AsstChiefMark
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I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Sun Jul 29, 2007 3:13 pm

The smoke you'll see is caused by oxygen starvation of the locomotive engines, thereby making them run rich. The locomotives in the the front, center, and rear of the train are staffed by people. They're not remote controlled. Montana RailLink requires crew members to wear self-contained breathing apparatus when operating trains in this tunnel.



[Edited 2007-07-29 08:16:48]
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san747
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Sun Jul 29, 2007 3:16 pm

Wow... No wonder they have to wear SCBA gear! Looks like a death trap in there!
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Zkpilot
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Sun Jul 29, 2007 3:31 pm

why don't they install overhead electric lines and use electric locomotives? no problem with O2 starvation then! They'd be able to operate at a faster speed.
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VHVXB
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Sun Jul 29, 2007 3:59 pm

Quoting Zkpilot (Reply 2):

Or they could install fans at both ends of the tunnel to suck out the fumes
 
WunalaYann
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Sun Jul 29, 2007 4:31 pm

Quoting VHVXB (Reply 3):
Or they could install fans at both ends of the tunnel to suck out the fumes

Yes, I am sure the good people at transurban would be very happy to provide anyone else with insight on how to deal with toxic, 500°C-hot fumes in tunnels...  Wink
 
Mir
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Sun Jul 29, 2007 5:08 pm

Quoting Zkpilot (Reply 2):
why don't they install overhead electric lines and use electric locomotives? no problem with O2 starvation then! They'd be able to operate at a faster speed.

Electrified lines are practically non-existant in the US outside of public transportation and the main Boston-New York-Washington line. I have no idea why. Possibly because the lines have long stretches of nothingness, and maintaining the wires would be cost-prohibitive.

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WunalaYann
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Sun Jul 29, 2007 5:10 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 5):
Possibly because the lines have long stretches of nothingness, and maintaining the wires would be cost-prohibitive.

Honestly, if all the major networks in Europe can do it, there is no receivable reason why it could not be done in the world's largest and most prosperous economy...  confused 
 
Klaus
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Sun Jul 29, 2007 7:27 pm

Quoting WunalaYann (Reply 6):
Honestly, if all the major networks in Europe can do it, there is no receivable reason why it could not be done in the world's largest and most prosperous economy...

The problem is that a smaller population is stretched across a larger area in the USA. That doesn't make it impossible, but it's still a matter of costs, especially in a country which simply doesn't support the necessary investment and blows all its subsidies on road and air traffic.

I'd also expect that you could make those diesels a whole lot cleaner if you really cared; But it would again be a matter of cost.

[Edited 2007-07-29 12:31:26]
 
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Zkpilot
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Sun Jul 29, 2007 8:22 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 5):
Electrified lines are practically non-existant in the US outside of public transportation and the main Boston-New York-Washington line. I have no idea why. Possibly because the lines have long stretches of nothingness, and maintaining the wires would be cost-prohibitive.

Understandable I guess. Still if these trains are struggling in certain areas because of altitude and tunnels for Oxygen why not have certain parts of the network electrified... have 3 locos ready to go when the train turns up quickly hook em up (wouldnt take long at all) then they could pull the whole thing along. I guess costs would probably be prohibited if it was only for short sections of the network but if it can be done elsewhere then why not the US?
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flyorski
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Sun Jul 29, 2007 8:39 pm

Quoting WunalaYann (Reply 6):
Honestly, if all the major networks in Europe can do it, there is no receivable reason why it could not be done in the world's largest and most prosperous economy

The USA is much much much larger than Europe, and installing electric wires would up costs (for installation and maintenance) while decreasing profits. In America large amounts of freight often need to travel huge differences, one way it is possible is by "Double stacking" containers. This allows trains to have double the containers per rail car. "Double Stacking" is not possible in Europe because the top container would brush against the electric lines.
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jush
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Sun Jul 29, 2007 8:48 pm

Well if you look at the height of the tunnel I wouldn't double stack containers in the USA either Big grin

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zanl188
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Sun Jul 29, 2007 10:39 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 5):
Electrified lines are practically non-existant in the US outside of public transportation and the main Boston-New York-Washington line. I have no idea why. Possibly because the lines have long stretches of nothingness, and maintaining the wires would be cost-prohibitive.

