Summary of Well There's Your Problem | Episode 113: Battery-Electric Locomotives

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00:00:00 - 01:00:00

This video discusses the history of electric locomotives. It explains that they were invented in the early 1900s, but they lost popularity in the United States because of oil. The video also discusses the challenges of electrifying railroads, including clearance issues and the high capital costs associated with raising clearances.

  • 00:00:00 Today's episode of Well There's Your Problem features a discussion on battery-electric locomotives, their potential shortcomings relative to diesel locomotives, and the ramifications of that.
  • 00:05:00 In Jackson, Mississippi, the city's water network is offline due to flooding, leaving 250,000 people under a boil water advisory. The city's only water plant was destroyed by the pole River flooding. The state is responsible for 75% of the funding to fix the water network.
  • 00:10:00 The video discusses the floods in Pakistan, the effects of the monsoon season, and the difficulties in providing assistance to the country. It also discusses the effects of climate change on Pakistan, and how it is one of many countries that will suffer due to the issue.
  • 00:15:00 This YouTube video discusses the reasons why electric locomotives are generally stronger than their steam-powered counterparts. The main point made is that electric locomotives are less likely to break down, and this makes them more efficient overall.
  • 00:20:00 This video discusses how early trains used steam engines and then how electric trains came about. Electric trains are more efficient and are easier to maintain, which is why they are currently more popular.
  • 00:25:00 In the 1800s, locomotives were powered by steam engines. However, in the early 1900s, battery-electric locomotives were invented. This technology allowed for trains to be powered by electricity, which eliminated the need for steam engines. Third line electrification, in which electric wires are run above the ground, was popular in the UK in the early 1900s. However, today there are no passenger trains running on this type of electrification, as the section of track has been abandoned.
  • 00:30:00 This YouTube video explains the history of electric locomotives, including the development of third rail technology. The video also discusses the problems with battery-electric locomotives, specifically their limited range and susceptibility to theft.
  • 00:35:00 The video discusses the problem of battery-electric locomotives - namely, that they are vulnerable to theft and vandalism. The Soviet Union and Milwaukee Road were two examples of railroads that attempted to solve this problem by electrifying their tracks. Unfortunately, these systems were not very successful, largely because they relied on outdated technology.
  • 00:40:00 The video discusses the history of electric locomotives in the United States and how they eventually lost popularity to diesel locomotives. The main point of the video is that the main reason why electric locomotives lost popularity in the United States was because of oil.
  • 00:45:00 This video discusses the history of railroads and their competition with each other. It explains that while oil was cheap, railroads were largely privatized or entirely privatized and that, as a result, they could not compete with each other and ended up undercompeting. The Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) cracked down on this, and the pace of electrification slowed after that. Modern diesels are not capable of some of the things that early electric locomotives could do, such as regenerative braking or short-term overload attraction Motors.
  • 00:50:00 This video discusses the history of battery-electric locomotives. In the 1970s and 1980s, there was a re-push to electrify railroad equipment. While some of the older equipment was from this era, the most significant advances were made in the area of long-distance freight transportation. Unfortunately, this effort was unsuccessful and many of the manufacturers went out of business. Today, battery-electric locomotives are only used for specialized applications.
  • 00:55:00 The video discusses the challenges of electrifying railroads, including clearance issues and the high capital costs associated with raising clearances. It also points out that electrification can be more efficient in the absence of tall cars, which can limit the number of containers that can be transported on the same train.

01:00:00 - 02:00:00

This video discusses the problems with battery-electric locomotives, specifically the difficulties in maintaining infrastructure and the increased need for truck transport.

  • 01:00:00 This video discusses the problems with American railroad management, which are largely due to a Precision Scheduled Railroading philosophy. This philosophy is based on the idea that trains and tracks should be scheduled in a precise way to maximize efficiency and minimize waste. However, the implementation of this philosophy has often been poorly done, leading to long trains and irregular operations.
  • 01:05:00 This video discusses the history of railway technology, and how it has led to the current problem of overcrowded trains. It also discusses how PSR, or Precision Scheduled Railroading, could solve this problem. However, because it relies on infrastructure improvements that have not yet been made, it has not yet been implemented on a large scale.
  • 01:10:00 The video discusses how freight trains can impede Amtrak trains, and how the railroad's legal mandate to allow freight trains to pass does not always work in practice. It also mentions the benefits of running trains closer together and using passing siding that is actually two days of pay for the crew, which requires track installation.
  • 01:15:00 This YouTube video discusses the problems with battery-electric locomotives, specifically the difficulties in maintaining infrastructure and the increased need for truck transport.
  • 01:20:00 The video discusses the decline of the railroad industry, which has led to the loss of many jobs. Auto throttle is one example of how the railroad has tried to automate processes in order to save money. The conductor in the story is worried about his job security, as he no longer has a role in the train's operation.
  • 01:25:00 In the 1990s, railroads began to switch to battery-powered locomotives in an attempt to reduce environmental pollution. However, this caused the locomotive industry to collapse due to the high cost of new locomotive technology and the abundance of old locomotives. Eventually, most of these companies were bought out and became zombie companies.
  • 01:30:00 This video discusses how the battery-electric locomotive has been replaced by two-stroke locomotives in recent years because of environmental regulations. The author discusses the potential consequences of this change, including the possibility that people will not be able to replace their old, battery-powered cars with new, autonomous ones.
  • 01:35:00 The narrator introduces the battery-electric locomotive, which is good for lightly-used Branch Lines that don't need to be electrified. The locomotive was originally invented in the 1950s, but was discontinued in 1995.
  • 01:40:00 This video discusses the different types of locomotives that were used in the past. One type, the acid bombers, was nicknamed due to their large size and the fact that their batteries were located in the center of the chassis. These locomotives had limited range, and were best suited for flat routes. Another type of locomotive, the pocket torch express, was nicknamed due to its small size and its ability to quickly recharge its battery. These locomotives were good for short, low-intensity routes, but would not be suitable for longer passenger routes. Finally, the Viva rail class 230 locomotive was designed as a demonstration of a new type of locomotive- the pop-up metro. This locomotive is housed at the Rock Hill furnace trolley museum, and uses standard gauge tracks. It can shuttle back and forth to show off the potential customers.
  • 01:45:00 This video discusses the Long Island Railroad's attempt to convert their multiple unit trains to battery-electricity, which was unsuccessful. The locomotive in question is a gevo, a diesel locomotive that has been retrofitted with batteries.
  • 01:50:00 The video discusses the benefits of using battery-electric locomotives over traditional diesel-powered locomotives. The video cites a study that found that converting diesel-powered trains to battery-electric locomotives can save up to 14 to 15 fuel burn on one run, which is a substantial amount. However, battery-electric locomotives are not a completely new technology and are similar to the electric locomotives that are currently in use.
  • 01:55:00 This video discusses the limited range of battery-electric locomotives and the need for more electrical infrastructure to support them. An electric road locomotive has been proposed, but testing has not yet begun. The locomotive in the video is a heavy eight-axle switcher that needs eight axles to support its weight. It also has a pantograph in the back for in-motion charging.

