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Old 05-23-2009, 07:05 PM
 
Location: Prepperland
13,136 posts, read 9,217,004 times
Reputation: 8990

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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
It is a fact that steel wheel on steel rail technology was developed and implemented in the 19th century. However, the laws of physics that recommended its use have not changed. It still is the most energy efficient land transport system.

The physics haven't changed, and for certain purposes, trains are wonderfully efficient. For others, they are not.
What purpose of land transport won't a train be efficient?
Passenger?
Cargo?
Joyriding?
Crashing into the Twin Towers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
Internal combustion engines, on average, only use 25% of the energy of their fuel to move. The remainder is lost as waste heat. (Yipes!). Even vaunted hybrid electric vehicles are still energy wasters. To compound matters, stop - and - go travel wastes energy via braking (heat) and acceleration.

Most trains operate from power derived from internal combustion diesel engines that power electric generators that then power electric traction motors.
And since the original post was discussing ELECTRIC POWERED TRAINS, your point is?

File:Sources of electricity in the USA 2006.png - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Electricity generation in the USA 2006:
48.9% coal
20.0% natural gas
19.3% nuclear
7.1% hydroelectric (conventional)
2.4% Other renewables
1.6% petroleum
0.7% Other

At this time, I doubt that a substantial number of autos are running on coal, natural gas, nuclear or hydroelectric power.


Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
HowStuffWorks "How Diesel Locomotives Work"
"A huge locomotive like this uses an average of 1.5 gallons of diesel per mile (352 L per 100 km) when towing about five passenger cars." Note that this is not miles per gallon, but gallons per mile, and at current speeds. The drag from high speed operation would degrade this figure significantly.

So... that would be the average size of a tri-rail train in south Florida, a conveniently flat area. At off-peak times there might be as many as 100 people on a train. Say they were each taken 20 miles. 30 gallons of diesel used, with a paid engineer and a paid conductor, plus a paid security guard (there are more than that but whatever). 2,000 passenger miles and 30 gallons of diesel. That works out to .015 gallons per passenger mile or 66.66 miles per gallon.

Now lets use the real world Tri-rail as an example of overall fuel efficiencies.
The corridor is 72 miles long, and on a weekday there are 25 trains northbound, 25 southbound. Source: South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA) (http://www.tri-rail.com/schedules_fares/ntm_wday.asp - broken link)

50 x 72 = 3,600 miles. 1.5 gallons per mile means 5,400 gallons.

How many passengers?
"Patronage on Tri-Rail is currently around 10,000 riders per day. "
Source: On Track On Line - Trip Coombs Riding Tri-Rail
In 2008, due to the gas price situation, ridership peaked at 17,000. However, the system suffered a $80 million operating loss during this same year.

How many PASSENGER miles are actually used each day? We can estimate that each passenger uses half the system, but twice a day, so we have 720,000 passenger miles as a rough guess. That gives about 133 passenger miles per gallon during the weekdays. Not bad, on the face of it.

However, the use of fixed size trainsets dictates that the system is woefully inefficient at times. Check out the photos on this page and count passengers. SAMPLING THE NEW TRI-RAIL DMU You could drive those passengers in a couple of Hummers and get better mileage per gallon.
Disregarding the FRA regulations that mandate overweight cars (allegedly for safety), let us not compare diesels with electric locomotives, since the whole argument is to stop consuming fossil fuels, especially petroleum, for transportation.

strickland.ca - transportation energy efficiency (fuel consumption) (http://strickland.ca/efficiency.html - broken link)
(electric power consumption listed as equivalent to gasoline)

RAIL (max. efficiency): 2000 passenger-miles per gallon
RAIL (typ. urban): 600 passenger-miles per gallon

Ford Explorer (full load): 100 passenger-miles per gallon
Ford Explorer (typ.): 21 passenger-miles per gallon

Long Distance Service:
High Speed Electric Train (300 km/h) : 630 passenger-miles per gallon
Diesel‑electric commuter rail : 260 passenger-miles per gallon
Toyota Prius: 238 passenger-miles per gallon

Generic "subway": 526 (all seated) 2520 (crush capacity) passenger-miles per gallon

Siemens Combino 28 tonne 27 m LRV : 914 (all seated) 2460 (crush capacity) passenger-miles per gallon

Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
We know there are six principles for efficient surface transport:
a) reduce the frontal area per person;
b) reduce the vehicle’s weight per person;
c) when traveling, go at a steady speed and avoid using brakes;
d) travel more slowly;
e) travel less; and
f) make the energy chain more efficient.

