Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Expensive, difficult, slightly dangerous, not particularly effective... I'm on a roll.

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who-knows trains

railcars get to where they are going by themselves
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Where I live there is no passenger rail service. The whole system is devoted to freight. I don't think my idea would work well for passengers.

Imagine a system where each frieghtcar (or goodswagon if you like) has it's own engine built into it to push it along. The destination for each car is coded onto it when it is finished being loaded and started on it's merry way.

The system works this way:

Each railcar can set the points it comes to whichever way it deems correct. Each railcar would have to be programmed with a set of rules for the right of way, with proximity detectors, etc. Perhaps unloaded faster cars could calculate if an upcoming sideing was long enough to pass a slower, heavier car. Maybe a broken-down car could give a signal that would let other cars know it's ok to give it a push to someplace to be repaired.

Anyway, where I live the vast majority of level crossings are the uncontrolled variety, with just a simple crossbuck sign warning you. The thought of unlit driverless railcars rolling by at any random time without any sort of warning just makes me smile. Also, just think of the added expense, the extra pollution, and never knowing when anything might show up. Actually, not even being able to figure out where that freightcar is adds to the excitement.

Crackpot, Oct 11 2006

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