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View Full Version : Maglev Vs. High-Speed Rail


Darth_Yuthura
04-11-2009, 07:55 PM
Okay, the US has neglected its mass transit system for decades and now is seeing the prospect of building some high speed rail lines such as what are used in Europe. Electric trains that travel in excess of 100 mph are an excellent solution for many of our mass transit issues.

http://faculty.washington.edu/jbs/itrans/suppes.htm

Considering that we would be starting from scratch... we really are... why not bypass high speed rail and go directly to maglev instead? Unlike the alternatives, maglev eliminates all friction between trains and the tracks. Only air resistance is what slows down the maximum speed of a maglev train... and the sound barrier for that matter.

According to the link above, there are potential benefits from building maglev lines in air-tight conditions to significantly eliminate air resistance. In a vacuum, the maximum potential speed of a train is 6000 mph. The maximum speed of HSR is well entrenched below 300 mph and always generates sound pollution. Maglev is more silent, more efficient, and faster and any other alternative form of transportation.

What's the catch? IT'S EXPENSIVE. The cost per mile of rail for a maglev line is high because the rail is essentially the motor and the resources poured into the capital cost of the track result in huge interest rates that make them an unfavorable business solution. If you eliminated those interest costs from the equation, maglev would prove to be the most effective means of mass transit for passengers and freight.

What would others think of the US building a mass transit system that Europe and Japan would have to envy... instead of just following suite?

Det. Bart Lasiter
04-11-2009, 09:27 PM
cut defense add maglev lines to every major city and links between them

Darth Avlectus
04-11-2009, 09:38 PM
MMM, vacuums *might* isolate the population from the rail's magnetics and...potential electrical hazard (depends on how it is built ;)). However, have you even constructed a high vacuum system from scratch before? While a professionally made system might not be so finicky as a homebrew (obviously), I say that to attempt to give you perspective on just how tedious it is to try to maintian such a thing.

First thing about that: how would the vacuum system work? What about powering the rails and the vacuum system?

Here's another: what would the bills be on an annual basis to keep it happily powered?

EDIT: I think maintenance for these would cost quite a bit as well!

Darth_Yuthura
04-11-2009, 10:05 PM
1 F-22 raptor: $200 million + (fuel costs, weapon expense, pilot salaries, mechanic salaries, computer technician salaries, mechanic salaries, hanger storage costs, Airbase security personnel... huge upkeep costs)

59 miles of Maglev track (replacing enough track to form a line within San Fransico or New York with the cheapest, quietest, and most 'romantic and futuristic' rail system in the world.)

I know this is a lemon vs. apple kind of comparison, but this is the kind of thing that Obama should be pushing for. Maglev hasn't proved economic for a private investment, but it would be a godsend if funded by federal dollars. Taking millions of big rigs off the road alone and using Maglev to haul freight would serve both to reduce the total net energy used in the US and replacing diesel fuel with electricity... provided by a more abundant fuel source we don't have to import.

MMM, vacuums *might* isolate the population from the rail's magnetics and...potential electrical hazard (depends on how it is built ;)). However, have you even constructed a high vacuum system from scratch before? While a professionally made system might not be so finicky as a homebrew (obviously), I say that to attempt to give you perspective on just how tedious it is to try to maintian such a thing.

First thing about that: how would the vacuum system work? What about powering the rails and the vacuum system?

Here's another: what would the bills be on an annual basis to keep it happily powered?

EDIT: I think maintenance for these would cost quite a bit as well!

Look at the figure 4 in the site I gave. It shows varying degrees of reducing drag and how beneficial it becomes to reduce the air resistance by only 50% instead of creating a perfect vacuum. That is the best cost-effective target you can find is balancing the performance gains to the cost to maintain the reduced aerodynamic drag within the tubes.

Maglev achieves about a 90% energy efficiency rating. Internal combustion engines can't seem to push much beyond 30%. Imagine replacing freight trains with something that is powered by electricity. HSR has the issue of being restricted by the friction between the wheels and track. They must have a high amount of traction to keep the train on the track, accelerating, and slowing down. Maglev trains are cheaper as well because the track acts as the motor from start to destination. The larger the scale, the more efficient you can get.

High speed rail could depend on electricity as well, but the US rail infrastructure doesn't exist for electric trains. If you need to redesign American rail lines, why not just start from scratch and design new lines to achieve maximum performance? One line from NY, SF, Atlanta, and Chicago alone would alleviate HUGE economic issues.

jrrtoken
04-11-2009, 11:03 PM
A Mag-Lev line in the Chicago area would be extremely beneficial. I live not too far from the city proper, around 100 miles away, and my city has a very archaic and inefficient commuter rail route leading towards Chicago, which is constantly in use by businessmen and other commuters. The train itself makes at least ten different stops along the way, further increasing travel time. What is usually a two-hour trip by car is around three and a half hours by train.

Either way, the local economy, or what's left of it, would benefit tremendously from that extra time gained from Mag-Levs, or some other bullet train.

Darth_Yuthura
04-11-2009, 11:58 PM
Well we would not likely actually see these as commuter systems... yet. They would do wonders as such, but would likely start out on a massive scale project to connect the major transportation hubs of the US. From that point, the major cities like LA, Dallas, and Memphis would make up a second order network to expedite the greatest number of people and freight from place to place.

I do sympathize with the commuters from the chicago and new york hinterlands, but the reduced aerodynamic drag maglev tube concept wouldn't work well for frequent stops. Each time a train enters and exits a station, it must go through an airlock to maintain the de-pressurized tube atmosphere. This would not work very well as a commuter rail system.

Even if the tracks followed the standard system used in the German prototype line, it would not be a very effective system. Because the track acts as the motor, they are not easily expandable. You can add cars, but it is not easy to expand the tracks, such as for a subway line.

Darth_Yuthura
04-24-2009, 12:40 PM
There is one major limiting factor about high-speed rail that might make a transition more expensive or less favorable: the tracks already in place. There is one line in the US for high speed rail, but the track used restricts the train's maximum speed from >150 mph to less than 80. It may be feasible for the US to simply buy high speed trains from European nations, but the issue in regards to them is the track upon which they are to use.

Another thing that must be in place are overhead power lines or third rails. You can't use high speed rail without power lines, but there would be no sense in doing that for track where the maximum speed by a train must be <90 mph. Because various American rail lines curve and twist so greatly, the issue is a train safely going at high speeds without derailing. The only way to deal with this is to relay DEDICATED high-speed rail lines.

In the time that those are constructed, you can't use high-speed trains on conventional track. Like Maglev, there would no ability to make a gradual transition from conventional to high-speed trains until the new tracks are laid.

Sabretooth
04-24-2009, 01:36 PM
cut defense add maglev lines to every major city and links between them

And compromise the security of American liberty & justice? Not in the face of Armageddon.

