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The End Of Rail Transit??? (As We Know It)


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Came across this unveiling of a new train by the Chinese Rail Corporation. It doesn't use rails. The train is guided by radio frequency in the street similar to an automonous car. Chinese Rail has patented the technology. The train can be busted up into segments and it's electric. It can go 25 km in 10 minutes of charging. Can you say light rail without the rail? They claim it costs 1/5 the price to build versus an existing subway. That's really the lucrative market they are searching for. You could essentially build an "L" service anywhere as long as you have space to pave the road it uses. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dd3N9CFKe9M

 

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2 hours ago, BusHunter said:

Came across this unveiling of a new train by the Chinese Rail Corporation. It doesn't use rails. The train is guided by radio frequency in the street similar to an automonous car. Chinese Rail has patented the technology. The train can be busted up into segments and it's electric. It can go 25 km in 10 minutes of charging. Can you say light rail without the rail? They claim it costs 1/5 the price to build versus an existing subway. That's really the lucrative market they are searching for. You could essentially build an "L" service anywhere as long as you have space to pave the road it uses. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dd3N9CFKe9M

 

Very interesting.   It seems  like  you would dedicated row (even on streets) for this to work here in America (especially  in Chicago).  

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12 hours ago, BusHunter said:

Came across this unveiling of a new train by the Chinese Rail Corporation. It doesn't use rails. The train is guided by radio frequency in the street similar to an automonous car. Chinese Rail has patented the technology. The train can be busted up into segments and it's electric. It can go 25 km in 10 minutes of charging. Can you say light rail without the rail? They claim it costs 1/5 the price to build versus an existing subway. That's really the lucrative market they are searching for. You could essentially build an "L" service anywhere as long as you have space to pave the road it uses. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dd3N9CFKe9M

 

Essentially it is big autonomous articulated bus (note the steering wheel and driver).

The numbers given for its range are not that impressive, given that km are multiplied by .625 to get miles Thus, the top speed is 43 mph and the 10 minute charge is for 15 miles. It didn't say anything about a full charge, i.e. compared to the XE40 taking 4 hours to get about 90 miles.Also, no indication of what kind of current it would need to charge a 3 or 5 unit consist.

9 hours ago, artthouwill said:

Very interesting.   It seems  like  you would dedicated row (even on streets) for this to work here in America (especially  in Chicago).  

According to this follow-up video, they even need a dedicated ROW in China, because it relies on "sensors detecting virtual tracks." It does not rely on autonomous technology discussed in the U.S., such as gps and vehicle to vehicle communications. So, theoretically it is like the Ashland BRT if they buried a sensor cable for 16 miles in the left lane.

 

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14 hours ago, BusHunter said:

...

In this new era of technology, I saw something yesterday that I think threatens the rail industry but I'll post it under a new thread, I don't want to hijack the thread, and I feel it's deserving of it's own thread.

I was wondering why @geneking7320 and I were thinking articulated bus, until I came back to this. Obviously, CRRC is not proposing this for MBTA or CTA, nor could they given the specifications. This isn't going to haul 800 riders a train.The only thing I think it might threaten is something like the Toronto Bombardier Flexity LRV, and it is a couple of years too late for that.(Note that Bombardier distinguishes LRVs and Metros.)

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I think its more suited to light rail because it can wind its way through neighborhoods similar to light rail, but in saying that it could serve something like mccormick place or navy pier or the lakefront on a dedicated right of way. It could also function like a people mover but i agree it lacks the speed for a subway but it does show what might be coming down the pipeline in the future. No infrastructure is a mighty tempting proposition. :P

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56 minutes ago, BusHunter said:

No infrastructure is a mighty tempting proposition.

No tracks, but as I pointed out, the electronic guideway has to be there. Also (like the Ashland BRT and unlike conventional streetcars) other vehicular traffic would have to be barred from the lane.Charging stations every 15 miles (if that's what they are implying)  is also infrastructure.

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15 hours ago, BusHunter said:

Came across this unveiling of a new train by the Chinese Rail Corporation. It doesn't use rails. The train is guided by radio frequency in the street similar to an automonous car....

