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the auto-train

an intra-city train that transports cars
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If Amtrak can have trains that carry your car across the country, why not trains that can transport your car across a sprawling city like Los Angeles? I propose that there be trains that run distances that take over 20 minutes- such as going from one suburb to another, which transport your car with you. It would reduce smog and traffic while still allowing you the freedom of your car.
lsteinho, Jun 29 2002

(?) aeroduct http://www.aeromobile.com/aeroduct1.htm
hover "track" system. cheaper than magnets and better [pashute, Jun 29 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

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       like in evangelion, phh. Trains take up more room to transport cars than a highway and would be less efficient because their moving the mass of the passengers, their cars, and the train. Train engines are efficient, but not efficient enough to make up for all the extra weight they would be carrying. Even the increase in speed is debatable because of the turnaround times of the trains. I’m afraid this is another thing that works best in anime and or top secret military bases.
cw, Jun 29 2002
  

       are you lost cw?
po, Jun 29 2002
  

       Not true cw. If you have high speed trafic lanes, with low friction (magnetic/aero?) because no stops needed, then you could probably save highway space. This is 3/4baked, and needs a small (fast) push to become a great idea.
pashute, Jun 29 2002
  

       This destroys the very benefit of mass transit. Why not just drive the whole way there? Instead of having thousands of poeple using the train INSTEAD of taking their cars, we'll have maybe a couple of hundred a day who take their cars as well!!! I have never heard anything more inefficient
lexifer, Jun 30 2002
  

       Lexifer- I guess you haven't driven in LA traffic nor dealt with the degree to which Angelenos oppose mass transit.
lsteinho, Jun 30 2002
  

       Actually this a very good idea. The funny thing about trains is little engines take as much maintenence as big ones. So railroads would rather have 1 big locomotive than 10 little ones. The more you put on a trian the more effiecient it becomes. Nothing in railroading is more ineffiecient than a locomotive with no cars. But start putting loaded cars behind it and that changes everything. Which is why the railroads like running their trains long and heavy. It's the most effieient way. Trains haul tons of coal and steel. Cars would be nothing In LA, a lot of people don't used mass transit because it drops you off in the middle of urban jungle nowhere. If those same people could take their cars they would use the train. The Auto Train would remove those cars from the roads and freeways which would relieve congestion . And it would save gas and reduce pollution with all the time all those cars would have their engines off. A motorist could drive 5 miles to the station. Take the auto train 30 miles past all the backed up freeways. Then drive the last 4+ miles to work. This could happen every morning about 5 million times in LA.
KWH, May 15 2003
  

       //This destroys the very benefit of mass transit. Why not just drive the whole way there? Instead of having thousands of poeple using the train INSTEAD of taking their cars, we'll have maybe a couple of hundred a day who take their cars as well!!! I have never heard anything more inefficient//   

       That's exactly what appeals to me. Take your car *and* the train! Hah!
snarfyguy, May 15 2003
  

       I would use it if the train takes me somewhere far and popular, like Las Vegas for example. If I can pay less money then having to fly a plane and then rent a car at the destination, I can see it as benificial. Now only if this train can take me from LA to Vegas within 4 hours.
David C, Sep 29 2003
  

       One major difficulty which prevents this concept from being practical is the need to load and unload the trains.   

       Loading and unloading a trainload of coal may take over an hour each (just a WAG), but the labor of a few people for a couple hours is pretty cheap compared to the value transporting the cargo. More importantly, the coal that goes into the last car doesn't "mind" waiting to get on the train, and the coal that gets on the first car doesn't "mind" waiting for the rest of the train to get loaded before it gets underway.   

       If people have to wait around to load and unload their cars, the delays involved will be highly objectionable. Worse, unless all trains are segregated by origin and destination, motorists would have to wait at intervening stations while the train was loaded and unloaded.   

       The concept is a cute one. But loading and unloading just isn't practical.
supercat, Sep 29 2003
  

       Lame idea. It's probably cheaper to take a taxi to the metro station, take a metro and then a taxi again - without all the hassle of loading a car onto a train for a short trip.
kinemojo, Sep 05 2005
  
      
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