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New Rail World Speed Record

by DoDo Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 10:33:41 AM EST

SNCF just announced (pdf, in French!) that today at 13:16 CEST, its test train achieved 574.8 km/h on the new LGV Est Européenne [high-speed line East European], which will see regular traffic from 10 June this year.

Some background about the test train, and about record speeds, below the fold.


The test train consisted of two new TGV POS (=Paris–Ostfrankreich–Süddeutschland, = Paris–East France–South Germany in German!) tractor heads, which are up-rated versions of the standard third-generation TGV tractor head (used in the double-deck Duplex and the border-crossing Thalys units) and will go 320 km/h in regular traffic, and three double-deck middle cars. The latter rode on two normal and two between-the-cars (so-called Jacobs) bogies, the latter two were also driven (test for the future fourth-generation TGV): a sum total of 19,600 MW! Other special provisions included larger wheels.

The records beaten: the official steel-wheel-on-steel-rail record of 515.3 km/h, held by a (second-generation) TGV Atlantique from 18 May 1990; and the inofficial records of 553 km/h to 568 km/h, set by the present test train with no notary onboard from 13 February this year:

The record NOT beaten: they won't mention this, but they barely missed what I believe was the real target: the Japanese maglev MLX01's record of 581 km/h, set on 2 December 2003.

:: :: :: :: ::

Check the Train Blogging index page for a (hopefully) complete list of ET diaries and stories related to railways and trains.

Display:
The record also has an official homepage, but the Flash graphics doesn't seem to work for me.

Any pictures fished from the Internet would be welcomed!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 10:35:40 AM EST
Ah. Manufacturer Alstom's press release has some small pictures:



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 10:40:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...and, heh, Alstom's clocks tick three minutes faster than SNCF's...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 10:41:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Saw it on the news and it looked awesome.  They mentioned that at top speed though, the passengers were dizzy and could barely stand up in place.  

Are the lines dedicated, so it never has to slow down between destinations?  (My son was on a French train in 2003, when a cow decided to cross the track and there was an oncoming train...)  Are the cars pressurized like a plane?  What happens to the nearby land with the regular swoosh?  The dust cloud behind it.

I´m really glad that there will be less reasons to fly and I wouldn´t mind trying this one to get to BCN on Friday, but what are the reasons to beat more records instead of choosing, say, 300-350km/h and implementing it on more lines a lot sooner and cheaper?


Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 06:00:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is a rail itinerary I'm considering for a 3-week trip this August. The trip starts with a Eurostar from London and ends with a ferry to Portsmouth, and then a train to London. We won't be able to make all the stops, but I had to include the intermediate points to force Google's "driving directions" to match the rail trip.

So, which of these places must we stop at?

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 06:30:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Could you send this in email? My company content filter apparently blocks your link.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 05:11:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That was a link to a google map "driving directions":
  • from Calais, France
  • to lille
  • to:brussels
  • to:aachen
  • to:cologne
  • to:frankfurt
  • to:nuremberg
  • to:linz, austria
  • to:ceske budejovice
  • to:cesky krumlov
  • to:prague
  • to:plzen
  • to:regensburg
  • to:munich
  • to:innsbruck
  • to:bolzano station
  • to:trento, italy
  • to:verona, italy
  • to:milan
  • to:genova
  • to:san remo
  • to:nice, france
  • to:cannes
  • to:st.tropez
  • to:marseille
  • to:avignon
  • to:montpellier
  • to:narbonne
  • to:carcassonne
  • to:toulouse
  • to:pau
  • to:bayonne
  • to:irun
  • to:san sebastian station
  • to:bilbao

I have to admit I have not really checked the connections from Italy to France or from Pau to Bayonne.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 05:18:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So what do you mean by where to stop? Meeting ETers, or where do you have to hop from one train to another, or where is there something to see?

For the second, from memory, you'd only need:

# from London
# to:brussels
# to:frankfurt
# to:linz, austria
# to:ceske budejovice
# to:cesky krumlov
# to:prague
# to:plzen
# to:regensburg
# to:munich
# to:verona, italy
# to:milan
# to:genova
# to:nice, france
# to:marseille
# to:toulouse
# to:irun
# to:bilbao

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 07:11:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, there's seeing ETers and seeing the sights, of course, and staying overnight (or for a couple of days) in nice places.

