaders . It s as if you were to ask a
    Message 1 of 8 , Apr 28, 2005
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      Yes. There are so many questions about this subject that are simply outside
      the perspective of politicians and other "leaders". It's as if you were to
      ask a pre-Copernican scholar (Copernicus suggested and Galileo proved the
      sun was the centre of the "solar system") immersed in research based on
      Ptolemaic assumptions (earth as centre of the Universe) about some feature
      of a Copernican universe. It would be literally outside their orbit.
      Original ideas that are contrary to the working paradigm, mind-set suffer
      from at least three things blocking their entry into the world of "common
      sense":

      1. The idea goes against majority scientific thought which is focused on
      problems arising within the existing paradigm (even Galileo was not looking
      directly at the behaviour of the sun but at anomalies under Ptolemaic
      thought in the behaviour of the moons circling Jupiter. His whole great
      Vatican censored dialogue began with attention to that conundrum, because if
      it remained a paradox there was something flawed in the current view of
      every other feature of the known (Ptolemaic) universe,

      2.The idea goes against core religious or political values so that to adopt
      the idea can feel blasphemous or subversive. Ptolemaic theory supported the
      core belief that man was the centre of the universe where the Copernican
      world view appeared to diminish that as Darwinism by challenging creationism
      challenged the idea that man was specially created, and

      3. The idea goes against common sense in that any normal person can surely
      "see" that the sun goes round the earth, rising in the East and setting in
      the West etc - "what is this bizarre idea that it is us that is turning?".

      These ideas were brilliantly formulated by Thomas Kuhn in his analysis of
      the emergence of scientific paradigms but are also well explained by the
      late Geoffrey Vickers who in discussing the "Art of Judgment" for policy
      makers (his work is a set text on many courses for graduates of public
      policy and is of special interest because one of his case studies is about
      the emergence of the view that cars were to become the normal and
      predominant form of transport in UK based on the Buchanan Report - not a
      piece of advocacy but an explanation of what was going on before it was
      widely recognised) refers to an individual¹s "appreciative system" having a
      ³setting² which involves:

      .... readiness to distinguish some aspects of the situation rather than
      others and to classify and value these "in this way" rather than "in that".
      These comprise:

      · The means by which I make sense of the observed world in which I live
      and its arrangement in space and time (the views of it held by science),
      · The means by which I make sense of the communicated world I share with
      others (the views of it held within the predominant value system, possibly
      religious but in a secular age this refers to values that have the same hold
      as religion, like for instance my faith in freedom of speech),
      · The means by which I make sense of my experienced world and hence of
      myself (how the world presents itself to my senses and how I have learned
      tom interpret that sensory data as I've grown up so that it becomes part of
      what I take for granted in my surroundings, e.g. My "common sense").

      When all three systems reinforce each other change is hardest. e.g. To
      believe Galileo when his ideas were first formulated I would have to
      challenge current science (observed world), deny current faith (communicated
      world) and the evidence of my senses (experienced world).

      On this basis the sustainability agenda in a world wedded throughout
      historical time to growth is doing rather well and could well come to
      accepted within the coming century though the triad of normal science,
      common sense and faith are fighting hard against the tide of these new
      ideas. Kuhn's view was that those who uphold the "normal paradigm" never
      actually change their minds (though many with their respect for freedom of
      speech will acknowledge the existence of the emerging paradigm) they have to
      die out. But he also said this process was good. The requirement of a new
      paradigm to run the gauntlet created by resilience of the old strengthened
      the one that was emerging, and tested its proponents intellect and courage
      and eliminated a lot of nutters and frivolous advocates of ideas that are
      just wrong!

      You may have guessed now why I think it important to stay with new ideas
      under pressure and even if you doubt they'll ever become mainstream while
      you remain alive. All great ideas take time to settle in. This is not for
      one moment to advocate complacency. Unless people challenge and challenge
      and change the old paradigm it will just go on with common sense being far
      more robust as means of holding people to its inaccuracies than sweet reason
      - which is only part of the formula. I confess that I struggle with the
      scientific complexity of the climate change debate but I "believe" that
      climate change is occurring and that it is being caused by us. I could not
      prove it but senses show me the signs that support my intuition. This seems
      to me to show how small is the pin with which one is armed to puncture the
      assumptions contained within the existing paradigm - so one must do famous
      work with the pins and needles available!

