daily menu » rate the banner | guess the city | one on oneforums map | privacy policy | DMCA | news magazine | posting guidelines

Go Back   SkyscraperCity > Infrastructure and Mobility Forums > Subways and Urban Transport

Subways and Urban Transport Metros, subways, light rail, trams, buses and other local transport systems



Global Announcement

As a general reminder, please respect others and respect copyrights. Go here to familiarize yourself with our posting policy.


Reply

 
Thread Tools
Old July 15th, 2013, 07:59 PM   #1
ssiguy2
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: White Rock BC
Posts: 5,404
Likes (Received): 857

MISC | Why not Railbus?

Money {or lack there of} is the largest single hurdle when building an effective mass/rapid transit system. Certainly some systems are much more expensive than others such as comparing underground subway to BRT-light. The benefits of BRT-light is that is makes use of existing infrastructure namely the roadways.
BRT highway routes do the same as does commuter rail and hence those systems are not only affordable in terms of infrastructure but can usually be up and running quite quickly.

BRT can be very affordable but running it along streets even with ROW still means it has to contend with regular lights and turning lanes. Commuter rail effectively takes advantage of rail infrastructure but usually require expensive and large stations and the rail vehicles can cost a small fortune. They are also expensive to run and have the problem of getting ridership due to the dreaded "last mile". Due to this inconvinence many people end up driving to the station which often means expensive park-n-ride facilities or even several story garages.

Railbuses get rid of these problems. They can travel on both rail and road and hence take advantage of both existing infrastructures. They are much cheaper to purchase and run than conventional commuter rail and get rid of the dreaded "last mile" so once reaching a station they can branch off onto the roads to provide more local service.

It's not a new concept as the UK, Germany, and several other countries were running them up until the 1970s. It not at all proprietary as it is simply a glorified standard articulated bus and like all buses can be diesel, electric trolley, natural gas, or all electric.

Dutch transportation company Movares has a Railbus proposal and if I had any
computer skills at all I would put up the website. It also has a youtube video of how the system would work so if anyone can put both up that would be greatly appreciated.

Railbuses could not handle the commuter rail needs of very large and well patronized systems but where 6 or 7 bi-level coaches are needed to meet the ridership levels but even in those cities they could be used very effectively for mid-day, late night, or weekend service.

Any thoughts?
ssiguy2 no está en línea   Reply With Quote

Sponsored Links
Old July 21st, 2013, 07:10 AM   #2
ssiguy2
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: White Rock BC
Posts: 5,404
Likes (Received): 857

Anyone?
ssiguy2 no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old July 21st, 2013, 10:32 AM   #3
Longbottom
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 26
Likes (Received): 6

I am not sure what you mean with rail bus here (the word railbus usually means a small passenger rail vehicle, in German Schienenbus, in Spanish ferrobús). But I can imagine two different transport systems you mean, either the Translohr system (a bus guided by a single rail in the street), or rapid bus transit (conventional buses with dedicated street space, metro-like stations etc.).

Both of these systems have thir issues. If we start with the translohr system, it costs almost as much as a conventional tramway to build, since the ground usually has to be strengthened anyway to withhold the weight of the buses. One rail and catenary have to be installed, just as stops, signals, and all other technical infrastructure that a conventional tram needs. The buses ride more like conventional buses than trams, which means nothing is gained when it comes to comfort. Add also that very fe companies build these kind of vehicles, which means it can be both difficult and costly to replace them.

Rapid bus transit exists in different forms around the world, in form of express buses, heavy bus lines (like Swedish "stomlinje" in Göteborg and Stockholm). The same problem arises here. As soon as you want the line to get a more "rail like" appearance the cost will rise to the same level as for trams. However, buses do not seem to attract new passengers the same way as a new tram system does (the rail effect), and they do not appear (although this might be deceptive) as environmental friendly. There is also a capacity problem - trams can take many more passengers than buses.