For instance, if you don't want to do more than 5h on any given day, and you want to stay overnight where you stop, is Aachen preferable to Brussels? Nurembers preferable to Frankfurt? And so on.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 07:15:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In that case... I'd modify the above list to:

Start from London

  1. to:Brussels
  2. to:Cologne
  3. to:Nuremburg (though as local patriot I'd recommend Frankfurt too, but your 5-hour criteria would be overdrawn to Linz)
  4. to:Linz
  5. to:Ceske Budejovice (midday stop) to:cesky krumlov
  6. to:Prague
  7. to:Plzen
  8. to:Munich (checked, there is a train)
  9. to:Bolzano (tho' you might elect to stop at Brennero/Brenner on the water divide, and walk one in the mountains)
  10. to:Verona
  11. to:Milan (midday stop) to:genova
  12. to:Nice
  13. to: Cannes and/or St. Tropez (midday stop) to:Marseille
  14. to:Carcassone (midday stop) to:Toulouse
  15. to:Lourdes or Pau (midday stop) to:Irun (changing trains) to:San Sebastian
  16. to:Vitoria
  17. to:Bilbao

I'd say, though, that this is very like "Americans 'do' Europe" to me, it would be too much. (Or maybe I'm getting old. Once I "did" Prague, Berlin, Kopenhagen, Helsingborg, Stockholm, Oslo, Bergen and a couple of others in a month, and much younger also in a month, Salzburg, the Swiss Alps, Paris, Amsterdam, London.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 08:25:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW, you best consult timetables on the pages of national railways (that's up-to-date), and next best is if you use the German railway's all-European timetables, in English or in Spanish.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 08:29:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was using the German system last night, it's amazing that they can do all of europe, and the information is very complete. I was also using SNCF and TrenItalia.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 08:41:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Beware though, DB is sometimes not up to date (happens easily when there is a temporary change abroad -- say, there was a rock slide somewhere), and may miss some local or private railway connections.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 09:15:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Considering even Renfe missed EuskoTren...

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 09:18:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does RENFE show other railways' trains at all?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 09:24:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, in fact. Not even for international connections.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 09:45:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, it seems insane.

Why the stop at Vitoria between San Sebastian and Bilbao?

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 08:40:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
5-hour limit.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 08:43:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Though maybe DB missed FEVE. (Goes checking)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 08:43:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
According to Renfe, you have to change trains at Miranda de Ebro if you want to go from San Sebastian to Bilbao by rail. Which is amazing. Who woulda thunk?

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 08:48:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FEVE is Spain's major narrow-gauge railway company, and is separate from RENFE. Today they control a large metre-gauge network along the northern coast. The easternmost section, just that Bilbao-San-Sabestian route, was taken over by the autonomous region as EuskoTren, and they invested a lot into it (saw their orders and construction tenders regularly).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 09:04:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Their network looks like an extended commuter rail network for the whole province. In fact you have to change trains twice to go from San Sebastian to Bilbao.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 09:11:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
??? Not according to the timetable I linked.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 09:21:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So what is this Line plan (PDF) then?

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 09:35:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know, but it is on the sub-page of EuskoTran, the tramway segment, and the map blows up cities consequently, and 1D and 1K merely seem to be two parts of the same line. Here is the general timetable page, with trains, trams, buses, and the different brands and lines of all these separately.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 11:07:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My stupid, they don't go beyond Bilbao anymore...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 08:51:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean take a detour just because it fits in the 5h limit?

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 08:44:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On RENFE, it's not a detour. There is no direct line, there will be one when the high-speed triangle is finished.

But as said, I first forgot about FEVE, then about the Basques separating off their part.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 08:55:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At last I found EuskoTren and their San Sebastian-Bilbao timetable. Just 2h15m on their line.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 08:58:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I had never heard of EuskoTren before.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 09:03:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
# to:Nuremburg (though as local patriot I'd recommend Frankfurt too, but your 5-hour criteria would be overdrawn to Linz)

Hey, make that another midday stop!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 08:42:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Going at that top speed is quite unusual... It certainly isn't the normal mode of operation.