Web Rider
04-24-2009, 02:26 PM
The problem with the US an Maglev or high-speed is that the US isn't flat enough to link all the cities. You can't even link LA and Frisco with high-speed without tunneling through 10+ miles of the Southern Sierras. Not to mention that you've got another mt range to go through to link with Oregon, which is even more drastic in some places.

Once more you've got the Sierra Nevada's presenting similar problems with linking Frisco, Sacremento or LA with Salt Lake, and then moving east you've got the Rockies, which you couldn't cut through them at all. Linking Denver to Kansas City is easy, that's flat, and you could probably work your way around the Appalachians, but it'll still be tricky. Back to California, with all the seismic activity we have, tunnels and elevated things aren't exactly safe either.

Yeah, if you could make a mostly straight, mostly flat line from big city to big city, it would work great.

Darth_Yuthura
04-24-2009, 02:38 PM
And compromise the security of American liberty & justice? Not in the face of Armageddon.

And what of the consequences of the US economy being compromised? American cities are unlike those of any other state because they are built around the automobile. They would have worked well enough when gasoline was $1.98 a gallon, but as freeways have to support more traffic and fuel becomes more expensive; the urban infrastructure of American cities break down.

We have to rely more on mass transit instead of air travel. We need more freight trains and fewer semi trucks. We need denser populated areas in order to maintain a more compact infrastructure that is easier and cheaper to maintain.

Question: how does reducing the size of the US military compromise national security? When maintain a large military, you run up the risk of rioting, looting, and the fight goes from troops to the police. And as the military depends on the health of the economy, a good economy is the best solution to having a good military.

RE: Web rider: Here is one advantage that maglev can overcome that high speed cannot. Because the trains are suspended instead of resting upon its tracks, the major limitation to rises and sharp turns is the G-forces upon its passengers. This would mean that the majority of tracks would need to be placed upon pillars and they can be more flexible than high-speed rail lines. Tunnels would likely be needed as well, but would not have to stretch all the way from one side of the Rockies to the other like with the Swiss Alps tunnels.

When in California, the maglev rails could easily rest upon the ground as upon pillars, so that would have to be used on hazardous terrain states.

Jae Onasi
04-24-2009, 05:14 PM
I have one burning capitalistic question. Why should I spend my tax dollars on something that might be of limited use to me and my family? The trains don't always have convenient schedules or stops as it is. Why should I give up the independence of my car, where I can go anywhere at anytime?

Frankly, we got out of Chicago because of its high population density. The last thing I want to do is go back to that lifestyle again. I'd gladly go live in the country and do the extra driving if we could finagle it at some point.

jrrtoken
04-24-2009, 05:27 PM
IMO, high-speed rails should be implemented in already existing urban and suburban communities which already frequently use trains, subways, and whatnot. Additionally, I'm sure many people would find it to be very beneficial to commute via train rather through cars or buses.

As far as taxpayer money goes; if the government has spent $5 billion for an aircraft carrier, then wouldn't mind seeing an additional $5 billion go into something that can make a real positive impact on someone.

Q
04-24-2009, 05:35 PM
An enormous amount of fuel would be saved if we expanded our existing rail system and let it handle the bulk of ground shipping instead of using all of these damned tractor-trailers. Not to mention that it would make the highways a hell of a lot safer and less expensive to maintain.

But we wouldn't want to upset the almighty Teamster's Union, would we? :dozey:

Darth_Yuthura
04-24-2009, 06:00 PM
Why should I give up the independence of my car, where I can go anywhere at anytime?

Frankly, we got out of Chicago because of its high population density. The last thing I want to do is go back to that lifestyle again. I'd gladly go live in the country and do the extra driving if we could finagle it at some point.

Suburban sprawl is at the very heart of the matter of our energy crisis. YOU may not have an issue with it, but when everyone else does the same... then cities like Los Angeles, Atlanta, and even Chicago will become very problematic. American cites have enormous footprints and low population density compared to those in Europe. Chicago's mass transit system is problematic because of suburban sprawl... because of the dozens upon dozens of square miles of low-density suburban sprawl. That all came about because of the automobile.

No offense, but living in the country is the reason that light rail and public transportation can't work economically. The reason why your tax money should go into maglev is to make it cheaper to ship goods and people to and fro instead of using cars all the time. We cannot maintain this kind of auto-dependent lifestyle indefinitely, so we must get used to rail and bus transportation... which will mean having to live in the city.

Q
04-24-2009, 06:25 PM
I think that the money would be better spent on making the hydrogen fuel cell automobile practical to own. That would include developing a cost-effective, non-polluting method of producing hydrogen.

Darth_Yuthura
04-24-2009, 06:41 PM
I think that the money would be better spent on making the hydrogen fuel cell automobile practical to own. That would include developing a cost-effective, non-polluting method of producing hydrogen.

That's not so. Hydrogen fuel cells would result in the need for more energy than currently demanded for transportation. To strip hydrogen atoms from oxygen in water, you need a base source of energy. When the fuel cell powers a car, less energy is generated than what it took to produce the hydrogen.

The fuel cell is not an alternate source of energy, it is more like a transfer method... like electricity. It may not pollute by itself, but the power plant that produced the electricity for the fuel likely didn't burn a clean fuel. An electric car is more realistic than one with a hydrogen fuel cell.

Web Rider
04-24-2009, 07:50 PM
RE: Web rider: Here is one advantage that maglev can overcome that high speed cannot. Because the trains are suspended instead of resting upon its tracks, the major limitation to rises and sharp turns is the G-forces upon its passengers.
G-forces exist at high speeds, so, regardless of maglev or high-speed rail, both are going at high-speed.

This would mean that the majority of tracks would need to be placed upon pillars and they can be more flexible than high-speed rail lines. Tunnels would likely be needed as well, but would not have to stretch all the way from one side of the Rockies to the other like with the Swiss Alps tunnels.
The point is that you can't move at high speed over these areas. So the benefit of moving to a very expensive and very fast system that can't even move fast for major connections, is rather limited.

When in California, the maglev rails could easily rest upon the ground as upon pillars, so that would have to be used on hazardous terrain states.
California IS a hazardous terrain site, that's my point.

Q
04-24-2009, 08:34 PM
That's not so. Hydrogen fuel cells would result in the need for more energy than currently demanded for transportation. To strip hydrogen atoms from oxygen in water, you need a base source of energy. When the fuel cell powers a car, less energy is generated than what it took to produce the hydrogen.

