News from Patrick Flynn

Fast trains

I happened to have occasion to travel overseas recently and, serendipitously, my sons found seats directly behind the engineer’s cab on an ICE train.  So, for my railfan friends, here are a few observations:

  • These guys use serious PTC – the engineer was primarily in place to provide safety redundancy rather than drive the train.
  • It probably wasn’t safe for the engineer to allow his friend into the cab with him for part of the run, but he did.  Otherwise it was a one person cab.
  • The upper speed limit allowed on any given stretch of track adjusted automatically as, generally, did the actual speed.  Top speed limit: 300 km/hr.  Top speed: ~260 km/hr.
  • CTC signals were similar, but not identical, to what we use domestically.  Unsurprisingly, green lights predominated this run.
  • I had a cup of coffee during the trip.  It sat on a ledge in front of my seat.  Unless I picked it up, it never moved.
  • Particularly impressive (to me) was how smoothly the train navigated switches at crossovers, sidings and the like.  Unless I was looking, I doubt I’d have noticed when we traversed them.

As most people who know me know, I’m not one to leave Alaska during the summer.  Circumstances dictated that I do so this year, and it was quite pleasant.  I suppose changing gears every once in a while isn’t such a bad thing.




This contribution was made on Monday, 15. June 2015 at 04:11 and was published under the category Transportation. You can follow comments on this entry through the RSS-Feed.

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1 Comment

  1. I enjoyed this little tidbit. Trains are lots more fun than airplanes.

    Comment: Pam Tesche – 15. June 2015 @ 6:00 am

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