Tubular Rail Technology maintains the same five characteristics of rail
transportation but reconfigures them in a highly innovative fashion. The Tubular
Rail Technology employs the following features:
- The functionality of the bridge and passenger car is combined. This is
accomplished by reversing the orientation of the wheel and the rail. By
placing the wheel (or roller) permanently on a fixed structure and the rail
on the now strengthened car, the car itself bridges the space between the
- Tubular Rail Technology uses the principle of the cantilever beam - a
projection anchored at one end. Since the car is moving within- and is held
by - the support rings (stanchions), the effect is to create a cantilever
beam. The beam is fixed in its vertical orientation but mobile in its
horizontal orientation. Therefore this rolling cylinder is constantly
shifting from a cantilever beam on the ends to a post and beam (in its
middle) and then back again.
does the Tubular Rail car turn?
Lateral change in direction---is made by a combination of
two forces. They are rotation of the roller from the perpendicular to
direction of travel axis. They may also be taken out of the horizontal plane
thus producing a super elevation effect. In other words, if in straight
travel the axis of movement is thought of as a line perpendicular to the axis of
the rollers, a turn is initiated when the car encounters a set of rollers not
perpendicular to the travel axis and the car will tend to move to that side on
which the acute angle is found. The second influence is that of the side
roller on the obtuse side of the next encountered side roller. The
curved portion of the side rail contacts this roller and the car is forced to
its realignment. The effect of this change on the passenger is mitigated
by several design elements that can be varied; they are speed of the vehicle,
spacing of the side rollers and the elliptical radius of the rails at the front
and rear of the vehicle. Increasing the radius alters the time duration of load
transfer to the roller.
How many passengers will the
Tubular Rail car carry?
The design of the Tubular
Rail car creates a usable passenger floor space of nearly 3000 square feet. This
allows a seating capacity of 400 to 500 passengers without crowding and
allowance for food service and restrooms.
What are the speed targets?
In order to obtain a significant market share by inducing
modal shift from automobiles and short haul air routes, the Tubular Rail system
must be capable of traveling at speeds in the vicinity of 150 mph for the 100 to
600 mile trips. As a rule of thumb modal shift occurs if the automobile trip
time can be cut in half the air trip is not exceeded by a factor of two.
At these speeds the impact of aerodynamic forces is the major determinant of
energy use, not rolling friction.
For shorter trips convenience and location is a major
determinant of rider ship. These are the commuter and light rail markets.
Speed, while still important is not the critical factor and thus a slightly
different car form is used with less critical attention paid to the aerodynamic
profile. The more rectangular cars will operate at speeds up to 90 mph.
What is the power source?
The power is provided
though electrically driven AC motors.
What is the maximum grade?
For most passenger trains other than Maglev, maximum grade
is limited to 2 or even 3 percent. Maglev, with its propulsion in the
guide way claims to be able to make up to a 10 per cent grade. Like
Maglev, Tubular Rail vehicle are propelled by external drive and thus the power
available can be matched to need without increasing the onboard mass of the
vehicle. In rail systems with onboard drive an increased grade capability
would require this additional mass to be accelerated whenever the train
accelerates no matter what the grade.
The characteristics of the Tubular Rail approach means
that grades greater than current wheel on rail systems can be considered but
that the transition curve to these greater grades will be a gentle constant
change. The off shoot of this approach is a higher quality ride for
How does the Tubular Rail car
The braking system (non emergency) of the Tubular Rail
system will rely on the creation of friction between the braking device and the
resistance plate on the column. However most routine braking is done by
controlling the speed at which the rollers are rotating and when coming into a
station the rollers actually serve to regenerate energy back to the grid.
What about emergency evacuation?
Vehicles will be equipped with a variety of readily
available equipment to facilitate an evacuation including those passengers with
physical limitations. The nature of the vehicles allows for ample space to
store inflatable slides, ladders and slings to lower people to the ground.
Additionally at least on column of the three supporting the vehicle at any one
time may be equipped with a permanent access ladder.
Will the Tubular Rail car be ADA
(American with Disabilities Act) compliant?
Yes, level floor boarding and extra wide aisles will allow
those in wheel chairs to fully access the full car length Stations will
need to be accessible as well with ramps and or elevators..
How are system costs keep down?
Tubular Rail estimates that 70% of total system costs are
related to the components that are both standardized and mass produced. It
is only the footer and electrical installation that is site specific.
Since the system is essentially 95% air space there is simply less material
involved. Another key aspect is the difference in compensation to the land
owner where Eminent Domain is required. Compensation for easement is lower
than Right of Way because the landowner retains some use of the land.
Why is a new form of
One thing Tubular Rail does not advocate is the removal of
existing systems such as light or commuter rail and that the highway system and
urban streets should remain, for the most part, as they are. However it is
clear that dependence on the automobile has high costs associated with it and
that these costs (environmental, dependence on imported oil, congestion issues
and construction and maintenance of highways) are rising. Traditional rail
options solve some of these issues but capital costs associated with “new” rail,
commuter or light, come with staggering price tags.
Tubular rail seeks to keep the best of rail, safety and
efficiency, while addressing the difficulty of funding and building systems to
obtain the benefits that rail offers.