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Title: By rail the future

Pages: 24 - 31

                        

Author: Richard Carr

Text: By rail the future
by Richard Carr
Today, one might think, is the age of the motor car, and tomorrow will be the age of the aeroplane. Nearly all the problems concerned with transportation stem from the private car and the mobility it gives to its owners, especially in Europe and North America, but also in most of the densely populated areas of the world. In Saigon, the sounds of war may be heard in the outlying districts, but it is the traffic jams which provide the city's biggest headache; and in Russia, the decision to step up rapidly the production of private cars may prove to be the biggest incentive for social and economic change since the days of the revolution.
At such a time, the idea of a railway comeback seems incredible, and yet new trains are being introduced in Canada, Britain, France and Germany, and completely new systems are being built in the US and Japan. It seems as if the railways, after the long sleep of slow decline which followed their heyday at the turn of the century, are rousing themselves for renewed effort.
There are three reasons for optimism for those who love railways. The first is that railway operators have at last realised that, in inter-city transport at least, they have better access to the city centre than the private car, and the technological means to provide as good a service as internal airlines. Hence the recent electrification by British Rail: "We are moving London nearer to Birmingham and Manchester." Hence, too, the turbo-jet train which this month begins operating between Toronto and Montreal.
The second reason for optimism is that the private car is its own worst enemy, and where before the war it allowed a few privileged men to get to work in speed and comfort, it now enables many people to do the same journey at a slow and frustrating pace, while at the same time snarling up public road transport. Not for nothing has the New York Freeway been renamed the "New York crawl." The result of this particular situation may ultimately teethe banning of cars from the centre of all major cities. It is also encouraging people to devise and consider alternative forms of rail transport, including monorails and mini-trains, and was responsible for the decision to build a completely new commuter service in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The third reason for optimism stems from the belief that completely new systems using linear motors, magnetic suspension, hover principles or even tunnels filled with water or compressed air, may eventually provide the most satisfactory form of fast, efficient and safe land transport. The day may not be far off when commuters will happily travel 100 miles to work, and consider a speed of 300 mph as nothing out of the ordinary. When this happens, Londoners really will be able to have a weekend cottage in the Cairngorms!
Fast between cities
The greatest boost to rail transport has probably come from Japan, where the Tokaido Express, 3, which came into operation in 1964, has set unparalleled standards in speed and service. The Ivory D Bullet expresses cover the 320 miles between Tokio and Osaka in 3 hours 10 minutes at speeds of up to 130 mph, and new trains which are planned to run in 1970 will cut the time to 2 1/2 hours, and cruise at 155 mph. The line is also being extended to Fuknoka, which will cut the journey from Tokio from 12 hours to 5 hours 40 minutes.
Because the Tokaido line has been so successful, and has proved that internal airlines are not nearly as invulnerable as once they seemed, other countries have been encouraged to follow suit, usually also by abandoning steam in favour of electric traction. But electrics are not the only answer, and a new service in Canada opens up completely different possibilities.
Cutting down weight
Running between Toronto and Montreal, a distance of 335 miles which they cover in 3 hours 55 minutes, Canadian National's new trains, 1 and 2, will knock more than an hour off the time taken by the presentRapidoexpress,which is still the fastest train in North America. But the revolutionary aspect of the new trains is not their speed, but the gas turbine engines which power them. Among the advantages of the engines (which are basically modifications of the Pratt and Whitney PT6 installed in helicopters and fixed wing aircraft) are that they do not need to warm up or id le. can operate on diesel fuel, are only 5 ft 2 inches in length and 19 inches in diameter, and weigh little more than 300 lb. each. As a result, the eight enginesusedtodrivea14-carturbo-trainwillweigh2,4001bas againstthe600,000 lb of the three standard diesel units which would be required to power the same load.
The advantage in weight has been exploited throughout the train's design (it is built by United Aircraft): the structure is aluminium; a single axle suspension has replaced the usual two-axle trucks except on the power units; and all ancillary equipment has been made as light as possible. Thus, the whole train weighs approximately 3 that of a conventional train of the same size; the operating costs have been considerably reduced; and the break-even load capacity is almost half that of the Rapido express.
