Jump to content


Photo
* * * - - 2 votes

does a train use more engery than a plane as it goes faster ?


  • Please log in to reply
417 replies to this topic

#51 mariner

mariner
  • Member

  • 1,377 posts
  • Joined: January 07

Posted 04 December 2012 - 19:45

Thanks for all the comments - Im not anti-rail or pro-plane - I like both!

Load factor has a big leverage in real world CO2 / passenger km. Planes typically get 80%+ load factor - if they didn't the operating airline would go bust fast.

Trains struggle to each 40% in most places I know - the busiest UK man line Virgin Wes Coast has run at 29- 30% load factor

So whatever the technical energy comparison planes can half it on load factor. I think its because planes are a commercial busineses willing to use yield management quite ruthlessly to fill seats whereas trains have public service mentality - run a convenient schedule all day even if it means empty trains .

Speed does cost power on trains even at lower speeds . Taking the " west coast" route above, in the 1960's a 13 coach train had a 2,000 bhp engine and reached about 85 mph. Today the train is 11 longer coaches for a similar theorectical seating capacity but 125 mph running requires 8,000 bhp. Crudely extrapolating that ratio (4X power for 1.56X speed suggests 300 mph would need 128,000 bhp - only a rough estimate but serious power.

Record setting trains can run at 300 mph but when doing so they don't have the full set of loaded coaches so quotd power usage is rather misleading . Train top speeds are maybe not economicaly above 300 mph because of the problem of collecting that much power of a thin wire - the wire / pick up interface becomes very aero senstive.

Advertisement

#52 Ross Stonefeld

Ross Stonefeld
  • Member

  • 57,373 posts
  • Joined: August 99

Posted 04 December 2012 - 20:19

I've taken the Amtrak on that ride as well. It's great. For about $400 my wife and I spent a great day rolling up the coast. However, the economics don't support it for everyday travel. I can fly for $100 or so and get there in, what, 1 1/2 hours?

The new high speed rail program will take about 4 hours (at best...it will probably take longer...it's anything but a straight line path, probably 800km). It has been independently estimated at $100 Billion total cost. It will probably run more than that. It was sold to the voters at a $35B total cost. Now understand that California has the same basic economic situation as Greece. So who is paying for this? Environmentalists and farmers are very unhappy with the land effects of building it. Oh ya, they estimate that the cost to ride the train from LA to SF (in present day dollars) will cost over $200.

So the high speed rail costs a massive chunk of money, it's slower than a plane, it's more expensive than a plane and it tears up the environment. What's the logic here, again?


Is there some great untapped SF-LA need? Trains on the east coast make a bit more sense, because you can go DC/Baltimore/Philly/NY in the time it would take you to fly once you factor in security lines and delays.

#53 Wuzak

Wuzak
  • Member

  • 3,496 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 04 December 2012 - 21:51

I've taken the Amtrak on that ride as well. It's great. For about $400 my wife and I spent a great day rolling up the coast. However, the economics don't support it for everyday travel. I can fly for $100 or so and get there in, what, 1 1/2 hours?

The new high speed rail program will take about 4 hours (at best...it will probably take longer...it's anything but a straight line path, probably 800km). It has been independently estimated at $100 Billion total cost. It will probably run more than that. It was sold to the voters at a $35B total cost. Now understand that California has the same basic economic situation as Greece. So who is paying for this? Environmentalists and farmers are very unhappy with the land effects of building it. Oh ya, they estimate that the cost to ride the train from LA to SF (in present day dollars) will cost over $200.

So the high speed rail costs a massive chunk of money, it's slower than a plane, it's more expensive than a plane and it tears up the environment. What's the logic here, again?


For $195 you can go from LAX (Union Station, downtown LA) to New Orleans. Sure, it takes 3 days, but can you fly there for less than $200?

In 1996 I paid about $120 for the California Zephyr from San Francisco to Nebraska. The train was late, mainly because every time a freight train was coming the other direction the Amtrak would have to pull into a siding and wait (supposed to be the other way around, but the freight company owns the lines....).

Amtrak is also quoting $56 on-line from Union Station LA to Oakland, a trip time of just over 11 hours.

#54 Wuzak

Wuzak
  • Member

  • 3,496 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 04 December 2012 - 22:04

Thanks for all the comments - Im not anti-rail or pro-plane - I like both!

Load factor has a big leverage in real world CO2 / passenger km. Planes typically get 80%+ load factor - if they didn't the operating airline would go bust fast.


That is true. But it is also true that airlines will dump services that do not have enough passengers. So it isn't a fair comparison.


Trains struggle to each 40% in most places I know - the busiest UK man line Virgin Wes Coast has run at 29- 30% load factor


Pricing for fares will be based on the patronage. Train fares are probably based on much lower "load factors".



So whatever the technical energy comparison planes can half it on load factor. I think its because planes are a commercial busineses willing to use yield management quite ruthlessly to fill seats whereas trains have public service mentality - run a convenient schedule all day even if it means empty trains .


You could argue that airlines abdicate their responsibilities/promises every time they cancel a flight.


Speed does cost power on trains even at lower speeds . Taking the " west coast" route above, in the 1960's a 13 coach train had a 2,000 bhp engine and reached about 85 mph. Today the train is 11 longer coaches for a similar theorectical seating capacity but 125 mph running requires 8,000 bhp. Crudely extrapolating that ratio (4X power for 1.56X speed suggests 300 mph would need 128,000 bhp - only a rough estimate but serious power.


To double the speed would theoretically require 8 times the power.



Record setting trains can run at 300 mph but when doing so they don't have the full set of loaded coaches so quotd power usage is rather misleading . Train top speeds are maybe not economicaly above 300 mph because of the problem of collecting that much power of a thin wire - the wire / pick up interface becomes very aero senstive.