An electric powered train / tram / streetcar meets a, b, c (*regenerative braking recovers energy), and f. And we'd rather be able to ignore d and e.

An electric traction motor efficiency is between 85 - 95% (depending on configuration, etc), in contrast with Internal combustion engines (roughly from 25% otto cycle to 50% diesel cycle). In addition, electric powered vehicles do not need to carry their fuel, saving on weight.


You are sort of on the right track. The weight per person (item b) only works in some instances. Even light rail vehicles are heavy.

What is always left out of the analysis of rail systems are wait times and unscheduled delays. In one of the links cited, a FOUR_HOUR delay was being apologized for by the transit company. Another link cites a "16 minute layover." Then there are the constant start stops of commuter rail, which slow them enough that on a good day of traffic, cars can pretty much stay abreast of, or even beat a commuter train to a destination.
Your argument is based on current implementation of a flawed system. Can you show that such conditions were the norm in 1890-1910, during the heyday of urban rail mass transit?

And let us not forget that if it wasn't for cheap and plentiful AMERICAN oil, the American electric powered rail industry might not have been dismantled and abandoned.

Passenger Rail for the Shasta Route: Table of Contents
" Due to the quality of [FRA] regulations, the state of the art in tilting train usage is not available in the USA. The FRA safety regulations do not allow safe operation of trains at very high unbalanced superelevation, because the resulting trains are too heavy for that.
There is an ironical aspect in this result: Lightweight tilting trains have been a US development, and predated European or Japanese revenue service by 20 years. You can find the arguments of this text in the dusty part of archives in the USA."

Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
Consider instead, my proposal of a guideway that operates at a FIXED speed of 100 mph. Cars entering or exiting are taken from the main guideway before decelerating, leaving the travel from one end of the guideway to the other unencumbered by stops and slowdowns. The entire 72 mile Tri-rail corridor could be traversed in 45 minutes instead of two hours. Cars computer controlled to travel in packs would effectively reduce the frontal area. A weight restriction on cars could easily match the weight per passenger mile of the commuter cars and engines.

Now consider that the individual owners of the vehicles would be responsible for maintenance and upkeep, eliminating both equipment costs and employee costs. Tolls would be collected electronically, and because of the small footprint of such a system and reduced noise, it could go where no trainset could go. A glorified streetcar or passenger train wouldn't stand a chance against it on a ridership or economic basis.

As I said before, MASS rail transit is outmoded for most situations.
The "situation" is the result of over 50 years of automobile based development, so it is a given that it won't be optimized for rail mass transit.

Automobiles are inherent wasteful, consuming fuel, resources, and space. Wrapping a single person within a 2500 lb. vehicle is not wise. Rubber tire on asphalt has a far higher coefficient of rolling resistance. In addition, destruction of the infrastructure is matched at the rapid rate of decay of the rolling stock. In contrast, PCC streetcars have been in daily use for over 50 years, in some cities. The oldest known streetcars still in service have been rolling since 1890s. Rail replacement maintenance schedule runs between 16 and 25 years (load dependent).

More technical info on the benefits of electrification of railroads:
The Oil Drum | Multiple Birds – One Silver BB: A synergistic set of solutions to multiple issues focused on Electrified Railroads
Energy and Environmental Benefits
Transferring freight from truck to electrified rail trades 17 to 21 BTUs of diesel for one BTU of electricity. Simply electrifying existing rail freight would trade 2.6 to 3 BTUs of diesel for one BTU of electricity.
Transferring 100% of inter-city truck traffic (impractical) to electrified railroads, plus electrifying all (not 80%) of the existing rail traffic, would take about 100 TWh/year or 2.3% of total US electrical demand. Electrifying 80% of railroad ton-miles and transferring half of current truck freight to rail would take about 1% of US electricity. 1% is an amount that could be easily conserved, or, with less ease, provided by new renewable generation and/or new nuclear plants.
Such dramatic savings from shifting trucks to electrified rail means that electricity from modern coal plants, the worst environmental option to power electrified railroads, is still a large net environmental positive. The ability to use non-Greenhouse Gas sources of electricity, renewable and nuclear, creates the very real possibility of both Non-Oil and Non-GHG Transportation systems.