That's why the passengers have difficulties standing up in place : the line have been designed for confortable runs at 350km/h, they didn't smooth it for the 570 km/h run. The swoosh is on because of the very high speed, and the fact that it's a fairly new line ; most of that dust isn't risen at normal operating speed. And the cars are climatized, but there is no need for pressurization...

The lines are indeed dedicated, and no cows wander on TGV lines (for their own safety ; at that speed the cow won't survive (the result would make Happy tree friends seems nice) but the train will). And they are built for 350 km/h ; service starts in a couple months.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 06:31:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I hope I get to try out soon because that must be exciting.

That poor vache did not survive and two trains full of people (tracking LeTour) suddenly watched something resembling a war scene, after being thrown around by the fast braking.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 07:16:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
there is no need for pressurization...

I must correct you at this point. There is such a need already because of the speed. I note that in South Korea, where the first generation of high-speed trains are adapted TGVs but the second will be locally made by ROTEM, a big problem with the prototype of the latter was just this: not airtight doors caused many hurting ears.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 05:02:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a consequence of Bernoulli's law [which is basically conservation of energy per unit volume], namely that the pressure drops proportionally to the speed of air.

At 160 m/s the pressure difference will be approximately 1/8 of atmospheric pressure, or enough to bring pressure below 900 mbar inside the train.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 05:12:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the pressure drops proportionally to the speed of air squared

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 05:13:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If I understand correctly Dodo's point, the problem isn't depressurization caused by the Bernoulli effect (900mbar is barely noticeable if the transition is slow) but quick pressure variations because of tunnels, passing-by trains...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 05:27:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, those are caused by the Bernoulli effec, and DoDo mentions them because they are present even for standard speed trains, so all fast trains need some sort of pressurisation. At 150 Km/h the pressure drop is only 9mbar, but when you go into a tunnel or pass another train it can increase a lot (I'd guess a factor of 4 for passing trains, so 35mbar at 150 Km/h).

If the pressure drops below 900 mbar at the top speed you would be dizzy because you'd suffer from something akin to altitude sickness.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 05:32:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I just looked it up and the density of air is 30% larger than I used in my calculation (adding 1 significant figure, here ;-) so we're talking a 165mbar drop at 160 m/s. Nothing to sneeze at.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 05:44:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What I was saying is that 90 kPa isn't low enough to even start to cause altitude sickness ; it corresponds to an altitude of 1000m. Altitude sickness very rarely starts before 3000 m...

What I wonder is if the TGV is actually pressurized (keeping a inside pressure of 100 kPa) or just dampens pressure variations (more likely, because much less expensive)

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 05:49:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At 350 km/h I get a 6 KPa drop, which is not much. The problem is that if you pressurise the train for a 6 Kpa pressure difference and then run the train at a speed causing a 16Kpa pressure difference, you can have some problems. I would also imagine pressurisation gets harder as the pressure difference mounts, and not in a linear fashion.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 06:47:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hm. As far as I know, pressure regulation is kind of standard for air-conditioning, and in trains, higher than surrounding pressure is even preferred as a means of reducing dust buildup.

TGV lines have less tunnels, so making the trains airtight was less of a priority than for the German ICE. Still, though I'm not sure about what was built into the first generation and the TGV Atlantiques, from the TGV Réseau (the second subgroup of second-generation TGVs), they have a strong pressure isolation (for which is needed: double windows, isolation at car joints, and say pressurized air into the rubber bands around doors).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 07:02:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, no, at least not from simply speed: at tunnel entrances and train crossings, compression pressure waves play a role (and high presssure not just low pressure) that have to be taken into account. In model tunnel entrance tests conducted in Germany, an extrapolated 2-5 kPa pressure difference acted on various parts of the train.

