Week 1: Introduction to Railroad Engineering; History and Scope of Systems
Text (24p.): Ch. 1 (1-6), Ch. 2 (7-14), Ch. 17 (241-250)
Supp. Text: Ch. 1 (3-13), Ch. 2 (14-26)
- to familiarize the student with a brief history and scope of the US Railroad system, and to compare the railroad to other modes
- to characterize freight and passenger roles of the railroad
- Early line built ot bring raw materials and agricultural products to ports.
- Later, cities grew along rail corridors.
- Common guage N.A. functions as unified system.
- Fewer companies/miles than peak in 1910's (500 now, 1300 in 1910)
- Mainline track (class A) > 20,000,000 tons/yr.
- Rail classified as Class I, II, III depending upon revenue
- Rails move 38% of intercity freight (tons)
The Rail System Today
Transportation is an aid to the economy, not an end in itself, but ...
15% of US economy is related to transportation's five modes:
- 2.5 trillion Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT)
- 12,000 miles per vehicle
- 60% urban
- 200 million vehicles
- Interstate Highway System 45,000 miles
- National Highway System (includes Interstates)160,000 miles
- 4,000,000 miles of road in the United States
- 400,000 miles of airways above United States (click to read about "free flight")
- 18,000 to 60,000 altitude
- 1,000 VORTACS, 24 Centers, 700 towers, 1,200 Instrument Landing Systems
- 25,000 miles of waterways
- Includes rivers, Great Lakes, inter coastal waterways, deep water
- 40,000 vessels
- Navigable waterways - Federal
- 500,000 miles
- No governmental aid
"The type and availability of various categories of traffic largely determine the kinds and quantities of rolling stock and motive power, the level of track construction and maintenance, the system of operation, and, most importantly, the profitability of the system." - from Hey, p. 14
- Rail: Hauls mainly coal, grain, fertilizer, mineral, lumber, autos, containers
- 1976 railroad traffic by commodity
- All freight rail is private, declining market share may be reducing
- Comparitive volumes of intercity freight, by mode
- Ratio of truck to rail billion ton miles trends ... 597/173 (1950) ... 1375/921 (1995), trend reversing now? see AAR issues
- Trucks carry 30% of all intercity freight, 100% of local freight. Top 50 Interstate flows by value
- How much freight comes into or leaves any give state? Interactive Map
- Waterways share holding constant
- Air freight is fastest growing mode, 0.4% of freight
Peaking in the 1940's, why has passenger rail declined since? Competition from the subsidized and faster air and highway modes and elimination of mail contracts is the answer. However, there are niches for the rail, and potentially new markets in the future.
- Comparitive volumes of intercity passenger traffic, by mode
- Primary (service exists because of passengers)
- Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), San Francisco
- Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), Atlanta
- Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (METRO), Washington, D.C.
- Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Chicago
- Illinois Metra Information Center(METRA), Chicago
- Metropolitan Transit Authority (NY MTA), New York
- Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (LA MTA), Los Angeles
- The Subway Page (has links to subways around the world)
- Heavy Rail
- Light rail
- 1500-6000 pax/hr.
- street car, SF cable car, pax wt.>car wt.
- AMTRAK May, '71
- Other Passenger Services
- High Speed Rail
- Magnetic Levitation (MAGLEV) (proposed)
- Tilt Train
- Other High Speed Rail Links:
- High Speed Ground Transportation Association (HSGTA)
- Federal Railroad Administration - High Speed Ground Transportation
- High Speed Rail Links by Country
- Bullet Trains
- Innovative Transportation Technologies
- Click here for German Transrapid
Homepage (mostly in German, with English sections and Design specs.)
- Click here for Railway Technical Research Institute (RTRI), Tokyo Japan
- HSST (Japan, includes movies and animation)
- Click here for High Speed Ground Transportation in North America
- CyberTran - high speed rail concept based on using large numbers of small vehicles.
- High Speed Rail/Maglev Association - organization working to expand high speed ground transportation service world-wide.
- High Speed Surface Transport - a maglev transportation system that has been developed in Japan and is now being offered around the world.
- High Speed Trains Around the World - includes trains with impressive speed records, lists of data, a message board, and other information.
- High Speed/Automated Transportation Page
- High-Speed Ground Transportation & Research and Development - examines activities underway by federal and state governments to make high-speed ground transportation a reality in the United States.
- Inofficial Transrapid - technical information, history of maglev, an image gallery, and links.
- InterCityExpress - information about ICE, the high speed train in Germany and neighbour countries.
- Northwest High-Speed Rail Advocate - provides a forum for information dissemination, discussion and advocacy of high-speed rail transportation.
- Railway Technical Research Institute - develops basic rail-related technology and research applications, high-speed and Maglev systems, and studies safety measures.
- TGV Pages - information and images of the French high speed trains and Eurostar; links to other high speed train resources.
Rails to Trails
Cool Train Sites (models, toys, societies, etc.)