Tram - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Advantages
* Unlike buses, but like trolleybuses, (electric) trams give off no exhaust emissions at point of use. Compared to motorbuses the noise of trams is generally perceived to be less disturbing. However, the use of solid axles between wheels causes slippage between wheels and tracks when negotiating curves. This produces a characteristic loud, high frequency noise often referred to as a "squeal."
* Trams can adapt to the number of passengers by adding additional cars during rush hour (and removing them during off-peak hours). No additional driver is then required for the trip in comparison to buses.
* In general, trams provide a higher capacity service than buses.
* Rights-of-way for trams are narrower than for buses. This saves valuable space in cities with high population densities and/or narrow streets.
* Because they are rail-bound, trams command more respect from other road users than buses do, when operating on-road. In heavy traffic conditions, rogue drivers are less likely to hold up trams, for example by blocking intersections or parking on the road. This often leads to fewer delays. As a rule, especially in European cities and Melbourne, trams always have priority.
* Multiple entrances allow trams to load faster than suburban coaches, which tend to have a single entrance. This, combined with swifter acceleration and braking, lets trams maintain higher overall speeds than buses, if congestion allows.
* Trams can trackshare with mainline railways, servicing smaller towns without requiring special track as in Stadtbahn Karlsruhe.
* Passenger comfort is normally superior to buses because of controlled acceleration and braking and curve easement. Rail transport such as used by trams provides a smoother ride than road use by buses.
* In most countries, trams do not suffer from the image problem that plagues buses. On the contrary, most people associate trams with a positive image. Unlike buses, trams tend to be popular with a wider spectrum of the public, including people of high income who often shun buses. This high level of customer acceptance means higher patronage and greater public support for investment in new tram infrastructure.
* Because the tracks are visible, it is easy for potential riders to know where the routes are.
* Vehicles run more efficiently and overall operating costs are lower.
* Trams can run on renewable electricity without the need for very expensive and short life batteries
* Consistent market research and experience over the last 50 years in Europe and North America shows that car commuters are willing to transfer some trips to rail-based public transport but not to buses. Typically light rail systems attract between 30 and 40% of their patronage from former car trips. Rapid transit bus systems attract less than 5% of trips from cars, less than the variability of traffic.

