[sclug] OT: convert rail tracks to tarmac for private coach network which saves billions and provides a better service!

Alex Butcher lug at assursys.co.uk
Thu Sep 10 13:04:03 UTC 2009

On Thu, 10 Sep 2009, Tom Carbert-Allen wrote:

> now does any one have any technical challenges to the idea or are we all in 
> agreement we should be spending our massive rail subsidy budget on tarmac 
> instead of wasting ?34billion on the new north south line (which is more than 
> double the cost of replacing every metal rail in the UK with road)

Strawman, as I'd rather the ?34b was spent on lots of small improvements

But as far as technical arguments go, I'm thinking of this in terms of
(telecoms) networks.  The road network is suitable for cheap, high-bandwidth
bulk transfers, but with moderate speed and high average latency.  A
separate rail network is high-speed, low latency with higher costs and lower
bandwidth.  Attempting to increase the bandwidth (i.e.  passenger/cargo
numbers) of the rail network without changing the speed will result in
increased latency (as services add systemic delay due to minor problems -
doors, boarding, etc).

To analyse the systems using the engineering triangle, roads would seem to
be 'good' and 'cheap' and rail 'good' and 'fast'. I suspect no-one wants
'fast' and 'cheap' (but liable to "drop packets" with no recovery! Or maybe
that's internal airlines...)

Now, the trick is to get the right kinds of passengers and cargo on the
right forms of transport, and to have them working at optimal efficiency
with an optimum level of investment...


Best Regards,

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