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Monorail article from 1956

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Monorail article from 1956
Posted by ORNHOO on Friday, February 21, 2020 12:30 AM

Thanks to the Internet Archive I have been reading some of Willy Ley's science columns in Galaxy magazine, and came across this: https://archive.org/details/Galaxy_v12n02_1956-06/page/n49/mode/2up

It devotes considerable space to the Wuppertal Schwebebahn and to the effforts of George Bennie to build a monorail propelled by an aircraft engine and propeller.

More on Wuppertal: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wuppertal_Schwebebahn

More on the Bennie Railplane: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bennie_Railplane

More on Willy Ley: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willy_Ley

 

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, February 21, 2020 6:08 AM

These things are really from another era of reality, in which enormous sums of capital and, by implication, large amounts of cheap labor were available for large projects -- and in which right-of-way costs were deemed high (or "free" right-of-way was available, or as in Bennie's system a railroad line's 'air rights' were usable) but there was no concern about immediate neighbors' rights (as there was not for even the cheapest and noisiest elevated railroads).  Willy Ley hints he's going to get around to mentioning something like this about the 'special considerations' for the Schwebebahn as built, but what he mentions is others.

Bennie never really addressed how he was going to handle cars passing on his system (more than a little reminiscent of one of the whopper problems with the Beach vacuum subway as touted) particularly the issue of swing-out on curves if the 'inner'car is traveling much faster than the 'outer' one as they pass.   There is also the issue, as on the Kruckenberg Schienenzeppelin to a slightly lesser but still important extent, of how you keep folks out of the airscrews when they come too near them, or away from dust or trash thrown by them.

Nte the reference in passing to the propeller-driven railcar in Palestine during WWI, something we were recently discussing in another thread.

Note too the idea for transit in the median of the Hollywood Freeway, something that looks very different now than it would have in the mid-Fifties.  I do admit I have to shake my head at anyone who advocates 6fpsps acceleration for a transit vehicle!

There should be a discussion in the relevant volume of the ACI concrete handbook (I think it's in 343.1R-12 in 2020) of expedient modern guideway design in different forms of concrete or concrete support, in which some advantages of bottom-support bi-rail (at something near standard railroad gauge) as being more cost-effective than monorail systems are set forth.  This in particular points to a few of the practical innovations the Chinese have made in bringing down the cost and inherent difficulty of building long  stretches of grade-appropriate HSR line, often elevated on viaduct instead of fill. 

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Posted by 54light15 on Friday, February 21, 2020 2:39 PM

regarding passing trains on a monorail, I've seen it done in Wuppertal- the whole track structure moves to bring cars into and out of the shed at one end of the line. It was fascinating to watch- How is it done at Disneyland? 

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Posted by York1 on Friday, February 21, 2020 2:51 PM

As a boy attending the Seattle World's Fair in 1962, I loved the monorail.  Before that, I had only seen film of a monorail at Disneyland.

Back then, it was another vision of the future that meant so much to us as kids growing up in the Sputnik era.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Friday, February 21, 2020 3:52 PM

OM: Perhaps the economical Chinese viaduct system could also be used to elevate HSR and HrSR lines here above existing lines to largely segregate them from low-speed freight?

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, February 21, 2020 4:03 PM

54light15

regarding passing trains on a monorail, I've seen it done in Wuppertal- the whole track structure moves to bring cars into and out of the shed at one end of the line. It was fascinating to watch- How is it done at Disneyland?

Alweg is a straddle-beam system with side-bearing alignment, and the company patented a couple of methods, including a 'segmented switch' that physically curves as it move.  You can see description and video here.

Incidentally any Alweg-like straddle-beam system is likely to be able to use a Listowel & Ballybunion-style rotating switch(which works fascinatingly like the steam ports in a Corliss valve) to do the equivalent of slip switching between two routes...