As for limits on pressure changes, I found the following international railway norms:
1 sec: ≤0.5 kPa
3 sec: ≤ 0.8 kPa
10 sec: ≤ 1.0 kPa
60 sec: ≤ 2.0 kPa
entire tunnel crossing: ≤ 10 kPa

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 07:45:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Both are problems (some people are sensitive to pressure variations even on the scale of minutes, e.g. train accelerates), though the latter is a bigger problem.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 06:46:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
at top speed though, the passengers were dizzy and could barely stand up in place.

Trains have to fit within strict ride characteristics criteria at a speed of maximum service speed +10%. For these trains, that would be 352 km/h. 574.8 km/h is WELL above that. Also consider that the main force acting, aerodynamic drag, rises with the square of speed, e.g. during the record it was more than three times of what it will be in normal service.

Are the lines dedicated

Yes, of course! Like Madrid-Sevilla/-Toledo or Madrid-Lleida. They have to have curves of only large radiuses (otherwise tracks would have to have large inclinations and passengers would feel strong forces), the two tracks of the line must be at a larger distance for safe passing, rails must be strong enough and switches shouldn't be bumpy, the catenary must be very tense, no slow trains should get in the way, there should be no level crossings with road, the signalling system is special, and various safety measures should prevent f.e. a cow coming on the line.

Are the cars pressurized like a plane?

Yes, to some extent. Going fast (=>pressure drop) already calls for it, and high-speed trains going across tunnels have to 'filter out' the pressure shocks at the portals, or else passengers' ears will pop.

What happens to the nearby land with the regular swoosh?  The dust cloud behind it.

At regular service speed, the right-of-way is enough, and there is no dust cloud. You can stand at the foot of a catenary mast and watch a train go by (though there it would be a bit loud and you'd feel strong winds). Interestingly, if you go to the www.record2007.com homepage, go to the history section and watch the videos of the earlier French records, you'll see that the 1955 record runs looked just like the present one (pantograph pulls arc-lights, dust cloud, bumpy ride), while achieving a record (331 km/h) around what is normal service speed now.

what are the reasons to beat more records

Publicity, what else. Hope for new customers from across the pond (including South America), and leaving a greater impression than rivals. Hope for more willingness from the French state to order more trains. Hope that some people who had no clue about the new TGV Est line and would have continued flying/driving now took notice. Plus, a little bit of worthwile research, trying to find eventual problems that show up faster at a higher speed.

instead of choosing, say, 300-350km/h

These trains are for that speed range, this line will go in service with 320 km/h. The record run was one-off, and I guess it cost much less than a new line.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 04:59:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That people-on-a-bridge shot towards the end is astonishing.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 05:31:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Already reported by linca in the Salon, via CNN (with video):

PARIS, France (AP) -- A French train with a 25,000-horsepower engine and special wheels broke the world speed record Tuesday for conventional rail trains, reaching 357.2 mph (574.8 kph) as it zipped through the countryside to the applause of spectators.

Roaring like a jet plane, with sparks flying overhead and kicking up a long trail of dust, the black and chrome V150 with three double-decker cars surpassed the record of 320.2 mph (515.3 kph) set in 1990 by another French train.

The demonstration was meant to showcase technology that France is trying to sell to overseas markets such as China. Hours before the run, Transport Minister Dominique Perben received a delegation from California, which is studying prospects for a high-speed line from Sacramento to San Diego, via San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The V150 was equipped with larger wheels than the usual TGV to cover more ground with each rotation and a stronger, 25,000-horsepower engine, said Alain Cuccaroni, in charge of the technical aspects of testing.

Adjustments also were made to the new track, which opens June 10, notably the banking on turns. Rails were also treated so the wheels had good contact, Cuccaroni said. The electrical tension in the overhead cable was increased from 25,000 volts to 31,000.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 10:45:09 AM EST
Department of exposing technical illiteracy and diverse nitpickery:

a stronger, 25,000-horsepower engine

A modern electric train has one engine per driven axle, you idiot! That means 12 engines in the test train altogether.