Electrification has been done in the U.S. (particularly in tunnels) and then removed later for the reasons you site. Strikingly, electrification went by the wayside about the same time steam did and, in many cases, for the same reason - diesels did not require the infrastructure that steam and electric did.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 7):
I'd also expect that you could make those diesels a whole lot cleaner if you really cared; But it would again be a matter of cost.

Actually those diesels are fairly clean when run in the environment for which they are optimized... Tunnels represent a fairly low percentage of the track mileage those locomotives are expected to operate on.
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AsstChiefMark
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Sun Jul 29, 2007 10:45 pm

Quoting Jush (Reply 10):
Well if you look at the height of the tunnel I wouldn't double stack containers in the USA either

Most tunnels can handle double stack containers.

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jfktowerfan
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Sun Jul 29, 2007 10:46 pm

Wow how long is that tunnel?

I have been to a fire on a train that was running rich and ended up catching fire. The train stopped next to a parking lot so we could get to it easy. After we put the fire out (just in the stack) they restarted the train and it still was running rich. It wasn't till after we got back to the firehouse that we realised that EVERYTHING from our gear to our vehicles was covered in little specks of diesel. The RR had to pay to get everything cleaned.

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ltbewr
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Sun Jul 29, 2007 11:07 pm

Besides the load, it seems to me that there was a significant grade, the tunnel was at a significant altitude, perhaps at more than 1,800 meters or 6,000 feet above sea level,where the air is thinner, thus making operation of engines less efficient and compounding the lack of air in the tunnel. I also suspect that tunnel is quite long. Still, it looks pretty nasty. Imaege what it was like in the past with coal fired or older diesel-electric locomotives.

Here is a website about this tunnel and other ops in the region of the Blossburg tunnel. Some pics (done in 1999) include 737 fuselages on flatcars going to Boeing in Renton, so they might go through that tunnel. The tunnel apparently goes under or very near the Continental Divide. http://www.mtnwestrail.com/roadtrip/aug0999b.htm

[Edited 2007-07-29 16:14:32]

[Edited 2007-07-29 16:18:50]

[Edited 2007-07-29 16:19:11]
 
N231YE
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Sun Jul 29, 2007 11:40 pm

Hey...its like the days of steam! Only the "chuga-chuga" and hissing sounds are missing.

Quoting AsstChiefMark (Thread starter):
[Edited 2007-07-29 08:16:48]

Busted

Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 11):
Electrification has been done in the U.S. (particularly in tunnels) and then removed later for the reasons you site. Strikingly, electrification went by the wayside about the same time steam did and, in many cases, for the same reason - diesels did not require the infrastructure that steam and electric did.

Exactly. There were several rail lines electrified in the early 1900s, however, the electrification was removed, abandoned, or in some cases, the whole rail line was abandoned.

Also, don't forget about the interurbans than ran between cities in much of the U.S.A. All of these were electric, and pretty much operated like a "long-distance trolley." Most of these went belly up around the 1930s. Although, these lines were the first casualties of the automobile and trucks, which would later bring down the Flagships of the industry, not so much their electric power.
 
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 12:47 am

Quoting Klaus (Reply 7):
The problem is that a smaller population is stretched across a larger area in the USA. That doesn't make it impossible, but it's still a matter of costs, especially in a country which simply doesn't support the necessary investment and blows all its subsidies on road and air traffic.

Right - we should stop investing in air travel, and electrify the entire rail system. After all, people are clamoring for the ability to travel coast to coast by train. It's so efficient, after all.  Wink
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AsstChiefMark
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 1:25 am

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 16):
After all, people are clamoring for the ability to travel coast to coast by train

If you could operate a TGV at maximum speed nonstop between New York and Los Angeles, the trip would still take 14 hours. That's assuming you have a straight, flat track between the cities.
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Klaus
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 1:39 am

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 16):
Right - we should stop investing in air travel, and electrify the entire rail system. After all, people are clamoring for the ability to travel coast to coast by train. It's so efficient, after all.