Incidentally the study Ley referenced in the Galaxy article was not at all related to the later Alweg 'free construction' proposal (and its counterproposal with suspended-car technology for nearly twice the route-mileage at about $5M lower total cost) in the early Sixties.  The one that started circa 1947 was formally proposed by Coverdale and Colpitts (the company that put out the streamlined-train reports) at the beginning of 1954 -- quoted cost then was $165M, and it was to run up along the median of the Hollywood Expressway, I believe using a split-rail box-beam system.  

Here's a story from the Saturday Evening Post in mid-1964 that covers a couple of objective points usually not mentioned in the typical 'Standard Oil and GM lobbied it out of existence' discussion.  When you look at the actual history of things, Alweg was neither really able to contract for so substantial a construction job nor likely to sell the 79-million destination-pair tickets per year necessary for break-even ... even with the proposed access to tax-free bonds and their perceived lower debt-service costs.

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Posted by York1 on Friday, February 21, 2020 4:16 PM

54light15
regarding passing trains on a monorail, I've seen it done in Wuppertal- the whole track structure moves to bring cars into and out of the shed at one end of the line. It was fascinating to watch- How is it done at Disneyland? 

 

Here's a Google map blurry image of some of the turnouts on the monorail at Disneyworld.  I remember passing turnouts on the system.  It looked like the entire concrete track shifted over.

 

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Posted by rdamon on Friday, February 21, 2020 4:23 PM

Here is a shot of the switch at Newark Airport's Airtrain

 

 

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, February 21, 2020 4:26 PM

charlie hebdo
OM: Perhaps the economical Chinese viaduct system could also be used to elevate HSR and HrSR lines here above existing lines to largely segregate them from low-speed freight?

It is one of the only practical ways such a thing can be done at present.  

I had a number of approaches for building extended viaducts with top-down-aligned track structure in the '70s, some of which involved active springing in the track support along the lines of what the Germans were doing in the early 1920s.  Much of the support was designed as a modular double-hollow-box-beam structure under the rails, precast to have the appropriate vertical curvature profile for high speed, with variable spring supports for fine track leveling by semi-automated machinery -- this was in the days that JNR was reported to be spending almost a billion dollars a year just to reline and resurface the '60s-era Shin Kansen lines every 6 weeks or so, as needed.  There are much better high-speed track systems commercialized since then!

Another advantage of the beam system was that little more 'ballasting' of new ROW was required than to provide a trench with vaults and careful drainage 'at grade' -- you could slip-form the walls and base, and cast in the anchor points for the springing and damping.  All subsequent track-geometry adjustments would take place in variable elements or via permanent reprofiling like cellular permanent flat-jacks with self-leveling tremie fill.

Arguably the number of 'flyovers' needed to accommodate major roads and freight-railroad crossings, whether or not you reserve (as I think you should with HrSR) the ability to interchange traffic with 'historical' railroads and perhaps even light or regional rail consists, is relatively small for 'regional high speed' (that's up to PRIIA current standards, 125mph, not just 110mph) and I continue to believe that even rudimentarily crafted approaches to real PSR by definition include keeping pathways for 'corridor service' trains open on segments where full grade separation of HSR and legacy railroad traffic is not needed.  (Keep in mind that capable systems for building Class 9 capable track that 'lives' under even pronounced HAL loading have been designed, and one slab system has even been extensively tested at Pueblo, with the results freely available from either FRA or TTCI...)

A problem, often discussed 'here' before, is that the incremental speed gains from very expensive overhead trackage construction are very slight, I think unlike some of the German progressive-rollout examples, until some very large percentage of uninterrupted high-speed running is actually being provided.  If I remember correctly, the gain for increasing Hiawathas to 110mph peak was only some few minutes time, and it wasn't much better for the (much more expensive) transition to 125mph -- more to the point, even 150mph for the trains (much MUCH more expensive) to the extent that speed could be even comfortably approached in service wouldn't produce particularly valuable time gains.  (Unless of course you had huge numbers of expense-account-wielding bureaucrats and such who 'don't care how much they pay' to ride the new alternative to the Magic Bus...)