 

I don't think this will work with radio frequency being the guide. Every electronic device that I've had from radios to TV's to even cell phones have had a little disclaimer from the FCC that state that the device must accept interference from other sources. If the guide does happen to run across interference, what happens? Does the rail-less train stop? Can it veer a little bit to the right or left, possibly causing an accident?

Maybe with refinement, this may one day be the future of trains, but not anytime soon....

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1 hour ago, sw4400 said:

I don't think this will work with radio frequency being the guide. Every electronic device that I've had from radios to TV's to even cell phones have had a little disclaimer from the FCC that state that the device must accept interference from other sources. If the guide does happen to run across interference, what happens? Does the rail-less train stop? Can it veer a little bit to the right or left, possibly causing an accident?

Maybe with refinement, this may one day be the future of trains, but not anytime soon....

Good point. Even underground electric power cables generate RF interference. I would think that the guidance signal (and any other means of communications between autonomous vehicles*) would have to be encrypted. There is talk about hacking an automobile's computer bus now.

The real question is what the second video means by "various sensors can identify virtual tracks."

_______

*If one wants to get techie, there is, for instance, this Qualcomm article, which states that it will take a 5G cellular network.

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5 hours ago, Busjack said:

Update: Some sources indicate that it uses optical guidance, sort of like semi-autonomous BMWs that are fooled by expressway merge lanes. Maybe that's all the dotted line is.

That's just a center line, it has no importance other than visual. The guidance beakons are at the sides. I guess it's as safe as an airport beakon. All planes that land at a modern airport use ILS and they carry hundreds of people. Modern cars like one I'm looking at have a lane assist feature that will keep you in your lane, stop you if it senses an obstruction, park themselves parallel and perpendicular. How is it doing that without a beakon? I'm starting to wonder if a beakon is even necessary? Cars are getting that tech savvy or smart. Hopefully you can turn that off or how can you park your car in the garage without it stopping you? That's the question I have?>

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7 hours ago, sw4400 said:

I don't think this will work with radio frequency being the guide. Every electronic device that I've had from radios to TV's to even cell phones have had a little disclaimer from the FCC that state that the device must accept interference from other sources. If the guide does happen to run across interference, what happens? Does the rail-less train stop? Can it veer a little bit to the right or left, possibly causing an accident?

Maybe with refinement, this may one day be the future of trains, but not anytime soon....

Oh yeah!! In 15-20 years we probably won't be driving anything. The terminator movie got it right, it's going to be the rise of the machines. What is going to be scary is how much we are willing to let them control? Machines can do great things, and can help us but as we rely on them more we are getting lazier mentally and physically as a society. How many hours have we looked at our cell phones today, vegetating, especially in our free time? We may not even have to work anymore because the machines will do it for us. The auto industry has really gone crazy with machines. You know I watched a video of them building Chryslers and Dodges and my first thought was where are all the people? Machines build the car!! Unbelievable!! I watched one take a roof to a car, weld it on all without one human body, but then again the auto industry has the money to do that.

Some guy was talking about all the recent shootings lately and he struck a chord with me. He said nowadays the kids instead of fighting or discussing their differences pick up a gun and shoot because it's easy to do. Sign of the times!! 9_9

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13 hours ago, BusHunter said:

Cars are getting that tech savvy or smart. Hopefully you can turn that off or how can you park your car in the garage without it stopping you? That's the question I have?>

Based on page 6 of the Car and Driver article (and Ford ads), it is some combination of cameras and radar.

On the train, the only thing I was able to find was this article (don't know how reliable the source is) that "While it’s guided by the white lines on the pavement, the sensors along its route (combined with sensors on the vehicle itself) help it follow the ‘virtual rails’ and adapt to its surroundings and unexpected situations in real time." I noted above that the second video also referred to sensors. But the center dotted lines do not appear trivial.

 

Also, in connection with my prior comment on range, this and other sources say that CRRC is setting up a 6.5 kn (4 mile) track, so it isn't replacing a metro in the near future.

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