This is a subject of but small importance; and I know not whether it will interest any readers, but it has interested me.
December 14, 2011 4:46 PM   Subscribe

CN Turbo Train Part 2, part 3, 1970 Film‬. Canada Off the Rails: You know the story of the Avro Arrow, now discover how Canada fell from leader to laggard in another cutting edge, vastly profitable, globally relevant transportation industry, where Canadians had held a strong lead, until this Canadian homegrown industry was derailed; high-speed derailed... CN Turbo Train - "3:59" - The Lost Film (the high speed rail flickr pool is recommended viewing).

Trains part 1 - Top Gear - BBC - YouTube
Trains part 2 - Top Gear - BBC - YouTube
The Turbo was capable of speeds approaching those of today’s fastest passenger trains. In December of 1967, a three-car Turbo set the world record for rail travel on a New Jersey test track, reaching 275 kilometres per hour. At that rate, the trip between downtown Toronto and downtown Montreal would have taken two hours — less than the time it takes to fly, once ground travel to and from the airports is factored in.

But CN’s Turbo never travelled at anywhere near that speed, because the company operated it over the same tracks on which it ran its other trains. Its speed was therefore limited by relatively tight turns, and, as its maiden voyage so graphically illustrated, the need to slow down at road crossings. Instead, the train topped out at around 160 kilometres per hour, and the Toronto-Montreal journey took four long hours. Given that the drive can be done in five, the TurboTrain had little chance of commercial success.

France, by comparison, was at the time following Japan’s example. Its TGV lines featured welded rails, wider curves, no road crossings, and continuous fences that prevented trespassing by animals or people, and served as noise barriers in residential areas. Since it launched, the TGV has brought French cities much closer together: the trip from Paris to Lyon — a journey just 70 kilometres shorter than the one between Toronto and Montreal — now takes less than two hours.

Canada’s political and business leaders during the ’70s responded to the unprofitability of rail travel by making matters worse. Rather than investing in separate tracks to allow for the kind of rapid rail that might have attracted new riders, CN, then a Crown corporation, sought to divest itself of all passenger operations. The decline of passenger service became an election issue in 1974, when Pierre Trudeau’s Liberals pledged to create a nationwide carrier similar to Amtrak in the US.

Soon after the Liberals returned to power, CN formed a new division with the bilingual name VIA. In 1976, the Trudeau government, which was hoping to consolidate VIA with the country’s other passenger services, promised to furnish the new carrier with a fleet of fast trains. These were of course never purchased, because it was the tracks, not the trains, that presented the real problem.
This is a short 1958 documentary about winter railroading in the Canadian Rockies and the men who keep the lines clear. The stretch between Revelstoke and Field, British Columbia, is a snow-choked threat to communications. The film shows the work of section hands, maintenance men, train crews and telegraph operators.

-Snow Plowing

-‪Strasburg Railroad: Plowing the Line‬

-Arctic Trains

Documentary by the Association of American Railroads designed to eductate about the importance of freight and passenger trains on the U.S. economy

Central Pacific Railroad
Photographic History Museum

Playlists of interest:

Railroad Locomotives, Trains, and Other Related Items

Trains in fog

‪Railroad Home Movies‬

Freight Train playlist

Passenger Train playlist

Trains and Railroads

Railroads and Trains

Railways and Trains
posted by infinite intimation (15 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Channels with a national or regional focus of interest:

Canadian train videos:
Chinese train videos:
PL- 中国 SL (China Steam).

PL- 中国 SL ナローゲージ (China Steam Narrow gauge).

PL- 中国 SL 集通鉄路 (China Steam Jitong Railway).

  • (China Steam Huanan)

  • (China Steam Jitong Jingpeng)

  • (China Steam Jitong Lindong)

  • (China Steam Jitong Jingpeng)

  • (China Steam Jitong Jingpeng)

  • (China Steam Jitong Jingpeng)

  • (China Steam Zhungeer)

  • (China Steam Jitong Jingpeng)

  • (China Steam Dongsheng)

  • (China Steam Jitong Reshui)

  • Photos and videos of trains mostly near Montreal.