The fuel cell is not an alternate source of energy, it is more like a transfer method... like electricity. It may not pollute by itself, but the power plant that produced the electricity for the fuel likely didn't burn a clean fuel. An electric car is more realistic than one with a hydrogen fuel cell.
I think that the money would be better spent on making the hydrogen fuel cell automobile practical to own. That would include developing a cost-effective, non-polluting method of producing hydrogen.
::

Tommycat
04-25-2009, 01:53 AM
Yeah.. somehow a maglev makes less sense to me than the hydrogen fuel cell. High energy cost of the maglev and the poor coverage make it unavailable to a large chunk of the population. If we're looking for things to spend cash on... I'd suggest things like electric vehicles updating power plants, new fuel sources, bio-fuels, automated driving, heck even updating the highway system. We don't need another AmTrack. Besides, think of how many people you would put out of work in the airline industry.

Believe me, I love the idea of it. It sounds all spiffy cool and futurific. But practicality just isn't there.

Q
04-25-2009, 02:45 AM
Maybe in the future. A mach 9 train sounds pretty damn cool to me.

Tommycat
04-25-2009, 06:03 AM
Yeah I should have said "practicality just isn't there, YET!"

Energy usage, maintainence costs, construction costs etc just make it a bit out of reasonable range. It would make more sense as a short range intracity transit system. But you couldn't use it in LA(that could arguably use it the most). Chicago might be able to use it. I just don't see it being something that the whole country should pay for what less than 1% would use. It would make sense if you have something like megacities with nearly nobody living in rural areas.

On a side note: Why can't they make a dang hybrid that actually looks good. I mean can you imagine how many more people would want them if they didn't look like penny racers?

Jae Onasi
04-25-2009, 10:47 AM
Suburban sprawl is at the very heart of the matter of our energy crisis. YOU may not have an issue with it, but when everyone else does the same... then cities like Los Angeles, Atlanta, and even Chicago will become very problematic. American cites have enormous footprints and low population density compared to those in Europe. Chicago's mass transit system is problematic because of suburban sprawl... because of the dozens upon dozens of square miles of low-density suburban sprawl. That all came about because of the automobile.

No offense, but living in the country is the reason that light rail and public transportation can't work economically. The reason why your tax money should go into maglev is to make it cheaper to ship goods and people to and fro instead of using cars all the time. We cannot maintain this kind of auto-dependent lifestyle indefinitely, so we must get used to rail and bus transportation... which will mean having to live in the city.
Who cares if they have low population density? You're not getting to the heart of the matter, which is why people decide to get out of the city in the first place. I hate living in the middle of a mass of people. I wouldn't put my dead fly in the Chicago public school system, and I want to live in a house with a real yard, not a crackerbox in the middle of the concrete jungle. No one has any right to dictate to me that I MUST live in the city. This is America, after all. If I choose to drive a few miles so I can live in a safer neighborhood and have far better schools for my kids, I'm for damn sure going to do it.

Drunkside
04-25-2009, 10:58 AM
Build maglev. Take the money from the damn army budget, its a frigging 300000000000 dollars a year! Actually its even more but odd numbers dont look as good:p Russia has 1/4 of that of US and it has an army as big and deadly. Americans just use their money to build useless battle robots and invisibility suits when there are much better options to spend the money on.

CommanderQ
04-25-2009, 11:42 AM
Build maglev. Take the money from the damn army budget, its a frigging 300000000000 dollars a year! Actually its even more but odd numbers dont look as good:p Russia has 1/4 of that of US and it has an army as big and deadly. Americans just use their money to build useless battle robots and invisibility suits when there are much better options to spend the money on.

Well, if you think about it, our technology is one of the few things that make our military powerful. Our numbers are pretty low in comparison to that of Russia and China, I mean, how many do we have? 500,000? 100,000? That's alot, yes, but in comparison to the massiveness of some nations, our army is very small. But we make up for that with our tech. We're pretty darn ahead of our rivals. Battle robots and invisiblity suits may just help us if we ever get into combat with a much...much larger enemy. Though we can probably do this on a smaller budget, but that's up to Washington.

jrrtoken
04-25-2009, 02:06 PM
Who cares if they have low population density? You're not getting to the heart of the matter, which is why people decide to get out of the city in the first place. I hate living in the middle of a mass of people. I wouldn't put my dead fly in the Chicago public school system, and I want to live in a house with a real yard, not a crackerbox in the middle of the concrete jungle. No one has any right to dictate to me that I MUST live in the city. This is America, after all. If I choose to drive a few miles so I can live in a safer neighborhood and have far better schools for my kids, I'm for damn sure going to do it.I fail to see how implementing high-speed rails in smaller, suburban towns leads to urbanization, warts and all. This would be greatly beneficial for the countless number of suburbs around Chicago; by linking them together, there would be a greatly reduced numbered of commuter cars on the highways, reducing the norm of rush hour traffic delays.

How would increasing different forms of transportation cause decay is smaller communities? Now that everyone has a short trip to outlying areas, would all of the "bad people" migrate into the "nice" towns? Poorer people living in seemingly isolated ghettos can now escape the slums, through the rails. Naturally, I'm sure it's a very human response, but I can't see how providing benefits for the disadvantaged can corrupt more well-off communities.

Q
04-25-2009, 02:48 PM
I think that in this country the car takes precedence regardless of practicality because of the whole individual independence thing.

EnderWiggin
04-25-2009, 04:57 PM
^^Absolutely agree.

_EW_

Tommycat
04-25-2009, 05:08 PM
I fail to see how implementing high-speed rails in smaller, suburban towns leads to urbanization, warts and all. This would be greatly beneficial for the countless number of suburbs around Chicago; by linking them together, there would be a greatly reduced numbered of commuter cars on the highways, reducing the norm of rush hour traffic delays.

How would increasing different forms of transportation cause decay is smaller communities? Now that everyone has a short trip to outlying areas, would all of the "bad people" migrate into the "nice" towns? Poorer people living in seemingly isolated ghettos can now escape the slums, through the rails. Naturally, I'm sure it's a very human response, but I can't see how providing benefits for the disadvantaged can corrupt more well-off communities.
Keep in mind the context in which she was responding. Darth Yuthura said she would HAVE to move to the city to take advantage of this.

My major problem with maglev and another train is that it's a bit like using a chainsaw to cut steak. It's wasteful and impractical. Drive from your house to the train station. Wait for train to board. board. Wait for train to depart. WOOSH! get to destination. depart. join the mass of people rushing to get cabs. Not to mention that it is still easier and faster just to drive yourself there. PLUS driving yourself there means you can go at more or less your own pace. You don't have to meet the train's schedule. That's the reason a person would rather have a car. if they need a car to make the train why not just take that car to the destination.

It just doesn't make sense. With the city sprawled out you could find yourself driving just as far to get to the station as it would be just to drive to the destination. So it really comes down to fundamental questions.