The current record for the TGV is 357mph (575km/h), but that was run, as you note, without cars or passengers.

The power also doesn't have to be transmitted through overhead wires. It can be transmitted through the rail system.






#55 Wuzak

Wuzak
  • Member

  • 3,496 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 04 December 2012 - 22:05

Is there some great untapped SF-LA need? Trains on the east coast make a bit more sense, because you can go DC/Baltimore/Philly/NY in the time it would take you to fly once you factor in security lines and delays.


You would have to look at the airline and vehicle traffic between the two cities.

#56 bigleagueslider

bigleagueslider
  • Member

  • 858 posts
  • Joined: March 11

Posted 05 December 2012 - 03:25

I have just returned from the US. The last few days I spent in Huntington Beach, south of LA. A map in the hotel info pack showed a driving time to LAX of around 45 minutes (which, I suppose, it was at 8:00pm on a Sunday evening!). But everything seems to take considerably longer.

A friend drove over from his place to pick me up for a day trip to San Diego last Thursday. He left at 7:00am and arrived somewhat after 10:00am. The drive was supposed to take 90 minutes. The drive to and from San Diego seemed to go smoothly enough. But the experience didn't agree with my friend, so we agreed to meet halfway. That meant bus and/or taxi ride to train station and a train ride for me. Check the bus schedules - it would take approximately 2.5 hours and 4 buses to get to the train station. So, I got a cab. That took an hour and a $50 fare. Got on the train, for an hour's ride. Then drive for another hour to get to where we were going.

On the train on the way back I noticed as we crossed a 6 lane freeway (as in 6 one way, and 6 the other - should that be a 12 lane freeway?) that not one car was moving - thousands of red lights on one side, and thousands of white lights on the other. Motionless. Is this the freedom of the car?

Also, spent some time in Texas. They seem to have become builders of great multi-level spaghetti intersections. More than once I was driven over on a 3rd or 4th level overpass/exit. Each with safety barriers lower than the window line on our car (modern Dodge Charger). Apparently one motorcyclist had already managed to launch himself over the side. My first though upon seeing one of these vast overpass systems was "this is nuts".


Wuzak-

Hope you enjoyed your time in H.B. That's where I live. I can confirm that it only takes about 35-40 minutes to travel from H.B. to LAX by car, before 6AM or after 8PM weekdays, or on weekends. Between 6AM and 8PM on weekdays, the same trip can take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours. You can also make the trip using public transit. You can catch an OCTD bus in HB, transfer to an MTD bus in Long Beach, catch the Green Line light rail north to Aviation Blvd., and take a shuttle bus to the LAX terminal. During most times of the day, this trip will take about 2 hours and costs around $15.

I also loved that picture you posted of the multi-level freeway interchange. It looks like the one at the I405 and I105 interchange. There are lots of similar interchanges throughout southern California. While such freeway structures may seem like "nuts" to you, you should consider that there are over 20 million people living in southern California. And the annual GDP produced in this area is probably greater than that of 97% of the countries in the world.

The next time you're out here, if you want to see a truly intimidating piece of public highway engineering, take a trip through the I405 and I5 interchange in south Orange County (the El Toro 'Y'). It's 8 lanes wide in each direction, or 16 lanes total. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Toro_Y


#57 Wuzak

Wuzak
  • Member

  • 3,496 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:57

Hey Slider, wish I knew you lived there. I would have looked you up.

I certainly could have done with your advice on public transport when I was there. For instance, I wanted to go to Riverside. The nearest train station by my reckoning was Santa Ana. It took about an hour by taxi to get to that, and, as far as I could tell, at least twice that on the bus with 3 or 4 bus changes.

By nuts I mean that building such freeway structures is not, to my mind, the way of the future.

A city the size of LA should have a far more extensive public transport system, particularly in the case of light rail.

#58 jcbc3

jcbc3
  • Member

  • 5,115 posts
  • Joined: November 04

Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:04

...
A city the size of LA should have a far more extensive public transport system, particularly in the case of light rail.


Enjoy

Did GM destroy the LA mass transit system?

#59 Wuzak

Wuzak
  • Member

  • 3,496 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:07

Slider,

I don't suppose you were one of the guys playing beach volleyball, or perhaps beach touch football, on Saturday morning?

Advertisement

#60 Tenmantaylor

Tenmantaylor
  • Member

  • 8,321 posts
  • Joined: July 01

Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:10

Posted Image

#61 Lee Nicolle

Lee Nicolle
  • Member

  • 5,883 posts
  • Joined: July 08

Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:12

So mass transit must have terrible deaths per mile statistics compared to cars, right?

For the number of kilometres travelled the injurys are far higher. Something glossed over by governments world wide. Millions of cars v 100s of buses.M illions of injurys v 100s of injurys. And try getting compensation for a public transport injury. A young lass I know broke her arm and cheek when the bus suddenly stopped as she was still walking down the aisle with bag and shopping= no free hands. She had to claim on workers compo as she was on her way home from work. To add to the injury she lost her job [casual retail] because she was unadvailable to work for 6 + weeks. This is an accident that just would not happen in a pasenger vehicle, and should NEVER happen on a bus.
And this is far from an isolated case. There has been some huge accidents world wide where buses and trains have crashed killing people and injuring a lot more.
Many citys have the problem of passenger buses travelling at 100kmh,, with people standing. The downhill approaches to Adelaide have buses travelling at 80-100kmh and then just jump on the brakes like a car. I have been alongside buses with the brakes on fire at the stop at the bottom of these hills,, these are buses with a 100 people on board. Safe economical transport,, yeah right.