Another advantage of the gas turbine engine is its tremendous acceleration and power. The train also has a new suspension system which enables it to go round curves 30 mph faster than at present, and guided axles which are steered and do not depend on contact with the rail flanges for guidance. One result of these innovations is that, although the turbo-trains' top speed is about 120 mph, CN will be able to increase the average speed from 64 to 84 mph without running them faster than 95 mph. Another advantage is that the track and signalling remain the same. In other words, all CN has had to do to introduce a service which competes in time with the airlines, and offers first class travel at less than the cost of an air tourist ticket, is to introduce a completely new set of trains.
The turbo-jet trains are also being tried out on an experimental basis as part of the northeast corridor project. This project, which stems from the US High Speed Ground Transportation Act of 1965 and is backed by $90 million provided by the Department of Commerce, is
an attempt to find immediate and long term solutions to relieve the congested highways and air lanes stretching from Boston to New York to Washington. Three of the United Aircraft turbo-jets will run between Boston and New York and although, as in Canada, they will be kept well below their top speed, the present journey of 4 hr 18 minutes will be cut by more than an hour.
For the second stage, due to begin in the autumn, the Budd Co is supplying 50 self-propelled passenger cars, 4 and 5, which will run between New York, Philadelphia and Washington and cut the time of the 226 mile journey from 3 hrs 35 minutes to under three hours.
The Budd cars, each powered by four 300 hp electric motors, will have a top speed of about 160 mph, and can accelerate from 0-125 mph in under two minutes. Like the turbo-jets, they also use existing track, although the Pennsylvania Railroad is laying more than 210 miles of continuous welded rail, revamping its catenary system, rebuilding bridges and sprucing up stations in preparation for the new service. And also like the turbo-jets, the Budd cars aim at providing the high standards of fittings and equipment associated (correctly ?) with airlines. The floors, walls and ceilings will be carpeted; wide, high-back reclining chairs will have individual arm rests and reading lamps; meals will be served et the passengers' seats; and passengers will be able to make telephone calls en route. The luggage and access facilities have also been carefully thought out, so that passengers will enter the train through wide, sliding doors, and the floor of the car will automatically adjust to the station platform level irrespective of the load in the car. There will be no stepping up or down from a carriage.
Turbo-jets for British Rail?
The decision to test both turbo-jets and electric cars in the north-east corridor project represents a choice of power systems, one of which requires all the ancillary equipment necessary to provide a continuous supply of electricity. In America, the decision to use electric traction has meant modernising an existing electric line, but in Japan, for example, it has meant building a completely new railway costing more than $1,000 million. The Canadians, on the other hand, believe they can achieve the same results at only a fraction of the price.
As Barbara Castle's opening of British Rail's technical centre in Derby revealed last April, the same choice of systems now faces BR. The possibility of drawing passengers back to the railways has been proved by the electrification of the London-Manchester-Liverpool line, but while the engineers are thinking in terms of extending the electrification to Glasgow, the technical centre has its own ideas for a turbo-jet.
At the moment, the BR turbo-jet, 6 - , exists only as an outline specification; a small model designed for the technical centre by Ashmore and Wilkes; and the suggestion that the first turbo-jet couldbeinoperationby1972.Thedesignembodiesatwo-axletruck with an advanced form of suspension which, like that on the CN turbo-jet, would enable the train to take corners at high speed and without touching the rail flanges. Unlike the CN turbo-jet, however, the suspension system includes a sensing unit which would monitor the speed and curvature of the track and actuate a hydraulic tilting device to turn the coach about a longitudinal axis located very low in the cross section. The CN train has a pendulum type suspension where the coach tilts about a very high axis.
Much of the thinking behind the BR turbo-jet is undoubtedly due to the influence of aircraft design: BR railway research is led by
(caption)
1-2 Canadian National's turbo-jet and, 2, a refreshment lounge in one of the dome cars. Designed by the railway's own staff, the interiors are intended to appeal to businessmen who regularly use the line.
3 An Ivory BuIlet on the Tokaido line. Although so advanced in terms of speed, use of track and passenger handling techniques, the train has been criticised for its poor interior design and clumsy seats.
4-5 The Budd high speed 'corridor train'. Its interior, 5, has carpets on the floor, walls and ceiling, is air conditioned, and has an airsprung suspension which eliminates metal-to-metal contact between the car and bogies.
Dr Sidney Jones, formerly of the Royal Aircraft Establishment; the technical centre is under the direction of Dr Stanley Smith, formerly of Rolls Royce; and the bogie design has been done using digital and analogue computers manned by people previously working on the
TSR2. As a result, the centre is keen to develop the gas turbine powered train with its new suspension, and envisages sustained speeds of over 150 mph bringing the journey from London to Edinburgh, for example, to within 3 hrs 30 minutes, instead of over 6 hrs at present, while still using the present track. So far, the electrification of London-Manchester-Liverpool line has cost 185 million and its extension will cost a lot more. But Canadian experience may show that instead of pushing ahead with electrification, a more sensible policy might be to develop turbo-jets for the future modernisation of BR's main lines?