If you mean any other kind of vehicle, please post some kind of link to show what it is. Experimental and technically complex solutions are however always difficult to sell, since nobody can guarantee their function over a longer period of time. If the vehicle you mean is something that is both rail and road born, than there is also the problem of legislation: should it have automatic train control etc.
Longbottom no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old July 21st, 2013, 11:39 AM   #4
XAN_
Registered User
 
XAN_'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 4,034
Likes (Received): 760

No, he means something like this:

image hosted on flickr
__________________
"I'm lost but still I know//There is another world"
-H. Kürsch, 1995
"Well, we all know there's no other side"
-H. Kürsch, 2002
XAN_ no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old July 21st, 2013, 12:16 PM   #5
Otazabi
BANNED
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Trollcity
Posts: 82
Likes (Received): 5

Quote:
Originally Posted by XAN_ View Post
No, he means something like this:

image hosted on flickr
I thought another thing.......
Otazabi no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old July 21st, 2013, 04:02 PM   #6
k.k.jetcar
Registered User
 
k.k.jetcar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Sapporo
Posts: 1,811
Likes (Received): 452

I thought the railbuses (hybrid road/rail type) are for rural/low traffic applications- not for high traffic applications where either an all-rail service or BRT is a better solution.

We have such a prototype here in Japan, developed by JR Hokkaido, called the dual mode vehicle, or DMV.

Demonstration at JR Hokkaido's Naebo Workshops (I rode this on this very day, as the workshops were hosting an open house):


Demo run on the Asakaigan Rlwy. in Shikoku:
k.k.jetcar no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old July 21st, 2013, 06:00 PM   #7
Paperyostrich
Kiwi to the rescue
 
Paperyostrich's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Southampton, United Kingdom
Posts: 1,966
Likes (Received): 854

In the UK our railbusses are basically bus bodies with train wheels on them. They look like this...



They're good for less traveled, yet essential routes, and are commonly found in the North of the country.

Their ride however, leaves a lot to be desired
__________________
I'm not from Zimbabwe
Paperyostrich no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old July 21st, 2013, 06:42 PM   #8
k.k.jetcar
Registered User
 
k.k.jetcar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Sapporo
Posts: 1,811
Likes (Received): 452

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paperyostrich View Post
In the UK our railbusses are basically bus bodies with train wheels on them. They look like this...



They're good for less traveled, yet essential routes, and are commonly found in the North of the country.

Their ride however, leaves a lot to be desired
Ah yes, the "nodding donkeys".
__________________

Paperyostrich liked this post
k.k.jetcar no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old July 21st, 2013, 07:03 PM   #9
Rodalvesdepaula
Scooter/motorbike lover
 
Rodalvesdepaula's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Sorocaba (SP), Brazil
Posts: 49,467
Likes (Received): 40760

Brazil tested a "rail-bus" in 1997, using a railroad between two villages:

Video in Brazilian Portuguese

__________________
Rodalvesdepaula está en línea ahora   Reply With Quote
Old July 21st, 2013, 08:21 PM   #10
ssiguy2
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: White Rock BC
Posts: 5,404
Likes (Received): 857

That is exactly what I am talking about.

The Translohr and Bombardier Guided buses have proven themselves to be expensive and highly unreliable so much so that Bombardier no longer makes them. Those systems are "guided buses" and not Railbus. The only form of guided buses that have been shown as both effective and reliable have been the ones that use concrete roadways or tracks for the buses which are kept within the track by small extra horizontal wheels at the side of the bus. They allow for a more comfortable ride, no need for slowing when going from the guided track to streets, safe, fast, reliable, and take up less room that a separate road BRT like Ottawa's Transitway. This is due to the fact that the small track wheels keep the bus snugly within the track so don't have the "sway" of regular buses which is even more pronounced with articulated buses. This allows them to run narrower trackways than regular bus roads. As an example, streetcars can run in either direction very close together as they are held in place by the street tracks. They really are just standard rubber tired Metros that use buses and not trains.

