Thursday, August 1, 2013

Idea for Alternative Rail Passenger Vehicle

Roadrailer Chassis designed to carry 40 foot container.

Pictured above is a Roadrailer vehicle prototype built around 1980. Roadrailer vans are currently  operated by the trucking company called Triple Crown Services. A Roadrailer truck van is operated as a normal truck van for pickup and delivery, curb to curb or dock to dock as the case may be. The over the road linehaul part of a trip is cost effectively performed by operating the Roadrailer van on a railroad WITHOUT a flatcar or depressed deck railroad car.

The Roadrailer system now uses a two axle, four wheel railroad wheel set. Note: sometimes the wheel set is referred to as a truck (USA) or bogie (Europe). The wheel set for the current Roadrailer vehicles operated by triple Crown Services is separate from the Roadrailer vehicle.

In 1980 the prototype vehicle pictured reflected the system used then. The railroad wheel set is one axle with two wheels. The wheel set was attached to the Roadrailer vehicle. The wheel set was lowered to the rail and the tires were retracted clear of the rail head. The vehicles then as now had a projecting flange at the front of th Roadrailer. A slot to receive the flange making the connection to couple Roadrailer a vehicle into a train was and is located at the rear of the vehicle.

Roadrailer vehicle advantages are that they have less wind resistance and weight in operations than conventional railroad intermodal equipment.

The Roadrailer container chassis never became part of Triple Crown Services. They rely only upon Roadrailer vans for their logistics business.

The current Roadrailer vehicle system has the ability to operate with the single axle design shown.
A single axle wheel set with two railroad wheels lowered to the rail head. The Roadrailer vehicle is attached to the current Roadrailer vehicle system with a two axle four wheel set to the left.

What does a freight vehicle have to do restoring rail passenger service?

IF the Roadrailer system was adapted to a bus or motorcoach, the dynamics for increasing rail passenger service would multiply. The cost effectiveness of rail linehaul would be available for passnger as well as freight service.

The single axle Roadrailer vehicle could be placed over the rail and connected in 90 seconds.

Envisioned is a vehicle capable of the dispersed pick up and delivery of passengers without the need for intervening stations.  Stops would be 90 seconds for attachment and detacnment

A company operating a bus Roadrailer would be considered as being a bus company as Triple Crown Services is considered as being a trucking  company. The bus Roadrailer vehicle would allow entry and exit to rail passenger service either with or without Amtrak.

The variables for a new type of bus service would be fulfilled by entrpreneurs identifying opportunities. It is conceivable that a bus Roadrailer design could be developed allowing passengers to move through connected Roadrailers. A bus Roadrailer could be attached to the end of conventional rail passenger cars operated by Amtrak. In fact, when Amtrak about ten years ago operated freight Roadrailers they placed them behind conventional railroad equipment.