Fast in the suburbs
In the development of new forms of inter-city rail transport, two objectives have been paramount in the minds of the designers: first, to provide really fast travel, with averages of around 100 mph and top speeds of 150 mph and more; and second, to provide luxurious travel in the belief that comfort and good service are essential if passengers ~ are to be persuaded to abandon cars and planes and go by train.
The same objectives are also being adopted for commuter services, the most significant of which is the new San
Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit System (BART), 9 and 10. BART is unique because it is not a revamp of an
existing railway, but a completely new railroad which is being built by the citizens of the area, who are raising $1,000
million to provide an alternative to their cars. And the success or I failure of BART will have a tremendous influence
on the completely new commuter services planned for Atlanta, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Washington.
The immediate aim of BART, whose first 75 miles of track is due to open in 1971 (though a small section between Richmond and Hayward should be in operation by the end of this year) is to whisk 200,000 commuters along the main routes of San Francisco Bay at an average speed of 50 mph, and a top speed of 80 mph in trains running at 1520 minute intervals throughout the day and stopping at stations approximately two miles apart. To do this requires an acceleration rate of 3-4 mph per second, which is considerably better than that of current electric and diesel trains.
The most important feature as far as the passenger is concerned is the BART car designed by Sundberg-Ferar. An extra wide track enables a really spacious interior to be provided, with 72 seats (each 44 inches wide) arranged so that passengers can reach and leave them without disturbing other people; lighting which spreads a low level general illumination while at the same time providing a 'reading plane' of higher intensity for each individual passenger; and temperature, humidity and air current control on a venturi principle which, among other things, cuts out the cold air currents along the car window line which so often trouble people using public transport.
Nearly all of the 37 stations planned will have ample parking. But even though station design has been regularised by a manual of architectural standards, there have already been complaints that the San Francisco stations are badly sited and will be inconvenient to use. As a result, Christopher Alexander was called in to suggest improvements; but his 500 suggestions have been rejected and the situation has been made worse by the resignation of the manual's ! author, Donn Emmons, and BART's landscape architect, Lawrence Halprin, on the grounds that "the citizens of the Bay area are being given less than a well designed system." Furthermore, the citizens of Berkeley have taxed themselves an extra $20 million to put BART's elevated track underground, and similar moves are afoot in Oakland. In other words, BART's teething troubles have already begun.
Although BART is the most ambitious of current suburban rapid transit schemes in the US, there are at least a dozen cities where the improvement of present railways, or the building of new lines, is
(caption)
6-8 A model of BR's proposed turbo-jet, s. Powered by Rolls Royce Dart engines, it would have light weight coaches of an alloy and stressed skin construction, and small wheels of perhaps 26 inches in diameter. Careful attention would be given to the external geometry of the train to reduce the aerodynamic drag, and a completely new bogie design would allow the train to tilt when going round curves, 8. The train's top speed would be around 150 mph using existing track.
The nose of the BR turbo-jet, 7, might have a detachable driver's pod, and the interior, 8, would be air conditioned, pressurised, have sound and vibration control, and seats of an improved design.
9-10 The BART rapid transit car, 9. The interior, 10, is air conditioned, and has tinted glass windows, carpets, and wide roomy seats. its aim: to be more comfortable than an American automobile.
under consideration, and a further 20 which might be similarly involved if the present schemes prove successful.
The schemes themselves show a wide range of thinking. For example, The BuddCo has just built a self-propelled rail car, powered by two gas turbine engines from The Garrett Corp, for the Long Island Rail Road. The car, capable of speeds up to 100 mph, is a research vehicle which is intended to establish that the gas turbine train is as suitable for short hauls as it is for long distance.
A high regard for passenger comfort is shown by the new cars designed by Sundberg-Ferar in conjunction with the St Louis Car Division of General Steel Industries Inc for the Port Authority Trans Hudson (PATH). They have allaluminium bodies, a new seating arrangement, a dual system of mechanical springs and air suspension to give a really smooth ride, and are the first completely air conditioned rapid transit cars to be operated in the US.