There are examples in Japan, Germany, several new systems in the UK most recently being the 25 km Cambridge system, and probably the most famous, the Adelaide O-Bahn.

Those system offer the flexibility of Railbus providing both rapid and local service and get rid of the "last mile" problem. Their obvious weakness is that they need large infrastructure investments while Railbuses don't. They use the current railway tracks and roadways.

The Movares system has an excellent description of it's Railbus proposal and youtube video of how it works if someone could put it up for me as I am a complete computer moron. Thanks
ssiguy2 no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old July 22nd, 2013, 07:19 AM   #11
Nouvellecosse
~ Mysterious Entity ~
 
Nouvellecosse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Halifax, N.S.
Posts: 4,446
Likes (Received): 313

I assume this is what you're referring to?






I'm not sure I see the benefit to such a system except for very unique and specific applications. Having feeder buses go from local routes into town using a railway removes the benefit that rail typically offers in terms of capacity since the extra capacity is achieved by allowing the vehicle to be much longer than is possible on streets since very long vehicles cannot be maneuvered without a guideway. So if you need to keep the vehicles short enough to to able to travel on regular streets, then the capacity advantage is lost.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssiguy2 View Post
Railbuses could not handle the commuter rail needs of very large and well patronized systems but where 6 or 7 bi-level coaches are needed to meet the ridership levels but even in those cities they could be used very effectively for mid-day, late night, or weekend service.
If they cannot handle the needs of busier systems and are only suitable for off-peak service, then many cities would need conventional rail system in addition to the rail bus since railbus could not provide necessary peak capacity. So if they still need to invest in conventional systems, then there goes the cost advantage to railbus. Besides, many cities already have a solution to the last mile problem in off-peak hours in the form of commuter buses can run into town at high speeds on freeways.

This is somewhat how things work with GO Transit for instance in that most of the GO Train routes only operate at peak times in peak direction, and the rest of the time service is provided by GO Buses, which works since freeways typically do not have much congestion off-peak. They don't provide local feeder service however.

I can see it working for smaller cities looking to create lower capacity commuter service, but the city would needs to have a dedicated railway that can be limited to railbus since having multiple local routes feed into it would cause high trip frequency which would not be compatible with other rail traffic. Instead of one long train every 1/2 hour or less, it would be an articulated bus no less than every few minutes since it would host multiple routes each running every 15, 20, or 30 minutes.

This also presents issues in terms of staffing, since normally feeder buses just stick to their local routes so that even though a lot of drivers are required, the number is reduced by having much of the journey served by a single driver on the high capacity rail vehicle. But when all the local bus drivers need to travel all the way into town and back on every run, there needs to be more of them.

If all the conditions were right - the system is not very busy and there are tracks that can be dedicated entirely to transit use (that go places useful for transit service) - then it could work. I just think such situations are somewhat rare.
__________________
.
.
I always think of a new type of cologne brand when I see your name

"Nouvellecosse, by Calvin Klein. Take on the world!"

- MysticMcGoo
Nouvellecosse no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old July 22nd, 2013, 07:38 AM   #12
ssiguy2
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: White Rock BC
Posts: 5,404
Likes (Received): 857

Thank you, that was the video I was looking for.

It certainly is not a real option for larger systems like GO where even if the Railbuses were running every 30 seconds, they would not even come close to meeting the capacity needs.
There are some commuter systems however that get very low ridership of less than 5,000 per day and I think this is where they are appropriate.

They could also be used very effectively for weekend and late night service. Part of the reason some systems have low ridership is due to their service being strictly 9 to 5 and usually just one way. If you are going back and forth from work everyday then that is fine but god help you if you are kept late at work or you want to go for drinks with your friends after work.