#62 Wuzak

Wuzak
  • Member

  • 3,496 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:53

http://www.infrastru.../pdf/rsr_04.pdf

In 2008 22 people died in 20 fatal crashes involving buses (Table 25).

By comparison there were 694 car drivers and 303 passengers killed in 2008, and 1464 total road users (includes motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians - Table 1).

Got any better data Lee?

#63 Wuzak

Wuzak
  • Member

  • 3,496 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:58

From 1990 to 1997, 208 people died and 1,495 people were hospitalised as a result of bus crashes. This
does not include deaths and hospitalisations of bus drivers or bus passengers, nor the tally of injuries for
those treated at the accident scene.


http://www.ntc.gov.a...70415465177.pdf

This is a document advocating better safety on buses in Australia, including the use of seat belts.

#64 Wuzak

Wuzak
  • Member

  • 3,496 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:03

As for train injuries/fatalities, how many of them were due to wankers trying to beat the train at a level crossing? Certainly a recent crash in Victoria was due to that.

When I was in the US there was a case where a truck carrying several war veterans ran into a train at a level crossing, causing several fatalities.

http://en.wikipedia....i/TGV_accidents

The safety figures for the TGV system are exceptional; there have been no fatalities in high-speed operation since service started in 1981.



#65 Joe Bosworth

Joe Bosworth
  • Member

  • 522 posts
  • Joined: May 05

Posted 05 December 2012 - 11:33

Since the question of safety has arisen it is useful to look at some real numbers.

The US DoT publishes data that is as good as anyone. In the US for the years 2006 to 08 inclusive we find;

Automobiles .61 fataities per 100 million pasenger miles
Busses .05
Trains .06
Scheduled air .003

Clearly, scheduled aircraft are 20 times safer than trains and busses. But both trains ans busses are 10 times safer than automobiles which really puts their safety into some perspective. We all accept automobiles as an acceptable safety risk so the others become exceptional by comparison.

It is also clear that high speed trains such as the TGV rival aircraft for safety. It is also useful to recognise that the high speed trains operate at occupancy rates similar to aircraft. Or at least by sampling which is pretty extensive.

Regards

Joe

Edited by Joe Bosworth, 05 December 2012 - 11:37.


#66 Joe Bosworth

Joe Bosworth
  • Member

  • 522 posts
  • Joined: May 05

Posted 05 December 2012 - 12:34

I have the advantage of having worked on the feasibility study for a Sydney-Melbourne (via Canberra) very fast train a few years ago. The economics and technical feasibilty has barely alterred since that study. It was only a lack og government's courage and foresight that has blocked a private enterprise VFT in Oz.

A whole lot of factors render the top speeds for conventional trains to a little over 300 kph. This capped technically by track and road bed technology. Mag lev and tilt train technology raises this into the 400s but costs then get pretty giddy and the economic returns start to fade away.

It is interesting that a lot of study has taken place to relate travel time of journey to the paercentage of the entire travel market that can be captured by VFT. For a 2 hour journey the train can capture up to about 80% of the total, non-auto people market. At 3 hour travel time this falls to about 65%. For 4 hours of travel this falls further to about 40% at which point ticket revenues start to seriously affect economic viabilty.

Adding speed to the 300-320 kph window does not add much to the travel distance that can be captured for the time periods being considered so we have economics starting to cap speeds as well as technology. These economics further junp out the window when you count up the capital, maintenance and operating cost of higher speeds.

There is unlikely to be anything in the foreseeable future, (say 20 to 30 years), that will substantially alter HST feasibilty.

Trains became an engine for growth in the late 1800s and into the 1900s in the US because governments made right of way alnd available to private enterprise. The right of ways can be acquired by private bodies and require government help. The politics get very tricky with a lot of forces not wanting to see HST succeed.

Rail really looks good when you add its ability to capture haulage share from trucks thereby easy pressures on roads and road safety.

Regards

Joe

#67 MatsNorway

MatsNorway
  • Member

  • 2,059 posts
  • Joined: December 09

Posted 05 December 2012 - 15:57

the wire / pick up interface becomes very aero senstive.


The thingy going up to the wire is called a Pantograph

And even our slow moving trains in norway got aero devices on them. At least i found a very heavy for its size wing in the bin. (it rimes yay)

And i believe only the upper wire is actually a wire. the lower one is a copper profile. But some seems to be only profile.
http://friends4expo....midcorridor.htm
http://friends4expo....ie-6683-800.jpg

Posted Image

Here is some info about the aero dynamics around a pantograph
http://www.niquette....es/pantogs.html

Edited by MatsNorway, 05 December 2012 - 16:07.


#68 Wuzak

Wuzak
  • Member

  • 3,496 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 05 December 2012 - 21:02

It is interesting that a lot of study has taken place to relate travel time of journey to the paercentage of the entire travel market that can be captured by VFT. For a 2 hour journey the train can capture up to about 80% of the total, non-auto people market. At 3 hour travel time this falls to about 65%. For 4 hours of travel this falls further to about 40% at which point ticket revenues start to seriously affect economic viabilty.


Interesting data Joe.

Melbourne-Sydney would take between 3 and 4 hours at 300km/h. If we take the 40% figure for market share, then there will be at least 3 million passenger movements per year on the train.


#69 Fat Boy

Fat Boy
  • Member

  • 1,851 posts
  • Joined: January 04

Posted 06 December 2012 - 05:43

Rail really looks good when you add its ability to capture haulage share from trucks thereby easy pressures on roads and road safety.

Regards

Joe


Isn't 'high speed rail' separate from freight rail?