Disadvantages
* The capital cost is higher than for buses, hence the usual preference for the latter in smaller cities
* When operated in mixed traffic, trams are more likely to be delayed by disruptions in their lane. Buses, by contrast, can sometimes maneuver around obstacles. Opinions differ on whether the deference that drivers show to trams — a cultural issue that varies by country — is sufficient to counteract this disadvantage.
* Tram tracks can be dangerous for cyclists, as bikes, particularly those with narrow tires, may get their wheels caught in the track grooves. It is possible to close the grooves of the tracks on critical sections by rubber profiles that are pressed down by the wheelflanges of the passing tram but that cannot be lowered by the weight of a cyclist. If not well-maintained, however, these lose their effectiveness over time. Crossing tracks without trouble requires a sufficient angle of crossing, reducing a cyclist's ability to avoid road hazards where tracks run along the road, especially in wet weather. This and problems with parked cars are reduced by building tracks and platforms in the middle of the road.
* Tram infrastructure occupies urban space above ground to the complete exclusion of other users, and requires modifications to traffic flow.
* Steel wheel trams are noisier than rubber-wheeled trolleybuses when cornering if there are no additional measures taken (e.g. greasing wheelflanges, which is standard in new-built systems).
* Tram drivers can control the switches (points) ahead of them. This caused a major derailment in Geneva, Switzerland. In modern tram systems this problem has been resolved by use of switches that inhibit relocation when a tram is detected passing and/or more sophisticated means of command transmission.
* Light rail vehicles are often heavier per passenger carried than heavy rail and monorail cars, as they are designed with higher durability (which means more mass) to survive collisions.
* The opening of new tram and light rail systems has sometimes been accompanied by a marked increase in car accidents, as a result of drivers' unfamiliarity with the physics and geometry of trolleys. Though such increases may be temporary, long-term conflicts between motorists and light rail operations can be alleviated by segregating their respective rights-of-way and installing appropriate signage and warning systems.
* Rail transport can expose neighboring populations to moderate levels of low-frequency noise. However, transportation planners use noise mitigation strategies to minimize these effects. Most of all, the potential for decreased private motor vehicle operations along the trolley's service line due to the service provision could result in lower ambient noise levels than without.
* In the event of a breakdown or accident, or even roadworks and maintenance, a whole section of the tram network can be blocked. Buses and trolleybuses can often get past minor blockages, although trolleybuses are restricted by how far they can go from the wires. Conventional buses can divert around major blockages as well, as can most modern trolleybuses that are fitted with auxiliary engines or traction batteries. The tram blockage problem can be mitigated by providing regular crossovers so a tram can run on the opposite line to pass a blockage, although this can be more difficult when running on road sections shared with other road users. On extensive networks diversionary routes may be available depending on the location of the blockage. Breakdown related problems can be reduced by minimizing the situations where a tram would be stuck on route, as well as making it as simple as possible for another tram to rescue a failed one.


The Streetcar Conspiracy - How General Motors Deliberately Destroyed Public Transit (http://saveourwetlands.org/streetcar.htm - broken link)
http://www.city-data.com/forum/7766058-post21.html
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Old 05-23-2009, 07:11 PM
 
Location: southern california
55,237 posts, read 72,472,599 times
Reputation: 47456
mass transit projects for america ignore current patterns in europe and here--- the streets are now dangerous.
we are going backwards in time, reverse renaissance.
i marvel at the urban generated posts that insist urban areas are safe, i mean this stuff comes out of --for instance-- memphis-- i was just there-- my gosh, does not matter black or white very scared people and with good reason. people posting on CDF act like its disneyland or something.
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Old 05-23-2009, 08:21 PM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
5,520 posts, read 11,981,861 times
Reputation: 3820
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huckleberry3911948 View Post
mass transit projects for america ignore current patterns in europe and here--- the streets are now dangerous.
we are going backwards in time, reverse renaissance.
i marvel at the urban generated posts that insist urban areas are safe, i mean this stuff comes out of --for instance-- memphis-- i was just there-- my gosh, does not matter black or white very scared people and with good reason. people posting on CDF act like its disneyland or something.
I can't speak to the conditions in Memphis, but pointing out one high-crime city is not sufficient reason to conclude that mass transit is infeasible. Here in Chicago, even though there are many bad areas with high crime, crime ON public transit is exceeding low, even in bad neighborhoods. Yes it happens, but you're probably more likely to die in a car accident than be murdered sitting on a bus or subway.
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Old 05-23-2009, 10:20 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,869 posts, read 51,398,709 times
Reputation: 27761
jetgraphics - streetcars and high speed rail are two different systems.

The state of public roads in 1890 to 1910 was absolutely abysmal. During the winter months in the north, entire roads were shut down and the only way to get from place to place was by train. That also occured during mud season, when many roads were just as impassible. There was no Federal subsidy of roads at the time, and the rails had an effective subsidy from the transport of mail and a lock on anyone who wanted to get from point A to point B. During that period, coal was king and dirt cheap to railroads. Was it an efficient system? Only within the range of some individual companies. As an example of how it really worked, the joining of systems at Essex Junction Vermont were PURPOSELY made to inconvenience the passengers, so as to deny traffic to the competing railroads. There are even mentions of trains approaching the terminal, the engineer seeing the competitor's train at the station, and backing the train away from the station until it departed, forcing customers to miss connections. THAT was American railroading.