It's not quite that simple.

Before we in Germany decided to make rail travel a backbone of our transport infrastructure again, our own railway was on a downward slope as well, with most of the subsidies going to roads and to some extent air travel. You may not notice it with our shiny, expensive and highly popular ICE network today, but it took political decisions to get us there.

The challenges in the USA are certainly not identical, but still related. And the decision to neglect rail traffic and near-exclusively plan for cars and planes has its own problematic consequences as well.

It wouldn't be cheap or easy to revise some of those decisions, but cheap or easy aren't qualifications you'd hear a lot in connection with your other infrastructure either...
 
Klaus
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 1:46 am

Quoting AsstChiefMark (Reply 17):
If you could operate a TGV at maximum speed nonstop between New York and Los Angeles, the trip would still take 14 hours. That's assuming you have a straight, flat track between the cities.

Sure, for those long distances many if not most people will probably still opt for air travel if they can afford it. But cost relations are shifting, and on shorter distances flying just isn't the better option over high-speed rail. Even the hobbled Acela apparently competes well on the route it operates.
 
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 1:48 am

Quoting AsstChiefMark (Reply 17):
Quoting Halls120 (Reply 16):After all, people are clamoring for the ability to travel coast to coast by train
If you could operate a TGV at maximum speed nonstop between New York and Los Angeles, the trip would still take 14 hours. That's assuming you have a straight, flat track between the cities.

And I doubt that you could run such a train without stopping. After all, the union rules would never permit it.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 18):
The challenges in the USA are certainly not identical, but still related.

Yes, if we had planned better, we could have better train connectivity in those places where it is logical to have it. But coast to coast rail service isn't logical, given the vast distances that one covers in the US.
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Klaus
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 1:55 am

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 20):
And I doubt that you could run such a train without stopping. After all, the union rules would never permit it.

At distances like that, a reasonable number of stops wouldn't make any meaningful difference by relation.

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 20):
Yes, if we had planned better, we could have better train connectivity in those places where it is logical to have it. But coast to coast rail service isn't logical, given the vast distances that one covers in the US.

It would simply make sense to connect major cities along the route, so whether any single traveller would decide to only use a segment or the entire length would be up to them. The greater distances change some variables, but they don't make it moot.

Not that many people travel by ICE from Munich to Hamburg either, but the train will make the entire run nevertheless, with a few stops in between.
 
trekster
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 2:38 am

In this day and age of Eniromental stuff, that train just takes the biscuit.

There should not be that amount of smoke being released into the air...
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halls120
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 2:46 am

Quoting Klaus (Reply 21):
Not that many people travel by ICE from Munich to Hamburg either, but the train will make the entire run nevertheless, with a few stops in between.

Klaus, the "as the crow flies" distance is between Munich and Hamburg is 379 miles.

Th distance between Washington DC and Chicago is 596 miles. Washington to San Francisco is 2438 miles. Even if we adopt your analogy, that some people will take a train from DC to Chicago, and some from Chicago to San Francisco, the latter distance is 1855 miles.

Your attempt to suggest that if the US had done what Germany has done with its train system simply isn't logical. The differences in distances between our major cities and your major cities is vast.
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AsstChiefMark
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 3:24 am

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 20):
And I doubt that you could run such a train without stopping. After all, the union rules would never permit it.

I'm pointing out that our country is so damned big that even high-speed trains would still be undesirable for fast, long distance trains.

I'd say anything longer than four hours on a high-speed train operating from city center to city center is about the point at which most Americans would consider flying.
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zanl188
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 3:38 am

Quoting Trekster (Reply 22):
In this day and age of Eniromental stuff, that train just takes the biscuit.

