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Tomorrowland meets Texas - Futuristic freight system planned for I-35 corridor
Fort Worth Star-Telegram ^ | June 6, 2012

Posted on 06/06/2012 2:44:37 PM PDT by Zakeet

Freight normally hauled by trucks could one day soon be shipped on an electric-powered, overhead guideway across Texas. It may seem like an idea more suitable for Tomorrowland – and artist renderings of the project do resemble Disney’s famed monorail system – but Texas officials are encouraging a privately-funded business to get the project up and running, perhaps within six years.

[The developers] have formed Freight Shuttle International, a company that is cobbling together the estimated $2.5 billion needed to build the first leg of this futuristic transportation system. The guideways would be built within the existing right-of-way of Interstate 35, initially stretching about 250 miles from San Antonio to Waxahachie – but eventually extending north through Dallas-Fort Worth, and south to the Mexican border. Ultimately, Freight Shuttle guideways could be built on more than 2,000 miles of highway right-of-way across the state, he said.

The system would haul cargo of various sizes, packed in both intermodal containers and freight trailers. Terminals would be built at each end of the route, so that trucks could load and off-load their goods onto the Freight Shuttle guideways. The shipments would be placed on unmanned transporters powered by linear induction motors using electricity and a magnetic field. They would glide on steel wheels across the guideways at about 60 mph, Roop told members of the Tarrant Regional Transportation Coalition during a meeting Wednesday in Fort Worth.

Shippers would be able to get their goods across the state for pennies on the dollar compared to what it costs to haul freight in tractor-trailers, said Ken Allen, a retired logistics executive for grocery giant H-E-B Stores and chief executive officer of Freight Shuttle International’s operations unit.

(Excerpt) Read more at blogs.star-telegram.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; News/Current Events; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: rail; texas; transportation
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This will never work because it relies on the private sector rather than government handouts!

1 posted on 06/06/2012 2:44:46 PM PDT by Zakeet
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To: Zakeet

They’d be better off to build a canal.


2 posted on 06/06/2012 2:47:54 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: Zakeet
"....get their goods across the state for pennies on the dollar compared to what it costs to haul freight in tractor-trailers"

LOL, let's the accounting on that. More like hundreds of pennies

3 posted on 06/06/2012 2:49:33 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: Zakeet

We already have that.. its called “TRAINS”...
Like in choo choo trains..


4 posted on 06/06/2012 2:50:25 PM PDT by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole...)
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To: Paladin2

the canal/barge system has been a reliable transportation system all over the world for hundreds of years..


5 posted on 06/06/2012 2:50:42 PM PDT by elpadre (AfganistaMr Obama said the goal was to "disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-hereQaeda" and its allies.)
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To: Zakeet

Teamsters and other union thugs - hardest hit


6 posted on 06/06/2012 2:50:42 PM PDT by lormand (A Government who robs Peter to pay Paul, will always have the support of Paul)
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To: Paladin2
They’d be better off to build a canal.

Takes too much land compared to elevated (unipost) tracks.

7 posted on 06/06/2012 2:51:14 PM PDT by Drill Thrawl (Another day. Another small provocation. Another step closer.)
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To: Zakeet
Just think how many Mexicans can be crammed into a cargo container and how fast they can be sent north.

I'm all for alleviating the traffic problems on I-35, but this would need some heavy-duty safeguards.

8 posted on 06/06/2012 2:52:22 PM PDT by Charles Martel (Endeavor to persevere...)
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To: elpadre

Water transport is still the cheapest per ton mile.


9 posted on 06/06/2012 2:53:20 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: hosepipe

exactly.


10 posted on 06/06/2012 2:53:33 PM PDT by Usagi_yo
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To: Paladin2

“They’d be better off to build a canal.”

Wouldn’t it be pretty hard to elevate all that water?


11 posted on 06/06/2012 2:53:33 PM PDT by ngat
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To: Zakeet

What Texan could possibly argue with installing a full-length shade cover over I-35? LOL


12 posted on 06/06/2012 2:54:53 PM PDT by Windflier (To anger a conservative, tell him a lie. To anger a liberal, tell him the truth.)
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To: ngat

If they had enough traffic, it wouldn’t take much water.


13 posted on 06/06/2012 2:55:03 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: Paladin2

For just dollars on the dollar.


14 posted on 06/06/2012 2:55:55 PM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: Paladin2

They have barges that go 60 miles an hour?


15 posted on 06/06/2012 2:58:40 PM PDT by ngat
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To: Paladin2
They’d be better off to build a canal.

And how many sets of locks over that 250-mile stretch between Dallas and Austin? I-35 climbs higher above sea level as you head north.

16 posted on 06/06/2012 2:58:52 PM PDT by Charles Martel (Endeavor to persevere...)
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To: ngat
Wouldn’t it be pretty hard to elevate all that water?

Not hard in a technical sense, just expensive to build and time-consuming to use. Canal locks don't exactly make for speedy transport.