They could also be well utilized for weekend service or special events without having the huge costs associated with running entire trains. They can also be used as branch lines so that, for instance, 3 Railbuses run every 30 minutes with all three starting their rail journey at the same station but branching out after that for more local service and pickups/ dropoffs. That helps get rid of the last mile problem and can save a lot of money not having to build massive garages and that saved land around the stations could be used for TOD.

I am not in the slightest saying it is a panacea but for new service, small/medium size cities, daytime, counter flow, weekend, late night, or special events service they seem to be a very good fit and a far, far more economical one than using full trains.
ssiguy2 no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old July 22nd, 2013, 08:23 AM   #13
Nouvellecosse
~ Mysterious Entity ~
 
Nouvellecosse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Halifax, N.S.
Posts: 4,446
Likes (Received): 313

In addition to the rail lines needing to be unused by other traffic during the times that railbus was in operation, there's also the problem that with a lot of commuter services, the trains use routes that are single track for all or part of the way which favours higher capacity vehicles running at lower frequency. A high trip frequency just isn't possible on them.
__________________
.
.
I always think of a new type of cologne brand when I see your name

"Nouvellecosse, by Calvin Klein. Take on the world!"

- MysticMcGoo
Nouvellecosse no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old July 22nd, 2013, 07:23 PM   #14
ssiguy2
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: White Rock BC
Posts: 5,404
Likes (Received): 857

Very true and I appreciate that but that doesn't change the fact that a Railbus would be far more effective during non-rush hour service. Even if they only ran one or two after the main commuter trains that would still be far cheaper than running huge trains. Even if trains Railbuses ran once an hour til 10:00 PM it would greatly increase potential ridership during regular hours and could have schedules that could easily be worked around even the busiest of commercial rail corridors.

I think in those situation it would also help to greatly INCREASE ridership for the regular commuter trains because people would know that if they miss their train due to work or just want to stay downtown to catch a show or do drinks then they could still get home.
So many systems are caught in the old catch 22 that plagues many low ridership system.
People could and would take the trains but won't due to their very rigid service times so ridership is poor and the poor ridership means they can never offer those services in a cost effective manner.

So many lesser used systems simply don't offer the flexibility that people demand. Railbuses due to their far lower operational costs would also help struggling downtown cores as people maybe more willing to spend money after work as opposed to be forced to catch the last train at 6:00 PM.
ssiguy2 no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old July 22nd, 2013, 10:55 PM   #15
Nouvellecosse
~ Mysterious Entity ~
 
Nouvellecosse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Halifax, N.S.
Posts: 4,446
Likes (Received): 313

What would be the major benefit for a bus to use the rails between downtown and the outer neighbourhoods rather than act as an express bus on the freeway?

I agree that running large trains is not efficient during low ridership times and that it would increase ridership to find a solution to the last mile problem. But I'm still curious about what the advantage would be with the buses traveling on rails rather than local buses going onto the freeway and acting as express buses during off-peak hours. Yes, the rail buses would be a bit quieter due to absence of road howl, but they'd also be more expensive than regular buses and the service would be much more complicated than road-only service due to the mix of regulations and scheduling.

I personally love seeing small DMUs such as the Bombardier Talent (like the Ottawa o-Train) the Stadler GTW (like Austin Capital Rail) or Siemens Desiro (like San Diego Sprinter) used at times of lower ridership. This is common in Europe, but limited in NA due to regulations preventing this type of light vehicle being used on mailine railways at the same time as freight trains for safety reasons, which I suspect would also limit the application of rail buses.

I wonder if rail buses could be used on LRT systems like the Calgary LRT at times of low ridership in order to help eliminate transfers. I have to wonder if railbuses wouldn't be better in that type of application than on commuter railways. In fact, I think they'd be very good in LRT systems since the huge capacity of a subway or traditional commuter rail wouldn't be needed, it would be able to support high frequency service due to not having to compete for track allocation. I think it would be much better than what's commonly referred to as BRT since those tend to be silly IMO.
__________________
.
.
I always think of a new type of cologne brand when I see your name

"Nouvellecosse, by Calvin Klein. Take on the world!"

