I’m sure I will be called an idiot by enjineerz for this, but I know I’m rite:
Brakes for trainz that match the mass and speed requirements!
Any vehicle thats likely to encounter unforseen obstaclez shoud be able to stop in a reazonable distans to avoid a colision. ESPECIALLY vehiclez that cant chanje their direction. 200 ft maximum from 70 mph.
Currently it takes sumthing like a mile to stop a fully loaded frate train. Rediculous! Probably the yung wippersnapper enjineer traineez think uv this every time therez a fatal accident in the newz and the senior enjineerz call them idiots and go back to dezining A LOUDER HORN!
And I dont know wut the orijinal idea with the 4 ft wide tracks wuz, but 10 ft wide x 20 ft tall trainz need to hav tracks AT LEAST 12 ft wide. Az with alot uv the foolish Earthling foolishness, its probably tradition, in this case going all the way back to the 1804 Penydarren Tramroad. You’d think that sumtime soon after, sum jenius railroad enjineer woud think ‘wider = less tipping over and killing everybody!’
A particularly stoopid frend uv mine believez that the fault liez entirely with the driverz who get hit in crossingz.
Even tho its usually true that they make the mistake that iz the immediate cauze, they are really only presipitating an event out uv conditionz that are set up to make it likely.
the entityz in control uv the infrastructur hav the responsibilty to take all the real world factorz into account. Wun uv thoze factorz iz that humanz often make bad desijunz.
Over a long time line across the country or the entire world, you woud probably find a fairly stedy rate uv occurans and cost for theze bad desijunz and be able to factor them into a cost/benefit calculation to justify the expens uv sum level uv braking system.
Exectivez and the company lawyerz just blaming driverz all the time iz a failure uv their duty to the society that payz their jenerous (probably exorbitant) salaryz.
Plus, its not alwayz the case that the vehicle gets hit due to an error uv its driver.
Sumtimez the car or truck behind pushez it onto the tracks. Sumtimez snow or ise cauze it to looz traction. Sumtimez there are pot holez or the ground sinks, cauzing a vehicle to bottom out on the railz. There are crossingz next to street intersectionz where the lites and gates are not coordinated properly. Sumtimez a pedestrian or another vehicle duz sumthing that requirez the vehicle to stop on the tracks.
We are living in a world full uv unpredictable situationz wich require vehiclez to hav the power to stop quickly to prevent dizasterz. Trainz are no exeption.
An Obvious Solution
The emerjensy brake system coud be caliperz on every locomotiv and car and a sentr rail they woud clamp onto. Just like disk brakes on a car, exept linear.
Sins most aksidents occur at crossingz, the brake system woud only need to be around them. The rail woud need to be az long az the longest train plus the distans expected for the train enjineer (or automatic radar system) to see that he needz to stop. So a few milez total, much less for commuter only tracks. This woud spred the heat load over a far larjer mass than a rotor like on a car and remove the traction requirement off the weelz.
Therez no new tek involved. This coud hav been dun 200 yirz ago.
First time here and youre wundering wuzzup with the spelling? Read the Orijin Story!
January 18, 2017 at 7:14 pm
While your idea of a third rail and calipers on all locos and cars to grip that rail in an emergency sounds feasible in reality it’s not. Physics is a bitch. A mile long freight train weighs hundreds of thousands of tons. To stop that momentum (mass times velocity) from 70mph in 200 feet is impossible. A 3000lb. passenger car can’t be stopped in the same circumstances. Even if the calipers could grip that third rail hard enough here’s what would happen: Whatever fasteners that hold that rail (rail spikes, welds, bolts down to the center of the earth) would shear. Now that rail is part of the total mass (therefore momentum) and has to be stopped by the train’s “regular” brakes.
The second issue is fiscal. To lay a third rail on the tens/hundreds of thousands of miles of track in the USA is economically impossible. Not to mention retrofitting every piece of rolling stock with that emergency brake. “But a life is worth more than that!” While I won’t argue that point, insurance companies say otherwise. Actuary tables put a price on everything, including life itself, thereby determining what you pay for car, health, life, etc. insurance. Insurance companies are betting against those actuary tables and by extension all corporations, railroad companies included.