    CN & VIA Rail in the maritimes.

    JJ's channel is made up mostly of train videos from central Ontario. The local rails include Canadian Pacific, Canadian National, BCRY, VIA Rail, Ontario Northland and GO Transit to name a few.

    This collection of videos is a tribute to the former railway, BC Rail, and its hardworking, friendly employees.

    Wisconsin trains

    Iron Ore Railways in The Pilbara
    Videos of the iron ore trains in The Pilbara area of north Western Australia


    Trains from Souh Australia and from other areas Also find other items of historical interest, old car, steam & Traction too.

    Trains of India

    Indian Railways Videos

    British Trains.

    Videos about railways in Japan

    More videos about railways in Japan
    The Bullet Train "NOZOMI" Part1 Hakata-Kokura‬

    ‪The Bullet Train "NOZOMI" Part2 Kokura-Hiroshima‬

    ‪The Bullet Train "NOZOMI" Part3 Hiroshima-Okayama‬

    ‪The Bullet Train "NOZOMI" Part4 Okayama-Shin Osaka‬

    The Bullet Train "NOZOMI" Part5 Shin Osaka-Kyoto‬

    ‪The Bullet Train "NOZOMI" Part6 Nagoya-Hamamatsu‬

    ‪The Bullet Train "NOZOMI" Part7 Hamamatsu-Shin Yokohama‬

    ‪The Bullet Train "NOZOMI" Part8 Shin Yokohama-Tokyo (Final)‬

    History, and historic film relating to trains:

    Trains on fire - Pennsylvania Railroad 1955 - "What in Blazes" - Historic Trains in America
    Santa Fe RailRoad "The Super Chief" - 1950's Luxury Passenger Train in America
    Association of American Railroads 1950's train film - "Right of Way USA"

    Thomas Edison Train Films circa 1897-1906. Steam Trains & Railroads
    Budd Railcars in 1952 - "Clear Iron" - American Railroads and Passenger Trains
    "Progress on the Rails" - Pennsylvania RailRoad 1952 - Train Publicity Film

    Pennsylvania RailRoad GG1 - "Wheels Of Steel" - 1950's Railroads and Trains

    Santa Fe Railroad Safety Film - Count the seconds - Railroads and Trains

    Pennsylvania Steam Locomotives in the 1950's

    Missouri Pacific Railroad in the 1950's

    Burlington Zephyr / Pioneer Zephyr in 1934. American High Speed Diesel Train

    Streamlined Trains of the 1930's & 40's. Historic American Steam Trains & Railways

    "Memories of Steam at Horseshoe Curve" by Carl Dudley / Blackhawk Films.

    US military railroads deliver supplies to Russia - World War Two Trains

    NYC Railroad and the 20th century limited express train in the 1940's

    Steam Trains in WW2 - UK Ministry of Supply "Locomotives for Second Front" 1943

    Union Pacific Streamliners of the 1930's - Historic American Diesel Trains

    The Passenger Train - 1940 - Historic Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Trains in America

    American Railroads 1955 - "Big Trains Rolling" - Historic Trains in the USA

    WW1 Narrow gauge train lines in France - World War One - Historic Steam Trains

    Third Avenue Elevated Railway - 1950's American Trains in New York City

    New York Central Railroad - 1950's - "The Big Train"

    1950's Train Safety Film - "Dangerous Playground " by Southern Pacific RailRoad

    Santa Fe RailRoad "Pay Day" - 1950's American Trains

    "Nickel Plate Story" 1953 - American Trains & Railroad History

    The Passenger Train - 1955 - Historic Santa Fe Railroad Trains in America

    Rock Island Lines "Wheels of Progress" - 1950's historic American Trains and Railroads

    "Wash and Brush Up" 1953 - Trains & British Railways

    "British locomotives" 1959 Steam Trains, Diesel Trains, Electric Trains.