I don't really understand -- aside from politics and associated brinksmanship-type issues -- why someone hasn't either quietly imported some of the Chinese machinery or adapted something like an R crane setup to self-launching.  Whether we did it with large steel beams or concrete, this has to be reasonably competitive, for a great many real-world corridors being 'restored' where track and ROW are effectively lifted, with the restoration of effective grade with drainage and use of one of the existing tracklaying machine systems ... the overhead bridge system, in my not too humble opinion, if built ballasted-deck would not suffer from any particular subgrade or drainage issues as track on new embankments built by machine will likely develop...

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Posted by York1 on Friday, February 21, 2020 4:51 PM

OM, it almost reminds me of southern Louisiana bridge building.  The concrete sections are all pre-made.  They are moved to position and lifted into place.

After the hurricanes, the concrete bridges are repaired almost immediately with new sections which have been stockpiled.

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Posted by ORNHOO on Friday, February 21, 2020 5:40 PM
After looking at he cross section on page 58, it occurs to me to ask if the rail head and/or the wheel tread could be profiled to be self centering, or is that function entirely carried out by the wheel flanges? If it is self centering, does this require periodic rail grinding and wheel turning?
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Posted by Overmod on Friday, February 21, 2020 5:52 PM

York1
OM, it almost reminds me of southern Louisiana bridge building.  The concrete sections are all pre-made.  They are moved to position and lifted into place.

That is correct, and more interesting than that, each section may be very precisely designed to go in a particular location, with the 'launching' set up to accommodate custom configuration.  The ACI article in the 1995 edition of the handbook placed a great deal of emphasis on the Vancouver SkyTrain elevated guideway sections involving a great deal of 'unexpected' custom fabrication; the point is that it is relatively simple to coordinate engineering CAD with much of the production process used to make sections in the required quantities in modern practice.

Alternatively, of course, it is fully practical to build the guideway with standard components and handle any careful top-down track alignment as would be done with any ballasted roadbed, if that is effective enough while cheaper/faster.  Keep in mind that there is much more careful lining, surfacing, and horizontal/vertical spiraling involved in high-speed track, and in my opinion somewhere between 125mph and 150mph is the point where it begins to look very attractive to incorporate the fundamental profiling in the guideway structure rather than the ballast or the track construction itself...

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Posted by SD70Dude on Friday, February 21, 2020 6:01 PM

York1

Biggest stub switch I've ever seen!

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Saturday, February 22, 2020 7:43 AM

GATX, the company which stencils those initials on railroad tank cars, once had an R&D division named GARD that started out as one of those standalone university-affiliated labs.  Most of their work was bidding on one-of Federal contracts to build stuff, but their big in-house idea was the RRollway ultra-wide gauge, wide-body side-loading, high-speed automobile ferry.  This was the brainchild of Deodat Clejan who originated a piggyback end-loading (circus loading) system.

On this project, Dad had patented a guidance system for the wide-gauge two-steel-rail trackway.  Instead of using solid axle connections between cone-tapered wheels for steering, the wheels were independently rotating and the guidance came from a second set of wheels that gripped one of the rails from the side.  This was sort of a "continuous flange contact" guidance, only the "flanges" were low-friction rollers.

That system got rid of all of the problems to get cone-tapered-wheel guidance to work at high speed including the insane level of maintenance done in Japan reported here by Overmod, but I remember Dad talking about it 50 years ago.

On the other hand, the trackway couldn't use convention points-and-frogs switch as this would foul the guide wheels.  So the RRollway was in one sense just a broad-gauge railroad, but it needed a kind of stub switch arrangement for shifting the rails in the way the picture shows an Alweg monorail line shifting cement beams.

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?
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Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Saturday, February 22, 2020 8:11 AM

To me, the funniest RRollway story had to do with one of the research engineers at GARD who Mom never liked.  The underlying truth is that Dad couldn't stand him, but Dad was the kind of guy who "never expressed his feelings" only from his accounts of what was taking place at work, Mom scoped out the Dad was really annoyed with his co-worker.  Women can be she-wolf level of protective of not just their kids but also their spouses, and Mom's snark about that guy at Dad's work was part of that.