Does it do me any good? In my case, I live less than 10 miles from my work.
Will I ever use it? I go downtown once every 6 months.
Is there a better alternative to MagLev? Yup. A more efficient train from town center to town center. How about we give it a name... AmTrack sounds good.
Is it worth it? Aside from the coolness factor, I really can't see it.
Why should I pay for a VERY expensive inefficient train that chances are I'll never use?

Cargo transportation: Well we have freight trains. They are essentially huge hybrids. They are propelled by electric motors powered by diesel generators. They move massive amounts of cargo for hardly any fuel(relatively speaking).

Darth_Yuthura
04-25-2009, 10:40 PM
Yeah.. somehow a maglev makes less sense to me than the hydrogen fuel cell. High energy cost of the maglev and the poor coverage make it unavailable to a large chunk of the population. If we're looking for things to spend cash on... I'd suggest things like electric vehicles updating power plants, new fuel sources, bio-fuels, automated driving, heck even updating the highway system. We don't need another AmTrack. Besides, think of how many people you would put out of work in the airline industry.

Believe me, I love the idea of it. It sounds all spiffy cool and futurific. But practicality just isn't there.

You've got it backwards. Maglev is THE most energy-efficient means of transportation available. All friction except wind resistance is gone. You have quieter trains(that only generate noise caused by the wind resistance) The entire track acts as the motor. It maximum speed is potentially thousands of miles per hour where HSR is pushing to reach 300.

Frieght trains are cheaper than semi trucks, but they are very slow and inconvenient because the transportation hubs are greatly outdated and it's easier to just use one semi truck from starting point to destination than switching across transportation systems. We need to get away from tractor trailer semi trucks and put more goods on freight trains. Maglev could at the very least serve as a transit system between LA, Chicago, NY, and Atlanta for the majority of freight instead of the slower diesel trains, or more expensive semi trucks. It has a higher capital cost, but lower operating costs compared to alternatives. They also have a more futuristic appearance than air transports, not to mention comparable shipping speeds, they're not as loud as those jet engines, and cleaner to use.

And in regards to the previous issue with steep terrain... given that trains are suspended by the tracks and not resting on top of them, a Maglev line could make steeper climbs and sharper turns without being thrown off the tracks. That is why it's more sound than boring a tunnel all the way through the Rocky Mountains.

Drunkside
04-26-2009, 08:13 AM
Well, if you think about it, our technology is one of the few things that make our military powerful. Our numbers are pretty low in comparison to that of Russia and China, I mean, how many do we have? 500,000? 100,000? That's alot, yes, but in comparison to the massiveness of some nations, our army is very small. But we make up for that with our tech. We're pretty darn ahead of our rivals. Battle robots and invisiblity suits may just help us if we ever get into combat with a much...much larger enemy. Though we can probably do this on a smaller budget, but that's up to Washington.

You know, the toys the scientists make have no real uses. And besides, the great, mighty, POWERFUL army of the United States is a joke. If you think about it, its just a huge mob of criminals who have been given the most basic training, meaning that somebody told them really simply which side of the gun shoots out bullets. The next lesson was that they were told that side is supposed to be pointed at the enemy. Then they were taken to Iraq or afganistan to shoot at anything that moves. Or doesnt move.

Jae Onasi
04-27-2009, 02:00 AM
With all due respect, you made some definite assertions without anything to back your claims or disprove what I stated.
My assertions are backed up by actually having lived in Chicago.

Mass transit and population density are DIRECTLY dependent upon one another. I live in a lovely, if small, Cape Cod in a town with a much lower population density than Chicago. Guess what? We have mass transit. Three different types, in fact--bus, commuter train, and Amtrak.

In Chicago, most of the suburban areas receive crappy service because those regions are sparsely populated... meaning there will be less frequent stops.I lived in a Chicago suburb for several years. I happen to know that
a. the suburbs are definitely not sparsely populated (look up the population statistics for Downer's Grove, Lombart, Palatine, etc), and
b. there was enough mass transit for us to survive on 1 car instead of needing 2--there were Pace buses and Metra trains running regularly, and the L-trains go all the way to some of the suburbs like Cicero and Evanston.

While you're talking to someone who's actually experienced life and mass transit in both the big city of Chicago (including guys who play shell games on the red line, and someone who tried to sell me crack on the green line) AND the suburbs, what else is it you think you know about Chicago life that I can elucidate further for you? You certainly haven't had much if any experience with Chicago proper or its suburbs.

In Manhattan, the public transportation works well because the population density is much higher than most cities in the world.
It also works better because a. there's no place to park a car, b. it'll get jacked or screwed up in an accident anyway, c. because of that the insurance is so gawdawfully expensive only the rich can afford to keep cars as a result, so everyone else uses mass transit or taxis. It's economics there, not population density. Mass transit is considerably less expensive than insurance and parking.

LA and Atlanta worked well enough before gasoline became a major concern, but their citizens who struggle to get by have no substitute for the automobile.
That is their choice. When you live in a free country, you have responsibilities that go along with the choices you make. There is mass transit in LA and Atlanta if people choose to use it, so don't tell me they have NO substitute when they clearly do.

The population is not dense enough for any practical mass transit system of any kind. That is why LA's mass transit sucks. Their mass transit system sucks because the people have voted in officials who don't want to spend the money on it to make it good. They like their cars too much, and they're willing to put up with gas costs and the long commutes to keep their cars. Pelosi's Speaker of the House--she's not even putting her money where her mouth is for her district and state, though she certainly makes a good show of it.

If you can give me ONE city in the US where you have high population density (>5000 per square mile) w/out mass transit, or a decent light rail system and a density of less than 3500 people per square mile... and you'll not find ONE. Try Winthrop Harbor, IL. Nice small town. Sits on a light rail line. Fort Sheridan, IL. Also sits on bus and light rail lines.

More trains you say? And how exactly would they be paying for them? I'm assuming taxes and user fares--how do you think Maglev trains will come into being? The tooth fairy isn't going to wave them into existence with her magic wand, you know. It would require enormous amounts of government capital to bring those into being.

Given that there wouldn't be enough riders for it to be of any practical use, one would have to invest huge sums for upkeep and operating the system.And you're arguing for Maglev/High-speed rail using this argument for what reason again?

OR abandon the single family detached home completely and pack more people closer to the stations. I have zero desire to do that, and happily I and many others don't have to.

The issue is this pathetic 'Jefferson ideal' of every American having their own house, lawn, auto, and spreading over the landscape like a virus. NO other state builds cities like the US... any idea why that is?NO other state does this? Been to Uruguay lately? Kenya? Afghanistan? Oman? They're all RURAL. The US has the land available for people to live on or not AS THEY SO CHOOSE, and if they want to live packed in like sardines close to a train station, fine, and if they want to live in suburbia and have their homes and yards and commute in, fine, and if they want to live out in BFE Kansas and never seen anyone else for weeks at a time, fine.

