Thursday, July 22, 2010

Streamlined Locomotives

This picture was taken in 1938, and shows two streamlined locomotives. What a site these trains must have been, if you were used to the old style locomotives.

One of the problems with train travel is that the trains start and stop too much, and you lose about 30 minutes every time the train stops. I think they should go to a system where there is one train car (motorized) at a station that people get on. When the real train goes by, the one car train starts up, catches the main train, connects to it, and then the people on the one car train transfer to the main train. Then the little one disconnects and goes back to the station. Would work the same way in reverse when someone wants to get off. This way, the main train could travel non-stop, and still people could get on and off at each station. No one listens to me though.


  1. Good idea but way too radical for most rail companies. How about a system of double tracks where local traffic shuttles folks between the smaller towns on one rail(set of tracks) and an express train that stops for nothing on the second rail? San Antonio to Chicago in 14 hours as opposed to 3-4 days. Second rail would be a backup while maintenance or crossing repairs are made.


  2. Greetings!!
    You guys are way to logical.
    Love the trains.
    I wish we had a rail system like they have in Europe. It would help in our oil consumption. It would be nice to go to the city and not have to drive. Love the traffic shuttle idea.
    Have any of you taken the Eagle or the Zephyr (not sure of the name) trips. I think I would like to try it. PJM after your bad trip I am a little hesitant.

  3. The Japanese have a high-speed train, either already in use or nearly so, that uses a system similar to what you may have in mind.

    Passengers board a car level with the platform and well above the tracks. When the train comes a-roarin' by it snags this car and drops off another car. Arriving passengers step off, and departing passengers get on to wait to be collected by the next train. Passengers enter and leave the actual train via a trap door in the "exchange car" and a stair way in the train itself, which never even slows down.

    Hope that makes sense!

  4. PJM, your idea of a transfer car is already on paper (and TV). I saw it several months ago somewhere in boob tube land. The transfer car would piggyback the last car in the train and attach and detach from an elevated platform. The train would slow down to release the pod at one platform and then pick up the next pod several yards down the track.
    Looked like a feasible concept to me...except for low bridges and tunnels!!

  5. In Holland we have, like Al proposed, intercity high-speed trains and local low-speed trains. But during the week they all are very crowded and its hard to find a seat. And there are many problems with the maintenance; for instance during the autumn, when there are a lot of leaves lying on the tracks, the trains tend to get so-called ‘square wheels’ (by excessive wear on one side). And a train won’t run fast with square wheels …

  6. The information on the European lines and the Japanese high-speed train sound fascinating. I wonder what it would take to get a system like that up and running in North America or else parts of the USA, Canada, and/or Mexico?

  7. What a magnificent train photo. The best one yet this week. I really like the woman we see on the right. It looks like she is taking a photo of the camera shooting the train. Maybe she is the photographer and the second camera was remotely activated. Interesting shot.

  8. I saw in the news recently that China has proposed a high speed rail system that will connect China to Europe. Wow! If they can do that, we can surely connect North America and South America by rail too.

  9. The "pick up passengers without stopping" idea is already in the making:

  10. What a beautiful, art deco design, so indicative of the era.

    Train travel has never appealed to me, it's too confining and reminds me of a bus.

    The last time I rode a train was from Providence, RI to Washington DC with my sixth grade safety patrol - in 1966.

    That was during a low point in train travel, and the trains were old and dirty. I was carsick the entire way.

    I haven't been on one since.

  11. Funny you mentioning a train ride in England bcz the locomotive on the left is English! Note the letters LMS on the tender - London ,Midland Scottish. It was displayed at the 1939 New York World’s Fair.


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