#70 mariner

mariner
  • Member

  • 1,377 posts
  • Joined: January 07

Posted 06 December 2012 - 06:17

You cant really mix freight and pasenger trains once you push pasenger speeds above say 75 mph, the track capacity falls away due to the spacing required. Also train tracks are banked in corners and if you bank it for high speeds the freight trains wear out the inner rail. Tilting trains help by banking themslelves - its called " cant deficiency".

The pantographs mentioned by Mats obviously picks up the power. The voltage is usually 25KV these days so as to reduce the collector " wire" profile. This saves weight and cost of overhead structures. Also 25kv allows long gaps between the feeder sub stations.

The height obove the train must be held inside tight limits to get the right contact pressure. If you ever look at a set of train wires you can see tensioning weights at regular intervals. Also the wire is zig zagged to even out wear on th pantograph I believe

#71 Wuzak

Wuzak
  • Member

  • 3,496 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 06 December 2012 - 08:12

Isn't 'high speed rail' separate from freight rail?


Normally, yes.

However, I believe they have started using freight trains on the TGV lines. Whether that is light freight or heavy is a different matter.

I imagine that parcels and mail that go by air freight could easily be taken by high speed rail without too much difficulty. Doubtful that coal trains would be used.

#72 bigleagueslider

bigleagueslider
  • Member

  • 858 posts
  • Joined: March 11

Posted 08 December 2012 - 01:54

Hey Slider, wish I knew you lived there. I would have looked you up. I certainly could have done with your advice on public transport when I was there. For instance, I wanted to go to Riverside. The nearest train station by my reckoning was Santa Ana. It took about an hour by taxi to get to that, and, as far as I could tell, at least twice that on the bus with 3 or 4 bus changes. By nuts I mean that building such freeway structures is not, to my mind, the way of the future. A city the size of LA should have a far more extensive public transport system, particularly in the case of light rail.


Wuzak,

I'd be happy to give you a lift on your next visit to H.B. However, I don't understand why anyone would want to go to Riverside unless they were forced to. :lol:

As for the situation that exists in southern California between freeways and public transit, it is quite different than anywhere else in the world. San Diego County, Orange County, Riverside County, and LA County actually have one of the most extensive public transit systems in the world. It serves a population of over 25 million people. But these 25 million people are spread out over a huge geographic area. You can drive continuously for over 150 miles on I5 from the Mexican border to north of LA, and never leave an urban area. And traveling west-to-east it's about 60 miles. It's a 150 mile long by 60 mile wide region of 25 million people, with no real economic or population center. So subways or light rail won't really work.

I commute about 15 miles each way to/from work. But I also leave for work at 5:30AM to avoid traffic, so my drive only takes about 20 minutes. If I took public transit, that same 15 mile commute would take at least 1 hour each way. By driving my own vehicle, I save myself about 300 hours per year of commuting time. In those terms, does the southern California freeway system still sound "crazy"?

Regards,
slider

#73 Wuzak

Wuzak
  • Member

  • 3,496 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 08 December 2012 - 23:27

Hey Slider,

You leave for work at 5:30am and it takes you 20 minutes. What time do you leave to come home and how long does that take you?

#74 Lee Nicolle

Lee Nicolle
  • Member

  • 5,883 posts
  • Joined: July 08

Posted 09 December 2012 - 03:22

You cant really mix freight and pasenger trains once you push pasenger speeds above say 75 mph, the track capacity falls away due to the spacing required. Also train tracks are banked in corners and if you bank it for high speeds the freight trains wear out the inner rail. Tilting trains help by banking themslelves - its called " cant deficiency".

The pantographs mentioned by Mats obviously picks up the power. The voltage is usually 25KV these days so as to reduce the collector " wire" profile. This saves weight and cost of overhead structures. Also 25kv allows long gaps between the feeder sub stations.

The height obove the train must be held inside tight limits to get the right contact pressure. If you ever look at a set of train wires you can see tensioning weights at regular intervals. Also the wire is zig zagged to even out wear on th pantograph I believe

That kind of defeats any concieved benefits. No country can afford 2 seperate raillines for the same journey. And getting more freight on rail and less on trucks is very important. Getting the whole passenger network more efficient would be good though, and more competitive with air. And a freight network that is quicker and more eficient too. It should be but seldom seems to be.
Though seemingly they seem to be doing away with the existing rail network. A rural region I know has done away with rail and put 1000s of tonnes of grain on trucks. And the roads are stuffed because of it. The trucks are loading at silos in a rail yard!! Dumb and dumber. That is actually an area that is being developed significantly as a tourist, holiday, retirement area. Everything comes in by truck. While the line is old and requires maintenance I suspect it is still cheaper for freight on rail than trucks, and getting those monsters off of those roads would be a damn sight safer too. But politicians cant see past next week it seems.

#75 bigleagueslider

bigleagueslider
  • Member

  • 858 posts
  • Joined: March 11

Posted 10 December 2012 - 00:15

Hey Slider, You leave for work at 5:30am and it takes you 20 minutes. What time do you leave to come home and how long does that take you?


Wuzak-

Depending upon my work load, I leave anywhere between 3PM and 6PM. At 3PM it usually takes about 30-40 minutes, but at 5PM it might take closer to an hour. My commute is 90% freeway travel on I405.

Strangely, while the posted speed limits on that section of I405 are 65 mph, at 5:30AM traffic usually moves along at 75-80 mph, and I've rarely seen the CHP cite anyone for speeding during the early morning commute. It would be nice to think that the CHP understands who pays their salaries.

As for the fuel usage of my commute versus speed, I imagine I could probably save maybe a pint(?) of fuel each morning by slowing from 80 mph to 55 mph. But for me, time is money.

slider


#76 Wuzak

Wuzak
  • Member

  • 3,496 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 10 December 2012 - 08:12

Is there some great untapped SF-LA need? Trains on the east coast make a bit more sense, because you can go DC/Baltimore/Philly/NY in the time it would take you to fly once you factor in security lines and delays.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World's_b...ates_.282009.29

So, there are slightly more than 6m passengers flying from LA to the San Francisco area.