17 posted on 06/06/2012 3:02:47 PM PDT by Charles Martel (Endeavor to persevere...)
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To: ngat
"Pontcysyllte Aquaduct"


18 posted on 06/06/2012 3:02:52 PM PDT by BwanaNdege (Man has often lost his way, but modern man has lost his address - Gilbert K. Chesterton)
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To: Paladin2
Water transport is still the cheapest per ton mile.

Followed by rail.

The artist conception shows single containers being moved and that can't be as economical as a train hauling hundreds of containers at the same time. Claiming that they'll be able to move them at 60 mph doesn't impress me much either. Aside from raw food, very little freight is that time sensitive.
19 posted on 06/06/2012 3:06:28 PM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: Zakeet
It is an interesting idea of creative thinking. You take the existing paradigm and shift it or turn it inside out. Instead of worrying about mass high-speed passenger transport, you apply the new technology to freight transport, and let the people continue travelling as they do now.

Still, it does seem a little wacky. Sending freight one car at a time along electric rails? A conventional train might move a lot more stuff with less energy consumption in a reasonable period if there's no urgency. If there is urgency, we have other ways to get the goods where they have to go.

20 posted on 06/06/2012 3:08:11 PM PDT by x
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To: Charles Martel

Instead of locks they could have those conveyor belts like they do at Amusement Park boat rides.


21 posted on 06/06/2012 3:10:15 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: ngat

Hydrofoil barges.


22 posted on 06/06/2012 3:12:18 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: Paladin2
And where is the water to come from? This is Texas we are talking about?

Lake Travis
23 posted on 06/06/2012 3:13:03 PM PDT by Kartographer ("We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.")
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To: Zakeet
From the article:

The prospect of reducing truck traffic on the I-35 corridor excited several members of the Tarrant Regional Transportation Coalition. Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley said he could envision moving people on trains in the highway right-of-way, too, instead of relying on railroad tracks owned and controlled by freight companies.


IOW....we don't want private industry getting involved in something government can (ought to) control.

The existing rail/truck transportation system is as efficient as it can get, given existing infrastructure and population density. Call me very skeptical on this pie in the sky idea.
24 posted on 06/06/2012 3:15:36 PM PDT by rottndog (Be Prepared.....for what's coming AFTER America.)
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To: Charles Martel

Easy fix. Just subject every container crossing the border to a high X-ray/Gamma Flux sterilizer. To kill the cucarachas, don’t ya know.

Think of it as a big bug trap: Illegals check in, but they don’t check out. . . .


25 posted on 06/06/2012 3:16:34 PM PDT by Salgak (Acme Lasers presents: The Energizer Border. I **DARE** you to cross it. . . .)
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To: Zakeet

Sounds similiar to the NAFTA SuperHighway that open border RINOs like Medved keep trying to tell us is a figment of our imagination.


26 posted on 06/06/2012 3:16:46 PM PDT by MachIV
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To: Zakeet

If it can get these slow poke trucks off the road, then I say build it.


27 posted on 06/06/2012 3:17:39 PM PDT by SteelToe
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To: SteelToe
If it can get these slow poke trucks off the road, then I say build it.

And a major chunk of highway funding will be gone. Not to mention, how much fun it will be shopping at the railyard or other freight terminal because trains, barges, or magical monorails don't go to the supermarket.
28 posted on 06/06/2012 3:23:09 PM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: Kartographer
"And where is the water to come from?"

This is also Texas:

Get T-Boone to build windmills to do the pumping.

29 posted on 06/06/2012 3:34:13 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: Paladin2

Salt water pumping stations?


30 posted on 06/06/2012 3:42:53 PM PDT by Sawdring
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To: Sawdring
Run it through a solar powered desalination plant if you want.

I'd guess that infrastructure cost is no object with this proposal.

31 posted on 06/06/2012 3:53:06 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: Zakeet

This isn’t another segment of the Trans Texas Tollway, is it?


32 posted on 06/06/2012 4:02:27 PM PDT by getmeouttaPalmBeachCounty_FL (chirping birds + basket weavers who sit + smile + twiddle their thumbs + toes They're coming to take)
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Believe it or not, I know some of the guys behind this thing.

The conception is correct, but the idea is that unlike a conventional train which either must stop at every station along the way if only to unload one container or it stops at very distant depots requiring the containers to then be trucked back to whereever from the depot, the system would automatically route containers to the nearest station for someone to haul away. Said stations could be relatively small and one could be in every town along the route. Alternately, if an outfit like FedEx or UPS or USPS (something like a third of I-35 traffic is trucks hauling mail and packages) wants, they can have branch lines run to their facilities easily and cheaply compared to conventional rail.

The last version of the proposal I saw had the tractor on the rail car with the trailer. This meant that the truck could drive away with its load as soon as it got to the station.


33 posted on 06/06/2012 4:06:29 PM PDT by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: Kartographer
And where is the water to come from? This is Texas we are talking about?