As for streetcars, those were powered by a combination of hydropower and coal fired steam. In point of fact, the electrification of many parts of the country was based on the introduction of electricity by the transit companies. Efficiencies were horrendously low, because 600 VDC overhead lines have a maximum effective range of about 8 miles before the line losses get too great. Since the early trolleys were strictly DC, and generation was DC as well, any longer distance involved the use of rotary converters and other equipment.

Now on to passenger miles per gallon - In your first cite, I found this:
"Dissenting opinions

In the United States it is claimed that Amtrak is no more efficient than private car trips over 75 miles, and intercity bus service is 3 times as efficient (consumes 1/3 as much energy). References are given but I have not looked them up yet (they are not something you can find in your neighbourhood library). I think it likely the discrepancy can be explained by the following factors:

* the calculation is comparing actual current usage, not the potential for each mode; a mostly-empty train is certainly not more efficient than a mostly-full bus ..."

I hate to beat a dead horse, but there is debate, and then there is debate with understanding. I'm fully aware of the tilt technology you mention, which was abandoned in the U.S. because of problems. I'm also aware of Talgo trains, high voltage and low voltage systems, etc., etc. None of what you cut and pasted changes the basics of human behavior. The accounts of passenger miles per gallon are sanguine at best, and I'm afraid that a lot of those figures you use are outright lies used to promote rail passenger travel to an unsophisticated and unquestioning audience. Read through my posts on other subjects and you'll find that I have done the basic math to prove that there is lying about the dangers of Florida flooding from global warming, etc.

When I took Tri-rail as an example, I went for the basic info and did the math, rather than blindly accepting massaged figures which even your cite notes are disputed. I stand by my figures.

Further, as I do in just about all debates, I held back additional ammo. In this case, high speed rail and trolleys, etc. do not exist in a vacuum. Every station has a dedicated parking area for park and ride, as well as a drop off point for kiss and run. So, for the incoming commuters, the entire commuter mileage of the trip to and from the departure station is totally ignored, as is the cost of parking, impact of the parking lot, etc.. Figure an average drive of at least a couple miles to and from the station, double that if it is a drop off and pick-up, add the energy costs of building and maintaining the parking, etc., etc...

In short, the real TOTAL COST figures and expenditures of energy are grossly under-reported. While we are talking about electric power, let us remember that there is an energy cost in getting the fuel to the power plant, inefficiencies in generating the steam, inefficiencies in the turbines, inefficiencies in the generators, inefficiencies in stepping up the power for transmission, inefficiencies in line loss, inefficiencies in the step down transformers, inefficiencies in the "fuel" wires and contact system as well as the inefficiencies of the traction motors themselves.

There is a massive campaign that promotes the idea of light rail and high speed rail as being an environmental savior and a wildly efficient transportation system. If you sit back and think for a minute, you realize that it is neither, and the sheer scale of most projects dictate governmental control or subsidy at the expense of the taxpayer. When Tri-rail has a ridership of 30 to 50% more than expectations and STILL runs in deficit mode, something is inherently wrong with the model.

If you look back through history at the records of the railroads, you come across bankruptcy after bankruptcy and failure to pay off bonds almost as a given. Rail is efficient for heavy cargo. It can be efficient on a time vs. money basis for transporting goods from the west coast ports to Chicago and the east coast. It is NOT good in the current configuration for transporting people, compared to what is possible using newer technology.

I'll give you an example of why rail travel is not practical for professionals. Say that 1 day out of 100 a rail system has a delay of 2 to 4 hours over a 250 mile corridor. That is being way conservative. Now, say that you as a top executive have a meeting at the other end of that corridor, and that meeting will be the determining factor for a million dollar deal. Do you take a 1 in 100 chance that the train will be late that day and the meeting will be canceled? Or do you take a transportation system where you have some personal control over your own fate and arrival time? Senators and vice presidents who are sure of their jobs may ride the rails, but the CEOs and presidents choose other transport.

I personally love trains. I have at least 300 hours of video tape and DVDs of trains. I have the original railroad commission reports for the state of Vermont for the later part of the 19th and beginnings of the 20th century, and details on every railroad and trolley that ever existed in that state and some that didn't but were considered. The historical society uses me as a reference. I'm not against trains, but I am against using the wrong tool to get a job done.