Several years ago I watched a travel special about a train trip that started in Russia and ended in China. No big deal right? Wrong. Russia and China have different rail guages. Therefore any train going over the border in either direction has to have each car physically lifted off its bogeys and placed on the other country’s bogeys. 8-10 hours for a short, light passenger train. How does this apply to your “solution”? We have this pesky treaty known as NAFTA. Canada, Mexico and the USA are signatory countries. If the USA passed a regulation stating that emergency braking system had to be applied to all rolling stock travelling rail systems in the USA and Canada didn’t agree a mess similar to the above China/Russia example would be involved at every railroad border crossing.
A more economically feasible solution which I read about more than 20 years ago was a net of sorts that came down at railroad crossings. The net crosses all lanes of traffic thereby preventing any “gate-crashers” from crossing the track when a train is coming. And the majority of train/vehicle collisions are due to people being stupid and going around crossing gates and/or not paying attention to flashing lights. The nets also prevent an out of control vehicle from getting to the tracks whether that vehicle has lost its brakes, is sliding due to ice or other weather conditions, or was pushed by another vehicle hitting it from behind (as in one of your examples). It would also prevent another scenario — someone crashing the gates and running into the side of the train, a situation your solution wouldn’t prevent and actually does happen.
As to your argument about trains tipping over, many many many more passenger vehicles (with a far more advantageous height-to-width ratio) flip over than do trains. Train accidents make for better TV than flipped cars so we hear about all of them. One derailed a couple of months ago in my town. Fortunately it was only hauling coal and didn’t cause any major damage. Cleaned up in a couple days and life goes on. If an automobile had flipped in the same place it wouldn’t have made the news.
January 18, 2017 at 8:19 pm
Thanks for commenting, kmconstr. Allow me to rebut your points.
“A mile long freight train weighs hundreds of thousands of tons. To stop that momentum (mass times velocity) from 70mph in 200 feet is impossible. A 3000lb. passenger car can’t be stopped in the same circumstance.”
Cars can typically stop from 70 in around 120 ft. Hi performans cars, such as Corvette, Ferrari, Lamborgini, can stop under 100 ft! I believe the Viper ACS has the current record at something like 87 ft.
Stopping a train as quickly is different only in that it has smooth steel weelz riding on smooth steel railz – relatively poor traction compared to rubber tirez on azfalt. So, bypassing that limitation iz essential. The increased mass merely requirez that the stopping power iz multiplied accordingly. Not hard to do when you are swiching from the very limited surfase area available inside the weelz uv a car to the virtually unlimited area available under the train on the ground, not carried by the train. The brake rail can be mounted to az many deeply embedded posts az needed. The limit becomez the damaj potential uv the cargo hitting the trian car wallz if it iznt secured well enuff, not to mention passenjerz. So, even tho it may be possible to stop the train in 50 ft, the G-forse woud be exessiv for daily operationz, costing too much time strapping stuff down and requiring passenjerz to alwayz be belted in their seats.
“The second issue is fiscal. To lay a third rail on the tens/hundreds of thousands of miles of track in the USA is economically impossible.”
1. It woud be far cheaper than the lawsuits and actual damaj. Dont forget the timeline factor – you pay for the installation, then sum much smaller amount for yearly maintenens. Each time a collision iz avoided sum or all uv that investment iz paid off. Maybe a particular intersection never haz an insident, so never payz off, but over the entire rail system, the hi insident prone intersectionz make up for it. Its obvious that starting with thoze intersectionz iz the way to go.
Knowing how humanz are prone to apathy, the program woud never reach 100% completion, so there woud alwayz be unprotected intersectionz wich, given enuf time, woud hav aksidents.
2. It wuz apparently economicly feazable to lay hundredz uv thouzandz uv milez uv track in the past, so I think it coud be dun agen. Sins its not starting frum scrach, duznt need to cover every mile, and can be dun over a period uv decadez, I am confident that the money coud be scrounjed up sumhow.
“A more economically feasible solution which I read about more than 20 years ago was a net of sorts that came down at railroad crossings. The net crosses all lanes of traffic thereby preventing any “gate-crashers” from crossing the track when a train is coming.”
Not a bad idea.
If you enjoy watching the car crash videoz like I do, you will see that sum Russian crossingz are equiped with barrierz the rize up out uv the street to prevent crashez. Or, I shoud say, keep the train from getting hit! Nets woud sertainly be kinder for the carz and their occupants.
“As to your argument about trains tipping over, many many many more passenger vehicles (with a far more advantageous height-to-width ratio) flip over than do trains.”
Not an excuse for trainz tipping over. Its like – how hard do you want to press your luck? How about if we put the railz 2 ft apart? The closer they are together, the less sumthing haz to go rong for the train to tip over.