The idea of Hyperloop technology was put forth by Elon Musk, who in 2013 made it open source through a white paper. The concept of hyperloop includes travelling people in a capsule which is propelling at a very high speed. If we are to make a massive investment in this transportation system, then the return should by rights be equally massive. Compared to the alternatives, it should ideally be: Safer, Faster, Lower cost, More convenient, Immune to weather, Sustainably self-powering, Resistant to Earthquakes, Not disruptive to those along the route.

There have been several companies such as Hyperloop One, SpaceX looking to create the first commercial Hyperloop and competitions to develop the technology that will make the transport system a reality.

On the basis of components, the hyperloop technology can be segmented into capsule, tube, and propulsion system. Tube segment is expected to hold significant share of the total market. The hyperloop network is anticipated to present strong business opportunities and bolster business relationships in Asia Pacific.

North America is expected to hold a major share of the total market due to the presence of a large number of major industry players. The region is also expected to expand at a significant rate, driven by countries such as the U.S. and their increasing adoption of Hyperloop technology.

Yes, We got carried away with it. Signed up for a HYPERLOOP between Louisville and Chicago. All I see is press releases with money coming from MidEast, India & Russia.

A New Year’s challenge for New York’s governor

NY Post Com

For many folks, New Year’s marks a beginning. For Gov. Andrew Cuomo, it poses a test: If he hopes to run for president in 2020 (he does), he needs to bolster his record in New York starting this year and handily win re-election in November.

A recent NY1-Baruch College poll suggests his re-election chances are good: 50 percent of New Yorkers give Cuomo a thumbs-up on job performance, with only 25 percent disapproving. Likewise, 49 percent say he deserves to be re-elected, while just 28 percent say no. The $26 million pile of campaign cash he’s sitting on will also help — though Republicans are lining up to run against him.

Yet Cuomo’s job-approval number is down from 58 percent in the poll’s October survey — and could head anywhere over the next 10 months. As for his dreams of a presidential run, New Yorkers oppose it by 45 percent to 36 percent, the poll showed.

Cuomo’s biggest national problem? His record. What can he run on?

Sure, some progressives may give him points for pushing through gay marriage, a gun control bill, the $15 minimum wage, free college tuition and a rash of environmental moves. But none of that will sell outside blue states.

At the same time, he’s not radical enough to win over Bernie Bros and Elizabeth Warren Democrats. When he ran for re-election in 2014, Zephyr Teachout — a complete unknown — outflanked him on the left and drew 34 percent in the primary.

More important, rivals in any presidential race will ask: How did New York fare under Cuomo’s leadership? And that’s where his troubles begin.

Cuomo can point to some big infrastructure projects, like a new Tappan Zee Bridge and the Second Avenue subway. But New Yorkers will be paying for them for decades through taxes, tolls and fees.

Critics will also argue these projects came at the expense of more desperately needed work, such as repairs and upgrades to existing mass-transit infrastructure — subways, buses, commuter rail lines.

Cuomo will forever be known as the governor who allowed what he himself called a commuter Summer of Hell in 2017. Even as 2018 kicks off and the weather dips into single digits, that “summer” is dragging on, with the plan for needed subway fixes still short hundreds of millions of dollars.

If Cuomo can’t make the trains run on time here, how can he run America?

Meanwhile, in the schools, particularly those in the city, the majority of kids graduate unprepared for college or jobs, even though per-student spending is among the highest in the nation.

And though Cuomo has lent support to the one kind of public school that works — charters — it hasn’t been enough to make a big difference overall.

New York’s pathetic statewide economy will be another sore point. In May, the Commerce Department ranked it 13th from the bottom in growth among states in 2016. For the second quarter of 2017, state GDP clocked in at just 1.2 percent, less than half the nation’s 3.1 percent rate.

Indeed, in every year since Cuomo took office, New York’s economy has lagged the nation. Despite a vibrant Gotham. Despite the billions Cuomo has poured into areas like Buffalo and on favored companies.

And the toll has been absolutely horrific upstate — where, Federal Reserve analysts note, job creation was “sluggish” since 2010 before coming to a near-total halt in early 2016.

Still, Cuomo’s “economic development” programs have produced one thing: corruption scandals.

This month, his former top aide, Joe Percoco — whom he describes as a brother — goes on trial for taking bribes from companies doing business with the state.

Later in the year, other associates will face trial on corruption charges linked to his economic development program. And on top of all that, the FBI is now probing his staffing practices.

Then there’s the budget: Cuomo is staring at a $4 billion hole — even as election pressures will make it hard to rein in spending and cut back on state aid for things like schools, hospitals and transit.

Meanwhile, New York’s taxes remain sky-high, and Cuomo will be taking a huge political risk if he calls for hikes — especially if he wants to take on President Trump, who just presided over a massive national tax cut.

Cuomo, of course, hasn’t announced any plans for a 2020 White House run, but he’s lately been boosting his national profile through increased media appearances and by attacking Trump loudly and often (if not always by name). And the agenda he’ll unveil Wednesday in his State of the State Address, including a rewrite of the state tax code, will surely be as much about his national prospects as his re-election.