There should not be that amount of smoke being released into the air...

In this day and age of enviromental stuff....

The transmission losses on an electrified line would likely more than make up for the smoke you see in this video....

Diesel-electric locomotives generate their electricity on board vs sending it hundreds of miles across country as would have to be done with an electrified line in the U.S.

Electrification of rail lines doesn't remove the carbon footprint of a train, it just moves it elsewhere. The further it's moved the higher the impact of transmission losses....
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mdodd
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 3:55 am

Wow that is ALOT of smoke!
Interesting...
 
Klaus
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 4:03 am

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 23):
Your attempt to suggest that if the US had done what Germany has done with its train system simply isn't logical. The differences in distances between our major cities and your major cities is vast.

The principle still applies. And I'm pretty sure that a sizable portion (if not the majority) of US domestic travelling is done over far shorter distances.

In question is not a total and complete switch but an effective and comfortable mix.

Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 25):
Diesel-electric locomotives generate their electricity on board vs sending it hundreds of miles across country as would have to be done with an electrified line in the U.S.

And modern electric trains feed their braking energy back into the network while diesel trains simply vent it as heat. Apart from the point that high-speed travel isn't really feasible with diesel engines.

Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 25):
Electrification of rail lines doesn't remove the carbon footprint of a train, it just moves it elsewhere.

Not true. A diesel train will always have a major CO2 footprint. Electric trains can easily be fed with renewable energy (hydroelectric, wind, solar, geothermal...) and often are.
 
OB1504
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 4:12 am

What about a locomotive that could switch from diesel to electric while in the tunnel and then switch back? Something similar to the Genesis P32AC-DM?

[Edited 2007-07-29 21:13:23]
 
zanl188
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 4:40 am

Quoting Klaus (Reply 27):
And I'm pretty sure that a sizable portion (if not the majority) of US domestic travelling is done over far shorter distances.

True for places like New York & possibly LA, but for most of the country to get from one major city to another involves longer distances.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 27):
And modern electric trains feed their braking energy back into the network while diesel trains simply vent it as heat.

And if there isn't another train or town nearby to use that energy a fair portion of it will be lost....

BTW: Hybrid diesels are available on the market.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 27):
A diesel train will always have a major CO2 footprint. Electric trains can easily be fed with renewable energy (hydroelectric, wind, solar, geothermal...) and often are.

Ok carbon was a poor word to use.. The enviromental impact is moved elsewhere regardless...

BTW: How do the French power the TGV??
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Klaus
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 5:29 am

Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 29):
True for places like New York & possibly LA, but for most of the country to get from one major city to another involves longer distances.

Not generally coast-to-coast distances, however. Which was my point.

In Germany rail is a good alternative for most domestic flights. In a USA with high-speed trains the percentage would be lower, but still significant. And that ratio would continue to tilt in favour of rail travel with further rising oil prices.

Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 29):
And if there isn't another train or town nearby to use that energy a fair portion of it will be lost....

Depending on the construction of the supply.

Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 29):
BTW: Hybrid diesels are available on the market.

If they were to use braking energy, they'd have to lug around rather massive batteries which would again reduce efficiency.

Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 29):
Ok carbon was a poor word to use.. The enviromental impact is moved elsewhere regardless...

Which can be lowered far more with renewable electric energy than it could be with combustion engines.

Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 29):
BTW: How do the French power the TGV??

Heavily subsidized nuclear energy; Which is increasingly feeling the pinch nowadays with deregulation of the electric power markets in Europe.
 
jafa39
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 5:43 am

Quoting Trekster (Reply 22):
In this day and age of Eniromental stuff, that train just takes the biscuit.

There should not be that amount of smoke being released into the air...

Hmmm, what would the SUV tyre slashing activists make of this video?....like to see them slash a train's tyres though  Smile
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AsstChiefMark
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 6:05 am

Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 29):
BTW: Hybrid diesels are available on the market.



Loads of batteries! A small diesel engine/generator unit keeps them charged.