If you started up near Dallas and dug straight down about 500 feet, you could then proceed at that same depth toward the Gulf Coast (stopping by Austin first and then over past Houston).

Of course, you'd have to pave the entire length of the thing to keep that arid land from sucking the channel dry at anything less than high tide. And you'd have to put some big-ass flood gates in at the mouth of the thing, lest several inland Texas cities end up getting hurricane storm surge. :-)

It would sure put the "Big Dig" to shame. But talk about your shovel-ready jobs!

34 posted on 06/06/2012 4:07:15 PM PDT by Charles Martel (Endeavor to persevere...)
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To: Paladin2

If it runs per what my friends say, it costs less to build per mile than adding another lane to 35 - and we desperately need to do something to improve the throughput of 35.


35 posted on 06/06/2012 4:08:09 PM PDT by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: Zakeet

Interesting!!


36 posted on 06/06/2012 4:17:54 PM PDT by ExCTCitizen (If we stay home in November '12, don't blame 0 for tearing up the CONSTITUTION!!)
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To: Spktyr

If someone thinks this will make them rich, as long as it is funded by private investors and not the government, then I say go for it!


37 posted on 06/06/2012 4:21:15 PM PDT by Left2Right (Starve the Beast!)
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To: cripplecreek
Heavy trucks cause a lot of wear and tear on pavement — up to several thousands more times what an automobile causes. Truck licensing and fuel taxes do not cover the incremental costs. Therefore, less highway funding would be required, to move a given number of cars and light trucks.

Trains — including variants, such as the one proposed in the article, make a lot of sense for moving freight over long distances. Containerization makes it easy to switch modes for local pick up and delivery.

High-speed passenger rail seldom makes sense. Rail freight almost always makes sense.

38 posted on 06/06/2012 4:24:18 PM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: cripplecreek

Here’s one (of many) references to back up my claim (in post # 38) that heavy trucks cause thousands of times more wear and tear on highway infrastructure than automobiles:

http://www.growthandjustice.org/sites/2d9abd3a-10a9-47bf-ba1a-fe315d55be04/uploads/Freight_Transportation.pdf


39 posted on 06/06/2012 4:29:43 PM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: USFRIENDINVICTORIA

The thing is that you’ll never get trucks off the road unless you find a means of transporting goods to each individual retailer from the freight hubs. As it is now I think the average radius each freight rail hub covers is around 500 miles by truck.


40 posted on 06/06/2012 4:31:02 PM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: Charles Martel; Paladin2

Why not just build a normal railroad track with no crossings? A lot cheaper!


41 posted on 06/06/2012 4:36:20 PM PDT by Kartographer ("We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.")
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To: Charles Martel; Paladin2

Why not just build a normal railroad track with no crossings? A lot cheaper!


42 posted on 06/06/2012 4:36:35 PM PDT by Kartographer ("We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.")
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To: USFRIENDINVICTORIA

Considering the fact that the trucks carry the products we buy, I’d say that we’re at least partially responsible for damage done to the roads. If we want to stop buying things we can ease the wear and tear.


43 posted on 06/06/2012 4:37:56 PM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: cripplecreek

It isn’t necessary to get all trucks off the road — it’s a matter of taking off as many as makes economic sense to do so.

That’s why I added the bit about switching modes. New hubs can be added, the distance between them doesn’t need to remain at 500 miles. That likely reflects the economics of older intermodal technologies — the point where it becomes economic to go multi-modal. If containers can be switched rapidly and cheaply (which new technologies do allow), then the break-even distance between trucking only, and multi-modal drops.


44 posted on 06/06/2012 4:39:50 PM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: Paladin2

In thinking about this it could function much like a ski chair lift. The next problem would be to devise the terminal at each to load and unload the shipping containers at an efficient pace of production...


45 posted on 06/06/2012 4:46:49 PM PDT by shotgun
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To: cripplecreek

You do realize you’ve created a false dilemma? We can continue to use trucks when it makes sense to do so. If multi-modial solutions are used when economic (rail, barge, or ship), then we will have reduced wear and tear on the infrastructure, and saved shipping costs. Now, we can use those tax savings, and freight savings to buy more of what we actually want.


46 posted on 06/06/2012 4:47:03 PM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: Kartographer
"Why not just build a normal railroad track with no crossings? A lot cheaper!"

Not enough stimulus.

Note that the Milwaukee RR took out their well engineered, electrified rail operations in MT/ID/WA in the 1970's.

47 posted on 06/06/2012 4:48:56 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: shotgun

Rail operations at the ends of some coal operations have continuous load/dump loops.


48 posted on 06/06/2012 4:51:18 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: USFRIENDINVICTORIA

It doesn’t matter. Here in the real world things are the way they are.


49 posted on 06/06/2012 4:54:03 PM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: Spktyr
adding another lane

A truck loosely based on this idea could let cars pass beneath, doubling lane capacity.


50 posted on 06/06/2012 4:55:12 PM PDT by Reeses
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