      Simon

      ref: Thomas S. Kuhn (1962) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
      (University of Chicago Press) Synopsis of this renowned work at:
      http://www.emory.edu/EDUCATION/mfp/Kuhnsnap.html
      Geoffrey Vickers (1965) The art of judgement: a study of policy making,
      (London, Chapman & Hall)


      >
      > Fred M. Cain wrote:
      >> Well, he was really taken aback. He stood there for an
      >> uncomfortable moment or two thinking of how to respond. It was like
      >> the very idea had *NEVER* even occurred to him! Finally, he got out
      >> a B.S. answer that sounded like, "Well, that's a good point, but
      >> Americans don't like riding on trains. They either want to drive or
      >> fly. But part of what you said is true. Works very well in Europe".
      >
      > That's a "Catch 22" situation. Just because, North American governments deny
      > citizens decent rail transportation, that doesn't mean it's not wanted or
      > needed.
      >
      >> And that's all he had to say and moved on to the next question.
      >> That happened over 30 years ago. And where are we today? Some
      >> progress has been made but basically it seems nothing ever changes.
      >
      > We're still spinning our wheels in the mud. Andrew Dawson
      >
      >
      >
      >
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    • Andrew Dawson
      Fred, Simon maybe we have to look at things from a different direction. Maybe to get people out of their cars and on to intercity trains is to take them with
      Message 2 of 8 , Apr 29, 2005
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        Fred, Simon maybe we have to look at things from a different direction.
        Maybe to get people out of their cars and on to intercity trains is to take
        them with them? Fred are you familiar with Amtrak's Auto-Train? It was
        practically the only Amtrak service that the people Transport Policy
        wouldn't slam. What if it were expanded nation wide?
        Andrew Dawson

        Simon Baddeley wrote:
        >You may have guessed now why I think it important to stay with new ideas
        >under pressure and even if you doubt they'll ever become mainstream while
        >you remain alive. All great ideas take time to settle in. This is not for
        >one moment to advocate complacency. Unless people challenge and challenge
        >and change the old paradigm it will just go on with common sense being far
        >more robust as means of holding people to its inaccuracies than sweet
        >reason
        >- which is only part of the formula. I confess that I struggle with the
        >scientific complexity of the climate change debate but I "believe" that
        >climate change is occurring and that it is being caused by us. I could not
        >prove it but senses show me the signs that support my intuition. This seems
        >to me to show how small is the pin with which one is armed to puncture the
        >assumptions contained within the existing paradigm - so one must do famous
        >work with the pins and needles available!
        >
        > > Fred M. Cain wrote:
        > >> Well, he was really taken aback. He stood there for an
        > >> uncomfortable moment or two thinking of how to respond. It was like
        > >> the very idea had *NEVER* even occurred to him! Finally, he got out
        > >> a B.S. answer that sounded like, "Well, that's a good point, but
        > >> Americans don't like riding on trains. They either want to drive or
        > >> fly. But part of what you said is true. Works very well in Europe".
      • Mike Morin
        Auto train sounds like a good idea. However, a friend of mine recently took a business trip to Denver (from Eugene). He drove a truck with cargo down and flew
        Message 3 of 8 , Apr 29, 2005
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          Auto train sounds like a good idea.

          However, a friend of mine recently took a business trip to Denver (from
          Eugene). He drove a truck with cargo down and flew back. He had wanted to
          take the train back, but read that the trains were painfully slow because
          they had to yield to freight trains (the freight trains were said to be too
          long to yield to the Amtrak).

          Does anybuddy have any info. with regards to this. If it is so, what, if
          anything, can be done?


          Mike Morin

          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Andrew Dawson" <m82a1_dawson@...>
          To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Friday, April 29, 2005 3:39 PM
          Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Old Electric Trains, Hydrogen, etc.,