But, although air conditioning is regarded as an essential part of the design of almost all the projects, there is one curious exception: the 400 cars, designed by Raymond Loewy- William Snaith Inc for the New York subway, 11, will rely on conventional fans in the roof to disperse the fetid tunnel air. It is believed that the cars' streamlined ends, slightly rounded sides, wider windows and doors - in fact the more flowing exterior treatment which replaces the boxlike shape of the present cars - will pull the customers in.
Besides the projects already in hand, there is also the interesting SCOT car - the Steel Car of Tomorrow - designed by Peter Muller-Munk Associates for the United Steel Corp as part of the company's transit research programme, 12 and 13. The SCOT car has a modular construction, so that it can be built in varying sizes without requiring redesign, using an unusual steel sandwich panel which is as light as aluminium. It also has special, heat absorbing and glare reducing glass windows, and new systems for operating the automatic doors and controlling noise. In other words, the SCOT car is a direct result of the interest in new materials and techniques for mass transit which has been generated by the High Speed Ground Transportation Act.
Monorails and mini-rails
The SCOT car project is different from ail the others discussed so far, with the exception of BART, in that it includes a study of elevated railroads. The possibility of putting railways over the ground, and particularly above roads which would continue to carry vehicular traffic, is usually associated with monorails;and there are at least four types under active development.
The first is Westinghouse Electric Corp's elevated transit expressway (the Skybus), 14, which has cars designed by Eliot Noyes. The expressway concept involves operating small, quiet and rubber-tyred trains over a continuous loop, with short intervals between each train. At off-peak periods, the trains consist of a single car, but additional cars can be added to increase the load carrying capacity of the system to 21,000 passengers an hour in each direction. The trains are coupled and uncoupled by mechanical transfer devices and are operated automatically under precise controls of interval, speed, acceleration and stops. The expressway has been successfully demonstrated at South Park near Pittsburgh, and a modification of the Skybus is due to come into operation at Tampa Airport in 1968.
Another more conventional monorail has been developed by Safege in France, and is under licence to Taylor Woodrow
(caption)
11 Smoother, rounder lines and a body of stainless steel and aluminium are features of the new car for New York's
subway. The car's ends are of moulded glass fibre; and so are the seats inside.
12-13 The SCOT car, 12, is of a light weight sandwich panel steel construction designed to a module. Inside, 13, the
windows and skylights have heat absorbing anti-glare glass specially designed for the project.
14. Westinghouse's Skybus. Each car can operate singly or be coupled into longer trains, and the track can be on
or above the ground. The car's height and curved windows provide a spacious, light Interior.
Construction Ltd in Britain and Canada, 15. In this system, the car is suspended from a hollow box beam which
encloses the running Surfaces and traction bogies and provides exceptionally good protection from the weather. It
has been tested at Chateauneuf-sur-Loire and was suggested for Leicester, and by Fred Pooley in his design for a
North Bucks city. It is also being evaluated as a link between the centre of Manchester and Langley and Ringway
Airport.
In Britain, the MFD transport system, 16, is being developed by the Truscon group of companies, which has used
the Conran Design Group as its industrial design consultants. The trains run on Tubular steel frame, with one track
above the other, and the cars themselves can leave the track to run on wheels under their own power, which gives
the system additional flexibility. But the main innovation is the use of linear induction motors - developed by
Professor E. R. Laithwaite of the Imperial College of Science and Technology, London - which suspend and propel
the cars silently along the tracks without using moving parts.
Like the Safege system, the MFD monorail is capable of high speeds - up to 100 mph - and has a carrying capacity of about 12,000 Passengers per hour. For this reason it has been suggested as a Suitable link between London and Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, and since the cost of the system is estimated at 400,000 a mile in London, it would be considerably cheaper than a more conventional monorail and only Bathe price of an underground railway.
Another advantage is its size. Since the cars are only 40 ft long, 9ft 1 inch wide and 5 ft high, they are very much smaller than conventional railway stock, and the whole system could be fitted more easily into existing environments or, as has been suggested, could run above the central reservation of a motorway.
The problem of size is, in fact, extremely important, and one which is glossed over by many quasi architectural drawings showing Monorails in an urban environment (see A monorail for Oxford Street, DESIGN 222/23). However, there may well be a case for using monorails built to railway dimensions for rapid suburban or intercity transport, and much smaller monorails such as those at Expo '67 (my fourth example), for transport around city centres. Both the Expo , systems are known as minirails. One, a version of that used at the 1965 Transportation Fair at Munich, 17, has a tortuous run of 22,OOOft, goes across bridges and through the Buckminster Fuller dome, serves 32 stations and can carry 6,000 people an hour. The other minirail, 18, was bought from the Swiss National Exhibition at i Lausanne in 1964 and has a much shorter run. These systems move large numbers of people in a small environment packed with people and buildings, and could probably be used for similar duties elsewhere.