Also note that though SNCF's communique itself is not so precise, there are different definitions of horsepower, and with them:

  • US/British horsepower (HP): 550 foot x lbs / sec = 745.7 W, that is the test TGV does c. 26.300 HP,
  • Metric horsepower (originally German PS): 735.49875 W, that is the test TGV does c. 26.650 PS/cv/whatever.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 11:01:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It'd be nice (not that I have the slightest idea about much of this stuff) to see a comparison again on the environmental impact of rail, in particular high-speed electric rail, versus competing transport methods (in particular, air).

I think you've done this before too.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 12:56:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, I'll look for that tomorrow from work.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 02:06:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds very interesting.
Can you also include a slow form like Hot Air/dirigibles blimps? I have read the USA DoD is thinking of using some of these for transport of heavy equipment.

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford
by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 05:29:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Doesn´t DoD publish its reports and environmental impact statements?


Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 06:07:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect that bicycles are still the only form of transportation with a net savings of time when you count all the time going into building and maintaining the systems. Meaning that those using a system save less time than the many other people lose creating and maintaining it.

Not quite the question you were asking, but in the same vein.

Jeff Wegerson - Prairie State Blue

by wegerje on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 02:19:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't talk hot air :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 04:37:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Looking around the ET archive, relevant stuff:
I also looked up a source on CO2 emissions themselves, it's from German railways 2004 report, all numbers are gram CO2 per ton-kilometre:
  • Freight transport: train 29, river barges 35, road (lorries >3.5t) 96, airplanes 665
  • Local passenger: buses 77, trains 98, average private car 148
  • long-distance passenger (includes high-speed ICE): buses 33, trains 52, average car 147, [domestic] planes 183

Note that train CO2 emissions can be reduced to near zero by changing the structure of power generation...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 06:20:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent reporting.  I especially liked the view of the test train with two cab units and two intermediate units.  The French are worthy heirs to the U. S. interurban tradition.

Stephen Karlson ATTITUDE is a nine letter word. BOATSPEED.
by SHKarlson (shkarlson at frontier dot com) on Sun Apr 8th, 2007 at 10:14:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How old is the story photograph ? It seems the train has the traditional decoration, not the one made specifically for the record run.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 11:23:00 AM EST
That photograph is from 13 February, on the first inofficial record run, and shows the train at a moment it went 544 km/h.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 02:06:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
TGV POS (=Paris-Ostfrankreich-Süddeutschland, = Paris - East France - South Germany in German!)

The EU does change the world! =)

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 11:33:24 AM EST
Another video, from an earlier test run, with sound, from outside.

I watched it live on TV, and saw what I expected, not what I would have liked : close-up views, people, which give no indication at all of the speed and power of such a train. They should have shown the whole countryside, so that we have the scale, and thus an idea of the speed.

Just seeing a "normal" TGV passing close by at 300 km/h is quite an experience. I wonder how 570+ would feel. By the way, they couldn't use an helicopter for the outside images, they had to use a biz jet...

This is one of my pet peeves : I wonder why today's image producers always make this same mistake of focusing on the detail, instead of the larger picture. If they are sent to film a volcano erupting, they will show you the lava, never the mountainous clouds of ashes above the volcano. You never get to feel the scale of the event.
Am I the only one to be bothered by that ?

by balbuz on Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 03:23:36 PM EST
No, you're not the only one...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 03:38:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The video on the record2007 site, which I now could watch from the laptop, does show outside views.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 03:39:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 04:38:31 PM EST
report from a UK journo
At 357mph, it was impossible to focus on anything within a mile of the train.

Even distant hilltop villages flashed past in a second. The sense of flying across the landscape of the Champagne region was accentuated by being on the top deck of the doubledecker TGV train.

Engineers had laboured for months to ensure millimetre precision in the track geometry, but we still lurched alarmingly. For one terrifying moment, the traine even seemed to rise from the tracks.

We were travelling twice as fast as a passenger jet on the point of take-off, but there were no seatbelts. At that speed, they wouldn't have saved us anyway.

As the only British journalist on board, I was determined not to show how frightened I was. The assembled French media, politicians and rail bosses seemed to love every second and showed no trace of fear.

But then they have absolute faith in the safety of their high speed lines, with no passenger fatalities in 26 years of operation. I have reported on six crashes which have killed 60 people on Britain's so-called fast lines in just the past decade and none of the trains was going faster than 125mph.

Now let the FT explain why privatising British Rail inevitably produced enormous benefits in quality and customer satisfaction as well as profits for investors...  <snark>I think I know why the FT keeps bashing France.  It's because everyone else is jealous.  The French trains not only run on time without Mussolini in charge, they're faster than everyone else's :-)  whereas in the AngloSaxon world we're kneedeep in wannabe Mussolinis and yet still cursed with slow or nonexistent trains...</snark>

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 05:07:30 PM EST
is that genuine enthusiasm of people for these things. There is admiration, and there is pride, and a general sense of belonging and shared success.

Part of if is the fact that's it's a real technical achievement (just like you can see enthusiastic crowds, even in the USA, just to watch the A380 fly - because it's quite simply amazing), but also because of the fact that it's a highly complex performance that requires collective work (directly, form hundreds of people, and indirectly, by many more to make it all possible) and that we do all participate to it and make it possible - if only be believing that it's the State's role to get these things going/done.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 05:45:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe there is a point to doing glorious things, even if they don't feed the poor.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 06:00:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As someone who has often attended air shows and even seen a night-time Shuttle launch, I must admit I just love this sort of thing.  If I had been anywhere close, I would have been somewhere where I could have seen this utterly magnificent train.

Congratulations to everyone who made it happen.  Genius and hard work go unrecognized FAR too often.  Anyone who has ever tried to do something difficult stands in awe of your accomplishments.

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 12:14:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There certainly is!

Glory is underestimated, though feeding the poor is not bad either.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 08:30:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nuclear Powered Train Sets Speed Record

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 08:09:23 PM EST
until recently the SNCF had its own generating capacity (SHEM), most of it hydro. It was sold a few years ago and has changed hands several times - as it now belongs to Endesa, it seems bound to become E.On assets.

Of course, it was integrated in the EDF network, but...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 04:47:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW, connected to this subject, a big difference between the German electrification realm (which, as an isolated island, includes Sweden) and other AC-electrified areas: the 16.7 Hz electricity comes from a separate railway electric grid, not the national one, and since it is one-phase rather than tri-phase, there is no need for phase transitions. The latter are neutral sections on which locomotives have to shut down, which (at least on EMUs) you usually hear as two loud bangs a few seconds apart (that's when pressurised air blows away the arc-light).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 05:09:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wasn't clear: the 16.7 Hz network is the German realm. Half of conventional French lines, high-speed lines in France, BeNeLux, Britain, Spain and Italy, half if the ex-Yugoslav and ex-Czechoslovak railways, all in Hungary, and some more elsewhere run on the industrial 50 Hz frequency. I guess SNCF's own generating capacity was primarily for the DC lines.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 05:16:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In my view, the Japanese Maglev record doesn't count: it imposes so strong magnetic fields in the cabin, that you can't have a pacemaker onboard, disk drives, credit card stripes and tapes would be erased, etc...

It's pretty much a dead end technology with such drawbacks (in addition to the classic maglev trouble of special tracks).

Pierre

by Pierre on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 09:52:50 AM EST
Thinking maglev is dead-end too, I'd take this with glee, but for maglev's credit,
  1. this problem must be special to the Japanese maglev (probably because the magnets are directly underneath?), while the German maglev generates less magnetic fields in the passenger compartment than the motors of an ICE-3 train;
  2. maglevs could achieve significantly higher records, had they had a long real line built, instead of trying to accelerate and decelerate on relatively short test tracks.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 10:47:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On the problem of the magnetic fields, see Wikipedia's Pros and Cons of different Maglev Train technologies. It seems that electrodynamic suspension is at the prototype stage anyway.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 10:51:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed, the TGV needed about 75 km to reach record speed, and probably quite a few more to brake down after that.