Then there are the trains (which run daily) and buses.



#77 saudoso

saudoso
  • Member

  • 4,652 posts
  • Joined: March 04

Posted 10 December 2012 - 10:00

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World's_b...ates_.282009.29

...


The CHG-SDU route that shows pretty high on many of those tables coukd really benefit from a high speed train.

Despite São paulo being 700m up and Rio, obviously, sea level.

400km drive. 45 minute flight, you spend more time with lines, security and waiting than flying. Airplane never really gets to the operating ceiling, it's either going up or down. Rio's airport is central, São Paulo's is not that much and traffict is a nightmare. And obviously, no subway on either side.

#78 J. Edlund

J. Edlund
  • Member

  • 1,295 posts
  • Joined: September 03

Posted 12 December 2012 - 22:40

A high speed train such as the TGV Duplex consume 18 kWh per km at 300 km/h while offering 545 seats. That's about the energy equivalent to 200 liters/100 km or 0.37 liters/100*seat*km. Fuel efficient airplanes typically can reach 3 liters/100 seat*km, but for short trips about 5 liters/100*seat*km is more likely. Of course, electricity suffers from higher losses during production compared to jet fuel, if we compensate for this by assuming efficiencies of 30% and 80% the train will be more efficient than the plane by a factor of roughly 5.

One significant difference between trains and planes when it comes to aerodynamics is that the former doesn't have to produce aerodynamic lift equal to it's own weight. Since travel time is more important than the actual speed, the train can also offer travel times comparable to the travel times of planes at shorter distances at significantly lower speeds than planes. This is because trains can make stops faster, and train stations are normally more centrally placed than airports making the trip to the train station faster than the trip to the airport.

It is possible to operate passenger trains at the same tracks as freight trains up to speeds of 250 km/h at least, but is normally not efficient to do so. This is not only because of the spacing requirement between trains, it has a lot to do how the tracks are built. Build a combined track and you end up a track that requires the large turning radiuses of HSR and the high axle loads and low gradients of freight trains. If the track is supposed to handle double stack freight, it also ends up causing trouble for the electric wires, and tunnels and bridges must allow for the increased height.

If I recall correctly, a double track have about the same capacity as a six lane freeway while requiring significantly less space. Up to about 24 trains can be handled per hour.

#79 Wuzak

Wuzak
  • Member

  • 3,496 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 13 December 2012 - 01:18

What would you class as a "fuel efficient airliner". A modern short-medium haul airliner, or a long haul airliner like a 747 or A380 carrying 2 to 3 times as many passengers?

Advertisement

#80 mariner

mariner
  • Member

  • 1,377 posts
  • Joined: January 07

Posted 13 December 2012 - 12:59

I’m not trying to defend trains versus planes but some points

1) The double deck TGV is probably the most fuel efficient train in the world because the French, very smartly, near doubled capacity just by adding an upper deck (shades of A380).

Its an aside but I really don’t understand why the UK govt doesn’t look at copying the French and raising the clearances on the main west coast line instead of building a £30B separate new line. It’s expensive to raise clearances but cheaper than a new line AND you don’t use up more land space. Actually I think I do know why it is going to be a new £30B line - that suits the rail industry by creating lots of contracts etc.

2) Clearly trains are better than planes over short distances but thy have their own problems of speed versus service. As an example the new UK line will only have stops at London and Birmingham 100 miles away. Most passengers do not want to go from the middle of London to the middle of Birmingham but to and from intermediate points. If you want to avoid extra journeys to the two stops you must add stations but as soon as you do that the speed falls very quickly due to slowing, standing and accelerating.

This isn’t just theoretical- the first 200kph trains in the UK were the HST sets London Bristol - South Wales. Thanks to one I K Brunel's 19th century engineering they could run most of the journey at 200kph. Today the journey times are longer than 1980 due to extra stops for “commercial" reasons.

3) The earlier statement remains true - planes get better load factors than trains so any comparisons have to be at actual not maximum load factor.

4) Purely from a cost viewpoint planes can make a profit, most passenger train systems do not and are heavily tax payer subsidized. Southwest, Easyjet and Ryanair can make money on ticket prices below most train fares despite having to use $100M planes and expensive pilots. Like all things the real cost is opportunity cost so if you subsidize a TGV type route like LA to SF then that taxpayer’s money isn’t being spent on other climate change reduction projects. So even if you support taxes to help cut CO2 buying a very expensive high speed train system may not be that smart. In the real world what seems to happen is that everybody signs off the upfront investment but nobody really wants the annual subsidy bills so ticket prices on trains have to go up. I think that has happened even in China on HST routes.


#81 blkirk

blkirk
  • Member

  • 268 posts
  • Joined: March 00

Posted 13 December 2012 - 14:53

2) Clearly trains are better than planes over short distances but thy have their own problems of speed versus service. As an example the new UK line will only have stops at London and Birmingham 100 miles away. Most passengers do not want to go from the middle of London to the middle of Birmingham but to and from intermediate points. If you want to avoid extra journeys to the two stops you must add stations but as soon as you do that the speed falls very quickly due to slowing, standing and accelerating.


A few years back, the Chinese proposed a solution to this problem. They had shuttle cars that dropped off the back of the train to stop at the station while the main train kept going. When the next train came along, the shuttle was given a push and hooked up to the new train. The passengers just have to make sure they're in the shuttle cars when they get to their stop and not there when they want to keep going.