Jefferson, a man committed to independence and free will, would roll in his grave at this very idea of people being forced to live somewhere.

An extremely steep population gradient, massive urban footprint, inversed social structure, dependance on the automobile, and suburban sprawl are only associated with the American city and these are not positive attributes that the rest of the world integrates into the urban planning of their states.
No, the other superpowers like China and Russia force their people to live in little boxes. Thank God we have a choice here. So what if we don't conform to some idiotic European 'model'? This isn't Europe, it's the US. They do things their way, we do things our way. The US is arguably The superpower of the world, for good and ill all, so it seems to have worked for us so far. Not saying we can't improve on it and make it better, but that's something that should come from the business/capitalism side of things. This is a country that speaks with its wallet as much as English. Make mass transit economical and time-saving, and people will go for it.


Answer this question first: Where would you recover all the farmland that had been covered with concrete and housing from the suburban sprawl? Uh, no, it doesn't work that way. ;)

Your answer: they could recover it by removing the millions of acres of suburban sprawl and relocating them from single family detached homes into condominiums closer to the central city. With a smaller urban footprint, you use less land for development.We have millions of acres of untilled land in the bread-basket farmland. I'm not too worried about lack of agriculture land at this time.

Building large cities (upwards) actually means more land for agriculture. THAT'S where you get the millions of acres of farmland.Yes, of course, because over the course of the last 200 years or so, Chicago, LA, NYC, Dallas, and other major metro regions have just gotten smaller, even when building up. That's not a realistic answer.

Well I don't like the 'suburban model,' which is based on a number of correct assumptions that are backed by fact. I'd love to see your new facts, since I disproved most of the ones in this thread already.

You are certainly free to live in a little box by the trains if you'd like, and I will respect your decision to utilize mass transit to your heart's desire. I'm not going to force you to live in suburbia, unlike you trying to force people to do things your way.

Millions are leaving the cities because of 'Maga urbs,' which are entirely auto dependent. (snipped long rant about cloverleafs and parking lots)Millions leave the cities because they WANT to, not because they're dying to live on a cloverleaf and thumb their noses at people using mass transit. We left Chicago because we didn't like the urban environment, we wanted to live in a place with actual clean air, not worry if we were going to get mugged or ripped off every day, not worry if our kids would get shot going to school, not ride a train where people sell crack, not live in a city where the school system was so bad we couldn't put a dead mouse into it. Those are all urban realities. Airy population density theories and mass transit idealism doesn't mean squat when you're dodging bullets in the middle of a riot and have to worry about what color you're wearing in what neighborhood so that you aren't accidentally mistaken for someone in a rival gang by the local gang members. THAT'S why people have left the city, not because they're tied to their cars. They want better schools, safer environments. Until you address the underlying reasons why people choose to live in rural/suburban settings instead of in cities, you'll never make headway with your idealistic project.

New York City and Downtown Chicago don't have parking lots stretched to as far as the eye can see because of mass transit. Suburbs are terrible in this retrospect.
Have you ever BEEN to downtown Chicago or NYC? Never mind, that's a dumb rhetorical question, because I know you haven't or you wouldn't have said such a ridiculous thing.
I have been to downtown Chicago, quite often. I worked in downtown Chicago. I've also been to NYC, including the downtown. There are parking lots all over the place, and on top of that, grossly overpriced parking garages that help create the 'concrete jungle' that is a big city. You can even see them on Google maps for yourself. If you can find a place that lets you park in downtown Chicago for less than $25/day, it's a miracle. Don't try to misinform people here by saying there aren't parking lots stretched as far as the eye can see in Chicago's downtown. You can't swing a dead mouse around your head without hitting a parking garage or lot. Where do you think all the commuters put their cars during the day otherwise?

You're lucky if you see anything _besides_ concrete in either downtown. The trees on Michigan Avenue are all encaged and stunted, and surrounded by sidewalk. The only greenery is the stuff the city puts in pots and pays someone to fertilize and water regularly, or the seaweed that washes up on the lakeshore, or the carefully manicured lawn of Wrigley Field or Lincoln Park.

Tommycat
04-27-2009, 05:00 PM
For the sake of not escalating this matter further, I respectfully ask that the public transportation argument end here. I AM NOT just giving up because 'someone has proven all my arguments to be false.' Some of my arguments may be lacking, yes; but so are counter arguments that are not backed by anything beyond one person's experiences in a major city.

I won't carry this on and would respectfully ask that Jae not respond to this again. I don't want this escalate this issue because she has the power to throw me off this forum. I am NOT backed in a corner and could continue this, but don't want to.

So maglev is no longer public transportation?

Great, so the argument is basically "I think maglev is cool and we should have it even if it's not cost effective."

Other forms of transportation make more sense. Investing in fuel efficient and fuel free cars is a more sound investment. At least the masses can see the benefits of it. The suburbs and the city folk alike can benefit from it. If I'm paying for it, I'd rather have something that I can see the benefit from. A maglev wouldn't decrease the number of polluting cars. It wouldn't increase air quality. It would however lighten my wallet for something I would likely never use. It would ALMOST make sense as something to connect the mainland to Hawaii(still a huge undertaking for little benefit).

Alternate form of freight transport: Think about why they don't build freight trains above ground and you MAY get your answer. Standard rail costs significantly less than a maglev track would, but even they build on the ground to save cost. They reuse lines that have been around since the 1800's(and spaced according to post civil war gauges). It makes more financial sense to build high speed trains that can reuse existing tracks, replacing where it appears unfeasible.

Oh and Phoenix has a light rail... It just went into service in December. For me to use it I have to take 3 busses for a 10 mile trip, to take another bus to any location. $1.4BILLION just for the startup. And honestly, do you want to stand outside in some of our 120º summer days waiting on a train?

Web Rider
04-27-2009, 05:26 PM
Alternate form of freight transport: Think about why they don't build freight trains above ground and you MAY get your answer. Standard rail costs significantly less than a maglev track would, but even they build on the ground to save cost. They reuse lines that have been around since the 1800's(and spaced according to post civil war gauges). It makes more financial sense to build high speed trains that can reuse existing tracks, replacing where it appears unfeasible.

High speed rail can't resuse old track for the exact reason that you can't travel at high speeds on it. Most track in the US rail system is freight grade, with some that gets more commuter use of slightly better grade, but high-speed rail, that is, any train that travels in excess of 100mph, requires an extremely smooth track. US track, ESPECIALLY freight track, is not up to these standards, if you tried to travel 130 on a freight track, you'd jump the tracks in an instant.