A third guy from GARD once related how two of the engineers rode in an automobile in an autorack car in a freight train to get some first-hand experience of the proposed passengers-ride-in-their-own-automobile concept.  A freight car, at speed, really sways and bounces around.  My informant was a kid I knew in high school, and I never asked how he knew how a freight car rides, but maybe you see where this story is going.

Now in another thread about Amtrak's Auto Train service, my fine compatriots commenting on what I described about RRollway along with a proposed US-DOT proposal for a ride-in-car Northeast-Florida service, told me that ride-in-you-own-automobile is lame.  Now I know there are many fine people who are train enthusiast who think riding in a "chair car" deep-reclining coach seat seated next to sniffling strangers is a better experience than being cooped up in your own automobile with your own sniffling children, whether rolling down the rails in an auto-carrier passenger car or you driving it down the Interstate.  But don't blame me, I am reporting what the thinking was back in the 1960s about various solutions to the "transportation congestion crisis."  

So of the two engineers riding in the freight-train autorack, the guy who Mom didn't like suffered from motion sickness and he threw up.  As a kid, I thought karma was somehow involved -- Mom generally liked people, and if she didn't like you, there must be some justification for this, so that he got sick and threw up running an engineering experiment was in the natural order of things.

Before you knock it, I learned from some model train guys at our local NMRA chapter that riding in an automobile being transported on a freight train is a mode of transportation used by recent immigrants without the required papers.  If immigrants living in the shadows are the modern-day counterparts to hobo culture of times past, travelling on a freight train inside a brand-new luxury SUV sure beats riding in a boxcar.  Even if the ride bounces you all over the place.

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?
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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, February 22, 2020 5:57 PM

Paul Milenkovic
So of the two engineers riding in the freight-train autorack, the guy who Mom didn't like suffered from motion sickness and he threw up.  As a kid, I thought karma was somehow involved -- Mom generally liked people, and if she didn't like you, there must be some justification for this, so that he got sick and threw up running an engineering experiment was in the natural order of things.

Before you knock it, I learned from some model train guys at our local NMRA chapter that riding in an automobile being transported on a freight train is a mode of transportation used by recent immigrants without the required papers.  If immigrants living in the shadows are the modern-day counterparts to hobo culture of times past, travelling on a freight train inside a brand-new luxury SUV sure beats riding in a boxcar.  Even if the ride bounces you all over the place.

Riding in your own vehicle on a train presents a comfort problem for the real world - heating and cooling of the interior of said vehicle for the comfort of the occupants.  I suspect operating the auto's engine would be a 'non-starter' from the safety aspect of carbon monoxide poisioning - while the train may be moving - what is the condition of the air inside the railcar.  Secondly, what would be the visual stimulation for the people inside their own vehicle for their 12 - 16 or more hour journey.  Thirdly what are the sanitary facilities of those in their vehicles for the duration of the journey.

Undocumented 'passengers' don't expect the kinds of 'comforts' that paying passengers do.

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Posted by York1 on Saturday, February 22, 2020 6:45 PM

I know it's been brought up before, but this thread reminds me of the Mexico Copper Canyon rail line.

You could park your camper on a flat car and ride the train.  I remember pictures of people sitting outside their camper on lawn chairs, riding the rail.  I always thought that would be great.

In Alaska, my bus tour involved parking the bus on a flatcar and riding for a while through a tunnel.  We stayed on the bus the whole way, but I don't remember it being very rough or wavy.

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Posted by York1 on Saturday, February 22, 2020 6:47 PM

Back to Monorails -- I know there are downsides to the whole concept, but I sure wish it was possible to build those and use them efficiently.  They were such a vision of the great technological future for us when we were kids.

