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Transportation Technology

Rethinking Rail Travel: Boarding a Moving Train 357

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-skip-to-stepping-disks-please dept.
PolygamousRanchKid tips this article about an idea for revolutionizing the rail system in the long-term: "The idea is to have a city-wide network of trams that travel in a loop and connect with a high-speed rail service. But instead of passengers having to get off the tram at a rail station and wait for the next HSR service to arrive, the moving tram would 'dock' with a moving train, allowing passengers to cross between tram and train without either vehicle ever stopping. 'The trams speed up and the high-speed train slows down and they join, so they dock at high speed,' explains Priestman. 'They stay docked for the same amount of time that it would stop at a station,' he adds. While Priestman admits that it will be some time before his vision could be implemented, he says the time has come to rethink how we travel. 'This idea is a far-future thought but wouldn't it be brilliant to just re-evaluate and just re-think the whole process?' he says."
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Rethinking Rail Travel: Boarding a Moving Train

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  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

    by dwye (1127395) on Friday November 25, 2011 @12:20PM (#38166734)

    The problem is not the engines but the tracks. They are owned by firms which ship bulk cargo, and so do not need speeds greater than about 45 MPH, as compared to 120 MPH, the top speed of the pre-WWII rail network, or the even higher speeds of 1970s era high speed rail links like the Hokkaido Express. Not needing such perfect rail links, they do not maintain them to handle 100+ MPH speeds (or even 60 MPH, for that matter). Not needing the high speeds, GE, etc., build the engines to work best at the speeds actually used. If the lines needed faster engines, they would order them, and the companies which build the engines would build them to go faster efficiently (as long as there were enough engines to make money building them, or the lines were willing to pay for individually designed engines).

    Oh, and BTW, diesel train engines are actually electric trains with a co-located generator powered by a diesel engine, AKA hybrids. They aren't the poorly built and designed things that you apparently think that they are.

We will have solar energy as soon as the utility companies solve one technical problem -- how to run a sunbeam through a meter.