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General railway discussions

crs1026

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Passenger trains are relatively light and well suited to battery power, compared to freight rail. Particularly for short and medium haul. It really doesn't seem like a difficult technical challenge--it can be done with existing technology. Probably there is no market for it yet, which is why they haven't really taken off yet (much like hydrogen trains).

The market is there, it's the full-service proof of the technology that's lacking. We are only starting to see ready-for-the-road prototypes.

They are coming, I'm sure, but we are still a bit short of readiness to accept orders.

- Paul
 

Urban Sky

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I'm familiar with that video. A lot of the criticism is valid, but some of it is not, or does not properly understand that the LVCC system is just a small-scale proof of concept. It would not make any sense if that was the ultimate extent of the system.
If the Las Vegas Loop is “just a small-scale proof of concept”, what is the problem the full-scale concept eventually aims to solve and what insights should we expect from a one-mile long network of three underground taxi stands linked by tunnels and operated with ordinary Teslas?
 

afransen

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They can test the system in revenue service with real passengers? As I said, I think they will learn things about station design (probably could have been anticipated in the design phase). They are already planning to extend the system to nearby casinos. I don't understand the overt hostility towards the system when it is not using public funds. They will initially operate the system with safety drivers, but will also likely want to test for ability to operate fully autonomously.
 

Urban Sky

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They can test the system in revenue service with real passengers? As I said, I think they will learn things about station design (probably could have been anticipated in the design phase). They are already planning to extend the system to nearby casinos. I don't understand the overt hostility towards the system when it is not using public funds. They will initially operate the system with safety drivers, but will also likely want to test for ability to operate fully autonomously.
I do understand that the purpose of a “proof of concept” is to proof that a technology is in principle feasible. My question was what the eventual technology aims to achieve (in the case of Maglevs, the claim was to beat HSR in intercity passenger transport markets at average speeds and life-cycle costs).

Also, maybe the reason for the hostility against Musks’ pipe-dreams is his open hostility against proven transit/rail technologies and his so far completely baseless claims that his idiotic loops will obviate Subways or HSR within the next or so years. The only purpose of these non-technologies is to obstruct investment in projects which reduce car-dependency now and that is unfortunately the only measure by which his stupid tubes are successful.^^
 
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afransen

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I don't think any subway projects have been discounted or abandoned because of what Musk has been working on wrt tunnels. California HSR had a lot of problems completely aside from Musk's criticisms.
 

crs1026

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^If you can’t make your technology do what you want it to do, at least make it do something else.

Tunnels are a perfect environment for today’s self driving cars - no snow, no fog, no ambiguity in road conditions,

As noted, that has little to do with public transit, but it may create an appetite for controlled roadways, above or below ground.

I don’t expect to see many cities building tunnel networks, but I can imagine specialised applications: say, a resort town with a golf course on one side and a casino on the other, and maybe a beach, and a shopping center. Just a simpler form of airport style people mover.

Again, not a real transportation technology.

- Paul
 

ssiguy2

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I think one of the biggest changes we will see will be in the deployment of battery powered streetcars/trams and LRT.

As battery technology continues to develop at a dizzying rate, the need for the catenary wires declines. These systems are already being deployed in Europe and China. In Europe cities are using their standard catenary trams on the outer areas of the lines but use battery power in the centre of the city to void their historic downtowns of unsightly overhead wires. As I noted in the Finch LRT discussion, I can see this being utilised when the system expands south to the new Woodbine station and east to Yonge. The power they derive and store from the core catenary system is more than enough to run battery powered for the rest of the route. This not only gets rid of the unsightly wires and poles but also allows for far cheaper and faster expansion of the system and reduces maintenance costs. Battery trams/LRT also have the added benefit of not being at the whim of Mother Nature.

Assuming Toronto decides to enter the 21st century, I think the recent streetcar purchases will be the last ones on the Toronto streetcar system that are pure catenary. I can definitely see the time when those new streetcars need to be replaced will be done so with battery trains. The outer areas { ie east of the DVP and west of Bathurst } will remain catenary but will switch to battery in the downtown areas and Toronto can finally get rid of those ugly poles and wires.
 

kEiThZ

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Assuming Toronto decides to enter the 21st century, I think the recent streetcar purchases will be the last ones on the Toronto streetcar system that are pure catenary. I can definitely see the time when those new streetcars need to be replaced will be done so with battery trains. The outer areas { ie east of the DVP and west of Bathurst } will remain catenary but will switch to battery in the downtown areas and Toronto can finally get rid of those ugly poles and wires.

