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Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/20/2017 8:42 PM

Back in the steam engine days, steam locomotives would pick up water on the run by a scoop that swung down from under the tender and scooped up water that was in a trough between the rails. I wonder if a diesel locomotive equipped with such an arrangement, could be used to help brake a train in an emergency. Water troughs could be positioned on both sides of a grade crossing. A sensor would detect the presence of a stalled vehicle in the crossing and alert the engineer to lower the brake (scoop). Water brakes have been used to stop rocket sleds. It could work on trains.

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#1

Re: Emergency braking system for trains

09/20/2017 9:50 PM

What about the cars behind the locomotive?

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#2

Re: Emergency braking system for trains

09/20/2017 9:51 PM

A freight train can weigh 20,000 tons. Water won't do much to slow it down.

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#3

Re: Emergency braking system for trains

09/20/2017 10:35 PM

After working in a rail yard for near 2 years fueling locomotives the guys there gave me a few crash courses on how modern diesel electric locomotives work.

The short version is whatever amount of HP they can produce to move the train they have of equal capacity to slow it down, plus a bit extra and that doesn't include any of the locomotives or rail cars mechanical brakes.

The theory of gradient climbing and descending, as was explained to me, is that they use the number locomotives needed to get up the slope +1 (or more if it a really steep mountain pass) so that even if one locomotive went down they still have enough power to get up plus enough braking capacity to get down without using the mechanical brakes.

Or that's the theory anyway.

I went to Mesula MT last year and part of the interstate runs through the same pass as the rial lines and I saw one grain train that had at least 10 locomotives spread out through it from end to end. Guessing that between the steep ascents and descents they felt that was at least how many they needed to keep things under control.

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#5
In reply to #3

Re: Emergency braking system for trains

09/21/2017 4:08 AM

'whatever amount of HP they can produce to move the train they have of equal capacity to slow it down'

You are confusing fossil fuel poweres trains with electric trains.

For electric trains, they should have about the same capacity to take energy from the grid (accelerating) and to return it to the grid (braking).

However, if you take the energy from a fuel, you do not have the capacity to make fuel out of nothing, do you?

Btw, it is called regenerative braking. CR4 has a few discussions abput it.

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#6
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Re: Emergency braking system for trains

09/21/2017 5:17 AM

No. The modern Diesel electric locomotive is just a electric train that carries its own on board generator systems.

The actual propulsion system is all electric motor based and fully capable of doing equal to greater dynamic regenerative braking as it is motive power.

The only difference is the regenerative power from braking gets dumped into a huge set of resistors and dissipated as heat instead of fed back onto a electrical power grid.

The ones I most commonly fueled while I was in the rail yard were the GE dash 8 and 9 series which had around 4000 - 4400 HP worth of engine power and sat on six propulsion axles that each ran on ~700 - 750 HP three phase electric motors thus giving them, as I understood it, more axle braking HP than the genset engines could make them produce in tractive power.

GE Dash 9-44CW Diesel electric Locomotive

The next most common ones I saw were the GE Evolution series units which were basically the same but a bit more efficient and ran four larger traction motors on the axle trucks opposed to the six motor systems the others used.

GE Evolution Series Locomotive

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Emergency braking system for trains

09/21/2017 8:24 AM

<...the regenerative power from braking gets dumped into a huge set of resistors and dissipated as heat...> is great for saving brake blocks and pads on long down-grades, though its performance is limited by the adhesion between locomotive wheels and the rails. In contrast, a modern fully-automatic train-length power braking system adds in the adhesive braking capacity of the train as well, leading to stronger deceleration than resistance braking on the locomotive alone. Further, automatic train-length power braking is almost a global standard these days.

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#10
In reply to #5

Re: Emergency braking system for trains

09/21/2017 11:09 AM

BTW all locomotives in the US may use diesel fuel, but it is in turbine engines on many, and all use electric motors on drive wheels, and AFAICT all use dynamic braking these days. We are not stuck in the 19th Century over here, in spite of the Sergio Leone films.

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#36
In reply to #10

Re: Emergency braking system for trains

09/22/2017 12:30 PM

Actually, we are still 19th century, especially in our railroads. Last century, when the Milwaukee road pushed out to the West coast they immediately electrified the mountainous region because traction motors are far more powerful and have much better braking force. They are also far cheaper to run than diesel or steam since most all of the electricity was hydro and electro-mechanical maintenance is nowhere near as complicated as steam or diesel. Of course as soon as the Milwaukee Road was bought out the new owners immediately went back to diesel, spent millions to remove all of the cantenary and electrical lines so that re electrifying it would now be prohibitively expensive.