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, February 22, 2020 7:13 PM

York1
Back to Monorails -- I know there are downsides to the whole concept, but I sure wish it was possible to build those and use them efficiently.  They were such a vision of the great technological future for us when we were kids.

But - as kids what did we know of reality and how things actually work?

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Saturday, February 22, 2020 7:37 PM
Has the problem of monorails being dynamically unstable above a certain speed ( 30 - 35 MPH )  been solved ?  That is without expensive active controls installed ?
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Posted by charlie hebdo on Saturday, February 22, 2020 8:18 PM

The track for HSR (>150 mph,  preferably  175) is not compatible with the weights of US freight. [Neither are our roads,  but that's another matter.] Naturally around larger cities,  existing freight tracks would be shared.  

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Posted by DSchmitt on Saturday, February 22, 2020 8:34 PM

December 1964 Model Railroader pg 44-47 monorail article.  Photos of the Seattle monorail. It includes a drawing of a high speed switch (turnout) design  

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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Saturday, February 22, 2020 11:49 PM

York1
In Alaska, my bus tour involved parking the bus on a flatcar and riding for a while through a tunnel.  We stayed on the bus the whole way, but I don't remember it being very rough or wavy.

Yes. Before they paved the Alaska RR's tunnel into Whittier Ak, I rode the Alaska RR's shuttle trains' flatcar in a class c motorhome and a tour bus was in front of us on its flatcar. Train speed did not seem to exceed forty mph, but since I didn't have any way to measure it, can't be sure. Distance is only 12 miles so speed was not necessary. It needed, the motorhome had its own bathroom. Neat little operation. 

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Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Thursday, February 27, 2020 7:16 AM

BaltACD

 

 
Paul Milenkovic
So of the two engineers riding in the freight-train autorack, the guy who Mom didn't like suffered from motion sickness and he threw up.  As a kid, I thought karma was somehow involved -- Mom generally liked people, and if she didn't like you, there must be some justification for this, so that he got sick and threw up running an engineering experiment was in the natural order of things.

Before you knock it, I learned from some model train guys at our local NMRA chapter that riding in an automobile being transported on a freight train is a mode of transportation used by recent immigrants without the required papers.  If immigrants living in the shadows are the modern-day counterparts to hobo culture of times past, travelling on a freight train inside a brand-new luxury SUV sure beats riding in a boxcar.  Even if the ride bounces you all over the place.

 

Riding in your own vehicle on a train presents a comfort problem for the real world - heating and cooling of the interior of said vehicle for the comfort of the occupants.  I suspect operating the auto's engine would be a 'non-starter' from the safety aspect of carbon monoxide poisioning - while the train may be moving - what is the condition of the air inside the railcar.  Secondly, what would be the visual stimulation for the people inside their own vehicle for their 12 - 16 or more hour journey.  Thirdly what are the sanitary facilities of those in their vehicles for the duration of the journey.

Undocumented 'passengers' don't expect the kinds of 'comforts' that paying passengers do.

 

Both the RRollway and the DOT Northeast-to-Florida auto ferry concepts provided ventilation, heating and cooling in the space occupied by the automobiles along with windows to the outside as well as walkways, that passengers could leave their automobiles to use the on-train restroom or sit in a lounge or a cafe for meals or snacks.  All of that, along with high-speed trucks to give a better ride quality than the 3-piece freight truck, costs money and adds weight, raising questions about the overall energy efficiency and cost effectiveness of the whole enterprise.

As to the privation endured by trespassers riding in the autos inside the auto carriers, my informant told me that shipped cars often arrive with the gas tank empty -- riders are running the motor to supply heat or A/C as required that they don't freeze or suffer heat stroke.  I suppose if you run out of gas, you go to the next car?  I was told the keys are kept in the car to simplify loading and unloading operations.  As to the CO exposure, the riders probably don't think much about that, and I am assuming even the modern enclosed auto carriers are pretty drafty.  Yeah, it may be a rough way to travel, yet it may be a more pleasant form of transportation than people think, and it sure beats setting a camp fire in a boxcar.