Not happening in our lifetimes. Batteries would have to be as cheap as water to negate the cost savings of long bought and paid for infrastructure. Notably, the lifecycle cost of battery trams would have to be lower than using wired trams and maintaining the OCS. That is a tall order.
 

Urban Sky

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Again, not a real transportation technology.
... and about as pertinent to a thread dedicated to “General railway discussions” as Bus Rapid Transit, that weird people mover operated with golf carts at Calgary Airport* or NASA’s space program, which is why I would like to ask for all further discussions of the Las Vegas Loop or whatever transport technology it attempts to masquerade as to be posted in a more relevant or dedicated thread. Thank you!

*Any similarities between the Las Vegas Loop and the YYC Link are of course purely coincidental and suggest by no means that Elon Musk’s biggest talent is marketing already existing transportation concepts as his own “futuristic” inventions:
 
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ssiguy2

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Not happening in our lifetimes. Batteries would have to be as cheap as water to negate the cost savings of long bought and paid for infrastructure. Notably, the lifecycle cost of battery trams would have to be lower than using wired trams and maintaining the OCS. That is a tall order.

It is already happening. One of Manchester new LRT lines is now battery and Coventry and other cities are planning on opening complete battery powered tram systems. China has a battery only system and also a hydrogen tram system as well.

As I stated in Europe the cities deploying them now still run their catenary routes but when they enter the historic downtown they go catenary free. It gets rid of the visual pollution, maintenance costs, and yet still offers the same emissions free service. They are not getting rid of the entire catenary routes because that would require new infrastructure ie power/recharging stations or overhead contact-less recharging at different stops along the way. All these battery trains do is allow the cities to get rid of ugly poles which have become needless and expensive to maintain and replace. For expansions like Finch LRT they save a crap load of money and time on construction.
 

kEiThZ

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It is already happening.

Not really. Battery trams are really only being deployed in:

1) Aesthetically/architecturally sensitive areas. And this has been true in Europe going back at least a decade.

2) New systems, lines or extensions where overhead catenary isn't currently installed. And the business case to install may be poor.

We aren't seeing too many systems actually rip out existing infrastructure in favour of battery trains.
 

t54zhao

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It is already happening. One of Manchester new LRT lines is now battery and Coventry and other cities are planning on opening complete battery powered tram systems. China has a battery only system and also a hydrogen tram system as well.

As I stated in Europe the cities deploying them now still run their catenary routes but when they enter the historic downtown they go catenary free. It gets rid of the visual pollution, maintenance costs, and yet still offers the same emissions free service. They are not getting rid of the entire catenary routes because that would require new infrastructure ie power/recharging stations or overhead contact-less recharging at different stops along the way. All these battery trains do is allow the cities to get rid of ugly poles which have become needless and expensive to maintain and replace. For expansions like Finch LRT they save a crap load of money and time on construction.
I can't believe we're talking about the visual pollution of overhead wires again.

I don't think I've ever met someone who lived in Toronto who has complained about the overhead wires.

Yea in a photo it might look a bit jarring, but once you live here, your brain mostly blocks it out.
 

crs1026

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I can't believe we're talking about the visual pollution of overhead wires again.

I don't think I've ever met someone who lived in Toronto who has complained about the overhead wires.

Yea in a photo it might look a bit jarring, but once you live here, your brain mostly blocks it out.

There are places where aesthetics do matter. That's why those European systems do what they do already.

But more frequently the tradeoff is cost, and battery capacity..... and that's a changing world.

Wires cost money to maintain, but batteries are still evolving and not every transit line is ready to go wireless from end to end. That day is coming, the cost-benefit ratios just need to shift a little more to put the technology into action.

Reducing visual pollution will be an added benefit, and I'm happy to see that happen too. But the dollars is what is usually talking.

- Paul
 

ssiguy2

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^ Correct.

As I stated it won't happen tomorrow but in a few decades when the new streetcars have to begin to be replaced, I think large battery systems in LRT/tram cars will become the norm and not the exception. Battery technology is developing so fast that in 30 years it will simply become part of the basic design.
 

kEiThZ

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There are places where aesthetics do matter. That's why those European systems do what they do already.

Even then, they don't use batteries for the length of the line. Usually just for the portions deemed sensitive.

Reducing visual pollution will be an added benefit

Given that we still have so much hydro wiring above ground, I'm not sure how much difference it really makes to bury the power infrastructure for the trams.
 

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