The early days of the industrial revolution and the communists LOVED to treat people not as individuals, but as members of a group that could then be easily controlled and scheduled. The success of the free enterprise system was created by breaking out of that mentality, and seeing the value of the individual and his or her strengths and needs. Herding people into smelly clots of obnoxious crowds whose sole reason for existence is to be going in the same direction in an efficient manner is demeaning and dumb. It also plays into the hands of fearmongers who will then want to strip search each traveler for weapons, drugs, pornography, and unapproved water bottles. High speed rail + intense security = slow speed travel. Convenient trolleys plus security = inconvenience.

INDIVIDUAL use of a high speed corridor resolves almost all the issues of MASS transit.
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Old 05-23-2009, 10:56 PM
 
Location: Nova Scotia
458 posts, read 1,137,409 times
Reputation: 444
Harry Chickpea for some reason you were targeted for this one, I am al so happy you knew how to reply ,
Quote:
Originally Posted by jetgraphics View Post
What purpose of land transport won't a train be efficient?
Passenger?
Cargo?
Joyriding?
Crashing into the Twin Towers?



And since the original post was discussing ELECTRIC POWERED TRAINS, your point is?

File:Sources of electricity in the USA 2006.png - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Electricity generation in the USA 2006:
48.9% coal
20.0% natural gas
19.3% nuclear
7.1% hydroelectric (conventional)
2.4% Other renewables
1.6% petroleum
0.7% Other

At this time, I doubt that a substantial number of autos are running on coal, natural gas, nuclear or hydroelectric power.




Disregarding the FRA regulations that mandate overweight cars (allegedly for safety), let us not compare diesels with electric locomotives, since the whole argument is to stop consuming fossil fuels, especially petroleum, for transportation.

strickland.ca - transportation energy efficiency (fuel consumption) (http://strickland.ca/efficiency.html - broken link)
(electric power consumption listed as equivalent to gasoline)

RAIL (max. efficiency): 2000 passenger-miles per gallon
RAIL (typ. urban): 600 passenger-miles per gallon

Ford Explorer (full load): 100 passenger-miles per gallon
Ford Explorer (typ.): 21 passenger-miles per gallon

Long Distance Service:
High Speed Electric Train (300 km/h) : 630 passenger-miles per gallon
Diesel‑electric commuter rail : 260 passenger-miles per gallon
Toyota Prius: 238 passenger-miles per gallon

Generic "subway": 526 (all seated) 2520 (crush capacity) passenger-miles per gallon

Siemens Combino 28 tonne 27 m LRV : 914 (all seated) 2460 (crush capacity) passenger-miles per gallon



Your argument is based on current implementation of a flawed system. Can you show that such conditions were the norm in 1890-1910, during the heyday of urban rail mass transit?

And let us not forget that if it wasn't for cheap and plentiful AMERICAN oil, the American electric powered rail industry might not have been dismantled and abandoned.

Passenger Rail for the Shasta Route: Table of Contents
" Due to the quality of [FRA] regulations, the state of the art in tilting train usage is not available in the USA. The FRA safety regulations do not allow safe operation of trains at very high unbalanced superelevation, because the resulting trains are too heavy for that.
There is an ironical aspect in this result: Lightweight tilting trains have been a US development, and predated European or Japanese revenue service by 20 years. You can find the arguments of this text in the dusty part of archives in the USA."



The "situation" is the result of over 50 years of automobile based development, so it is a given that it won't be optimized for rail mass transit.

Automobiles are inherent wasteful, consuming fuel, resources, and space. Wrapping a single person within a 2500 lb. vehicle is not wise. Rubber tire on asphalt has a far higher coefficient of rolling resistance. In addition, destruction of the infrastructure is matched at the rapid rate of decay of the rolling stock. In contrast, PCC streetcars have been in daily use for over 50 years, in some cities. The oldest known streetcars still in service have been rolling since 1890s. Rail replacement maintenance schedule runs between 16 and 25 years (load dependent).