Beyond the next ten years
There are also forms of rail transport which are much more revolutionary and which may more truly belong to the twenty-first century. Some of them are already in prototype form.
In urban transport, the concept of a vehicle which can run on a track and also independently under its own power as shown by the MFD system - has been highly developed in the Alden StaRRcar, 19 and 20, which is driven from its passenger's home to a main highway by its own electric motor, and is then hooked on to a track in the road and whisked into the city centre at 60 mph under automatic control. Once at his destination, the passenger leaves the car to be used by someone else (in much the same way as undergraduates at Oxford developed a scheme whereby bicycles became common property, and were used simply to get from A to B and then abandoned at B until wanted again by the same or another rider to get from B to C). In the case of the StaRRcars, they would also be common property used by anyone with an appropriate key, and when the passenger wants to go home again, he gets into the first vacant StaRRcar available, dials the appropriate route number, and repeats
15 The Safege monorail. Rubber tyres running inside the box beam provide a smooth quiet run which is virtually weather proof. The monorail has a top speed of about 75 mph.
'6 The MFD monorail, which would normally run on a tubular steel track but would a/so have retractable wheels so that the cars could run on roads under their own power.
17-1S The minirail at the Swiss National Exhibition at Lausanne in 1964 showing open and closed versions. The minirail is now at Expo '67, where it is moving large numbers of people in a densely packed environment.
construction Ltd in Britain and Canada, 15. In this system, the car is suspended from a hollow box beam which encloses the running surfaces and traction bogies and provides exceptionally good protection from the weather. It has been tested at Chateauneuf-surLoire and was suggested for Leicester, and by Fred Pooley in his design for a North Bucks city. It is also being evaluated as a link between the centre of Manchester and Langley and Ringway Airport.
In Britain, the MFD transport system, 16, is being developed bythe Truscon group of companies, which has used the Conran Design Group as its industrial design consultants. The trains run on tubular steel frame, with one track above the other, and the cars themselves can leave the track to run on wheels under their own power, which gives the system additional flexibility. But the main nnovation is the use of linear induction motors - developed by professor E. R. Laithwaite of the Imperial College of Science and Technology, London - which suspend and propel the cars silently along the tracks without using moving parts.
Like the Safege system, the MFD monorail is capable of high speeds - up to 100 mph - and has a carrying capacity of about 12,000 passengers per hour. For this reason it has been suggested as a suitable link between London and Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, and since the cost of the system is estimated at 400,000 a mile in London, it would be considerably cheaper than a more conventional monorail and only Bathe price of an underground railway.
Another advantage is its size. Since the cars are only 40 ft long, 9 ft 1 inch wide and 5 ft high, they are very much smaller than conventional railway stock, and the whole system could be fitted more easily into existing environments or, as has been suggested, could run above the central reservation of a motorway.
The problem of size is, in fact, extremely important, and one which is glossed over by many quasi architectural drawings showing monorails in an urban environment (see A mono rail for Oxford Street, DESIGN 222/23). However, there may well be a case for using monorails built to railway dimensions for rapid suburban or intercity transport, and much smaller monorails such as those at Expo '67 my fourth example), for transport around city centres. Both the Expo systems are known as minirails. One, a version of that used at the 965 Transportation Fair at Munich, 17, has a tortuous run of 22,000 ft. goes across bridges and through the Buckminster Fuller dome, serves 32 stations and can carry 6,000 people an hour. The other minirail, 18, was bought from the Swiss National Exhibition at Lausanne in 1964 and has a much shorter run. These systems move large numbers of people in a small environment packed with people and buildings, and could probably be used for similar duties elsewhere.
Beyond the next ten years
There are also forms of rail transport which are much more revolutionary and which may more truly belong to the twenty-first century. Some of them are already in prototype form.