    "Flight of the Century" - 20th Century Limited train - 1935 Steam Trains Newsreel

    Seaboard Air Line RailRoad 1948 - "New Horizons" - Trains and RailRoads in the USA

    Santa Fe Railroad 1954 - "Challenge for Tomorrow" - Train & Railway Documentary

    Kansas City Southern Railroad 1940 "Southern Belle" - American Trains & Beauty Pageant

    New York City's Third Avenue Elevated Railway in 1950 - Electric Trains in New York City

    Santa Fe Railroad Passenger Trains in 1955

    Train Sabotage Experiments by US Military in the 1940's - Train and Railroad Crashes

    Derailment - Experiments to derail trains during World War Two

    San Francisco Streetcar / Trolley Tunnel Construction and Opening - 1918

    Safe Roads - 1935 Educational safety film about cars and trains

    Baltimore & Ohio Passenger Train Journey in 1940 - Historic Trains and Railroads America

    American Steam Trains in the 1940's & 1950's - When Steam was King

    Educational Safety Film about Trains - "Dangerous Playground" - Southern Pacific RailRoad 1950's

    "Careful Carman" - Employee safety film produced by the Union Pacific RailRoad

    Railway With A Heart Of Gold - Talyllyn Railway in the 1950's

    Union Pacific 1970's Employee Safety Film - Track Team

    Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway in 1946

    Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway in 1947

    NSWGR Steam trains in the late 1960's - "Steam for the road"

    Association of American Railroads 1950's Commercial no.1

    US Army Railroads at Fort Eustis - U.S. Army Transportation Corps.Documentary

    A Great Railroad at Work - 1942 American Railroads & Trains Documentary

    Milwaukee RailRoad in 1946 - "A Railroad at Work"

    Railways in Britain 1959 - Development of British diesel, electric and steam trains

    Pennsylvania Railroad - Train Fire Fighting & Safety Training Film "What in Blazes!" circa 1955

    Clear Track Ahead! - Historic American Trains on the Pennsylvania RailRoad 1946

    Kansas City Southern Railroad in 1940 - Historic American Trains

    The Royal Gorge 1950's Transcontinental Train Adventure

    Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad in 1948 - Desert Empire

    Union Pacific Railroad in the 1960's - "Meet Uncle Pete"

    Super Dome Olympian Hiawatha - Passenger Train Documentary

    1950's Santa Fe Railroad - Right & Wrong Way to Deliver a New Television!

    The Great Train Robbery - 1903 Silent Film


    ‪Behind The Scenes As Freight Trains Speed Across America‬

    ‪Train: Inside engineer's cabin

    ‪Funicular Railway | Train In Kiev, Ukraine

    ‪UP 844 by Celilo 70+mph‬

    miniature trains 2

    ‪Miniature Leeds Station - Tilt Shift‬

    Sydney Central Rail Station - weekend Track repairs

    ‪Train Tiltshift‬

    Tilt Shift train
    posted by infinite intimation at 4:46 PM on December 14, 2011 [10 favorites]

    (your Top Gear train links point to this thread)
    posted by Decimask at 4:56 PM on December 14, 2011

    Odd. Worked on previews.
    Top Gear Trains, part one
    Top Gear Trains, part two
    posted by infinite intimation at 5:00 PM on December 14, 2011

    The 3 part film in the OP had me at "in the evening, she wears the pantsuit"
    posted by subpixel at 5:00 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

    Not enough links.

    I know, eh?

    It's missing the most important Canadian fast-train-love link of all.
    posted by CynicalKnight at 5:25 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

    A huge part of Canada is flat as piss on a plate. We should have TGV trains criss-crossing the prairies & Canadian shield. And a tunnel from Calgary to Vancouver.
    posted by five fresh fish at 5:35 PM on December 14, 2011

    Great post - thanks for all the links!