Tommycat
04-27-2009, 05:33 PM
High speed rail can't resuse old track for the exact reason that you can't travel at high speeds on it. Most track in the US rail system is freight grade, with some that gets more commuter use of slightly better grade, but high-speed rail, that is, any train that travels in excess of 100mph, requires an extremely smooth track. US track, ESPECIALLY freight track, is not up to these standards, if you tried to travel 130 on a freight track, you'd jump the tracks in an instant.

My bad, I was meaning to say reusing the old lines. You can reuse the old lines and replace the tracks along those routes for far cheaper than building an elevated track system. Main reason being that they wouldn't have to buy up a whole bunch of land.

Web Rider
04-27-2009, 05:45 PM
My bad, I was meaning to say reusing the old lines. You can reuse the old lines and replace the tracks along those routes for far cheaper than building an elevated track system. Main reason being that they wouldn't have to buy up a whole bunch of land.

True, the space those tracks are in in most places would be fine with a a little(read: expensive) work.

Tommycat
04-27-2009, 05:55 PM
True, the space those tracks are in in most places would be fine with a a little(read: expensive) work.

Well you'd save on land, and quite a huge chunk on planning. So there's a definite advantage there.

Web Rider
04-27-2009, 05:58 PM
Well you'd save on land, and quite a huge chunk on planning. So there's a definite advantage there.

Supposedly there's a high-speed rail link in the works that will finally link LA and the Central Valley. I don't know what the progress is on that though.

edit: here's the overall proposal and a fairly current update.
http://www.nbclosangeles.com/traffic_autos/transit/High-Speed-Rails-First-Leg-Bakersfield-Merced.html

Q
04-28-2009, 12:34 AM
Since you adamantly believe that the hydrogen fuel cell won't work because hydrogen production depends on electricity, which you insist has to be produced by burning fossil fuels because everyone knows that there are no other methods for producing electricity,* please tell us what, pray tell, powers the maglev?


*Yes, I'm being extremely sarcastic, here. :carms:

Web Rider
04-28-2009, 01:05 AM
And no, none of the solutions involving hydrogen fuel cell, ethanol, electric hybrid, renewable energy, or 'everything is fine' are realistic either, so don't bother with those.

Well I guess we're all screwed then because you're solution isn't realistic at all.

Q
04-28-2009, 03:14 AM
I have a feeling that quite a bit will depend on steam power again. Like steam-driven turbines in nuclear power plants to produce the electricity that, in one form or another, will be used to power the vehicles of tomorrow.

You know, I was actually in favor of D_Y's argument for improved mass transit (it is certainly advantageous in in urban areas) until it degenerated into a socialist rant about forcing people to live like ants and how anyone who isn't in favor of that level of tyranny is just a selfish pig. :p

Darth_Yuthura
04-28-2009, 07:28 AM
I have a feeling that quite a bit will depend on steam power again. Like steam-driven turbines in nuclear power plants to produce the electricity that, in one form or another, will be used to power the vehicles of tomorrow.

You know, I was actually in favor of D_Y's argument for improved mass transit (it is certainly advantageous in in urban areas) until it degenerated into a socialist rant about forcing people to live like ants and how anyone who isn't in favor of that level of tyranny is just a selfish pig. :p

Actually, the issue of mass transit shifted into commuter rail systems.

I had defined that maglev would be unrealistic for that purpose, but it would serve well as a freight and passenger line between the major cities. If people don't intend to live in these 'steel caves,' then most goods would still have to go through Chicago, New York, LA, and other transportation hubs. Maglev lines would simply make it cheaper and more favorable than current diesel train lines.

If you attempted to use Maglev for short trips, then it would not function well in the US. For long trips, then it would come out on top.

@Qliveur:

Before anyone goes pointing the finger at maglev for being 'every bit as dirty as hydrogen,' then I'd like to see a hydrogen-powered vehicle that achieves a nearly 80% energy efficiency rating. I'd also love to see another solution that doesn't involve generating more energy when the issue is coping with fewer sources.

Oh, and your nuclear suggestion is not so clean either. Mining, milling, and fuel rod fabrication are actually very bad for the environment.

Tommycat
04-28-2009, 10:26 AM
Actually, the issue of mass transit shifted into commuter rail systems.

I had defined that maglev would be unrealistic for that purpose, but it would serve well as a freight and passenger line between the major cities. If people don't intend to live in these 'steel caves,' then most goods would still have to go through Chicago, New York, LA, and other transportation hubs. Maglev lines would simply make it cheaper and more favorable than current diesel train lines.

If you attempted to use Maglev for short trips, then it would not function well in the US. For long trips, then it would come out on top.

@Qliveur:

Before anyone goes pointing the finger at maglev for being 'every bit as dirty as hydrogen,' then I'd like to see a hydrogen-powered vehicle that achieves a nearly 80% energy efficiency rating. I'd also love to see another solution that doesn't involve generating more energy when the issue is coping with fewer sources.

Oh, and your nuclear suggestion is not so clean either. Mining, milling, and fuel rod fabrication are actually very bad for the environment.

You haven't offered an alternative that does not use electricity. Many of those power plants use coal and oil. Nuclear is one of the cleanest alternatives. Solar is great, but efficiency is around 20% and it isn't a viable option in some areas because cloud cover tends to severely limit it's usefulness. Geothermal: not available in many areas. Hydroelectric: not available in many areas, and tends to kill off native fish in some areas. Wind: NOISY, kills birds, expensive to maintain, and again, not a viable option as it requires near constant wind.

Quite frankly MagLev is far less cost efficient. Not only that, but HST's CAN run on normal commuter tracks(at slower speeds obviously) whereas a maglev cannot go on any existing tracks(only around 1150km of the TGV is high speed, 75% is on conventional rail). Maglev efficiency is only slightly better than a normal train as the key resistances are air friction and tonnage wheel friction is only a slight efficiency drain.

What document are you referencing for 80% efficiency? I mean a turbine achieves 50 to 70% efficiency in the real world. But has a theoretical possibility at or above 90%.

Q
04-28-2009, 03:06 PM
@Qliveur:

Before anyone goes pointing the finger at maglev for being 'every bit as dirty as hydrogen,' then I'd like to see a hydrogen-powered vehicle that achieves a nearly 80% energy efficiency rating. I'd also love to see another solution that doesn't involve generating more energy when the issue is coping with fewer sources.
Why don't you just admit that you're anti-hydrogen because any solution that allows people to maintain their independence doesn't conform to your (and the people who are spoon-feeding you this crap) political agenda? ::
Oh, and your nuclear suggestion is not so clean either. Mining, milling, and fuel rod fabrication are actually very bad for the environment.
So is just about every other practical means of producing electricity, only nuclear power is non-emissive. It is the best option that we have ATM, given the way that our power grid is set up. It is certainly not a permanent solution, but it will buy us enough time to come up with something better, like fusion, which is not very far in the future.