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#4

Re: Emergency braking system for trains

09/21/2017 3:09 AM

The purpose of the water trough was to fill the water tanks in a steam locomotive. Not much braking there...

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#18
In reply to #4

Re: Emergency braking system for trains

09/21/2017 3:44 PM

That is true, but in that case, the water in the trough is being directed into the tender (less resistance). My idea would be a barrier that hits the water, trying to push it away (greater resistance).

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#19
In reply to #18

Re: Emergency braking system for trains

09/21/2017 3:55 PM

There would have to be a scoop on every car.

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#23
In reply to #18

Re: Emergency braking system for trains

09/21/2017 8:57 PM

A train weighs much more than a rocket sled. Even if the water is in the place where you need it, all you will get is a big splash and the train will keep on going.

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#24
In reply to #23

Re: Emergency braking system for trains

09/21/2017 9:13 PM

Exactly. To take a speeding 20,000 ton train down from 60 MPH to 30 MPH you essentially have to accelerate an equal 20,000 tons of water up from a stand still to 30 MPH or a proportionately similar ratio of mass to speed trade off by either moving more water mass to a lower velocity or less water mass to a higher one or by dissipating a specific amount of energy in the water mass while recycling it on the go somehow.

Same basic principle of a speeding bullets Foot/pound force value. What rate of velocity change do you want in what time and or distance frame and how do you dissipate the energy being transferred?

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#30
In reply to #24

Re: Emergency braking system for trains

09/22/2017 9:39 AM

So what we really need is a momentum transfer device...

It would destroy the tracks, but what about having the last car/tractor drop anchor (hydraulically) to basically insert a chisel stinger about three-four feet deep in the ground? Surely, that would create some friction, and would certainly result in a lot of new hires working for the railroad in rebuilding tracks (over and over).

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#33
In reply to #30

Re: Emergency braking system for trains

09/22/2017 12:23 PM

this idea is not only catastrophic for the rails but will not work as the force on the car connectors would be too high and they would fail, most likely at the nearest car to the "chisel stinger" at this connection would see the highest load. the result would be a train that is still moving AND the decoupling of the car would blow out the air pressure which applies force to the car brakes. and btw: a section of track will now need to be repaired from leveling out the gravel bed to replacing the railroad ties and track.

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#35
In reply to #33

Re: Emergency braking system for trains

09/22/2017 12:30 PM

Yes, I knew this was a really "dirty" idea when I tossed it out there?

How about big Kevlar balloons that "pop" out on the lead loco, and "bounce" whatever is on the tracks to a safe location (moving bounce house style). OR large balloons that pop out (at randomly oriented) points on each car, and provide some serious air drag at first.

Or maybe, just maybe we edumacate these folksies that wantses to parksies on the tracksies, whenever they see a train coming?

I can even see something like a giant air bag set into the crossing, that pops the car off the tracks, then deflates again in time to safely allow train passage. The persons in the car will be injured, no doubt, at least not killed in high percentage.

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#8

Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/21/2017 10:12 AM

I suspect that the loco did not loose much speed during this exercise. And of course a limitation is that the at-grade crossing would need to be on flat, level ground.

More importantly, train dynamics would probably prohibit this. Simply put, a train brakes on ALL its wagons' wheels during a stop. Locomotive brakes on their own are used very carefully (usually to do with "stretching" or "compressing" the train on undulating routes). If you suddenly put a massive braking force on the locos only, the coupler/buffer forces from the 10 000t+ of the following wagons would be prohibitive. The results would be either that the buffers will break where it attaches to the wagons, or that the train will buckle sort of concertina-style and derail. This is for freight trains. For passenger trains, a sudden brake effort would result in injuries or death of passengers, especially anyone standing at the time.

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#11
In reply to #8

Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/21/2017 11:19 AM

As was told to me, most of the time they prefer to rely on locomotive dynamic braking as much as possible simply to cut down on on rail care brake service work. Similar to how when operating a commercial truck you try to use dynamic braking with the engine as much as possible simply to cut down on brake service work.

Where I worked the carmen service crews spent a huge amount of their time putting new brake shoes on cars every time a train pulled in for a crew change and fuel up and any train that had to do a hard emergency stop or had a main brake air line come undone while enroute even once more often than not spent a extra hour or two sitting while every rail car got it brakes checked and more often than not an above normal amount of cars got theirs replaced for it.