- MysticMcGoo
Nouvellecosse no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old July 23rd, 2013, 04:03 AM   #16
ssiguy2
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: White Rock BC
Posts: 5,404
Likes (Received): 857

Express buses are an option and certainly would be more reliable during non-rush hour times or on the weekends due to lighter traffic on the roads.

The problem with express buses is that you are assuming that there is a freeway near the commuter rail corridor and stations. Any connecting buses or park n ride must be maintained at the current station so what happens if the nearest freeway to the station is 1 or 2 km away? The buses would have to get off the freeway, travel on the regular roads a couple of km and then drop off their passengers and then head back to the freeway and may have to do the same thing at the next station.

Anytime saved by taking freeways during non-rush hour times could easily be negated by that problem and any potential problem along the way could play havoc with the timetables.
ssiguy2 no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old July 23rd, 2013, 05:17 AM   #17
Nouvellecosse
~ Mysterious Entity ~
 
Nouvellecosse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Halifax, N.S.
Posts: 4,446
Likes (Received): 313

I was thinking more that there would be an express bus route serving the area around each rail station. It would travel around the local area picking up or dropping off passengers, and only use the freeway on its way into or out of town. Isn't that the whole point of using a rail bus rather than a rail only DMU? In the original post you said,

"Commuter rail effectively takes advantage of rail infrastructure but usually require expensive and large stations and the rail vehicles can cost a small fortune. They are also expensive to run and have the problem of getting ridership due to the dreaded "last mile".Due to this inconvinence many people end up driving to the station which often means expensive park-n-ride facilities or even several story garages.

Railbuses get rid of these problems..."

So originally, part of the benefit of rail buses is to eliminate the need for expensive conventional commuter stations and park and ride facilities, but now you're saying that express service cannot stray from where these facilities are located since it needs them?

If the vehicle is going to provide service to stops along a rail line, then how much would it really benefit from being able to go on the road? If people are still going to have to drive or take a connecting bus to get to a regular commuter rail station to access a service that just traveling along the rail route, then why use a rail bus rather than a O-train type DMU? Isn't the ability to provide local service to areas a few km away from the rail line a central feature of rail buses?
__________________
.
.
I always think of a new type of cologne brand when I see your name

"Nouvellecosse, by Calvin Klein. Take on the world!"

- MysticMcGoo
Nouvellecosse no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old July 23rd, 2013, 09:20 PM   #18
ssiguy2
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: White Rock BC
Posts: 5,404
Likes (Received): 857

Many people will still use the park-n-rides, So if people go there and park their cars in the morning for the commuter trains then they need to get back to the station late night to pick up their cars or they will end up having to keep their cars overnight.

One of the things that makes rapid transit and TOD possible is the "permanence" of the system. When there is significant infrastructure invested they know that the service is there for good unlike a local bus which can change routing anytime. By using Railbuses instead of commuter rail in non-peak times, it can offer more service but at a much lower operating cost.

For newer systems if offers being able to provide more frequent service and expanded hours but with much lower operating and vehicle costs.
ssiguy2 no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old July 24th, 2013, 03:57 AM   #19
trainrover
:-x
 
trainrover's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 5,787
Likes (Received): 738

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssiguy2 View Post
BRT highway routes do the same as does commuter rail
bs
__________________
.
hee hee
.
trainrover no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old July 24th, 2013, 04:14 AM   #20
ssiguy2
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: White Rock BC
Posts: 5,404
Likes (Received): 857

That was very informative.

Make sure to get back to us when you have something intelligent to say.
ssiguy2 no está en línea   Reply With Quote


Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Related topics on SkyscraperCity


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 02:45 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Feedback Buttons provided by Advanced Post Thanks / Like (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2018 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2018 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

SkyscraperCity ☆ In Urbanity We trust ☆ about us | privacy policy | DMCA policy

tech management by Sysprosium