Author Topic: Life on the Rails  (Read 33385 times)

mongers

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Re: Life on the Rails
« Reply #330 on: November 11, 2018, 12:23:25 pm »
 :cool:

That's pretty damn impressive, nice to see.
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Savonarola

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Re: Life on the Rails
« Reply #331 on: November 18, 2018, 04:12:18 pm »
With the small-scale hype about electric semi-trucks, I would think that long-haul freight trains would be thought of as even more conducive to being run off electric.  Simple traffic management, much more centrally managed, interchangeable cars (and you could just fill one or two with batteries and swap those out as needed)...I'd think they'd be further ahead of the curve.

But then...I imagine train management is run pretty old-school, and of course, upgrade costs.

Locomotives are actually run by electricity; the diesel engines are there to charge the batteries.

Alstom (plug!) is developing a locomotive that uses hydrogen in place of diesel.  I haven't heard anything about going battery only; I'm really not sure about the feasibility of that.

We had our semi-annual sales meeting; and while it was mostly blather, our leadership mentioned a couple things related to this.  One concept that Alstom is developing is to put a locomotive with just batteries in consyst with 3 other locomotives.  That is supposed to reduce fuel use by 10%.  (That would be for freight, since three locomotives is a lot of pulling power.)'

The other is that the hydrogen train is already running in (where else?) Germany: Oh the humanity!


In Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace—and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock

Liep

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Re: Life on the Rails
« Reply #332 on: November 23, 2018, 07:54:38 am »
I'm now qualified to perform test runs in our Alstom/Siemens trains on safety systems that Siemens installed. It's only 3 years delayed but next spring it'll surely work, I imagine I'll be talking to a lot of Germans in the next few months.
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The Brain

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Re: Life on the Rails
« Reply #333 on: November 23, 2018, 08:43:21 am »
You don't simply talk into Mordor.
You are gay.

KRonn

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Re: Life on the Rails
« Reply #334 on: November 23, 2018, 07:18:08 pm »
I'm now qualified to perform test runs in our Alstom/Siemens trains on safety systems that Siemens installed. It's only 3 years delayed but next spring it'll surely work, I imagine I'll be talking to a lot of Germans in the next few months.

Nice, this sounds interesting and quite involved to be qualified. Congrats!

Savonarola

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Re: Life on the Rails
« Reply #335 on: December 07, 2018, 01:15:36 pm »
I'm now qualified to perform test runs in our Alstom/Siemens trains on safety systems that Siemens installed. It's only 3 years delayed but next spring it'll surely work, I imagine I'll be talking to a lot of Germans in the next few months.

Congratulations, Liep

Three years delayed is early for us; Siemens must have been doing the bulk of the work.   ;)

In Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace—and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock

Barrister

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Re: Life on the Rails
« Reply #336 on: December 07, 2018, 02:30:08 pm »
I'm now qualified to perform test runs in our Alstom/Siemens trains on safety systems that Siemens installed. It's only 3 years delayed but next spring it'll surely work, I imagine I'll be talking to a lot of Germans in the next few months.

Congratulations, Liep

Three years delayed is early for us; Siemens must have been doing the bulk of the work.   ;)

Edmonton had extended our LRT system to the Northwest.  System was supposed to be ready by 2013, but finally opened December 2014 but only on a limited basis.  The signalling system didn't mesh with the existing network.  Now in December 2018 Thales is finally saying they have all the bugs worked out, but the city still isn't sure and trains continue to run on reduced capacity (3 car trains instead of 5, running every 15 minutes).

The Larch

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Re: Life on the Rails
« Reply #337 on: December 07, 2018, 02:38:36 pm »
My brother has been involved recently in a Siemens contract to deliver new trains for Bangkok's mass transit system. They were ordered in 2016, were built in Turkey under supervision from Siemens' Munich and Vienna offices (my brother had to travel to Ankara every couple of months for the last year and a half or so), they started delivering them this summer, and they started running this month.

Savonarola

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Re: Life on the Rails
« Reply #338 on: December 11, 2018, 04:25:56 pm »
Edmonton had extended our LRT system to the Northwest.  System was supposed to be ready by 2013, but finally opened December 2014 but only on a limited basis.  The signalling system didn't mesh with the existing network.  Now in December 2018 Thales is finally saying they have all the bugs worked out, but the city still isn't sure and trains continue to run on reduced capacity (3 car trains instead of 5, running every 15 minutes).

On open track we have to put together an enormous report called a "Safety case" which demonstrates that our system meets safety standards.  This has to be approved by the government (Federal Rail Administration in the United States, Agencia Nacional de Infraestructura in Colombia.)  I've never worked LRT, but I'm surprised they don't have a similar qualifying system.

Usually in passenger rail we experience schedule delays since the existing service takes precedence over our work, so we have difficulty getting resources when issues arise on the existing service.  In mining we're more prone to cost overruns.  So what happens is that both the client and we put together enormous lists of liquidated damages; then our lawyers meet and agree to forget the whole thing. 
In Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace—and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock

Savonarola

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Re: Life on the Rails
« Reply #339 on: January 04, 2019, 03:13:29 pm »
Since 2013 Bill has spent at least part of every December in Colombia; for him Christmastime in Colombia has become expected.  This past year the reason he had to go was that the locomotives we installed in October still aren’t working correctly.  We got a lot of different stories from Drummond, but the most consistent one seemed to be that the radios were not able to pass a departure test, which means the radios were not registering on the network or the WiFi system wasn’t correctly downloading the database.  So I made travel arrangements.