As part of a design throw back to the early days of rail pretty much every rail car today has severely undersized braking systems for the mass it represents. Despite most cars weighing in at 80 - 120 tons loaded they have a braking system that is smaller and weaker than what is allowed on a light commercial truck of 1/6 - 1/10 the mass so it doesn't take too many hard stops to completely burnout a brand new set of brake shoes.

As for the locomotives out here in the prairie they try to run most trains with no more than 60 cars or XXXX tons rolling mass before adding a rear pusher unit or two that way the stresses on the couplers are reduced.

In the mountains they reduce that number considerably more and that's why a train going through the mountain might only have 20 - 30 cars between locomotive sets.

So, yea they do use the mechanical brakes but they use them pretty sparingly given the service work and costs involved in making sure they work.

Really, for the mass of a single car those shoes are tiny.

Rail car brake shoe change out.

Brake change out how-to video.

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#48
In reply to #11

Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/22/2017 4:10 PM

In addition to dynamic braking, I also employed the generous use of the Jake brake ( especially in those areas where there were signs posted that Jake brakes were prohibited ) even though the sounds would echo for miles around.

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#57
In reply to #48

Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/22/2017 7:39 PM

Don't we all?

Kinda make you wish railway locomotives had Jake Brakes too, doesn't it?

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#9

Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/21/2017 11:06 AM

Interesting idea, how many G's? Anything over 2-3 G's expect passenger injuries?

Sorry, but I think this system is not going to work in all cases. If it picked up water and used the water (converted to steam by thermal dissipation of the braking system), to thrust backward (in tension at the final car/locomotive), that might be of some slight use.

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#12
In reply to #9

Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/21/2017 11:21 AM

The maximum deceleration for a regeneration, Metadyne or a friction braking system is limited by the coefficient of friction/adhesion between the wheel and the rail, typically in the 0.2 region for dry rails and somewhat less for wet ones. Of these, the Metadyne arrangement is the most effective, as it can operate at the limit of friction reliably, irrespective of rail condition; that is why London Underground prohibited its use in its Rule Book: it was extremely hazardous to standing passengers.

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#13
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Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/21/2017 12:10 PM

In your opinion would there ever be any worth to a system that enhanced friction through magnetic attraction of the wheels to the rail? Not sure it would work at any rate, but simple enough to test.

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#14
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Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/21/2017 12:54 PM

My unsolicited opinion is, it's not worth the bother.

The contact area of a typical locomotive wheel on a rail is the size of a dime and 600–800 MPa. pressure.

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#15
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Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/21/2017 1:48 PM

...but is a considered opinion, clearly worth as much as mine. Thanks, Lyn.

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#27
In reply to #15

Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/22/2017 8:38 AM

There is actually a mechanism that sprays sand between the rail and the wheel to increase traction. video shows this, fast forward to about the 2 min mark. i know they use this to start the rig and for momentum before approaching a steep grade but not sure if used to brake.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdLcipx37b8

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#28
In reply to #27

Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/22/2017 8:51 AM

Sanding has been used to increase adhesion for the thick end of 150 years. The emergency braking arrangements still depend upon the coefficient of friction between wheel and rail; sanding increases it.

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#29
In reply to #28

Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/22/2017 9:19 AM

yeaaa, implied..which is why i brought it up, but thanks for reiterating.

i love guys like you that repeat back what was just told to them, change the wording a bit and then act like they just made a profound statement.

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#39
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Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/22/2017 1:19 PM

Unfortunately CR4 does not have a 'Safe Space' room for you go to nor doe it hand out participation trophies for you having done anything at all here based on your standards of value alone.

One person comes up with a base idea and then someone else reiterates while expanding on it and then it passes the the next person who builds a bit more using largely the same process.

Get used to it. This is how people of engineering/technical mindsets tend to work when brainstorming/whimsically pondering on a subject.

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#49
In reply to #14

Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/22/2017 4:17 PM

252 mm/2

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#16
In reply to #13

Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/21/2017 2:24 PM

Trams do that.

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#17
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Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/21/2017 2:29 PM

OK, but on trams, isn't the speed slower in the first place, and the rider is on a cable, and the magnetics simply latch onto the cable with some pressure?

I am not educated at all on trams.