    I'm not buying the high-speed train argument though, even as wishful nostalgia. There's no way they could ever have bought enough infrastructure to make this fly.
    posted by sneebler at 5:35 PM on December 14, 2011

    OK well now I really need to get my electric trains out this year.
    posted by zomg at 6:14 PM on December 14, 2011

    Man, I had plans tonight. Fuck it. Railfan night it is. Great post.
    posted by repoman at 6:35 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

    Somehow by the end of this I expected Mathowie's disembodied voice to say "FINISH HIM".
    posted by mhoye at 7:53 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]

    There was nothing nefarious about the downfall of the turbotrain. It used a lot of fuel, and entered production in the 1970s. Specifically, gas turbine engines happen to use a lot of fuel while idling, and are inefficient at anything other than full-throttle. UAC's biggest misstep was basically bad timing -- the whole transportation industry was gaga about turbine engines before the oil embargo.

    Gas turbines are cool in concept thanks to their light weight and high power output (an 800lb turbine engine can produce as much horsepower as a 22,000lb diesel engine), but efficiency issues ultimately doomed them in commercial applications.

    After the oil crisis and heightened environmental awareness in the 1970s, the rail industry basically came to the conclusion that high-speed service was never going to happen with a diesel engine. The vehicles would either be too heavy or too inefficient to be practical in such an application. Electric motors weigh a fraction of what a diesel engine does, and the trains are freed of the burden of having to carry fuel.

    In addition to the UAC TurboTrain, France did considerable development work on the concept, and had proposed it as a source of motive power for the first portions of the TGV system. In addition to the TGV 001 prototype vehicle, 41 sets of the RTG Turbotrain were built in France, and several more were built for Amtrak, initially by ANF in France, and then by Rohr in the US.

    This would be Amtrak's first and last investment into new railcar technology until the introduction of the Acela (and, to this day, the remainder of their fleet uses what is essentially 1940s technology, even including several sets of new cars currently on order). The Amtrak turboliners have a somewhat odd history. In spite of their poor fuel economy, they were operated as recently as 2002, and were subsequently refurbished by Amtrak and NY State. This refurbishment was mired with cost overruns, corruption, lawsuits, and the question of why the project was being carried out in the first place, given that gas turbine locomotives had been all but discredited at that point. Several trainsets were successfully refurbished, and are currently for sale.

    Chrysler also spent many years attempting to develop a turbine-powered car, without actually creating a marketable product. Presumably, the oil crisis killed off the project for good. (The story had a happy ending for Chrysler, though, as they found a customer for their turbine engines, who had a desire for lightweight components, and were completely blind to costs and fuel consumption — the US Military)

    More recently, Bombardier claim to have solved the efficiency problems, by producing a hybrid system, in which a conventional diesel generator powers the train at low speeds, while a turbine is started up to propel the train to high speeds. They produced a working prototype, presumably at great expense, but have not been able to find a buyer.
    posted by schmod at 9:35 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]

    This includes about all the train links I've found myself during several years of idleness (apart from Switzerland perhaps), plus twice more. Impressive work!
    posted by Namlit at 2:57 PM on December 15, 2011

    five fresh fish writes "And a tunnel from Calgary to Vancouver."

    Man that would be quite the tunnel. Even if one went from Calgary to Abbotsford you're talking roughly 640 kilometres (a little less because of the tangent rather than great circle) and a 1000 m change in elevation. The longest rail way tunnel in the world is the Seikan at 53km so the proposed tunnel is ~12x longer. The Gotthard tunnel (length 57km) opening in 2016 is estimated to cost 10.6 billion so an easy ball park figure for the proposed tunnel would be around 117 billion dollars or somewhere around 8-10% of Canadian GDP. Mind you it's taking them 20 years to dig that tunnel so assuming the same time frame it would only be .5% of annual GDP.

    I wonder if with careful planning regenerative braking on the down slope side of the tunnel could supply most of the locomotive force of the uphill side.
    posted by Mitheral at 11:24 AM on December 17, 2011

    "Quite the tunnel" is why we should do it!
    posted by five fresh fish at 9:08 AM on December 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

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