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zanl188
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 6:13 am

Quoting Klaus (Reply 30):
If they were to use braking energy, they'd have to lug around rather massive batteries which would again reduce efficiency.

It matters not... Locomotives need ballast to achieve traction performance targets anyway. Swap batteries for ballast = no loss of efficiency

Quoting Klaus (Reply 30):
Heavily subsidized nuclear energy;

Exactly. Electrification only moves the environmental impact elsewhere, in this case to a reactor. Hydro moves it to a dam where the fish can't get upstream, etc, etc, etc
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57AZ
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 6:15 am

Quoting VHVXB (Reply 3):
Or they could install fans at both ends of the tunnel to suck out the fumes

Actually, some tunnels such as the Moffat Tunnel do have large ventilation systems.

Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 11):
Quoting Mir (Reply 5):
Electrified lines are practically non-existant in the US outside of public transportation and the main Boston-New York-Washington line. I have no idea why. Possibly because the lines have long stretches of nothingness, and maintaining the wires would be cost-prohibitive.

Electrification has been done in the U.S. (particularly in tunnels) and then removed later for the reasons you site. Strikingly, electrification went by the wayside about the same time steam did and, in many cases, for the same reason - diesels did not require the infrastructure that steam and electric did.

Actually, the last major electrified freight railway didn't shut off the juice until the early 1970s. That was the old Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad-better known as the Milwaukee Road. Their electric lines extended west from Harlowton, Montana to Avery, Idaho and Othello, Washington to Seattle. There is a strong argument that the gap between Avery and Othello led to operational costs that helped contribute to the railroad's financial woes and that it should have been electrified to eliminate the need for steam and diesel electric locomotives to operate between those points.

As for the total number of major electric lines constructed in the US-there were at least 38, three of which still operate as electric railways. Incidentally, most of them were found in the Mid-Atlantic, Mid-West and Pacific Northwest-not the much remarked Northeast Corridor.

As for the amount of smoke, you can also generate that amount by using the air brakes on a long descending grade.
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Klaus
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 6:26 am

Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 33):
It matters not... Locomotives need ballast to achieve traction performance targets anyway. Swap batteries for ballast = no loss of efficiency

Modern high-speed trains don't have separate locomotives. They use motorized bogies all through the train with merely a driver cabin each at the head and tail cars. I'm not aware of any ballast used - quite the opposite: They are trying to reduce weight as far as possible, with many similarities to airframe construction.

Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 33):
Exactly. Electrification only moves the environmental impact elsewhere, in this case to a reactor. Hydro moves it to a dam where the fish can't get upstream, etc, etc, etc

There's still a big difference in relative impact in favour of renewables.
 
halls120
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 6:37 am

Quoting AsstChiefMark (Reply 24):
Quoting Halls120 (Reply 20):And I doubt that you could run such a train without stopping. After all, the union rules would never permit it.
I'm pointing out that our country is so damned big that even high-speed trains would still be undesirable for fast, long distance trains.

I'd say anything longer than four hours on a high-speed train operating from city center to city center is about the point at which most Americans would consider flying.

I agree. Unfortunately, our German friend, who knows us and our country better than we do, doesn't agree.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 27):
And I'm pretty sure that a sizable portion (if not the majority) of US domestic travelling is done over far shorter distances.

You are? Based on what? Your gut feeling?

Quoting Klaus (Reply 30):
Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 29):True for places like New York & possibly LA, but for most of the country to get from one major city to another involves longer distances.
Not generally coast-to-coast distances, however. Which was my point.

In Germany rail is a good alternative for most domestic flights. In a USA with high-speed trains the percentage would be lower, but still significant. And that ratio would continue to tilt in favour of rail travel with further rising oil prices.

Based on what evidence?

From Washington DC, about the only logical effective train route is, not surprisingly, the existing Northeast Corridor. The DC-NYC route makes sense, because it is 206 miles.

But let's look at some other city pairs.

As we already established, the distance between DC and Chicago means even if there was a high speed rail route, it would likely be a five hour train ride at best.