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#25
In reply to #17

Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/22/2017 5:21 AM

As an example, the trams in Amsterdam, one of the flattest cities in the world, drop a magnetic sled onto the track as an emergency braking facility. It works well, and is a useful device where there is significant interface between the rail vehicle and particulary pedestrians where they can get in each others' ways.

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#20

Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/21/2017 4:01 PM

I am not talking about normal braking, but emergency braking. Increased friction is what will be doing all the work. An emergency stop for a train locks up the wheels (I believe), so friction against the rails is lost. That being the case, some other external form of resistance needs to come into play. The rocket sled idea prompts my emergency stop device. This idea was prompted by an increased incidence of train crashes at level crossings within city limits in my area of the state. Trains don't travel "full throttle" through the city, so a water braking device might work. I don't know all the science and technology that goes into such an idea, I'm just the idea man. I present the idea; you evaluate it. If you deem it a working idea, you can propose it and keep the profits from it.

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#21
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Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/21/2017 4:08 PM

The fastest to stop a train in an emergency situation is with another train.

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#22
In reply to #20

Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/21/2017 7:51 PM

In theory it would probably work rather well but in reality any open water source is going to attract animals and everything else you don't want on the tracks thus causing a lot of other issues with each water trough.

As tough as the front end of a locomotive is their windows and headlights don't hold up to birds and anything else any better than the ones on your vehicle do.

Then theirs the logistics of how much water you would need to bring the speed of a loaded train down. It's a lot to have concentrated between two tracks so it either has to be very deep or very long to work well!

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#26
In reply to #22

Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/22/2017 5:24 AM

Switching the train into a lake fulfils those criteria!

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#31
In reply to #26

Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/22/2017 9:41 AM

...yes, but think of all the drowning chickens! Save the chickens!

I liked your tram magnet sled idea a lot better.

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#32
In reply to #20

Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/22/2017 11:50 AM

Other issues are water supply logistics, evaporation, freezing and grades.

Better to grip the top part of the rail like a linear disc brake or use rubber opposing idler wheels with their own brakes.

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#34

Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/22/2017 12:24 PM

I come up with another idea for stopping a train. Along the main thoroughfares in mountainous terrain, there are emergency turnoffs, called run-a-way lanes used by trucks when going down hill. The turnoffs are positioned part way down from the crest of the hill. When the truck driver realizes his brakes are failing, he can steer off onto the emergency turnoff. The turnoff leads to an area of soft sand which slows down the truck. Maybe a similar arrangement could be used to stop a train. The train would be diverted onto a spur which would begin to turn into an upgrade. The upgrade would increase progressively to a point where momentum would drop to zero. This could be called the "roller coaster" effect. The turnoff would be controlled remotely by sensors at the crossing and by the locomotive engineer. It could work, but it would take a few miles either side of a crossing to implement.

I don't know why they, in the U.S. don't use the crossing gate system used through Europe and Japan; a gate that completely isolates motor vehicles from the track. You have all seen it; drivers will go around the crossing gate because they don't see a train approaching. A couple of months ago, a tour bus loaded with senior citizens stalled at a crossing and was hit by a freight train; many deaths. This happened in Biloxi, Ms, a few miles away from where I call home. I'm sure these ideas have been brought up many times over and yet; things don't change. I am very conservative, but when it comes to technology, I'm very progressive,(non-politically speaking).

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#37
In reply to #34

Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/22/2017 12:35 PM

The idea has its merits, but acquiring the additional right-of-way, installing the upgrade (literal and figurative) would be very costly, and in crowded areas, or if train has sufficient momentum to overcome the final grade and launch over the end??

How about an automatic ramp for stalled traffic on the tracks. Hydraulic (fast system) literally takes whatever vehicle, and launches it on a down slope so that it can safely roll away. It could work in an isolated number of events, but would be no help at all in the event of a traffic backup, with one unlucky soul stuck on the tracks.

Smarter traffic control, bypass spurs, etc., might go a long way in this regard.

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#38
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Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/22/2017 1:13 PM

"Smarter traffic control, bypass spurs, etc., might go a long way in this regard."

Maybe just making smarter people would solve the problem (and a lot of others as well)?

Seems Like way too much time and money gets spent trying to solve everything that is a byproduct of stupid no matter how insignificant rather than fixing the source of the stupidity, IE the humans it comes from.

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#40
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Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/22/2017 1:35 PM

Once again, the five P's come into play. Especially when driving: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

It seems that sometimes the "smartest" people (that think they know better), are the ones that want to circumvent safety barriers, procedures, and warnings.

