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High Speed Commuter Trains for Cars

Isn't It Obvious?
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One of the things that annoys me about the idea of high speed commuter trains is the blatant assumption that, when you reach your destination you hop off the train and walk to work or take a shuttle.

And, one of the things about living in the American West is the preponderance of amazingly long distances between population centers... and most of that distance is covered with sage brush, prairie dogs, jack rabbits, and miles of mind-numbingly boring highways.

I propose High Speed Trains for Cars. This would be similar in function to the dozens of ferries that carry cars all over the Puget Sound in Washington State <link>. You drive your personal car onto the train, go 200 MPH through the boring bits, then drive your car off to wherever you want to go.

Of course, this train would have a walkway for those drivers that might want to step out, stretch their legs, or walk up to the dining car for a pork rind sandwich.

All Aboard!

Grogster, Jul 11 2013

Sort Of, But Not Quite Like This, Only Over Land and At 200 MPH... http://media.komone...10_ferry_Kitsap.jpg
[Grogster, Jul 11 2013]

Motorail http://www.seat61.com/Motorail.htm
Nice try. [pocmloc, Jul 11 2013]

Also in the US http://www.amtrak.com/auto-train
[MechE, Jul 12 2013]

[link]






       Ekranoplan?
not_morrison_rm, Jul 11 2013
  

       //Ekranoplan?//   

       Well, sort of... if you put it on rails, shear off the wings, and link a lot of them together!
Grogster, Jul 11 2013
  

       I was thinking it can be loaded up with cars, then flown over the road and land on a river/lake that's convenient for where you want to end up.
not_morrison_rm, Jul 11 2013
  

       //Motorail//   

       Another [Grogster] Idea Crash and Burn in 3... 2... 1...
Grogster, Jul 11 2013
  

              //Ekranoplan?//      

       Absolutely not. We're not starting that again.
Alterother, Jul 11 2013
  

       I like the idea but, given that rail-lines' maximum width is under 11', everybody has to drive Smart cars and Minis in order to fit in sidewards, ie: drive onto the train on one side then drive off on the other.   

       There's a similar idea in here somewhere from 2002 that got panned for loading/unloading awkwardness.
FlyingToaster, Jul 12 2013
  

       I'm sure this is a stupid point, but why not stop the train just before the station, preferably on a shortish piece of spur line.   

       Lower a ramp from the floor of the carriage onto the tracks. Then the cars can all just drive away. If you want to be really shonky then even have ramps either sides of the track,so people won't spill their coffee driving over the tracks.
not_morrison_rm, Jul 12 2013
  

       //...Lower a ramp...//   

       Hmmm... perhaps that WOULD work better than the trebuchet I had in mind.
Grogster, Jul 12 2013
  

       The carriage could be a frame on legs supporting a row of giant electromagnets. The cars all park on the tracks. The carriage advances to straddle the cars and the current is switched on. Make sure there is not a power cut en route.
pocmloc, Jul 12 2013
  

       The problem, as usual, is usage. Unless you have a lot of people that want to get from point A to point D, via train stations B and C, it's more economical just to provide a rental car lot at C. The US has one Auto Train route, which I believe primarily serves snowbirds (for non-US: Retirees who live further north during the summer and in Florida during the winter), who exhibit a particular combination of not wanting/being in shape to drive long distances and wanting their car in two different locations for extended periods.   

       As far as access, how they do it right now is essentially what [nmrm] described, bridges between cars down the length of the train and a ramp at the end. However that wouldn't work so well for a commuter rail set up where people might be getting out at midpoint stops. Loading also generally involves handing your car over to rail employees rather than drive on/drive off.   

       You could always have the rail car pull up to a platform with pre-positioned forklifts that pull the car off sideways.
MechE, Jul 12 2013
  

       Better yet, use already existing auto carrier cars, which are widely used to move cars around the country en masse, and are configured for both side- and end-loading. They have heavy freight rail suspension, but the rougher ride will be smoothed out somewhat by each automobile's own suspension. Also, they do pack pretty tight, so as [Mech] points out you might have to hand your keys to a specially trained valet.
Alterother, Jul 12 2013
  

       On Top Gear they've used car-carrying passenger trains in races numerous times. What's the difference here?
DIYMatt, Jul 13 2013
  

       tracks.
FlyingToaster, Jul 13 2013
  

       Trebuchets.   

       No, wait! That's not it... It is high speed, that's what it is --- it's the bullet train for your car.   

       (And optional trebuchet offloading for the adventuresome traveler.)
Grogster, Jul 13 2013
  

       There's always the 'The Great Escape' exit. But everyone would have to drive Mini Mokes.
spidermother, Jul 13 2013
  
      
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