But that's part of the story: if the technology is so expensive you can't build 150 km of line, it's quite normal you leave the record to the guys who can... Otherwise, we could validate records for trains with a solid booster rocket up the %*$!&

Something much more technical: are you familiar with the catenary "wall of sound" problem ? I'd like to know why the trivial solution of a double catenary with different mechanical tensions is not applicable ? (I presume it is not applicable, otherwise all our bright polytechniciens at alsthom would certainly have jumped on it)

Pierre

by Pierre on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 11:36:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
if the technology is so expensive you can't build 150 km of line, it's quite normal you leave the record to the guys who can...

Don't write them off too fast: an extension of the Shanghai line to Hangzhou is still in the plans (for 2010), and that's 170 km, enough for a very nice record. (They achieved 501 km/h on the just 30 km long present line.)

Regarding the catenary critical speed, how do you imagine a double catenary with different mechanical tension? If you mean side-by-side, then both will have their own critical speeds, nothing solved. If you mean fastened to each other, that doesn't work, because the catenaries move in every direction: say if there is a temperature change, and one catenary lengthens more than the other, the tension will be transplanted.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 03:03:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I did mean each with a different critical speed. I do not know the behavior when the panto passes the critical speed (other than that at critical speed contact becomes sporadic because the wave moves the wire up by 30 cm, which stops producing a wave, contact again, etc, until the wire, the coils, the PWM are all fried without the train passing the critical speed...)

Does it simply break if the train keeps on accelerating (by any auxiliary mean other than the catenary under consideration) until it makes contact again definitively ahead of the wave ? Or can you "break" the wall like planes can beat sound just by having enough extra thrust at the right moment ?

Pierre

by Pierre on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 05:09:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I do not know the behavior when the panto passes the critical speed

It just snaps, AFAIK. When a plane goes supersonic, it still pushes a shock wave ahead of it (the "wall" becomes a cone), but the shock wave in a metal line would tear it, I surmise.

On a more general note, catenary is not cheap -- and two catenaries (each of which have to be sufficient for conducting maximum currents) would be double prize, not to mention the extra spanning work and the the extra wear on the pantographs. So I'd guess pushing the critical speed higher (stronger alloys, different material, more weights on the ends) is cheaper anyway.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Apr 5th, 2007 at 06:35:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It must be an intense area of research ?

Could it be that a contact-less panto sucks the current by ionizing air a few centimeters away from the catenary ? You would need some tight feedback loop to keep it a the right distance (too close, it hits, too far, it looses conduction), but 200 m/s doesn't rule it out with some telemetry/radar continuously tracking the catenary.

Or may be the simple fact of having a 20 MW spark would displace the catenary and still cause a shockwave ?

Pierre

by Pierre on Thu Apr 5th, 2007 at 07:54:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This may be viable technically, but you don't want sparks flying in regular traffic (especially in high summer when grass would catch fire), nor stuff burnt onto the catenary, so you'd have to develop and manufacture it just for a record run.

By the way, speaking of catenary/pantrograph research, I know that both the Japanese and the Germans developed active pantographs, regulating for constant pressure on the catenary. I wonder where Alstom and SNCF are with that technology.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Apr 5th, 2007 at 12:34:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, the TGV at commercial speed is already pretty sparky: the highway between Paris and Lyon runs parallel to the railway for many miles, and I drove it several times at night: when the TGV passes you (you can't be mistaken, he's 150 km/h faster than you !) it has burst of sparks flying all around the pantos every second. And that was all of them (they're barely two minutes apart on that section).

There is a large ballast rock strip on either side of the railway, dunno if it's specially larger for high speed railways, but there must be burning metal shards falling on it all the time.

Actually, if the panto was contact-less and the spark was just like lightning, a canal of ionized air, it wouldn't expand past the area between catenary and panto and nothing would get chipped away to the ground.

Pierre

by Pierre on Thu Apr 5th, 2007 at 04:59:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the TGV was only driving 150 km/h faster than you I guess you were in quite a hurry. ;)

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Apr 5th, 2007 at 05:06:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Weren't those nights misty or rainy? Sparks are pretty normal under those conditions, even on conventional railways.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Apr 5th, 2007 at 05:19:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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