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Rail racing

Use railway tracks as race courses
  [vote for,

There are plenty of long distance high quality quadruple track railways.

There are occasional days when traffic is very light or non-existent e.g. Christmas day

Proposed is an annual rail racing festival. The selected line(s) are closed and no scheduled or maintenance services are run. Instead, a series of point-to-point races are organised.

A quadruple track allows for four competing teams, which is much more exciting than just two teams head-to-head.

There will be different classes, which are run sequentially through the day. The signal crew wil be engaged to assist with safe running to avoid collisions etc. and to advise on safe starting intervals for the different classes.

Suggested classes might include: restored steam engines; weight and endurance class (a long freight train of a specified number and weight of cars to be hauled over the route); a Human-powered class; an "open" class where any machine that can run on the rails is permitted, encouraging stripped-down high-speed entries. I think that the classes would be run in order of decreasing net speed so the open class would go first, and the human-power one would run last of all.

Of course the classes do not all have to use the same length of track; there could be shorter and longer courses marked.

Spectators could crowd the railway stations along the route; grandstands could be erected in fields in the open countryside at the start and finish points.

The events would all be completed by the end of the day, allowing the maintenance crews to work overnight to check for and repair any damage caused by the day's events, before scheduled services restart the following morning.

The advertising and ticket income would be a great boost to the finances of railway companies, as well as giving rail travel the same "cool by association" factor that motor-car racing gives to motor-car travel.

pocmloc, May 20 2021

https://en.wikipedi...ruple-track_railway [pocmloc, May 20 2021]

Check out my ride. https://imgur.com/gallery/K9OciA4
I might take it over some sweet jumps later, I don't know. [2 fries shy of a happy meal, May 20 2021]

Mallard https://en.m.wikipe...ass_A4_4468_Mallard
[xenzag, May 20 2021]

Top Gear TGV12 https://www.youtube...watch?v=mkpCzp0CmjY
[bs0u0155, May 20 2021]

Harris 20th Century Railroad Attachment https://upload.wiki...ons/7/7b/Harris.png
[a1, May 20 2021]

Hydraulic drive recumbent tandem tandem_20recumbent_20hydraulic
[a1, May 21 2021]

Tandem bike synch chains https://www.sheldon...n.com/synchain.html
From the late, great Sheldon Brown [a1, May 26 2021]


       I'm in...

       2fries, neat ride! Do you ever really get to use it or is it just a show piece?
a1, May 20 2021

       Part of a mining museum piece, bolted to the tracks.
I wanted to modify my ten-speed with an outrigger which would let it ride the rails, and then I saw that they beat me to it a long time ago.

       The "Mallard" will be hard to beat (link), while the Dublin/Belfast "Enterprise" is the slowest international/inter city train in the whole of Europe, and possibly the slowest in entire world in this category! (45.5 mph average speed)
xenzag, May 20 2021

       // wanted to modify my ten-speed with an outrigger ... they beat me to it a long time ago //   

       Yup, I saw something similar -bike with outrigger for railways tracks - in a Sears catalog over a hundred years ago :D
a1, May 20 2021

       Wow... so, how many centuries old are you?   

       //"open" class where any machine that can run on the rails is permitted, encouraging stripped-down high-speed entries.//   

       Top Gear did it <link>. Jeremy Clarkson constructed the TGV12 "Sports Train" from a Jaguar XJ-S.
bs0u0155, May 20 2021

       // Wow... so, how many centuries old are you? //   

       Still in my first one, most of the way through. But the catalogs (nostalgic reprints, at least) are still available in many libraries. Linked a picture of one for you.
a1, May 20 2021

       I've been thinking what kind of design a winning entry in the "human powered" class could look like. I'm thinking recumbent pedalling (lower frontal area). You could have the riders two or three abreast, and perhaps in four ranks, that would give a crew of twelve.   

       Design and configuration might vary depending on length of course - a 100 mile course would require a different kind of vehicle than a 1 mile sprint?   

       What kind of speeds might such a device get to?   

       For the "open" class again a low profile design; it would be as light as possible, with most of the weight taken up by a stupidly powerful engine. Presumably aerofoils like on F1 cars would be needed stop it jumping the tracks. I imagine stability and holding the road would be the limits on top speed for this class. A specially designed high speed rail machine like this would run a lot faster than a converted road car could hope for.
pocmloc, May 21 2021

       The "self-balancing monorail" class always provides hours of entertainment, and allows 8 hapless teams to run simultaneously.
pocmloc, May 21 2021

       // ...recumbent pedaling ...riders two or three abreast, and perhaps in four ranks, that would give a crew of twelve //   

       Combining power output of a dozen riders might need something other than chain drive. Hydraulics? <link>
a1, May 21 2021

       //Combining power output of a dozen riders//   

       1100W is a LOT for a cyclist in short bursts, consistently, say 400W. So, at peak <15hp. A chain from a 125cc motorcycle should handle that no sweat.
bs0u0155, May 26 2021

       It's not the wattage I'm thinking about, it's getting all of them coordinated. <link> mentions synchronizing chain on tandems. Now expand that to a dozen riders in a 3x4 seating arrangement.
a1, May 26 2021

       //it's getting all of them coordinated.//   

       If the rules allow, a series human-electric hybrid might be the way to go. Harvest power on the downhill, and with individual generators, you can orient the people however you like.
bs0u0155, May 26 2021

       Would electric be more efficient than hydraulic?
a1, May 26 2021

       At higher powers such as what we use to move military vehicles around, hydraulic motors are much lighter than electric. But the pressure losses are not to be trifled with.   

       Perhaps a pneumatic charge system. Gear up a pneumatic pump compressor any way you see fit, and use that to power a turbine of some sort.   

       Olympic bicyclists who are now free to assist with their arms would be my choice.
RayfordSteele, May 26 2021

       // military vehicles //   

       Side note - RayfordSteele, do you work in Warren?
a1, May 26 2021

       Sterling Heights GDLS main campus.
RayfordSteele, May 26 2021

       Damn, I had a 50:50 chance and picked the wrong site. Thought maybe you were at or near the arsenal.
a1, May 27 2021


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