Making alert people on the roadways is good, and so are drug-free, alcohol-free ones.

How about at least putting up a train horn right at the crossing barrier - to make the trains sound like they are right there, and further discourage inching up, around, or through the barriers, or pulling up thinking traffic will move off ahead.

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#41
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Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/22/2017 2:32 PM

I think think the 5 P's have been changed.

1. Play dumb.

2. Pretend. (It wasn't you.)

3. Point blame. (It has to be someone else's fault.)

4. Pontificate. (Self justify actions, more absurd reasoning the better.)

5. Protest. (Claim unfairness/bias of the system when first 4 points fail.)

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#42
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Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/22/2017 2:35 PM

Then there is also the 6th P: Phart!

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#45
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Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/22/2017 3:44 PM

Did you copy that from the White house press site?

I love poking the bear on Fridays!

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#52
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Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/22/2017 4:32 PM

Did you know that Winnie the Pooh (short for Winnipeg) was an actual black bear from Canada rescued by a veterinarian soldier at the time of his transport to UK during WWI? He survived battle while the bear became the all-time favorite of the London zoo. It broke his heart to leave his bear behind again after the war, but greater love does those things.

An associate of his wrote the story of Winnie the Pooh for his son and his beloved stuffed bear, (named Winnie in honor of the London zoo bear).

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#56
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Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/22/2017 7:37 PM

No. It came from the "How to be a Modern Liberal" - for dummies handbook.

Rules of conduct section to be specific, and I believe clintons new book covers the applied theory of operations multiple times over.

If you don't have a copy of either it I know of at least one member here who can likely loan you either or both of his.

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#54
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Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/22/2017 4:35 PM

I thought that was the 6 p's.

Proper planning prevents piss poor planning.

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#55
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Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/22/2017 4:37 PM

Nah, the first six P's are just the preamble to the remaining 6 P's. Have a great weekend Tony!

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#51
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Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/22/2017 4:31 PM

How about this idea:

You got an electric garage door, it has sensors mounted on each side of the door opening, when an object interrupts the sensors, the garage door stops moving.

When a vehicle, in this case a bus, interrupts the sensors, an automatic device aboard the train activated the trains braking system.

Nothing is completely fool proof, no matter how much you try, you can't completely stop stupid.

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#53
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Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/22/2017 4:34 PM

One can stop stupid, one just can't fix stupid.

With the cow-catcher, at least this thing is a "toss-up".

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#43

Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/22/2017 3:19 PM

I was really trying to read the last topic of Missile defence.

However it is blocked. Likely for all, or only for some?

Perhaps a moderator could elaborate. ?

Thank you.

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#44
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Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/22/2017 3:26 PM

I was easily able to navigate to it, but did not attempt posting again.

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#46

Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/22/2017 3:48 PM

Track_Pans.pdf

The track pan Scooping water in the age of steam engines.

file///C:/Users/jajr/Documents/My Webs/JimQuest NEW/writ/trains/pan...

( The PDF file is 2 pages (a) & 15 pages (b) ( particular system configuration )

James Alexander JR.

The Kiesel water scoop patent 1894

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#47

Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/22/2017 4:02 PM

A cheaper method would be to reinstall, " Pilots " on railway engines. This way when the train hit and object ( car ) (sic) the object would be tossed up out of the way and the train could continue on its way. In this manner, passengers & freight could keep their timetable .

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#50
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Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

09/22/2017 4:28 PM

Cowcatchers in another era. Maybe effective, but no guarantee on the final state of those plowed out of the way.

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#58

Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

10/03/2017 8:41 AM

After all the discussion of past, current, and possible additional braking systems for trains, is there really that much of a problem with runaway trains and resulting crashes/fatalities that it is necessary to add more emergency braking capability? What's the ROI going to be? Will it really be worth it to spend whatever it takes to stop those few trains that conventional methods won't? I'm not hearing of large numbers of runaway train accidents these days - do we actually have a problem that needs solving here?

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#59
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Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

10/03/2017 9:26 AM

The level crossing is a nineteenth century solution to a 21st century problem. All newly-designed high speed lines in the UK are devoid of the crossing type by design, utilising over-bridges and underpasses instead, and it is extraordinarily difficult to achieve sanction to install a new level crossing on any other passenger line in the UK.

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#60
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Re: Emergency Braking System for Trains

10/03/2017 12:19 PM

I suspect we have wild solutions in search of a problem, as is usual.

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