New transportation system that runs on train tracks

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TomWilliams

New Member
I am new to this forum, and I am a Colorado inventor that thinks global warming is real and rail vehicles can go a long way to save the planet from global warming while preserving our standard of living. That is, staying out of caves.
I have come up with a rail vehicle that runs over static (switchless) tracks that remain stationary. The vehicle makes its own turn decisions at junctions.
To demonstrate how this works on 4' 8.5" gage (full size) tracks I have built a "G" gage model using a 3-D printer.
The tracks have modified junctions that don't move, as explained in this video:
Let me know if you are interested, or have any questions. If you want to print yourself the vehicle and track in the video, let me know and I can supply you the .stl files.
I hope you have some fun and feel empowered to do something about CO2.
Tom W
 

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McLeod

Living in Dreamland; not the Dream
Welcome to the forum, Tom W.

Indeed, I do like the turn decision making railcar idea. I'm not satisfied it's a practical solution for the real world transportation issues vs greenhouse creation, but, it is certainly a really cool toy. It reminded me of the Schuco vehicles I had as a child. If you have a patent on it, I would certainly suggest you explore it further for market in the toy making industry.
I don't agree that such a concept in 1/1 would be "preserving out standard of living". Right off the top, I can't imagine many people that would want to be tethered to a rail schedule, when they can just jump in the truck and go where they want, when they want. Unless your thinking a set of rails leading right into people's garages; which is hardly practical.

Just a couple of thoughts from me. I'm not attempting to be smart.
 

Smudge617

Well-Known Member
Welcome Tom

An interesting concept, that's for sure, how practical in real terms, I admit I have no idea, but certainly worth more R & D.
 

Rico

BN Modeller
Well I agree rail is much more environmentally friendly as asphalt constantly releases oil into the environment.
A vehicle that can travel on both road and rail is what I’ve always envisioned.
Then there’s Winnipeg, a city I personally hate an hour south of me, that just spent millions on a new rapid transit system. It’s just more diesel burning buses running on roads built over wetland and green spaces. 😠
 

Smudge617

Well-Known Member
Well I agree rail is much more environmentally friendly as asphalt constantly releases oil into the environment.
A vehicle that can travel on both road and rail is what I’ve always envisioned.
Then there’s Winnipeg, a city I personally hate an hour south of me, that just spent millions on a new rapid transit system. It’s just more diesel burning buses running on roads built over wetland and green spaces. 😠
Ah! Nice thing about all those lovely buses is..........

1 can run on bio fuel.
2 Can be converted to run on Natural Gas
3 Electric.

London has quite a few of all three, and a lot of company's here are following.
 

Smudge617

Well-Known Member
Sooo, with rail being the path, if a vehicle breaks down, there is no way to pass and the whole line is blocked.
Can run on road and rail, probably would work the same as a guided bus way, would come off at a point before the broken down vehicle, travel by road around it, and rejoin the rail in front of it, so you would need the rail and a road, think that defeats the point of having it on the first place.
 

TomWilliams

New Member
Thanks for the great feedback.
Actually there is a comparable system under development in Nancy, France. It is called Urban Loop Project. https://urbanloop.univ-lorraine.fr/ The rails are different, but it is setting records for efficiency in terms of watt-hours to move a load 1 km. You call a car with your cell phone, and it arrives with 2 seats and takes you where you want to go. It is getting lots of regulatory review for things like safety and security, The interesting thing about the French system is that it was developed by data engineers, not train or car engineers. (My day job is also data engineer.)
Their system, like mine, needs computer control to coordinate motion. For example, a broken-down vehicle would be pushed onto a siding by another vehicle, or pushed to a charging station. Multiple vehicles should form into a train to break the wind or limit the blockage time for a road being crossed.
The US patent will issue in a few weeks, and I will post a link.
The plan is that the system will run on renewables.
I envisioned the vehicles leaving the tracks for the last few miles home and into the garage.
Just north of me in Wyoming they have lots of wind, and a vehicle running on a North-South rail line could put up sails to catch the cross-wind.
Thanks for the suggestion to make it into a toy. We are most creative when we play.
 

ctclibby

Well-Known Member
In theory this looks OkieDokie. Do have a concern though. These cars can leave the rails and travel on whatever road or hiway to get that first or last mile. I assume that they are kinda like a high-rail vehicle, metal for rails, rubber for road. If so, what do they weigh and what are the lengths? I can see that the .gov could get involved and require who knows what for passenger safety let alone what would be done depending on weight. I know that getting one to my house would require something less than 40,000 pounds, be under 35Ft in length AND would have to be able to navigate ground that is not exactly flat. Yes, know that there are ALWAYS problems in anything new.
 

kleiner

Well-Known Member
The idea of using a diverter is a good one but I think the vehicle would have to slow down quite a lot at turnouts. Also what happens if there is a train will multiple cars - each car would have to deploy the diverter at just the right moment in order for the train to to be directed as a whole.
 

dave1905

Well-Known Member
Try your system with 4 or 5 vehicles on the same tracks, but half of them need to be going in the opposite direction.

One double stack train can be 200-250 platforms, each with 2 containers. So one train in the US could represent 400-500 of your vehicles.
 

logandsawman

Well-Known Member
One detail overlooked by this and other similar systems on the books, as well as electric cars:

Right of Way in which to operate. Where are these tracks going to run, and what are we going to tear down to make them fit?