Yet to be a viable contender in 2020, he’ll need to show results: A strong state economy. Marked improvement in the schools. A bearable tax and business climate. Trains that run.

It’s a tall order. Happy New Year, Gov.

The more we learn about Amtrak derailment the stranger it gets

From TheHill.com

As a retired National Transportation Safety Board railroad and rapid transit accident investigator, the more I hear about the Dec. 18 derailment of Washington state Amtrak Cascades train 501, the stranger it gets. Confirmed “facts” seem to be very few so far.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident, which killed three people and injured more than 50 others, and is still trying to determine the probable cause and prevent such accidents in the future.

People have an innate need to know, particularly with unexpected public transportation accidents as part of their own sense of security and trust. The sooner we know, the better.

But we could be waiting a while before we hear from the safety board about what led to the derailment. The length of time the safety board has taken to produce “the facts,” let alone a public report, has greatly lengthened over the past two decades, mostly due to safety board management.
An accident investigation has gone from nine months to over two years for a “major” investigation such as this accident. The prolonged process has been sold to Congress and to the public as a way to produce more thorough reports and recommendations, although the success of these efforts is debatable. In the interim, the public is left guessing.

At this point in the investigation, the “field phase,” safety board investigators work fairly quickly to garner the facts, which will be consolidated into a single report. After this stage the process slows down, especially with high-profile accident investigations involving public hearings and senior-level managers. Ultimately, a final report is far in the future.

With this incident, there appear to be a number of safety issues, including the choice and costs associated with the railroad route itself. The most important looks like a human performance safety issue.

It appears that there were two people in the lead locomotive control cab of the train who were both injured and hospitalized: an instructor engineer, and another engineer who was learning the territory and qualifying to operate the train along the route.

The derailment occurred on the first day of higher-speed service. The propriety of conducting such training on the inaugural run of the service is debatable. Railroad union hearsay alleges that the two locomotive engineers lost track of where they were because much — if not all — previous route qualification training had taken place at night when busy freight railroad traffic could accommodate the luxury of a non-revenue passenger train on multiple training runs. As a result, on the maiden run the two engineers had difficulty associating daytime landmarks with their ever-changing location.

To a large extent, this is the main tool engineers use to track their location. The environment’s physical characteristics are crucial to knowing one’s location, just like when we drive our cars. However, there are additional aids available depending on the train control systems in place.

In addition, there are allegations that these prior night training sessions had upwards of six people in the locomotive cab in order to qualify as many engineers as possible to operate trains along this route in the short amount of available time before service started.

This crowded training occurred despite the fact that there are usually only two seats in the rather small cab. Training for a route varies depending on the experience of the engineer and can require as little as two trips to as many as 10 or more.

Thus, it is alleged that none of the qualifying engineers were getting the undivided attention needed to memorize the route without distraction. In a nutshell, this is what is rumored.

If true, it places the onus on those managing this operation and their judgment and experience, or lack thereof. The lack of competent oversight by management and/or policy may lie at the root cause of this accident. But we, the public, won’t know for sure until the National Transportation Safety Board gets a sense of urgency and tells us.

Bridgeport Ramps In Action

I’m working on a project related to modeling urban railroads as part of an article series for Railroad Model Craftsman magazine. I am looking for one or two photos I could publish that show one of the steep ramps used by NH freight trains to access street-level industrial tracks from the mainline through Bridgeport. Can someone please direct me to some resources where I might find photos of trains using the ramps? The later era, the better. I’ve tried searching online with no luck.

If you have photos to share or resources to direct me to, please contact me. I can be reached at otto@railfan.com – thank you in advance!


There were three ramps in Bridgeport at least during my time. The east ramp and the west ramp controlled by SS-60 and lead to and from the lower yard. There were coal trains from Maybrook for the U I plant in the lower yard. They usually ran on a Saturday or Sunday in to Bridgeport and the road crew took the train down the west ramp in to the yard. After the cars were yarded the power would go light to Cedar Hill. The other ramp was at SS-55 (Burr Road) and went east off track 4 to the hole track which had a good amount of industrial switching on it. A day yard job out of the lower yard did that work as well as the work off track 3 just west of Burr Road (Mc Kesson and Jenkins and Handy and Harmon were the three customers that this job worked off track 3. The same day job worked both track 3 and the hole. Normal power was an 0931-0995 class S-1 switch engine. The west ramp tunneled under the main line tracks to reach the lower yard.
Noel Weaver

As a Bpt teenager, I biked down to watch the ‘work train’ many times at Howard Ave. — my dad worked at Dictaphone. Did I own a camera?
Did I take any pix? Answer to second question is NO! So sorry. Had to have seen trains on the Burr St. ramp. Remember Waterbury
trains descending down west ramp and magically coming up the east ramp! Other ramp is on Crescent Ave near Seaview Ave. Factories
served are long gone. And, of course, HRR line ramped down to street level by Bridgeport Brass. Oh how I wish I had taken those pix…

All of the above from New Haven Rail Forum