DC to Atlanta? 538 miles. Hour and a half in the air, again at least 5 hours on your non-existent high speed train link.

DC to Miami? 928 miles. 10 hours by rail, 2 hours by air.
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Pyrex
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 6:46 am

Quoting Mir (Reply 5):
Possibly because the lines have long stretches of nothingness, and maintaining the wires would be cost-prohibitive.

The transsiberian railway, the longest railway track in the world, is fully electrified, and I bet maintaining power lines in Siberia is much harder than in Arizona...
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AeroWesty
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 7:07 am

Quoting AsstChiefMark (Reply 24):
I'd say anything longer than four hours on a high-speed train operating from city center to city center is about the point at which most Americans would consider flying.

I have to concur with this point. I'm not sure of the latest figures on it, but the Cascades just keeps getting better and more popular, and new dedicated rolling stock has been added to the line recently:

http://www.amtrakcascades.com/

(You even get a little fairy to stir your tea!)

But Portland to Seattle is only about 175 miles door-to-door, and the cost of the ticket is sub-$25 if you buy not far in advance. Travel time is just under 4 hours.

Going the other direction, south to SF, you have to cross the Siskiyou Mountains, not really conducive to high-speed rail, I wouldn't think. If a train ran from Portland to the Bay Area at the speed of the Cascades, it would take upwards of 12 hours. Most people would probably continue to fly.
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zanl188
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 7:36 am

Quoting Klaus (Reply 35):
Modern high-speed trains don't have separate locomotives.

But we are talking about freight locomotives, hybrids inparticular

Quoting Klaus (Reply 35):
There's still a big difference in relative impact in favour of renewables.

But there is always an environmental impact even with renewables. BTW: Ever heard of biodiesel?

Quoting Pyrex (Reply 37):
The transsiberian railway, the longest railway track in the world, is fully electrified, and I bet maintaining power lines in Siberia is much harder than in Arizona...

Unfortunately the transiberian was politically motivated to help open up that part of the world. Electrification was necessary for many things (manufacturing, resource production, etc), the electrification of the railline was but a sidelight.
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Pyrex
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 7:56 am

Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 39):
Unfortunately the transiberian was politically motivated to help open up that part of the world.

Not politically-motivated at all: just a government using its resources (ok, and its political dissidents, etc.) to do one of the things it is supposed to do, foster economic growth.
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57AZ
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 8:54 am

However, there are plenty of city pairs that could support high speed rail that are not linked.

Houston-New Orleans: 340 miles

Orlando-Tampa: 80 miles

Orlando-Jacksonville-130 miles

Orlando-Miami: 230 miles

Jacksonville-Atlanta: 320 miles

Atlanta-Chattanooga: 130 miles

Chattanooga-Nashville: 140 miles

These are just a few pairs that immediately came to mind. All of them are along densely populated corridors that would benefit from even conventional high speed rail service. The most likely one to develop is the Atlanta-Chattanooga corridor as the population is there to support service and growing. Also, the State of Georgia already owns the entire railroad line and has short term leases with the freight operator (CSX), thus putting them in a strong position to make it happen.

Out here in AZ, the State of Arizona and Union Pacific Railroad are in serious negotiations to undertake a project to connect the city centers of Tucson and Phoenix. This makes good sense as Casa Grande and other communities between are growing rapidly and putting heavy demands on the highways. Here, the DOT is widening I-10 by two lanes. The project will take three years and has resulted in all of the central downtown exits being closed for the duration. Local traffic must use the access roads for the entire distance of the project-about six miles.

Folks that propose roadway widening projects often fail to realize that these "improvements" come with a triple cost. First there's the expense of acquiring the right of way and construction. Then you have additional maintenance. Finally, you have the income lost by removal of real estate from the tax rolls. Unbridled road expansion is a loss from every angle, plus you never recoup the amount of time and fuel lost in traffic delays created by the improvements during construction.
"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
 
halls120
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:01 am

Quoting Pyrex (Reply 37):
Quoting Mir (Reply 5): Possibly because the lines have long stretches of nothingness, and maintaining the wires would be cost-prohibitive.
The transsiberian railway, the longest railway track in the world, is fully electrified, and I bet maintaining power lines in Siberia is much harder than in Arizona...