          > Fred, Simon maybe we have to look at things from a different direction.
          > Maybe to get people out of their cars and on to intercity trains is to
          > take
          > them with them? Fred are you familiar with Amtrak's Auto-Train? It was
          > practically the only Amtrak service that the people Transport Policy
          > wouldn't slam. What if it were expanded nation wide?
          > Andrew Dawson
          >
          > Simon Baddeley wrote:
          >>You may have guessed now why I think it important to stay with new ideas
          >>under pressure and even if you doubt they'll ever become mainstream while
          >>you remain alive. All great ideas take time to settle in. This is not for
          >>one moment to advocate complacency. Unless people challenge and challenge
          >>and change the old paradigm it will just go on with common sense being far
          >>more robust as means of holding people to its inaccuracies than sweet
          >>reason
          >>- which is only part of the formula. I confess that I struggle with the
          >>scientific complexity of the climate change debate but I "believe" that
          >>climate change is occurring and that it is being caused by us. I could not
          >>prove it but senses show me the signs that support my intuition. This
          >>seems
          >>to me to show how small is the pin with which one is armed to puncture the
          >>assumptions contained within the existing paradigm - so one must do famous
          >>work with the pins and needles available!
          >>
          >> > Fred M. Cain wrote:
          >> >> Well, he was really taken aback. He stood there for an
          >> >> uncomfortable moment or two thinking of how to respond. It was like
          >> >> the very idea had *NEVER* even occurred to him! Finally, he got out
          >> >> a B.S. answer that sounded like, "Well, that's a good point, but
          >> >> Americans don't like riding on trains. They either want to drive or
          >> >> fly. But part of what you said is true. Works very well in Europe".
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
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          >
          >
          >
          >
        • Todd Edelman
          regarding Auto-Train (DB AutoZug),etc. This gets cars off the road in between home and destination and so is good for reducing energy use and pollution for
          Message 4 of 8 , Apr 29, 2005
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            regarding "Auto-Train" (DB AutoZug),etc.

            This gets cars off the road in between home and
            destination and so is good for reducing energy use and
            pollution for the long-distance part of a trip, but
            car rental is so cheap and accepted in the USA --
            people combine it with flying. We are talking long
            distances here.

            RailEurope is the main North American distributor of
            tickets for European rail travel. As an incentive they
            offer a free car rental for a couple of days with
            certain packages - though I think the last thing
            Europe needs is American drivers on its roads (the
            signage etc is not as "international" as it is
            supposed to be).

            If any of this stuff weans Americans off of their cars
            by showing them better examples it is great, but I
            would think it could also be useful or better to give
            Amtrak or Post-trak or Evangelical Southern or
            CocaColaCarfreeExpress (or whatever possible new
            railway undertakings are called) riders FREE public
            transport passes and FREE bicycle rental in their
            destinations (if cities).

            Todd


            --- Andrew Dawson <m82a1_dawson@...> wrote:
            > Fred, Simon maybe we have to look at things from a
            > different direction.
            > Maybe to get people out of their cars and on to
            > intercity trains is to take
            > them with them? Fred are you familiar with Amtrak's
            > Auto-Train? It was
            > practically the only Amtrak service that the people
            > Transport Policy
            > wouldn't slam. What if it were expanded nation wide?
            >
            > Andrew Dawson
            >
            > Simon Baddeley wrote:
            > >You may have guessed now why I think it important
            > to stay with new ideas
            > >under pressure and even if you doubt they'll ever
            > become mainstream while
            > >you remain alive. All great ideas take time to
            > settle in. This is not for
            > >one moment to advocate complacency. Unless people
            > challenge and challenge
            > >and change the old paradigm it will just go on with
            > common sense being far
            > >more robust as means of holding people to its
            > inaccuracies than sweet
            > >reason
            > >- which is only part of the formula. I confess that
            > I struggle with the
            > >scientific complexity of the climate change debate
            > but I "believe" that
            > >climate change is occurring and that it is being
            > caused by us. I could not
            > >prove it but senses show me the signs that support
            > my intuition. This seems
            > >to me to show how small is the pin with which one
            > is armed to puncture the
            > >assumptions contained within the existing paradigm
            > - so one must do famous
            > >work with the pins and needles available!
            > >
            > > > Fred M. Cain wrote:
            > > >> Well, he was really taken aback. He stood
            > there for an
            > > >> uncomfortable moment or two thinking of how to
            > respond. It was like
            > > >> the very idea had *NEVER* even occurred to him!
            > Finally, he got out
            > > >> a B.S. answer that sounded like, "Well, that's
            > a good point, but
            > > >> Americans don't like riding on trains. They
            > either want to drive or
            > > >> fly. But part of what you said is true. Works
            > very well in Europe".
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > To Post a message, send it to:
            > carfree_cities@...
            > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
            > carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
            > Group address:
            > http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
            > Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            > carfree_cities-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >

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          • Andrew Dawson
            ... That s another thing, these days (freight)railroads claim to be running scheduled trains. Some times I wonder if it would be possible to form mixed train
            Message 5 of 8 , Apr 29, 2005
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              Mike Morin wrote:
              >Auto train sounds like a good idea.
              >
              >However, a friend of mine recently took a business trip to Denver (from
              >Eugene). He drove a truck with cargo down and flew back. He had wanted to
              >take the train back, but read that the trains were painfully slow because
              >they had to yield to freight trains (the freight trains were said to be too
              >long to yield to the Amtrak).
              >
              >Does anybody have any info. with regards to this. If it is so, what, if
              >anything, can be done?

              That's another thing, these days (freight)railroads claim to be running
              scheduled trains. Some times I wonder if it would be possible to form mixed
              train consists. For long distance runs(not high speed like corridor
              services) there might even be a decrease in locomotive crew and trackage
              costs. For Amtrak and Via Rail there could even be a return of to routes
              where service was lost. Andrew Dawson
            • J.H. Crawford
              Hi All, ... This is another one of those things that s wrong with Amtrak and seems not able to be fixed. Legally (not contractually, legally) they were
              Message 6 of 8 , Apr 30, 2005
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                Hi All,

                >>However, a friend of mine recently took a business trip to Denver (from
                >>Eugene). He drove a truck with cargo down and flew back. He had wanted to
                >>take the train back, but read that the trains were painfully slow because
                >>they had to yield to freight trains (the freight trains were said to be too
                >>long to yield to the Amtrak).
                >>
                >>Does anybody have any info. with regards to this. If it is so, what, if
                >>anything, can be done?

                This is another one of those things that's wrong with Amtrak and
                seems not able to be fixed. Legally (not contractually, legally)
                they were required under the law that relieved them of the burden
                of operating passenger service by turning their obligation to do
                so over to Amtrak, they must give highest priority to Amtrak. I
                assume that if that means running longer freights, it also means
                building longer passing sidings or holding the freight at a
                siding that's long enough, no matter how much it delays in the
                freight. In practice, of course, most of the railroads have cheated
                most of the time. Amtrak always wins in court and loses on the tracks.

                >That's another thing, these days (freight)railroads claim to be running
                >scheduled trains. Some times I wonder if it would be possible to form mixed
                >train consists. For long distance runs(not high speed like corridor
                >services) there might even be a decrease in locomotive crew and trackage
                >costs. For Amtrak and Via Rail there could even be a return of to routes
                >where service was lost. Andrew Dawson

                Mixed consists are not desirable for a number of reasons, including
                the much poorer braking characteristics of freight cars.

                Regards,


                ------ ### -----
                J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
              • Andrew Dawson
                ... Part of this is also the reason why some commuter train operations are ran under contract by Amtrak, such as Metrolink in L.A. ... Ideally tracks across
                Message 7 of 8 , Apr 30, 2005
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                  J.H. Crawford wrote:
                  >This is another one of those things that's wrong with Amtrak and
                  >seems not able to be fixed. Legally (not contractually, legally)
                  >they were required under the law that relieved them of the burden
                  >of operating passenger service by turning their obligation to do
                  >so over to Amtrak, they must give highest priority to Amtrak. I
                  >assume that if that means running longer freights, it also means
                  >building longer passing sidings or holding the freight at a
                  >siding that's long enough, no matter how much it delays in the
                  >freight. In practice, of course, most of the railroads have cheated
                  >most of the time. Amtrak always wins in court and loses on the tracks.

                  Part of this is also the reason why some commuter train operations are ran
                  under contract by Amtrak, such as Metrolink in L.A.

                  > >That's another thing, these days (freight)railroads claim to be running
                  > >scheduled trains. Some times I wonder if it would be possible to form
                  >mixed
                  > >train consists. For long distance runs(not high speed like corridor
                  > >services) there might even be a decrease in locomotive crew and trackage
                  > >costs. For Amtrak and Via Rail there could even be a return of to routes
                  > >where service was lost. Andrew Dawson
                  >
                  >Mixed consists are not desirable for a number of reasons, including
                  >the much poorer braking characteristics of freight cars.

                  Ideally tracks across North America would be open access(as well there
                  wouldn't have been so many lines ripped up over the last 80 years), so that
                  any train operator could run a train in a certain time slot. Mixed consists
                  get around the capacity constraints(as utilities go, railways behave very
                  badly). In Europe you're lucky that so much infrastructure is still intact,
                  over here in NA we're not so lucky. Plus with the current Bush and Martin
                  regimes things won't improve any time soon. ASD
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