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Train detector

Is there one coming?
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I had a dream that a volcano was going to erupt. Rather than pile into the traffic jams out of the city we decided to take the railway (and also these "fog roads" that were in the dream). The automobile was rigged to run on the rails.

I worried about encountering a train. Trains communicate with each other to avoid collisions. But after a disaster and failure of that communication, how to know what is ahead of you? Or if there has not been a disaster and you are an unauthorized user, how do you know if a train is coming in time to get your rail car off to the side?

One can listen on the rail for train sounds. Inside the car that would be hard. I propose a device attached to the car which apposes the rail. It would detect train sounds. If there were two apposition points one might be able to compare the signal between the two points and tell if a train were behind you and approaching vs coming at you head on.

bungston, Mar 27 2014

2nd March 2013, London Underground runaway train http://www.bbc.co.u...and-london-21640260
...luckily its progress could be tracked.. [not_morrison_rm, Mar 29 2014]

Journeycheck http://www.journeyc....com/firstscotrail/
train tracking website for [tatters] [pocmloc, Mar 29 2014]

Tobu Tojo line service notifications http://translate.go....tobu.jp/index.html
[not_morrison_rm, Mar 29 2014]

[link]






       Make it a magnetic sensor that rides the rail. Sound travels nineteen times faster through steel than it does through air, but fluctuations in the magnetic field of the rails as a few thousand tons of train ride over them travel at the speed of magnetism.
Alterother, Mar 27 2014
  

       Is hydraulic suspension included in order for the car to leap off the rails before it's too late?
TomP, Mar 28 2014
  

       Often wondered why there wasn't a train tracker website, like there is for flight tracking. Probably something something terrorists.
tatterdemalion, Mar 28 2014
  

       Err, get many expendable people to stand on the track, and call out every 10 minutes or so, that would work.
not_morrison_rm, Mar 29 2014
  

       Freight rail timetables can be obtained from carriers (operating railroads) if you go through the proper channels. Rail schedules have to be publicly available for various safety and insurance reasons, but nowhere does it say that they must be easy to obtain or that they make any sense. It takes several years of apprenticeship to unterstand a railroad timetable.
Alterother, Mar 29 2014
  

       So why don't they mark delays and cancellations in the timetables then?
pocmloc, Mar 29 2014
  

       If it is Mad Max days and there are no more trains but more than one citizen with railway-equiped autos, it would be good to know if one of those were coming at you as well.   

       I wonder if such a device would allow you to detect a stationary object on the tracks by pinging it? Maybe your car emits a ping and detects echoes returning from something else on the tracks? This would be good for mobile objects as well - one could use the doppler shift of successive pings to determine direction and velocity of other objects fore and aft.
bungston, Mar 29 2014
  

       //So why don't they mark delays and cancellations in the timetables then?   

       They do, on London Underground it's called 'passenger action', on my local line over here it's called 'an accident', easy way to keep track of suicides.
not_morrison_rm, Mar 29 2014
  

       As it was explained to me, there are modern semi- automated track maintainance machines that can detect damn near any force applied to a rail via the magnetic field, though at what range I do not know.
Alterother, Mar 29 2014
  
      
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