I’ll be in Denver this week! Excited to maybe have some time to see the rail system there!
This bus system in Adelaide, Australia allows normal vehicular busses to transfer onto a rail system. The system here is known as the O-bahn and has reportedly been in use since 1986.
Here's one more video.
Holes straight through the whole train. Never seen this train in person before.
I've ridden the BART in San Francisco a few times but one thing I don't remember about it is how noisy it is. Apparently, it's a big problem (I didn't think so though!) and BART has finally found out why and how to fix it.
Turns out, it’s all about shape. The current round BART wheels sit on a fixed axle, so they don’t spin independently of one another. When the train turns, the outside wheels want to go faster than their inside counterparts, which get dragged along. This inside “slipping” not only makes extra noise—it warps the rails. Called “corrugation,” that damage makes the the goshdarn hubbub even worse.
If the wheels are just slightly tapered, though, they can re-adjust a bit while rounding bends, says Ben Holland, BART’s manager of vehicle systems. That means less dragging of the inside wheel, less warping of the rail, and less noise.
So these BART train cars have been running like ALL WHEEL DRIVE vehicles for this many years?! That's insane.
Adam Linder created this image above which gives people a portal into the future (the far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far future) of what may one day be Los Angeles. If a November ballot measure to increase funding for LA's Metro gets approved, that could mean about $120 billion to increase the Metro rail infrastructure to essentially cover all of Greater Los Angeles. Imagine LA with an actual working and decent Metro system. Would it change the landscape of LA? Would it, over some considerable time, turn LA into a rail-city? WHO KNOWS! THE FUTURE COULD BE BRIGHT!
As you know, I just came back from a 1.5 week visit to two major cities in Germany -- Hannover and Munich -- with a few suburbs and smaller cities in between. For the entire time I was in Germany, I didn't rely on 4-wheeled transportation. Meaning, I didn't rent a car. With everything I knew beforehand about Germany, I figured I could probably get around quite easily with just a train ticket and forego vehicular modes of transportation altogether. It turns out that that's precisely right.
Getting around Germany by rail is wonderful. I have so many great things to say and remember about the Deutsche Bahn system which stretches across nearly every part of Germany. The system incorporates trams, regional trains, inter-city express trains, and I believe even some freight trains. All of this travel done by cities and you pay by zone depending on your intended distance. It's quite good and affordable, not to mention extremely fast and efficient. Most of my travels were on the S Bahn, ICE express trains, and the U Bahn/city buses. The only real gripe I had was that there zoning system makes for quite a convoluted arrangement in ticket purchasing. It made me miss the single-fare-any-destination-possible of the NYC MTA. But that was it really. By all measurable standards, the Deutsche Bahn is above and beyond anything that is available in the United States. It makes Amtrak look miserable.
And on that note, it really made me wonder why the US doesn't have a transportation system like this? I mean, we already have the inter-state rail system set up. The only thing we're lacking is the right type of trains that can deliver the same comfort and speed as those in Germany and the infrastructure to adequately handle passenger and freight traffic on the same lines. With our focus on cars here in the US, I'm realizing more than ever that we've got it all backwards compared to our European friends. Wish our governments funneled more money and expertise into rail travel.