You know, I'm pretty certain that you weren't so anti-nuclear a few months ago. What changed your mind (as if I didn't already know)? I have a hard time keeping up with the latest environmentalist fad, which seems to change every time the political winds blow in a different direction. Could it be because environmentalists on the whole are far more interested in pushing a political agenda than they will ever be in saving the environment? :raise:

We would already have several more nuclear power plants in place and online had it not been for all of the environmentalist obstructionism, scare-mongering and general stupidity 20-30 years ago. :dozey:

Darth_Yuthura
04-28-2009, 06:51 PM
Why don't you just admit that you're anti-hydrogen because any solution that allows people to maintain their independence doesn't conform to your (and the people who are spoon-feeding you this crap) political agenda? :¬:

Why would I? That's not remotely the reason. For your information, I DESPISE living in urban locations. I am living in an apartment with a guy above me who sounds like his feet are made of lead and where there's a lot of noise from traffic. Crime isn't that great an issue, though.

If any of you are thinking that I don't want privacy, access to a personal automobile, and avoiding noise from others; I am not asking others to do it so I don't have to. I only use a car when I have to travel more than 5 miles from my present location. If I were to ask people to do all this crap and I wouldn't do the same, that would be very hypocritical of me, wouldn't it?

As for the reason I'm against hydrogen, if you haven't already read and rejected my answer from before is that it would demand ADDITIONAL energy than what we are already consuming. Hydrogen isn't an energy source, but a means of transmission from another source. It's coal and nuclear energy converted to chemical energy, which is then converted to electric energy in your vehicle. If there were no loss of energy per each conversion, then I would be all for it. Electricity loses ~4% per 1000 KM it has to travel from the power plant to the destination, but hydrogen has at least a 10% loss.

The ONLY advantage it has over electricity is independence from a power grid or slow recharge time. That would give it its only edge over the electric car, but beyond that; it's very inefficient.

One other thing that contradicts such a bogus statement is that I supported the split-cycle engine LONG before it was introduced this month. Clearly, I am not advocating ONLY public transportation. I am advocating EFFICIENT transportation.

So is just about every other practical means of producing electricity, only nuclear power is non-emissive. It is the best option that we have ATM, given the way that our power grid is set up. It is certainly not a permanent solution, but it will buy us enough time to come up with something better, like fusion, which is not very far in the future.

You're right, but you happened to say EXACTLY what I wanted.

When you accused maglev of not being 'clean,' you suddenly jumped to the opposite side to attack me for making the same kind of argument as you. Therefore, you're initial statement about maglev's energy not being clean is moot. With a flagrant disregard for the holes in your own solution, you don't exactly prove your point by attacking holes in my solution that actually are less severe than those of hydrogen.

You know, I'm pretty certain that you weren't so anti-nuclear a few months ago. What changed your mind (as if I didn't already know)? I have a hard time keeping up with the latest environmentalist fad, which seems to change every time the political winds blow in a different direction. Could it be because environmentalists on the whole are far more interested in pushing a political agenda than they will ever be in saving the environment? :raise:

I actually do support nuclear above the other sources of energy both economically and environmentally.

We would already have several more nuclear power plants in place and online had it not been for all of the environmentalist obstructionism, scare-mongering and general stupidity 20-30 years ago. :dozey:

The first-generation plants are also used for political reference as 'expensive' and 'dangerous' and 'produce too much waste' Anyone with an ounce of sense could not claim that all nuclear waste over 50 years compares to the sheer quantity of ash produced by ONE coal plant annually.

All American nuclear plants were WAY too expensive to build, but because of obvious flaws in design and construction. Don't compare a modern reactor in France to a 50-year-old American design! I even support heavy-breeder reactors more heavily, if they happen to be twice as much to build. They happen to be at least 20 times as efficient with their uranium fuel.

ForeverNight
04-28-2009, 07:08 PM
I actually do support nuclear above the other sources of energy both economically and environmentally. I was lying.

So, you're lying now... I bet that means you were lying about the Urban-being-better and how we should all give up our independence from our preferred surban environment?

Anyway, which is it? Were you lying about lying or not?

Edit: My first line in this post is a (rather poor) attempt at adding some levity to an otherwise serious discussion. [/disclaimer]

Q
04-28-2009, 07:44 PM
I actually do support nuclear above the other sources of energy both economically and environmentally. I was lying.

Too late on the ghost edit, there, slick. This alone makes you not even worth acknowledging, let alone arguing with. As if I didn't already know this.

Say hello to my little friend, otherwise known as my ignore list. :dozey:

And do yourself and this forum a favor and stop posting your nonsense lest someone actually take you seriously.

Darth_Yuthura
04-28-2009, 08:24 PM
Too late on the ghost edit, there, slick. This alone makes you not even worth acknowledging, let alone arguing with. As if I didn't already know this.

Say hello to my little friend, otherwise known as my ignore list. :dozey:

And do yourself and this forum a favor and stop posting your nonsense lest someone actually take you seriously.

Obviously! I can't exactly edit something after I was already quoted!

And if you already knew that, then why did you go on under the assumption that I simply changed my mind? Answer: You assumed that I advocated against nuclear energy so you could supplant my argument with more irrelevant information. And you failed, miserably!

You know, I'm pretty certain that you weren't so anti-nuclear a few months ago. What changed your mind

Q
04-28-2009, 09:33 PM
And if you already knew that, then why did you go on under the assumption that I simply changed my mind? Answer: You assumed that I advocated against nuclear energy so you could supplant my argument with more irrelevant information. And you failed, miserably!
Oh, and your nuclear suggestion is not so clean either. Mining, milling, and fuel rod fabrication are actually very bad for the environment.

:dozey:

Jae Onasi
04-28-2009, 10:58 PM
Too late on the ghost edit, there, slick. This alone makes you not even worth acknowledging, let alone arguing with. As if I didn't already know this.

Say hello to my little friend, otherwise known as my ignore list. :dozey:

And do yourself and this forum a favor and stop posting your nonsense lest someone actually take you seriously.

Qliveur, this does not meet the criteria of 'friendly discussion.' It does meet the description of flamebaiting, which would be good for you to avoid.


Obviously! I can't exactly edit something after I was already quoted!Well, you can edit your own post, and did (I can see the edit-change logs for each post, the one where I fixed the quote tags, and the 2 edits you did). However, someone quoted your post before you made the edits.

And if you already knew that, then why did you go on under the assumption that I simply changed my mind? Answer: You assumed that I advocated against nuclear energy so you could supplant my argument with more irrelevant information. And you failed, miserably!
I think he was working on the assumption that you had changed your mind rather than accusing you of lying, which was appopriate of him. Don't flamebait him further with accusations, please.

