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From: kaladorn@m...
Date: Thu, 7 Nov 2002 19:13:02 -0500
Subject: ETT

OO said:

Sure, they are. But they only move at two-three *hundred* mph, 
whereas the long-distance ETT capsules are supposed to move at four 
*thousand* mph... from a kinetic-energy point of view that's a rather 
significant difference. 

[Tomb] True. A concern if you have it moving through cities. If not, 
then it isn't such a big deal (in that, at 300 mph, you can easily 
kill everyone on the train, so doing 4000 kph isn't going to be any 
worse in that regard, so the only extra danger is to the 

>4. It has traditionally been far more efficient to move mass by rail 
than >by truck or plane (by a
>long shot) - and this method looks even more energy efficient.

In addition to KHR's comments, you forgot one very important factor: 
rail is "far more" efficient *iff* it goes *all the way to the final 

[Tomb] This I think is more a character of the type of cargo than 
even of the destination issue. After all, at worst, your truck leg is 
no worse than a part of an overall truck transport route. (Counting 
the transfer cost separately). So if the train part is much cheaper, 
and transport costs reasonable, then you are still better off. 

 If you need to use a truck even a short way of the distance 
(ie., to and from the railway terminals), the efficiency of the 
combined rail-truck system drops very fast - which is one of the 
major reasons why long-distance trucking is common even on routes 
where there's a railway line available.

[Tomb] I think you'll find a lot of these exist for a number of 
reasons including the distribution of rail transported cargos to 
areas not directly serviced by rail. And containerization, where 
feasible, goes a long long way to speeding up transfers and reducing 
the expense associated therewith. 

 In spite of the gains from container systems, the transfers 
from truck to train and from train to truck often cost you more than 
you gain by using railway for the vast majority of the distance :-(

[Tomb] I guess that depends where you are. I believe in Canada, when 
I last heard, the difference was pronounced. If you're moving 
something from Toronto or Ottawa to Vancouver or Edmonton, you are 
best off with a train. And trains can carry cargos that trucks can't 
attempt due to load restrictions. 

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