And the trans-Siberian rail

Quoting 57AZ (Reply 41):
However, there are plenty of city pairs that could support high speed rail that are not linked.

Houston-New Orleans: 340 miles

Orlando-Tampa: 80 miles

Orlando-Jacksonville-130 miles

Orlando-Miami: 230 miles

Jacksonville-Atlanta: 320 miles

Atlanta-Chattanooga: 130 miles

Chattanooga-Nashville: 140 miles

There are indeed a number of city pairs in the US that could probably support high speed rail. But not on the order of DB, which is a national system. A similar system in the US just isn't feasible.
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." Mark Twain, a Biography
 
57AZ
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:28 am

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 42):
A similar system in the US just isn't feasible.

On a national scale, no. On a regional scale, yes-no probably about it. Passenger rail is rapidly developing here in the west-CalTrans is the best example of that. The big difference is that they have the will and resources to make it happen and many other regions don't. If we hadn't gone through the wholesale dismantling of transportation systems such as Pacific Electric or the national passenger rail network but had instead invested in regional development of passenger rail with decent connections and services, you probably would not have seen the current, inefficient model (Amtrak) develop.

You'd be surprised at how many people here in the US would consider short-medium haul passenger rail trips over automobiles or airlines if they had a convenient, reasonably economical alternative. With perhaps the exception of a small percentage of business travelers, most passengers don't absolutely need to get to their final destination in the same day. If you offered decent service at a decent price, many passengers would prefer a more leisurely two day trip to a trip that takes one day but creates more stress with tight transfer times. Atlanta-Washington would attract more passengers if there was more than one departure each day, for example. This will be especially true once the fuel prices resume their increases-the current price drop is only temporary.
"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
 
Klaus
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:32 am

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 36):
You are? Based on what? Your gut feeling?

Are you telling me that all the US domestic flights except a negligible fraction are coast-to-coast or comparable in distance? That looks rather implausible.

The distance distribution usually sees a larger frequency of lower distances, with decreasing frequency at growing distances.

Having the major poppulation centers at the US western and eastern coasts will skew that distribution somewhat, but I don't see why the principle suddenly wouldn't apply any more at all.

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 36):
Based on what evidence?

Flying has much higher fuel-dependent costs. As much as we all love aviation as such, there are other forms of transportation which are more CO2-efficient, cheaper and even faster on certain distance ranges. Flying starts getting practical at a certain distance; The presence of a decent high-speed rail network pushes that crossover point upwards by a good bit. Other factors can further move it up or down. Overall costs, delays, overhead and reliability factors all factor in there.

I was talking about a reasonable mix of transport options, not an instant and complete switch.

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 36):
But let's look at some other city pairs.



Quoting 57AZ (Reply 41):
However, there are plenty of city pairs that could support high speed rail that are not linked.



Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 39):
But we are talking about freight locomotives, hybrids inparticular

I wasn't at this point. Freight is a different matter again. Flying, for instance, plays a much smaller role there.

Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 39):
But there is always an environmental impact even with renewables.

Sure. Just far less than with conventional fossil-based energy sources if it's done properly.

Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 39):
BTW: Ever heard of biodiesel?

Yeah. It's a political sham. It requires massive amounts of arable land, fossil fuel and pesticides and last but not least gigantic amounts of water to produce. You couldn't impact the environment that much worse if you tried! You're much better off using fossil fuel right away, preferably in an efficient engine.
 
zanl188
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:40 am

Quoting Klaus (Reply 44):
I wasn't at this point. Freight is a different matter again. Flying, for instance, plays a much smaller role there.

Ah yes you were speaking of a non-existent high speed hybrid diesel passenger locomotive then I presume?  Smile

Quoting Klaus (Reply 44):
You couldn't impact the environment that much worse if you tried!