More technical info on the benefits of electrification of railroads:
The Oil Drum | Multiple Birds – One Silver BB: A synergistic set of solutions to multiple issues focused on Electrified Railroads
Energy and Environmental Benefits
Transferring freight from truck to electrified rail trades 17 to 21 BTUs of diesel for one BTU of electricity. Simply electrifying existing rail freight would trade 2.6 to 3 BTUs of diesel for one BTU of electricity.
Transferring 100% of inter-city truck traffic (impractical) to electrified railroads, plus electrifying all (not 80%) of the existing rail traffic, would take about 100 TWh/year or 2.3% of total US electrical demand. Electrifying 80% of railroad ton-miles and transferring half of current truck freight to rail would take about 1% of US electricity. 1% is an amount that could be easily conserved, or, with less ease, provided by new renewable generation and/or new nuclear plants.
Such dramatic savings from shifting trucks to electrified rail means that electricity from modern coal plants, the worst environmental option to power electrified railroads, is still a large net environmental positive. The ability to use non-Greenhouse Gas sources of electricity, renewable and nuclear, creates the very real possibility of both Non-Oil and Non-GHG Transportation systems.

Tram - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Advantages
* Unlike buses, but like trolleybuses, (electric) trams give off no exhaust emissions at point of use. Compared to motorbuses the noise of trams is generally perceived to be less disturbing. However, the use of solid axles between wheels causes slippage between wheels and tracks when negotiating curves. This produces a characteristic loud, high frequency noise often referred to as a "squeal."
* Trams can adapt to the number of passengers by adding additional cars during rush hour (and removing them during off-peak hours). No additional driver is then required for the trip in comparison to buses.
* In general, trams provide a higher capacity service than buses.
* Rights-of-way for trams are narrower than for buses. This saves valuable space in cities with high population densities and/or narrow streets.
* Because they are rail-bound, trams command more respect from other road users than buses do, when operating on-road. In heavy traffic conditions, rogue drivers are less likely to hold up trams, for example by blocking intersections or parking on the road. This often leads to fewer delays. As a rule, especially in European cities and Melbourne, trams always have priority.
* Multiple entrances allow trams to load faster than suburban coaches, which tend to have a single entrance. This, combined with swifter acceleration and braking, lets trams maintain higher overall speeds than buses, if congestion allows.
* Trams can trackshare with mainline railways, servicing smaller towns without requiring special track as in Stadtbahn Karlsruhe.
* Passenger comfort is normally superior to buses because of controlled acceleration and braking and curve easement. Rail transport such as used by trams provides a smoother ride than road use by buses.
* In most countries, trams do not suffer from the image problem that plagues buses. On the contrary, most people associate trams with a positive image. Unlike buses, trams tend to be popular with a wider spectrum of the public, including people of high income who often shun buses. This high level of customer acceptance means higher patronage and greater public support for investment in new tram infrastructure.
* Because the tracks are visible, it is easy for potential riders to know where the routes are.
* Vehicles run more efficiently and overall operating costs are lower.
* Trams can run on renewable electricity without the need for very expensive and short life batteries
* Consistent market research and experience over the last 50 years in Europe and North America shows that car commuters are willing to transfer some trips to rail-based public transport but not to buses. Typically light rail systems attract between 30 and 40% of their patronage from former car trips. Rapid transit bus systems attract less than 5% of trips from cars, less than the variability of traffic.