That experiment of the two research engineers riding inside an automobile on an autorack with the guy Mom didn't like throwing up from motion sickness was an experiment.  We all are told that freight-car trucks ride roughly, but you don't know until you experience it.  This wasn't a carefully planned human-subject study getting approval from an Institutional Review Board (IRB) -- it was just a couple guys at work saying, "let's do this!"

Jim Hediger's Trains Magazine article many years ago on the pre-Amtrak AutoTrain claimed that AutoTrain, dead weight of the Canadian National enclosed auto carriers and automobile payload notwithstanding, used half the fuel of driving.  That was before automobile fuel economy standards went into effect, too.

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?
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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, February 27, 2020 11:42 AM

Paul Milenkovic
We all are told that freight-car trucks ride roughly, but you don't know until you experience it.

This is what you get when your test is conducted by the idiot-savant kind of mechanical engineer, who thinks 'a freight truck is a freight truck' regardless of expected speed, or load range.  These are the same folks who cut down gondolas to make 'open tourist-railroad cars' and then complain about NVH ... probably related to some of those 'Excalibur clone' builders of the bad-old pimpmobile days in the '70s who would whack the carosserie off something like a 460-engined Lincoln to install their "classic car" bodywork but forget to change either the springs or the damping.

Even introducing an intermediate 'sprung bolster' into a design using commercial three-piece truck components can give you a livable ride; the history of "high-speed" three-piece truck development in the late '40s and '50s is an interesting (and I think rewarding) study, particularly the designs worked out at Chrysler.  

If you're going to say 'let's do this' -- and I'm all in favor of that spirit! -- at least start by thinking about what you do with the spring nests and bolster damping, and then work out if your secondary suspension needs some enhanced lateral compliance.  

By the time I learned anything about RRollway, it was a transverse system (I don't know how the corridors were supposed to work with typical car lengths of the mid-Seventies without having all the cars aligned at one edge and careful counterbalancing with some kind of pumped ballast) and there was some controversy over just how enclosed it was practical to make it.  Why the Trains Magazine staff didn't jump all over this when they published 'The Case for the Double-Track Train' I still don't quite understand; it was a fairly obvious use (and I think there is no better system than dual-birail for something that wide under nearly any circumstances) although you would have had to watch the radii and cross-levels fairly carefully.

I do still think that the concept has enormous merit as a modern Auto-Train alternative (particularly now in this era of short-overall-length plug-in hybrid vehicles, where HEP neatly handles any loads that might otherwise require running of the combustion motors, and can easily be designed to balance charge and discharge of the various battery systems without needing humongous continuous capacity).  The combination of pumped ballast and air secondary suspension can neatly address any ride-height or balance concerns to make the trick work.

I confess I've never quite understood why some little cart on the Brennan monorail principle, running on a single continuous rail in the 'corridor', wasn't proposed to be used as a shuttle to get the various folks from their cars to the 'common areas' elsewhere in the train, including bathrooms, when requested.  You'd stow it out of the 'walkway' when not in active use, I suppose, or have it dock into the floor.

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Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Saturday, March 7, 2020 7:46 PM

Overmod

 

 
Paul Milenkovic
We all are told that freight-car trucks ride roughly, but you don't know until you experience it.

 

This is what you get when your test is conducted by the idiot-savant kind of mechanical engineer, who thinks 'a freight truck is a freight truck' regardless of expected speed, or load range.  These are the same folks who cut down gondolas to make 'open tourist-railroad cars' and then complain about NVH ... probably related to some of those 'Excalibur clone' builders of the bad-old pimpmobile days in the '70s who would whack the carosserie off something like a 460-engined Lincoln to install their "classic car" bodywork but forget to change either the springs or the damping.

Even introducing an intermediate 'sprung bolster' into a design using commercial three-piece truck components can give you a livable ride; the history of "high-speed" three-piece truck development in the late '40s and '50s is an interesting (and I think rewarding) study, particularly the designs worked out at Chrysler.  