In terms of potential environmental impact I believe the TGV (powered by nuclear generating stations) takes the cake....
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Klaus
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:45 am

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 42):
There are indeed a number of city pairs in the US that could probably support high speed rail. But not on the order of DB, which is a national system. A similar system in the US just isn't feasible.

Carbon copies rarely work. That's why I never advocated them:

Quoting Klaus (Reply 18):
The challenges in the USA are certainly not identical, but still related.

One thing to remember is that the US transportation market is as skewed (or even more so) as most other ones: Political decisions have created an environment where some branches flourished and others mostly perished. Different political decisions elsewhere have created different outcomes.

Differing environments played their part, but they shouldn't be overrated. We've had a time when railway infrastructure was almost as neglected as the american one is now. It was a political (and societal) decision to change that again.
 
halls120
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:47 am

Quoting 57AZ (Reply 43):
You'd be surprised at how many people here in the US would consider short-medium haul passenger rail trips over automobiles or airlines if they had a convenient, reasonably economical alternative.

I'm one of them. But I agree with AsstChiefMark - four hours is about the longest trip I'd care for. Maybe five. I've taken 8 hour train trips, and they aren't pleasant.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 44):
Quoting Halls120 (Reply 36):You are? Based on what? Your gut feeling?
Are you telling me that all the US domestic flights except a negligible fraction are coast-to-coast or comparable in distance? That looks rather implausible.

The distance distribution usually sees a larger frequency of lower distances, with decreasing frequency at growing distances.

Having the major population centers at the US western and eastern coasts will skew that distribution somewhat, but I don't see why the principle suddenly wouldn't apply any more at all.

 rotfl  so, faced with a request to provide substantiation for your claim, you respond with the time-honored attempt to dodge the issue by asking me a question.

Sorry Klaus, the ball's in your court. If you are "pretty sure that a sizable portion (if not the majority) of US domestic travelling is done over far shorter distances," let's see your calculations.

Notice I'm not disputing your claim- just asking you to support it with something other than your opinion.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 44):
Quoting Halls120 (Reply 36):Based on what evidence?
Flying has much higher fuel-dependent costs. As much as we all love aviation as such, there are other forms of transportation which are more CO2-efficient, cheaper and even faster on certain distance ranges. Flying starts getting practical at a certain distance; The presence of a decent high-speed rail network pushes that crossover point upwards by a good bit. Other factors can further move it up or down. Overall costs, delays, overhead and reliability factors all factor in there.

 rotfl  I'm going to run right down to my Congressman's office tomorrow morning and tell him we need high speed rail in the US. When he asks why I think it will work in the US, I'll just hand him a copy of your post above. I'm sure a bill will be forthcoming immediately!
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." Mark Twain, a Biography
 
Klaus
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:52 am

Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 45):
Ah yes you were speaking of a non-existent high speed hybrid diesel passenger locomotive then I presume?

We were talking about fundamental issues of rail transportation.

Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 45):
In terms of potential environmental impact I believe the TGV (powered by nuclear generating stations) takes the cake....

A different kind of impact, but problematic nevertheless.
 
Klaus
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RE: I've Never Seen So Much Smoke!

Mon Jul 30, 2007 10:00 am

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 47):
Notice I'm not disputing your claim- just asking you to support it with something other than your opinion.

I wasn't offering a fully-researched study, just common sense based on rather plausible assumptions.

You can laugh all you want if that pleases you, but you haven't offered anything concrete either, apart from some highly dubious claims which aren't exactly very plausible.

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 47):
I'm going to run right down to my Congressman's office tomorrow morning and tell him we need high speed rail in the US. When he asks why I think it will work in the US, I'll just hand him a copy of your post above. I'm sure a bill will be forthcoming immediately!

I'm not doing your work for you. But having been where you are now in some respects and successfully having made fundamental changes to the equation does give us a little more perspective on some of the kinds of claims which we've heard over here as well and which have mostly fallen silent by now.

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