#82 J. Edlund

J. Edlund
  • Member

  • 1,295 posts
  • Joined: September 03

Posted 15 December 2012 - 20:00

I’m not trying to defend trains versus planes but some points

1) The double deck TGV is probably the most fuel efficient train in the world because the French, very smartly, near doubled capacity just by adding an upper deck (shades of A380).

Its an aside but I really don’t understand why the UK govt doesn’t look at copying the French and raising the clearances on the main west coast line instead of building a £30B separate new line. It’s expensive to raise clearances but cheaper than a new line AND you don’t use up more land space. Actually I think I do know why it is going to be a new £30B line - that suits the rail industry by creating lots of contracts etc.

2) Clearly trains are better than planes over short distances but thy have their own problems of speed versus service. As an example the new UK line will only have stops at London and Birmingham 100 miles away. Most passengers do not want to go from the middle of London to the middle of Birmingham but to and from intermediate points. If you want to avoid extra journeys to the two stops you must add stations but as soon as you do that the speed falls very quickly due to slowing, standing and accelerating.

This isn’t just theoretical- the first 200kph trains in the UK were the HST sets London Bristol - South Wales. Thanks to one I K Brunel's 19th century engineering they could run most of the journey at 200kph. Today the journey times are longer than 1980 due to extra stops for “commercial" reasons.

3) The earlier statement remains true - planes get better load factors than trains so any comparisons have to be at actual not maximum load factor.

4) Purely from a cost viewpoint planes can make a profit, most passenger train systems do not and are heavily tax payer subsidized. Southwest, Easyjet and Ryanair can make money on ticket prices below most train fares despite having to use $100M planes and expensive pilots. Like all things the real cost is opportunity cost so if you subsidize a TGV type route like LA to SF then that taxpayer’s money isn’t being spent on other climate change reduction projects. So even if you support taxes to help cut CO2 buying a very expensive high speed train system may not be that smart. In the real world what seems to happen is that everybody signs off the upfront investment but nobody really wants the annual subsidy bills so ticket prices on trains have to go up. I think that has happened even in China on HST routes.



1) "Raising clearances" wouldn't do much. It would not reduce travel time, nor would it allow a larger number of trips per hour and often these two factors are important to get people to get the train.

2) If you build stations on sidetracks you can have trains that stop on every station as well as express trains that doesn't stop. HSR is generally a good idea in highly populated areas up to distances of approx. 800 km.

3) Trains are quite cheap to operate once you've built the track, so lower passenger load factors can be profitable. The TGV train for instance cost about one euro per km in electricity to operate,

4) HSR in France, Spain and Japan is profitable. Planes are also often subsidized. They usually pay taxes on the fuel they use, and the costs of operating airport is usually partly paid by tax payers, and not fully covered by the airport fees.

#83 h4887

h4887
  • Member

  • 879 posts
  • Joined: July 04

Posted 15 December 2012 - 20:37

A few years back, the Chinese proposed a solution to this problem. They had shuttle cars that dropped off the back of the train to stop at the station while the main train kept going. When the next train came along, the shuttle was given a push and hooked up to the new train. The passengers just have to make sure they're in the shuttle cars when they get to their stop and not there when they want to keep going.


Slip coaches were used by the London Brighton and South Coast Railway in 1858.


#84 mariner

mariner
  • Member

  • 1,377 posts
  • Joined: January 07

Posted 16 December 2012 - 12:42

Without this becoming a discussion on HSR merits for too long, its the real world, long term economics which make financially justifying huge investments in HSR so hard.

I can see why China needs HSR - with 1.3B population they have to move people on an industrial scale. Shanghai - Beijing probably needs domestic air, overnight sleeper trains and HSR to cope for the next 20 years but in the UK or USA the economics are more nuanced.

The Uk HSR project isn’t claiming any climate change benefits worth mentioning despite covering about 40M people. The estimate is 1.2 M tonnes of extra CO2 to build it and 1.8M tonnes saving over 30+ years. That’s a very poor Carbon ROI to say the least. If you spent the £30B on straight green energy or nuclear the return would be much better I suspect.

The project, like many public projects is justified on “overall" benefits - what that means in reality is that all the non users subsidize the users because fares income doesn’t cover costs:


Time saving is minimal due to travel to limited stations and the 200 kph ability of the existing route. Also if you burrow into the value assigned to time it seems (as best I can tell) to assume a large number of business travellers in the hourly earning capacity tables used fro analysis - its a bit of regressive taxation to make low earners subsidize the HSR passengers if they are mostly high income business men (or the value of time saved is less if not business men)..

So the ultimate justification is pure capacity. Today’s route has departures ever 15 minutes so more frequency is not really an issue.

What is an issue strangely on the existing railway is the conflict of pricing versus frequency. Yes, you can get a train every 15 minutes but only if you pay full fare ($450 return London - Manchester - 180 miles.)If you want a cheaper fare you must book a seat on a specific train days or weeks ahead. If you get on the wrong train its $450 payable to the train staff on board..So frequency/ ease of access is limited in reality. The same will be true on the new line I believe.

Of course HSR can work, like the TGV has but it’s not a climate change or economic slam dunk


#85 Tony Matthews

Tony Matthews
  • Member

  • 17,499 posts
  • Joined: September 08

Posted 16 December 2012 - 13:00

Slip coaches were used by the London Brighton and South Coast Railway in 1858.

If you want anything sorted, get a Victorian entrepreneur/engineer.

#86 Wuzak

Wuzak
  • Member

  • 3,496 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 16 December 2012 - 13:06

I have to ask - "1.8M tonnes saving over 30+ years", as compared to what? The existing rail network, road transport, aircraft?

180 miles seems too short to gain any sort of efficiency with airline travel. The bulk of the time will be taken up with climbing or landing, there would be no cruise as such.