The plan was we’d fly from Melbourne to Bogota (through Atlanta) on Monday, spend the night in Bogota, go to Santa Marta on Tuesday morning; work all day Tuesday and Wednesday, leave Wednesday evening, spend another night in Bogota and then fly from Bogota to Melbourne again through Atlanta.  We took this circuitous route; rather than taking a direct flight from Orlando to Bogota because Bill was a few hundred miles shy of being Gold Status on Delta.

There’s a ritual we have to go through whenever making travel arrangements at Alstom.  We contract all travel through Carson Wagonlit Travel (CWT.)  Their website is of limited sophistication; so whenever we have something even slightly complicated we have to call a travel specialist.  They, in turn, are of limited help; this time one hung up on me.  Once this is done then the itinerary has to go through Alstom Security.  No matter how many times I’ve been to Colombia, I still need to be told that there’s a civil war going on and tropical diseases are bad.  Once that hurdle is passed then we get the nasty-gram from finance telling us always to make travel arrangements at least three weeks in advance.  I’ve had days when I was told I had to travel that evening; three weeks is an absurdly long time in our line of work.

Bill tries to cut trips like this close because he’s found that if you give the Colombians any extra time they’ll simply delay to the last minute anyway.  That came back to bite us this time; we arrived in Santa Marta and my luggage (with almost all my tools) remained in Bogota.  Fortunately I was able to borrow some personal protection equipment, and we could at least meet with our Colombian counterparts and do some basic examinations of the locomotive.  In fine Colombian fashion neither of us were in the entry database to the port and both of us had to wait until someone with authority could be located.

My luggage arrived that evening.  Our plan for the next day was to take the locomotive out to the presentation point (that is where it goes from the yard to the open track.  This is where the WiFi server, which the locomotive uses to download its database, is located.)  We planned to do this first thing in the morning; so naturally we didn’t get started until 1 PM.

The problem turned out to be not with radio reception, but the radio itself.  Somehow their IP addresses weren’t entered properly into the database.  We got some radios from locomotives that were in the shop, and could clone those locos.  When we left the locomotives were operational and the radio manufacturer and FeNoCo were trying to figure out how to fix the database issues.

Bill had thought we’d be done around three o'clock so he had kept his room at the hotel.  We stay in Santa Marta now, far past the ports.  Bill insists on doing this so he can collect points from Hilton; but it does add an extra half hour to the drive time.  So when we left the port at five we knew we were cutting it close; we barely made the airport at boarding time, only to find our flight had been delayed by an hour.

They still are having problems with these locos in Santa Marta.  Bill was in a lather about this yesterday; they work when we’re there and fail when we’re gone.  I’ve contacted the radio manufacturer but I don’t think I’ve made my last trip to Colombia.
In Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace—and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock

Savonarola

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Re: Life on the Rails
« Reply #340 on: January 04, 2019, 03:17:19 pm »
As I’ve mentioned, Santa Marta is much nicer than when I started going there four years ago.  The shanty towns are mostly gone; you don't see as many people tapping into power lines as before and there's regular garbage pick up now.  It is still coastal Colombia, though.  You still see plastic tanks of water on top of the houses and apartments, this is the source of hot water in all but the most expensive buildings.  There’s also little signs up with notices for things for sale throughout the city.  I saw one for a chicken but, as our driver assured us, it wasn’t a chicken for eating.  It was a fighting cock.

Our driver this time came from a local company.  When Bill tried to pay him, he told Bill that his card reader was broken, but he’d get his boss.  We hung around the airport until his boss showed up and told us that his card reader was also broken.  Bill told him he’d be coming back in January and he could pay them then; they were delighted with that.

Bill is much more charismatic than I am.  Over dinner in Santa Marta we had this exchange after our waitress poured him a beer:

Bill: She’s very nice
Waitress: ¿Qué?
Savonarola:  Señor Bill dice que eres muy simpatica.
Waitress:  Gracias  :blush:

So even with me as a translator he managed to charm the waitress.
In Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace—and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock

The Brain

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Re: Life on the Rails
« Reply #341 on: January 04, 2019, 10:05:01 pm »
I haven't been to Santa Marta since Pirates! :)
You are gay.

Savonarola

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Re: Life on the Rails
« Reply #342 on: February 07, 2019, 07:55:59 am »
Merger fell through; time to start learning Chinese:

Europe kills Siemens' plan to create the Airbus of trains

In Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace—and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock

Duque de Bragança

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Re: Life on the Rails
« Reply #343 on: February 07, 2019, 01:06:26 pm »
Merger fell through; time to start learning Chinese:

Europe kills Siemens' plan to create the Airbus of trains

This is hotly debated right now in France, and Germany I suppose.
Given how crappy Siemen's ICEs after Bombardier left them alone, this does not bode well for the future, except for China as you imply.

Savonarola

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Re: Life on the Rails
« Reply #344 on: February 19, 2019, 02:16:24 pm »
I thought this article was an interesting explanation on how California managed to achieve a projected $40 Billion in cost overruns on a $30 Billion project while it was still in the planning stage:

California high-speed rail and the American infrastructure tragedy, explained

They make some reference to the Obama Stimulus era "High speed" rail.  That's different than the sort of high speed rail that California was planning to run; it runs on standard track and can go around 110 MPH / 180 KmPH.  What California was trying to build is a bullet train which can go much faster but requires completely new track.

Another take away is that we're just about to launch the high speed rail from Detroit to Chicago, a mere 10 years after the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act was signed into law (and half of it was already built at the time.)  The Green Dream or Whatever calls for building a network of bullet trains throughout the United States in ten years; that is preposterous, nothing in rail happens quickly.
In Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace—and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock