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View Diary: Sunday Train: Steel Interstates & An America That Can Do Big Things (48 comments)

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  •  Am a big fan of trains but like underground tracks (0+ / 0-)

    Underground tracks would allow speeds well in excess of 300mph, perhaps eventually over 3000mph, and avoid a lot of surface issues.

    As train speeds increase, the negative effects of impact w. hail-stones and birds, never mind larger objects like people and semi-trucks, becomes ever more severe.

    As a rail project becomes larger in size and more long-term, small efficiencies really add up. An underground design is a much higher one-time cost, but allows for a much straighter and more direct path, while minimizing surface disruption. Once built, the absence of migrating birds, or rain and hail-stones, or even -- of most of the air-pressure-- would permit much faster speeds, with a lot less uncertainties.

    My ideal would be to use Mag-Lev tracks in a near vacuum to achieve near-space efficiencies of fuel use, and to be able to take less than an hour to go from one coast to the other.

     In order to minimize acceleration effects, only the last few 'cars' of each train would drop off and decel. to zero, to be replaced by newcomers accelerating up from behind. The energy retrieved by the braking of the arriving 'cars'(turning them into the kinetic part of a magnetic dynamo) would be used to help accelerate the replacement 'cars', so the net need for surge power is reduced and waste (including that from storage and conversion) is minimized. Passengers would experience only one take-off and landing, but have to move into and back out of, the main part of the train.

    Meanwhile, these nice straight underground paths would be perfect for the electrical and fiber-optics needs of a continental economy. They would be below the level of the various cities present subways (BART, etc. ... ) and far below most buildings foundations, so they might be installed with minimum impact or need of right of way.
    They should survive forest fires or riots without a ripple.

    Meanwhile some less ambitious projects will help the US, which has subsidized its highways and trucking, but left its railroads to struggle, to reap some of the efficiencies and safety of rail transport.

    •  What is the point of the 300mph, though? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mr Robert, MPociask

      90mph rail freight with assured delivery schedules is sufficient to capture the wagonload truck freight markets that cannot be captured by 60mph freight.

      Jumping up to 300mph increases energy consumption substantially, without substantial improved performance of the task, which is to take over the bulk of freight shipping currently taken by long distance trucking.

      Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

      by BruceMcF on Mon Jun 04, 2012 at 12:39:19 PM PDT

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