As for fares being cheaper on advanced bookings, that is true also for advanced airline travel. The problem of the cost of the London-Manchester route you cite is that the cost is more expensive than car travel, even though it is (presumably) quicker. Without knowing the specifics of the current operation, I would hazard a guess that the TGV will provide lower running costs and therefore allow for lower fares.

As for the US, the justifications for high speed rail transit aren't as nuanced as you might think. It is quite simple - get people from point A to point B in the most time efficient manner. In the North East of the US there are already passenger rail services with good patronage as well as airline and bus services. Not to mention the people driving on the freeways - which, in my brief time in the area, seem to be extremely busy.



#87 Tenmantaylor

Tenmantaylor
  • Member

  • 8,321 posts
  • Joined: July 01

Posted 16 December 2012 - 13:41

If you want anything sorted, get a Victorian entrepreneur/engineer.


The irony is a steam locomotive would be more reliable than what they have now (3rd electric rail) which is incapable of running every time there's snow or even heavy frost.

#88 johnny yuma

johnny yuma
  • Member

  • 928 posts
  • Joined: May 07

Posted 17 December 2012 - 03:58

The irony is a steam locomotive would be more reliable than what they have now (3rd electric rail) which is incapable of running every time there's snow or even heavy frost.

Speaking of Very Old Technology,about 20 years ago a futurist foresaw international travel by sea revived by the use high-tech sailing ships with computer set sails,and constant direction setting feedback on realtime ocean currents,current and expected wind patterns etc.Obviously could not compete with air travel from continent to continent,but even in a future of expensive fuels,there is hope we can get about.

My own grandparents did a few crossings from Perth to Adelaide by sailing ship,before the Transcontinental Railway was built in 1913,to catch up socially and travel on further by train from Adelaide to Melbourne Sydney etc (and experiencing 3 different rail gauges...they did silly stuff back then too)

The old adage that it is better to travel than to arrive is worth the pondering.Do we always need the "instant" transport to our destination if it does not involve business,life or death? What about the unexpected ?

A recent study of the Sydney-Melbourne domestic airline route,said to be the 4th busiest in the world and operating takeoffs from 6am till 11pm ,shifts 70,000 seats per day the
600km (360 miles) but it is still very debatable if a HSR, with a city of about 3.5 million at each end but zip in between except Canberra ,and a lot of hilly to mountainous country to run a new dedicated line through,would pass a cost benefit analysis of any type (choose your "spin" ).Once again we need Brunel type brain to work it through.

#89 desmo

desmo
  • Tech Forum Host

  • 13,013 posts
  • Joined: January 00

Posted 17 December 2012 - 04:34

Why not use high tech sail for freight? A week or two difference across the Pacific for a ship full of Chinese plastic crap shouldn't make any appreciable difference.

#90 bigleagueslider

bigleagueslider
  • Member

  • 858 posts
  • Joined: March 11

Posted 17 December 2012 - 04:56

Why not use high tech sail for freight? A week or two difference across the Pacific for a ship full of Chinese plastic crap shouldn't make any appreciable difference.


desmo- Actually this is not true. While large ocean transport ships (ironically, using large recip diesel engines) are the most energy efficient way to move goods, the amount of time required for a transit is still important. These ships cost several hundred thousands of dollars per day to operate. So an additional day or two for a transit can cost huge amounts of money for the ship owner. These ships typically spend less than 24 hours in port being unloaded and loaded, for a transit that requires around 2-3 weeks.

You should remember that a ship's cargo (like crude oil) can potentially be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. And the contract value of a tanker full of crude oil can drop several million dollars if it is delivered a day late.


#91 Greg Locock

Greg Locock
  • Member

  • 4,522 posts
  • Joined: March 03

Posted 17 December 2012 - 05:37

Meanwhile in a superb piece of irony, the Greens leader (Christine Milne) in Oz has supported the notion that Geelong, right at the bottom of Oz, is well placed to grow and /fly/ fruit and veg to Indonesia. Now admittedly she is trapped by trying to evade the usual Green anti-job reputation, but flying a bag of carrots for 4 hours up to the top of Oz, and then a couple of hours over to Indonesia, strikes me as a remarkably un green activity.

Edited by Greg Locock, 17 December 2012 - 05:47.


#92 Wuzak

Wuzak
  • Member

  • 3,496 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 17 December 2012 - 06:00

A recent study of the Sydney-Melbourne domestic airline route,said to be the 4th busiest in the world and operating takeoffs from 6am till 11pm ,shifts 70,000 seats per day the
600km (360 miles) but it is still very debatable if a HSR, with a city of about 3.5 million at each end but zip in between except Canberra ,and a lot of hilly to mountainous country to run a new dedicated line through,would pass a cost benefit analysis of any type (choose your "spin" ).Once again we need Brunel type brain to work it through.


There is already a train service there - some sections would need a re-alignment to enable HSR to operate.

There are 2 passenger trains travelling each way between Melbourne and Sydney.

Here is a report on HSR in Australia: http://www.infrastru...aspx?FileID=433

They propose 2 stages - a 160km/h train as stage 1, and a 350km/h train for stage 2. Why they would want to do that is beyond me.

This report has just under 6m passenger movements by air between Sydney and Melbourne in 2010. This will surely rise in teh future if nothing is done.

#93 Wuzak

Wuzak
  • Member

  • 3,496 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 17 December 2012 - 06:03

Meanwhile in a superb piece of irony, the Greens leader (Christine Milne) in Oz has supported the notion that Geelong, right at the bottom of Oz, is well placed to grow and /fly/ fruit and veg to Indonesia. Now admittedly she is trapped by trying to evade the usual Green anti-job reputation, but flying a bag of carrots for 4 hours up to the top of Oz, and then a couple of hours over to Indonesia, strikes me as a remarkably un green activity.