Disadvantages
* The capital cost is higher than for buses, hence the usual preference for the latter in smaller cities
* When operated in mixed traffic, trams are more likely to be delayed by disruptions in their lane. Buses, by contrast, can sometimes maneuver around obstacles. Opinions differ on whether the deference that drivers show to trams — a cultural issue that varies by country — is sufficient to counteract this disadvantage.
* Tram tracks can be dangerous for cyclists, as bikes, particularly those with narrow tires, may get their wheels caught in the track grooves. It is possible to close the grooves of the tracks on critical sections by rubber profiles that are pressed down by the wheelflanges of the passing tram but that cannot be lowered by the weight of a cyclist. If not well-maintained, however, these lose their effectiveness over time. Crossing tracks without trouble requires a sufficient angle of crossing, reducing a cyclist's ability to avoid road hazards where tracks run along the road, especially in wet weather. This and problems with parked cars are reduced by building tracks and platforms in the middle of the road.
* Tram infrastructure occupies urban space above ground to the complete exclusion of other users, and requires modifications to traffic flow.
* Steel wheel trams are noisier than rubber-wheeled trolleybuses when cornering if there are no additional measures taken (e.g. greasing wheelflanges, which is standard in new-built systems).
* Tram drivers can control the switches (points) ahead of them. This caused a major derailment in Geneva, Switzerland. In modern tram systems this problem has been resolved by use of switches that inhibit relocation when a tram is detected passing and/or more sophisticated means of command transmission.
* Light rail vehicles are often heavier per passenger carried than heavy rail and monorail cars, as they are designed with higher durability (which means more mass) to survive collisions.
* The opening of new tram and light rail systems has sometimes been accompanied by a marked increase in car accidents, as a result of drivers' unfamiliarity with the physics and geometry of trolleys. Though such increases may be temporary, long-term conflicts between motorists and light rail operations can be alleviated by segregating their respective rights-of-way and installing appropriate signage and warning systems.
* Rail transport can expose neighboring populations to moderate levels of low-frequency noise. However, transportation planners use noise mitigation strategies to minimize these effects. Most of all, the potential for decreased private motor vehicle operations along the trolley's service line due to the service provision could result in lower ambient noise levels than without.
* In the event of a breakdown or accident, or even roadworks and maintenance, a whole section of the tram network can be blocked. Buses and trolleybuses can often get past minor blockages, although trolleybuses are restricted by how far they can go from the wires. Conventional buses can divert around major blockages as well, as can most modern trolleybuses that are fitted with auxiliary engines or traction batteries. The tram blockage problem can be mitigated by providing regular crossovers so a tram can run on the opposite line to pass a blockage, although this can be more difficult when running on road sections shared with other road users. On extensive networks diversionary routes may be available depending on the location of the blockage. Breakdown related problems can be reduced by minimizing the situations where a tram would be stuck on route, as well as making it as simple as possible for another tram to rescue a failed one.


The Streetcar Conspiracy - How General Motors Deliberately Destroyed Public Transit (http://saveourwetlands.org/streetcar.htm - broken link)
http://www.city-data.com/forum/7766058-post21.html
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Old 05-23-2009, 11:02 PM
 
Location: southern california
55,237 posts, read 72,472,599 times
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Originally Posted by sukwoo View Post
I can't speak to the conditions in Memphis, but pointing out one high-crime city is not sufficient reason to conclude that mass transit is infeasible. Here in Chicago, even though there are many bad areas with high crime, crime ON public transit is exceeding low, even in bad neighborhoods. Yes it happens, but you're probably more likely to die in a car accident than be murdered sitting on a bus or subway.
no disrespect intended but please, give me a break i was born in cicero s. side. please dont get on CDF and tell folks the L is disneyland

Last edited by Huckleberry3911948; 05-23-2009 at 11:10 PM..
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Old 05-24-2009, 04:21 AM
 
129 posts, read 508,239 times
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People in a car have much more personal space and privacy,
in a train your privacy is taken away and your just a human among hundreds of others
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Old 05-24-2009, 05:23 AM
 
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Many many years a go we took a train from Houston, Texas to Portland, Oregon....... Never never again would I do that...It was the most boring and tiring three days of traveling ever...If you drive it at least you can rent a room for the night to sleep and you can stop and view the sights...
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Old 05-24-2009, 05:42 AM
 
3,628 posts, read 9,031,303 times
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Originally Posted by rarch View Post
People in a car have much more personal space and privacy,
in a train your privacy is taken away and your just a human among hundreds of others
Oh because you're so important your individualism might be threatened?

What about riding an airplane? same loss of privacy!
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Old 05-24-2009, 05:53 AM
 
Location: I think my user name clarifies that.
8,293 posts, read 22,479,097 times
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Originally Posted by supernerdgirl View Post
Oh because you're so important your individualism might be threatened?

What about riding an airplane? same loss of privacy!
I think one major difference is that flying from Chicago to LA will take several hours, whereas taking a train from and to the same places will take several days.

Most people can handle several hours...
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