If you're going to say 'let's do this' -- and I'm all in favor of that spirit! -- at least start by thinking about what you do with the spring nests and bolster damping, and then work out if your secondary suspension needs some enhanced lateral compliance.  

By the time I learned anything about RRollway, it was a transverse system (I don't know how the corridors were supposed to work with typical car lengths of the mid-Seventies without having all the cars aligned at one edge and careful counterbalancing with some kind of pumped ballast) and there was some controversy over just how enclosed it was practical to make it.  Why the Trains Magazine staff didn't jump all over this when they published 'The Case for the Double-Track Train' I still don't quite understand; it was a fairly obvious use (and I think there is no better system than dual-birail for something that wide under nearly any circumstances) although you would have had to watch the radii and cross-levels fairly carefully.

I do still think that the concept has enormous merit as a modern Auto-Train alternative (particularly now in this era of short-overall-length plug-in hybrid vehicles, where HEP neatly handles any loads that might otherwise require running of the combustion motors, and can easily be designed to balance charge and discharge of the various battery systems without needing humongous continuous capacity).  The combination of pumped ballast and air secondary suspension can neatly address any ride-height or balance concerns to make the trick work.

I confess I've never quite understood why some little cart on the Brennan monorail principle, running on a single continuous rail in the 'corridor', wasn't proposed to be used as a shuttle to get the various folks from their cars to the 'common areas' elsewhere in the train, including bathrooms, when requested.  You'd stow it out of the 'walkway' when not in active use, I suppose, or have it dock into the floor.

 

I don't know where the popular press got the idea of "double-track train" or "dual-birail" -- it was simply a wide-gauge dual-rail railroad.

Look at US328915A Combination railway and passenger automobile transportation systems.  Oh, the car was expected to be parked off to one side, leaving just one walking aisle.  As to the width, there are some documents among V. Milenkovic's effects that go into representative lengths of 1960s cars -- by the 1970s, RRollway was pretty much gone.

In Clejan's patent, you see that the plan was to pair the parking of the automobiles, where the occupants of each car was allowed out either the passenger or the driver's side.

I have an HO model I built in the mid 1970s of an end-loading AutoTrain/Channel Ferry scheme -- remember the ultra-wide-gauge RRollway was abandoned by then, certainly when Clejan perished piloting his own airplane as he was the promoter and enthusiast for the concept.  The US DOT concept for an end-loading passengers-ride-in-their-cars Northeast-Florida auto ferry that I got from a report in the Northwestern University Transportation Center Library was for an excess-height full double deck railcar.  My concept was to stagger the two decks and the walkways, much in the general style of a gallery commuter car, to get the height down to that of a gallery car if not achieving Plate C.

This was, say 10 years ago I showed it to someone at work and was told my concept was utterly impractical.  My concept required upper deck passengers to disembark their cars on the driver's side whereas lower deck passengers would get out of their cars on the passenger side.  That may have worked for my concept in the 70's or RRollway in the 60's, but modern cars have this big fat bundling board, at least for the front seat passengers, where the driver pretty much has to leave by the driver's door, the passenger by the passenger-side door.

I lost my water pump and had to be towed off a major highway two years ago, and 9-1-1 dispatched a sheriff's squad car to flash lights behind me for safety reasons.  When the sheriff's deputy rung my on my cell phone that I should get out of my car and board the tow-truck operators cab, I crawled over the central console, which is still possible in a 1990's era car.  Heck, I was not going to exit by the driver's side with the sheriff's deputy looking at me doing something dangerously stupid.

I just sat in a friend from our model train club's 2020 Camry, and the console separating driver from passenger is like the Berlin Wall.  So both RRollway and my assumption of bench seats is way, way out-of-date.