If it aint a tree, she don't care!

#94 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 53,992 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 17 December 2012 - 11:55

Originally posted by desmo
Why not use high tech sail for freight? A week or two difference across the Pacific for a ship full of Chinese plastic crap shouldn't make any appreciable difference.


As mentioned above, it does matter...

An example is the building/upgrading of the rail link from Darwin to Port Augusta and the transformation of the inland town of Parkes into one of the biggest cargo 'ports' in Australia. Saving the ships a week or more on their trip time and putting all the containers onto 3km long trains with containers stacked two high is good economy, it seems.

#95 Ross Stonefeld

Ross Stonefeld
  • Member

  • 57,373 posts
  • Joined: August 99

Posted 17 December 2012 - 15:15

What would you class as a "fuel efficient airliner". A modern short-medium haul airliner, or a long haul airliner like a 747 or A380 carrying 2 to 3 times as many passengers?


I have a spreadsheet of an airline's flights out of Chicago and New York. Every type of plane and fuel burn en-route. It doesn't include mileage but we could do a quick compare of Chicago-Tokyo and Chicago-Washington DC

#96 Joe Bosworth

Joe Bosworth
  • Member

  • 522 posts
  • Joined: May 05

Posted 17 December 2012 - 19:16

Johnny Yuma,

You mention the Melbourne - Sydney via Canberra HST run filling 70,000 seats per day by air as being debatable.

This was exactly the scenario for which I had a role in the feasability study for. It also closely mirrors the Patis - Lyon scenario for which the TGV is most profitable.

Our study participants included three of the stongest companies at the time in the supply and construction of infrastucture.

It takes mostly new right of way to make it work for a variety of reasons. Getting such right of way can only be carried out with the support of State and Federal Governments for a variety of reasons. Not the least of these is the vast nmber of persons and jurisdictions involved.

Our group found the thing very sound both financially and technically. The returns were healthy in light of the risks involved. The study was to a good level of detail and cost many $ millions over a couple of years.

The thing never went ahead because of the lack of political will and inter-governmental bickering. If you look at the history of rail developments, all right of way issues in every country are only solved by stong govenrmental support.

Getting governmental support in Oz was impossible then and likely is now. There are too many diverse negaive forces pulling backwards for many reasons, mostly protecting personal positions. All such a HST needs for tis run is political will and courage but it would require stong political signals before anyone else would pour that much time and effort into putting a packge together.

Regards,

Joe

#97 MatsNorway

MatsNorway
  • Member

  • 2,059 posts
  • Joined: December 09

Posted 17 December 2012 - 21:00

Biggest challenge with rail is that some goverments are incapable of planning properly. If you know there is a growth in population you dont sell the properties close to the rails.... We will perhaps need that within 20 - 40 years. Or longer.
You could just say **** of to the owners but even in china that causes some troubles.

Posted Image






#98 Greg Locock

Greg Locock
  • Member

  • 4,522 posts
  • Joined: March 03

Posted 17 December 2012 - 22:05

Matts how did you get a photo of cheapy's house?

#99 Tony Matthews

Tony Matthews
  • Member

  • 17,499 posts
  • Joined: September 08

Posted 17 December 2012 - 22:30

:) Nice one Greg! At least he's got his own test track.

Advertisement

#100 johnny yuma

johnny yuma
  • Member

  • 928 posts
  • Joined: May 07

Posted 18 December 2012 - 02:33

Johnny Yuma,

You mention the Melbourne - Sydney via Canberra HST run filling 70,000 seats per day by air as being debatable.

This was exactly the scenario for which I had a role in the feasability study for. It also closely mirrors the Patis - Lyon scenario for which the TGV is most profitable.

Our study participants included three of the stongest companies at the time in the supply and construction of infrastucture.

It takes mostly new right of way to make it work for a variety of reasons. Getting such right of way can only be carried out with the support of State and Federal Governments for a variety of reasons. Not the least of these is the vast nmber of persons and jurisdictions involved.

Our group found the thing very sound both financially and technically. The returns were healthy in light of the risks involved. The study was to a good level of detail and cost many $ millions over a couple of years.

The thing never went ahead because of the lack of political will and inter-governmental bickering. If you look at the history of rail developments, all right of way issues in every country are only solved by stong govenrmental support.

Getting governmental support in Oz was impossible then and likely is now. There are too many diverse negaive forces pulling backwards for many reasons, mostly protecting personal positions. All such a HST needs for tis run is political will and courage but it would require stong political signals before anyone else would pour that much time and effort into putting a packge together.

Regards,

Joe

Very informative as usual Joe.The ease and efficiency with which a HSR can be built and put into service in Australia is the factor which kills it compared to air travel for Fuel Efficiency,if you count resources expended in the getting of a high speed line over,around and through that pesky Great Dividing Range which seperates ALL the large population centres on the east coast/hinterland.
By comparison,Paris via Lyon to Marseilles cuts through 770km of relatively easy country for road and rail building.Thats why Romans linked these places 2000 years ago.It runs through the middle of France which has 65 million people and 80 million tourists per year.The Sydney/Canberra/Melbourne chunk of Australia gets not all of our 7 million tourists per year,and runs through sparsely populated areas with generally expensive energy guzzling HST building Terrain to try to achieve a 320 km/h cruise speed route. That Highway in the Sky was cost free and doesn't wear out.!
As well Paris is bigger than either Sydney or Melbourne,Canberra is a squib ,and the rest of Australia is
so far removed from the East Coast and hinterland it may as well be on Mars as far as boosting HST revenue.