In urban transport, the concept of a vehicle which can run on a track and also independently under its own power as shown by the MFD system - has been highly developed in the Alden StaRRcar, 19 and 20, which is driven from its passenger's home to a main highway by its own electric motor, and is then hooked on to a track in the road and whisked into the city centre at 60 mph under automatic control. Once at his destination, the passenger leaves the car to be used by someone else (in much the same way as undergraduates at Oxford developed a scheme whereby bicycles became common property, and were used simply to get from A to B and then abandoned at B until wanted again by the same or another rider to get from B to C).ln the case of the StaRR cars, they would also be common property used by anyone with an appropriate key, and when the passenger wants to go home again, he gets into the first vacant StaRRcar available, dials the appropriate route number, and repeats
(caption) 15 The Safege monorail. Rubber tyres running inside the box beam provide a smooth quiet run which is virtually weather proof. The monorail has a top speed of about 75 mph.
15 The MFD monorail, which would normally run on a tubular steel track but would also have retractable wheels so that the cars could run on roads under their own power.
17-18 The minirail at the Swiss National Exhibition at Lausanne in 1964 showing open and closed versions. The minirail is now at Expo '67, where it is moving large numbers of people in a densely packed environment.
provided by a linear motor which is very much quieter.
So far, the hovertrain has only been demonstrated in the form of a 6 ft model running on a 590 ft track. However, the National Research and Development Corporation's announcement in May that it is putting forward proposals for a 2 million project to evaluate the commercial practicability of the hovertrain is encouraging, and perhaps the research engineers will at last get their wish for a 3 mile long track on which to test a full scale prototype. In fact, it is just possible to see BR eventually running two types of trains: turbo-jets on existing track to pull freight and provide passenger services between short distances; and hovertrains, on completely new tracks, which would do journeys like that from London to Edinburgh within an hour.
Besides the hovertrain, there are other ideas for land transport at speeds up to 500 mph which may prove viable by the end of the century, the most radical of which involve enclosed tubes. For example, Marcus Knowlton of Princeton University has developed a model of a ram wing vehicle, es, which would fly in a tunnel, the vehicle being driven by a propeller which at the same time provides an air flow to give the vehicle lift. The same principle has been developed by Dr J. V. Foa of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. It deserves considerable consideration because in the north-east corridor, for example, it has been suggested that it would be cheaper to put a tube underground than to build a new or substantially altered railway line through the densely populated area. And finally, jet propulsion, using perhaps the kind of magnetic suspension demonstrated by G. R. Polgreen at the Institution of Mechanical Engineer's symposium on guided land transport last October, may not be far away.
Conclusions
Guided land transport (as rail and tube systems now seem to be called) is clearly going to be with us for some time yet, though its form obviously depends on the money governments will be prepared to spend on some of the projects outlined above. But there are many aspects of design which are badly neglected. For example, attention is being lavished on the rolling stock, and especially on the driving controls end passenger facilities; but in commutertransport it may be the overall scale, and the provision of a varying number of cars to meet changing demands, that is really important. Insufficient thought is also being given to stations and their equipment, and to the methods of handling baggage.
Besides giving more thought to the facilities and arrangements which surround a train, safety will also need to be reexamined. Not only are speeds of 150 mph probably the most that a human operator can handle, so that trains travelling above that speed will have to be fully automatic, but the hazards of accident are greatly increased. To quote the Tokaido line, the Japanese have fenced off the track to prevent accidents due to people or animals getting too near and, if BR presses on with similar speeds, it may have to adopt the same policy. Radar systems have already been developed to scan the line up to two miles in front of the train, and of course there are advanced signalling techniques which are picked up in the driver's cab, and thus eliminate the hazards of poor visibility. Other safety factors include the effect of high cross winds and ride stability, especially in the case of hovertrains.
Finally, of course, rail transport must be seen as part of an integral system, today couched in national terms but tomorrow perhaps as part of a truly international network. The railway will only be used if it serves the right purposes at the right time and in the right place - and at the right price (whether the price be regarded as its value to the community or in terms of profit and loss). To do so not only means taking account of population distribution and the flow patterns of people and freight; it also means recognising the value of alternative methods of transport, and the cooperation which can exist between them.
(caption) 23 Bertin's Aerotrain on a turntable, showing the inverted 'T' concrete track. A 78-seat prototype, capable of speeds up to 200 mph, may soon be developed with the backing of the French Ministry of Transport.
24 A 6 ft model of the British hovertrain which, driven by a linear motor, would travel at around 300 m ph. The Ministry of Technology is considering proposals to build a full-scale prototype.
25 An artist's impression of a ram wing vehicle which could fly at high speeds in tunnels or troughs or over roadbeds. The propeller provides both thrust and hit, and the vehicle would give a very smooth ride.

 

 

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