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?
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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, March 7, 2020 10:05 PM

Paul Milenkovic
I don't know where the popular press got the idea of "double-track train" or "dual-birail" -- it was simply a wide-gauge dual-rail railroad.

i don't think either the popular or the trade press ever latched onto the 'double-track train' which, as I recall, the Trains staff came in for some heat over -- it wasn't exactly engineered, it wasn't exactly practical as described in the magazine, as I recall it was invented by someone using HO snap-track for the model, etc.  The point for a 19' or greater semi-dedicated RRollway system was that you'd surely benefit more from four rails mutually lined and surfaced in pairs, net of superelevation, rather than just two spaced far apart, and the railroad would be perfectly usable as directional double track at all the times the special double-width passenger train were absent.  I don't think anyone has ever had the stones to propose an interchange fleet of 19'-wide double-height freight cars, although it's possible today to think of some container niches for Breitspurbahn-style loading...

Oh, the car was expected to be parked off to one side, leaving just one walking aisle.

The version I remember seeing via Klauder was the one that had the cars all backed to the one side, transversely (with the 'heavier' ends inboard) and the passenger aisle the empty area along the 'fronts'.

Science fiction in those days was the idea of full double-height cars, where you'd treat the 'walkway' almost as if it were on a ferry vehicle deck, with frequent stairs to a full upper level and at least a couple of elevators or chair lifts.  But the idea of a skytop deck 19' wide with interior partitions, 'cabins' and so forth certainly took my imagination... 

... The US DOT concept for an end-loading passengers-ride-in-their-cars Northeast-Florida auto ferry that I got from a report in the Northwestern University Transportation Center Library was for an excess-height full double deck railcar.  My concept was to stagger the two decks and the walkways, much in the general style of a gallery commuter car, to get the height down to that of a gallery car if not achieving Plate C. This was, say 10 years ago I showed it to someone at work and was told my concept was utterly impractical.  My concept required upper deck passengers to disembark their cars on the driver's side whereas lower deck passengers would get out of their cars on the passenger side.

And you couldn't just load using the ramps at opposite ends simultaneously, so both 'sides' had the walkway on the driver's side?  (And any rear passengers could scoot over...)

Yeah, the console makes ride-in-your-car much less fun since you need access on both sides, moreover with enough room to open what might be long, relatively thick, relatively heavy doors far enough to get out, with the train rocking and pitching and throwing the door off its detent right back into legs extended off-balance to the deck.  I'd give you maybe a month of Florida service before the first snowbird with phlebitis sued you for bruising clots and bankrupted your startup operating company... or got your insurance coverage cancelled as the underwriters realized in horror just what was happening.

Very fast, very able, long-travel active secondary suspension is needed to get around this problem with typical 1970s cars.  And suspensions like that in the '70s were loud.  Very loud.  Most of them probably still are.

Now, if we transition to a Syd Mead sort of world where all the cars have cruising amenities like little versions of RVs, the thing becomes less unthinkable.  But it still has to have insulated and protected walkways both sides.  And the futurist alternative for those things is a Syd Mead automatic highway, with those intermittent Botts-dot charging bumps and wiggly-wire control, not some multibillion-dollar railroad with no view, no ability to stop for meals or attractions, miserable common bathrooms, etc. etc. etc.  

 

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Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Sunday, March 8, 2020 9:53 AM

 Auto Ferry

OK, how-do-you insert a photo?

 

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?
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Posted by York1 on Sunday, March 8, 2020 12:18 PM

Paul Milenkovic
OK, how-do-you insert a photo?

 

I use https://imgur.com/

 

It's free and easy to use.  Once you get an account, you can upload a photo, click on the thumbnail which will open a page.  Select "BBCode", then paste that onto this forum.

You won't see the picture until you post your comment.

 

If you want to use other photo hosts, Steve Otte has a good explanation on how to post photos:

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/249194.aspx

York1 John       

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Posted by ORNHOO on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 4:03 PM

Meanwhile; even more about monorails: https://jalopnik.com/heres-why-a-monorail-kind-of-sucks-1845133085

at least one design was commercially successful (and featured in a James Bond movie).

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