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How much does a Canadian weigh? - Off in the distance
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May 2016
 

The Bellinghman
Date: 2009-08-21 11:03
Subject: How much does a Canadian weigh?
Security: Public
Tags:canada, trains
Well, if it's the train, it appears to be

19 cars, at 50 tonnes per car (I assume the 'customary' weight.)
2 engines, at 118 tonnes per engine (EMD F40PH)

Total 1186 tonnes

OK, that's one heavy train.
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Autopope
User: autopope
Date: 2009-08-21 10:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That's not particularly heavy except insofar as there are lots of cars. An InterCity 225 multiple unit seems to come with 9 cars labelled as being 50 tons each, and two engines/transformers on wheels which are labelled as 90 tons (which makes sense if you realize they don't haul 5Mw diesel generators around -- just overhead contacts and switchgear). Scale up the number of cars to match the Canadian and the weight would be within 5%.

AIUI real high speed rail (not the poxy slow 130mph version we've got) makes design changes -- one bogie per car (shared with the next in line), aluminium monocoque construction, and so on -- that save an enormous amount of weight. But they then splurge their energy budget on going faster. In terms of tons of mass set in motion per passenger, though, rail is generally no better than a big fat SUV.
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2009-08-21 10:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
poxy slow 130mph version we've got

That's nearly twice as fast as the Canadian, though, which has a track speed limit of 70mph.

It is a large number of cars: seeing it at some of the stations was a little like seeing a python trying to hide under a handkerchief. In contrast, the Shinkansens we saw in Japan topped out at 16 coaches. (And carried a lot more passengers, too.)

In terms of tons of mass set in motion per passenger, though, rail is generally no better than a big fat SUV.

It does have the advantage though of somewhat less frontal area per passenger than yon SUV, which drops the air resistance. The air resistance that you work against is proportional to the cube of your speed, so the actual mass doesn't matter too much for a fast train. And with electric trains, you can use nuclear or renewable energy instead of a horrible diesel burner.
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Autopope
User: autopope
Date: 2009-08-21 11:36 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That's nearly twice as fast as the Canadian, though, which has a track speed limit of 70mph.

Feh! Real high speed rail should come with a mach number attached!

It does have the advantage though of somewhat less frontal area per passenger than yon SUV, which drops the air resistance.

And much less rolling resistance; who ever thought that squishy rubber on an abrasive surface was a good technology?

(Scratch that: standards of driving are such that having excellent traction is an essential prerequisite for publicly accessible road transportation. But if you can cope with steel wheel on steel track, you can cut the resistance a lot.)

Edited at 2009-08-21 11:37 am (UTC)
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2009-08-21 11:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
should come with a mach number attached!

Do mach numbers apply in vacuo?

And much less rolling resistance

That's a very good point: deformation of all that tyre rubber isn't something I considered.

I found it interesting that the Montréal Métro uses rubber wheels, as per Paris, while the Vancouver SkyTrain uses steel wheels. For something passing over people's heads, the SkyTrain is remarkably quiet, lacking the screeching I'm so used to with the London Underground.
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2009-08-21 14:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yes - trains are extremely crash resistant, which is one of the many nice features. Short of an ICE train managing to hit a bridge support head on as happened a few years back in Germany, they're so safe that they and ships are about the only transport that don't worry about seat belts.

(Which leads to another nice thing - being able to get up and walk about.)

The 250 pax may well be wrong - I'm definitely guessing there. However, having walked a fair way down that train, I can affirm that the passenger density is extraordinarily low. This isn't so much a train for getting people from one place to another, it's a mobile hotel, a cruise ship on rails. A Japanese Hikari Shinkansen would be running 1000 pax in a shorter consist.

The Rocky Mountaineer that aardvark179 transferred to stops at night, thereby saving all the cabin weight and bulk, and the requirement for evening meals too. I'd expect that to be at least twice as efficient.
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2009-08-21 15:26 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh, too right. In plane terms, this is somewhere in the private jet area of silliness.

It's a lovely train, and the experience of travelling on it is really rather special, but I was rather gobsmacked to realise how much fuel it apparently drinks. I'm certainly not holding it up as typical of trains, because it is not. It's like driving a stretch Hummer when everyone around you is in a Smart Car.
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