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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 04-03-07, 07:44 AM   #1
becnal
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Now that's a FAST train!

Wow. I can't wait to get on that baby. Better than anything at Six Flags Great Adventure!

http://www.record2007.com/site/index_en.php


French set new rail speed record

A French high-speed train (TGV) has smashed the world record for a train on conventional rails by a big margin, reaching 574.8km/h (356mph).
The previous TGV record was 515km/h (320mph), set in 1990.

The train travelled almost as fast as a World War II Spitfire fighter at top speed.

The record attempt by a modified TGV took place on a track between Paris and the eastern city of Strasbourg.

The absolute train speed record was set by a Japanese magnetic levitation train - Maglev - in 2003. It reached a top speed of 581km/h (361mph).

The TGV set the new record at 1314 (1114GMT) on Tuesday. It was a modified version called V150, with larger wheels than usual and two engines driving three double-decker cars.

The BBC's Emma Jane Kirby said the three train drivers were seen grinning on French TV after they realised they had broken the record.

V150 TRAIN
Two engines - one at each end
Three double-decker cars
Three motorised bogies
Power output: more than 25,000 horsepower
Cost: 30m euros (22m; $40m)

Last edited by becnal; 04-03-07 at 07:52 AM.
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Old 04-03-07, 11:48 AM   #2
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What is the energy used per passenger mile?
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Old 04-03-07, 12:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
What is the energy used per passenger mile?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikpedia
LGVs are all electrified at 25 kV 50 Hz AC....

...The considerable momentum of TGVs at high speed allows them to climb steep slopes without greatly increasing their energy consumption. They can also coast on downward slopes, further increasing efficiency.
Technically, if France had wind/solar/nuclear power, the electricity would be 100% clean. Not sure what France uses to power the electricity. If anyone knows, maybe we could figure it out. Still, I'd imagine it's MUCH less than cars.
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Old 04-03-07, 02:03 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
What is the energy used per passenger mile?
Well let's see. If we assume that the train is actually consuming all 25,000 horsepower, then we can calculate:
25,000 hp = .74*25,000 kW = 18500 kW = 18,500,000 joules/second

356 miles/hour = 356 miles/hour * (1 hour / 3600 seconds) = .1 miles/second

(18,500,000 joules/second) / (.1 miles/second) = 185 megajoules/mile

Assuming 70 passengers per car (the exact configuration isn't listed here yet http://www.trainweb.org/tgvpages/formations.html#rec , but 70 seems typical for a double decker tgv car) and three cars we have 210 passengers total, which finally gives us:
185/210 mJ/mile*passenger = .88 megajoules/miles*passenger

Which is approximately 880 BTU/passenger-mile

Seems too low. I'm thinking:
1. We need to account for the additional energy needed to get up to speed.
2. It probably wouldn't have gotten to top speed if it were full of passengers.
3. They did say "more than 25,000 horsepower", so using 25,000 is an underestimate.
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Old 04-03-07, 02:30 PM   #5
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According to this site, france gets 75% of its electricity from nuclear power, and over 90% from either nuclear or hydro.

Nuclear power, by the way, uses non-renewable resources but the potential energy output of all existing nuclear-fission fuels is many times larger than that of coal and petroleum. Nuclear power generation doesn't produce any of the air pollutants produced by fossil-fuel use except water vapor.
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Old 04-03-07, 02:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makeinu
...Which is approximately 880 BTU/passenger-mile

Seems too low...
Your estimate could be in the ballpark. One reason is that for electricity, unlike for combustion engines, the thermodynamic inefficiencies involved in burning the fuel are left back at the generating plant.

Quote:
For every kilometer of travel, an intercity passenger train uses only one-third as much energy per rider as a commercial airplane, and one-sixth as much as a car carrying only the driver.
http://www.worldwatch.org/node/872

Of course, for energy efficiency it's important to have the maximum number of passenger seats filled.
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Old 04-03-07, 08:05 PM   #7
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I wonder if the French are pushing the envelope with regards to train travel because the system is exposed to the elements and sabotage. You have to begin wondering if this need for hypermobility isn't part of the problem? Those of us who are car free have found out that simpler is better.
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Old 04-03-07, 08:33 PM   #8
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Well, I for one would be pretty excited if transit network across Canada of this sort were to be developed. High speed intercity/town train travel (particularly if it were reasonably cheap). If such a thing were available, going car free out here would be a cinch.
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Old 04-03-07, 09:26 PM   #9
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I wonder if the French are pushing the envelope with regards to train travel because the system is exposed to the elements and sabotage.
Shhh! Don't say anything or before you know it you'll have to take off your shoes and submit to an xray examination to ride the new jersey transit.
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Old 04-03-07, 09:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
What is the energy used per passenger mile?
I checked their site and at peak output they were using 19.2 megawatts to carry 3 engineers at ~10 seconds per mile. Without hauling out my engineering texts and a calculator it looks like the experimental test train used enough energy per passenger mile to run my home for one day.

Since they are only 5 MPH short of the ultimate record (maglev - Japan) I am sure they will try again.
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Old 04-03-07, 10:14 PM   #11
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Shhh! Don't say anything or before you know it you'll have to take off your shoes and submit to an xray examination to ride the new jersey transit.
Nah, don't worry about it. Security will be too busy frisking the little, silver-haired ladies.
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Old 04-03-07, 11:00 PM   #12
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Does anyone know what the speed they can get to in short distances? How long does it take to get up to 100+, 200+, etc? Would you lose your lunch?
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Old 04-04-07, 12:07 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
You have to begin wondering if this need for hypermobility isn't part of the problem? Those of us who are car free have found out that simpler is better.
Hypermobility??? Not everyone can bike across a country as transport. A bike can replace a car, but it can't replace an airplane. This train can replace airplanes.
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Old 04-04-07, 11:17 AM   #14
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I rode the TGV a number of times a few years ago and it's fantastic. You guys should read up on it like on wikipedia or something, it's not like train travel in the US, it's a complete system. How the lay the tracks, where they lay the tracks, the design of the rails, it's soup-to-nuts, they just don't drop a fast train on some tracks. I've ridden on trains here a bit, on the east coast and btwn seattle and portland, and you can't even imagine the difference.

I wish we had such a system in the US, there'd literally be no reason to fly on probably half the domestic flights that take place. I go up to WA (from socal) every year or so and man, I would never fly if we had a TGV type system. I'd tromp up to san fran every other month if there were a high speed train going there. Good lord, it'd be like a sweet dream if we had some of that.
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