With electric vehicles, no mention has been made to accommodate power transmission. If you want to see protests, start wiping out 200' wide corridors through the burbs and you will see some real angry people.

Since I am a Right of Way agent, I have first hand experience in this area. Sometimes even buying 10' of ditch from a landowner can lead to eminent domain proceedings, which are both costly and, arguably, infringe on our personal freedoms protected by the Constitution.

Dave
 

ctclibby

Well-Known Member
One detail overlooked by this and other similar systems on the books, as well as electric cars:

Right of Way in which to operate. Where are these tracks going to run, and what are we going to tear down to make them fit?
Although the OP did not say 'existing' rail, it sure seems like that is what is being talked about. New rail - whole new can-o-worms. Look what happens for commuter rail - not quite 200ft wide but with all the accompanying stuff could get pretty wide. Then there are bridges over existing infrastructure, crossings for roads. If existing rail, what are the current RoW owners gonna get paid? ... list goes on and on. Which after some thought brings up possibly the biggest issue - what do these vehicles cost each and how many people per car? It would seem that an initial cost analyses would need to be included somehow.
 
Greetings TomW., and welcome to the forum. I'm also somewhat of an inventor, and have pretty good mechanical aptitude to boot. I live here at a lower altitude in eastern Kansas, where the oxygen-rich atmosphere helps contribute to good overall physical and mental development. Although I think that global warming is total bunk, and the current push to switch to electric vehicles will cause more overall greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere than burning coal, oil, gas or going to nuclear power, I at the same time think that static, switchless tracks are actually a pretty unique idea, and may show some positive promise for heavily populated cities and areas of the world someday.

Yes, as others have been pointing out, there will undoubtedly be some hurdles other obstacles to overcome, but nothing insurmountable. But I could see it easily working out anywhere there is light commuter rail right now. Not too sure about heavy freight, but for light freight in these same city areas? Might just be alright for that too.

I don't know if I'd put a lot of faith in sail-equipped, wind-powered rail vehicles, as the wind is too undependable, even in parts of the country where one can sorta' depend on wind. My life-long experience with wind is, it never blows when you want it to, but only blows if you don't want it to. If this weren't the case, we'd probably see more wind-powered vehicles on the road than we currently do.

Otherwise, keep working on your static, switchless track & rail vehicle idea. I like it - it could very well turn into a positive contribution to society someday. 👍
 
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Rico

BN Modeller
Ah! Nice thing about all those lovely buses is..........

1 can run on bio fuel.
2 Can be converted to run on Natural Gas
3 Electric.

London has quite a few of all three, and a lot of company's here are following.
Smudge you’re correct, unfortunately bio fuel is a false green fuel, mixed anyway. True bio fuel is a little better.
Yes they could do natural gas but guaranteed they won’t, and actually used to be electric at one time believe it of not! Would be nice tho.

Bonus to light rail is they could run on pilings right down the middle of the boulevard like so many modern cities, no land to destruct. Not to mention we have ice on the roads dang near half the year! LOL
 

TomWilliams

New Member
Group,

Thanks for all of your comments.

Right of way is going to be a consideration where there is an existing infrastructure. Europe has an even greater problem where there are layers of old civilizations underground. Greenfield build is better. The Urban Loop Project France has an interesting approach. They generally plan to sink their tunnels into the asphalt and have a glass roof over the tunnel at ground level.

I envision the vehicles being fully autonomous under control of a traffic control system.

Where there is just a single rail, passing can be handled like trains did in the old days: trains going East pull over on a siding when a train from the West approaches. That is a lot easier and safer now that we have internet. The early trans-continental rail road engineers had to pull over on a fixed time schedule. Hence the reputation for the quality and accuracy of a railroad pocket watch.

My comment about putting a sails on these vehicles was for fun, not reliable transportation. But wind energy can also be used for battery charging.

How much you need to slow down at a junction depends on the turn radius. A tight turn with a short radius requires lower speeds. But large radii use more land.

I think getting students and their professors involved is a good developmental approach. Test tracks somewhere central would be a good start.
Competition with prize money is another good approach. Test tracks should be accessible to all.

Railroads probably should see this as a new possible revenue stream from their expensive rail infrastructure, not as a threat.

Picture illustrates components on a Model K.

TW
 

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TomWilliams

New Member
Another thought is that Denver (like other cities) has a large homeless population. These vehicles can carry a tiny house, which can save a homeless person's life. So they can become tiny mobile homes on tracks. You can easily move your tiny house if you don't like your neighbors. Or get moved if you misbehave.
Just thinking outside the box.
 

JeffH

Well-Known Member
It won't be "rails" like a railroad track... it will be either optical, electromagnetic, GPS, or some other form of guidance. If a cruise missile can get to its target based on topographic maps and GPS, eventually, similar technology will guide freight traffic, then commuter traffic, and so on.

Hell... I have a robotic vacuum cleaner that surveys a room with a laser, then sweeps. It's amazing how precise a $500 robot vacuum is. It even parks itself on its own charger when done. And I can set it down anywhere in the house, and it will find it's way back to its base.
 




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