OK, everyone, time to tone it down. We're talking about choo-choo trains. No need to get personal about Thomas the Tank Engine here.

Q
04-29-2009, 04:58 PM
Qliveur, this does not meet the criteria of 'friendly discussion.' It does meet the description of flamebaiting, which would be good for you to avoid.

My apologies, Jae. I thought that she was deliberately toying with me and playing silly games, and TBH I'm still unsure as to whether or not that was actually the case.

I'll keep it civil from here on out, regardless.

Web Rider
04-30-2009, 04:41 AM
On a purely shallow note, maglev really lacks style.
You make maglev look like this: http://www.freewebs.com/futurecities/Maglev.jpg
That's got style.
you make maglev look like this: http://www.cleo.net.uk/images/library/maglev.jpg
And I'll walk.

Trains, they had style, a vision of the future with curves and wings and any assortment of unimaginable coolness. What do we have now? Minimalism. We can't even take the time to put effort into our work, every stove is like every other, every car like every other, a box for a home and a little square window and a little square door.

Back when, people pictured things like this: http://blog.modernmechanix.com/mags/qf/c/MechanixIllustrated/12-1958/prop_train/med_prop_train_0.jpg would be in our future. Unrealistic? Sure, functional? not in the slightest. Visionary? You bet. Jules Verne gave us the Nautilus and we returned with an oversized piece of pipe.

I'm not sure what we'll develop in the future, but when it's going 150mph, and looking lame will make it go 155mph instead, give it some style and put in some real craftsmanship instead. Screw the extra 5 mph.

Jae Onasi
05-05-2009, 11:20 PM
Many of the suburban sprawl posts were moved to the Suburban sprawl (http://lucasforums.com/showthread.php?t=197508) thread. Carry on with maglev/train discussions here.

Darth_Yuthura
06-15-2009, 09:45 AM
Well here's a topic that hasn't been covered in a while. Why not revive it?

I see there is logic in replacing diesel trains with high-speed electric trains, even if US track isn't suited for high speed trains. It would make sense to begin replacing trains whenever it can be done and operate them at standard speeds when the grade of track demands it, such as with the Rocky Mountains. After that obstacle is cleared, then a new grade of track could be laid for high-speed rail operations. As new track is layed, these trains would simply have more routs to travel with less restriction on their speeds.

There are also possible options for diesel trains to be provided with overhead wire attachments to have electricity provided by the power grid while in high-speed operation. Most US trains are diesel electric, so that means they could act independent of a power grid or they can have it provided by another power plant. Since most American track don't have those overhead wires, it would make sense to keep using diesel electric trains, but provide them with a means to make use of those wires when they are in place.

Maglev unfortunately has no method of transitioning, since it is a very different kind of system than HSR.

Jae Onasi
06-15-2009, 11:10 AM
Electric works for me. However, you have to create the electricity somehow. What methods are you suggesting for that?

mimartin
06-15-2009, 12:12 PM
Electric works for me. However, you have to create the electricity somehow. What methods are you suggesting for that?

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2319/2151338763_5803f8105d_b.jpg

Darth_Yuthura
06-15-2009, 12:21 PM
Electric works for me. However, you have to create the electricity somehow. What methods are you suggesting for that?

Well there's another reason you need a diesel engine for this to work: Electricity cannot be stored, so it must be constantly produced in order to assure peak demand is met, even when demand falls at night. You can't just start up and shut down powerplants within a matter of hours, so these trains would be suited to use electricity from the grid on off-peak hours while switching to its onboard diesel engine to take over during peak demand hours. This would serve to reduce transportation's dependence on oil while transitioning to electricity when it is available.

jrrtoken
06-15-2009, 01:35 PM
Well there's another reason you need a diesel engine for this to work: Electricity cannot be stored, so it must be constantly produced in order to assure peak demand is met, even when demand falls at night.I suppose that no one here has heard of an obscure invention from not to far ago, something called a "battery", which supposedly "stores" electricity for later use. Probably a load of sensationalist poppycock, though.

Darth_Yuthura
06-15-2009, 01:45 PM
I suppose that no one here has heard of an obscure invention from not to far ago, something called a "battery", which supposedly "stores" electricity for later use. Probably a load of sensationalist poppycock, though.

That was completely unnecessary and didn't add to the debate.

I knew of the invention you spoke of and also knew that it can not be implemented on a practical scale for use with a power grid. Those batteries on diesel hybrid engines only store energy to augment the electric motors, but nothing beyond that is needed for storage on a massive scale.

Plug-in hybrids are meant to store energy for trips, using a gasoline engine only to sustain and recharge those batteries. Those are not really feasible for something the size of a train.

Bimmerman
06-18-2009, 09:54 AM
Just to clear it up, the diesel electric trains aren't capable of running on both systems. The diesel motors in newer more modern train engines acts as a generator, only running at a constant rate to generate electricity. All propulsion is done via electric motor. This way the trains burn vastly lower amounts of fuel.

It should be possible to make these trains run on both overhead wires when available or on the diesel-generated power when not....probably a bit much to retrofit but possible and feasible in newer models.

As for trains, I would be all for them if the fares are as cheap or involved less hassles as flying. Considering how far apart cities and destinations are here in the US (especially out west), trains would take many hours to days to get from A to B even at high speed through the nothingness that is Utah, and that's assuming non stops or infrequent stops. The beauty of the European rail system is that Europe is so much closer together than things are here, it makes more sense. For us, flying makes more sense.

It all comes down to money though; if it can a) be built economically, b) have low enough fares to where people choose rail over flying, and c) there is less of a hassle when compared to flying (more luxury, amenities, less pointlessly useless security, etc) or similar transit time considering security, delays, baggage, etc, rail would make more sense.

Darth_Yuthura
06-19-2009, 10:55 PM
Okay one issue that can never really be overcome with HSR is the train's maximum speed. There have been records for this kind of travel of about 300 MPH. That is really pushing the limits of how fast you can propel any kind of train. When reaching that speed, the friction between the tracks, wheels, and air resistance become limiting factors.

The beauty of Maglev is that it can potentially be free of all forces of friction and drag. Those systems that operate today are held back at ~350 mph because of air resistance. Any faster and you need more energy to overcome the air resistance which becomes more significant at higher speeds. Then there comes another issue in regards to that... noise.

The other major benefit of maglev is that it is quiet, but that advantage is negated when air resistance generates more sound than the friction between track and wheels. By creating a vacuum tube, you have the potential to speed a train beyond the sound barrier. Less air in the tube translates to a greater potential speed without the sonic boom. So the potential for maglev can be upwards of 6000 mph where HSR is at the best 450 mph before track friction becomes too high, not to mention the sound barrier becomes a factor.