02:00:00 - 03:00:00

This video discusses the potential problems with battery-electric locomotives. The presenter cites performance and fuel limitations as the main issues, and predicts that the solution will be a transition to a more efficient form of logistics.

  • 02:00:00 This YouTube video discusses Union Pacific's plans to order 20 battery-electric locomotives, and BHP's plans to buy two of them for evaluation on the airline. The locomotives have a range of only 100 miles, and they don't offer any performance upgrades over diesel locomotives.
  • 02:05:00 The video discusses Amtrak's plans to replace their aging locomotives with battery-electric models. The battery-electric locomotives will be able to travel up the old New York Central's West Side connection, or line from Penn Station all the way to the connection on the Metro North connection along the Hudson River.
  • 02:10:00 Metro is looking for new battery locomotives to replace their old, outdated locomotives. One company, Progress Rail, responded and said they would be happy to convert four of Metro's old freight locomotives into battery locomotives. This is a bad idea because the new locomotives will only work on AC traction motors, which is no longer common in the locomotive industry, and the old locomotives will still be in use.
  • 02:15:00 The video discusses a battery-electric locomotive that Alston is trying to develop. The locomotive is intended to replace older locomotives on the Rock Island line, which are poorly utilized.
  • 02:20:00 The video discusses the idea of parallel systems, which are systems that are only useful when they're done in a collectivist way. It discusses a problem with this idea: that in order to make these systems useful, you need to remove efficiencies that are already present in individual systems. It also discusses a project called the Well There's Your Problem | Episode 113: Battery-Electric Locomotives. This project is supposed to be a last mile delivery system for containers, but it is very strange and has many problems.
  • 02:25:00 The video discusses a battery-electric locomotive that can drive a train to its destination, regardless of the rail car. The locomotive uses a large battery pack on the front of the rail car, and it is designed to use existing infrastructure. The locomotive can also autonomously drive other cars across tracks. However, the locomotive is difficult to use and would not be practical for most railroads.
  • 02:30:00 The author discusses the possible consequences of the government purchasing battery-electric locomotives instead of more traditional, electric locomotives. He points to the recent purchase of battery-electric locomotives by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority as an example of why this decision is a bad one.
  • 02:35:00 The video discusses the potential problems with battery-electric locomotives, as they would eventually obsolete overhead lines. However, due to lack of investment, battery technology is not yet there to make this a reality.
  • 02:40:00 The presenter discusses the issues with battery-powered locomotives, citing performance and fuel limitations. He says that high-speed rail or rapid transit service would be impossible with battery systems, and that the average person is not aware of the technology available to them. He predicts that the solution to the battery-powered locomotive issue is a transition to a more efficient form of logistics, which may involve electric trains running off overhead lines.
  • 02:45:00 The presenter discusses the problems with freight locomotives and the need for more efficient and sustainable systems. He points out that Switzerland has done a better job of transitioning to electric locomotives compared to the United States, and that batteries can be a useful tool in this process.
  • 02:50:00 The author describes a time when he was rowing and had to carry his boat up a steep mountain, and describes another time when he was racing and had a boat collision. He warns about the dangers of boat racing, especially when drunk and aged, and suggests that having a doctor on a big ship would be a good idea.
  • 02:55:00 The video discusses how the Regatta organizers use a system where one trailer is unloaded while another trailer waits at the top of the ramp. This is so that the one trailer can be driven up to the top while the other trailer backs down the ramp. However, one driver of a truck at the bottom of the ramp was not so lucky, as the trailer broke free and he was injured. The next year, the Regatta organizers instituted a safety checklist for boat owners to sign before going down the ramp.

03:00:00 - 03:00:00

The video is a comedic sketch about two British intelligence agencies, MI5 and MI6, who are forced to work together after budget cuts. The sketch pokes fun at the different agencies' methods and competence, and culminates in a disastrous attempt to weld a battery-electric locomotive.

  • 03:00:00 In this video, a welder is demonstrated by fingerprint recognition. MI5 is cutting back on its operations, so MI6 has to take over some of its tasks. Another episode is about the Boston Molasses Disaster.

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