Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re: How does this help with collisions? (Score 1) 36

by xaxa (#49724159) Attached to: Using Satellites To Monitor Bridge Safety

The last time a bridge collapsed in the UK due to a maintenence problem seems to be 50 years ago. I think we've got this one sorted...

(Bridges have been washed away by floodwater within the last decade, usually really old ones. If the river profile was changed by a land use change upstream, that could be blamed on inadequate processes.)

Comment: Re:and dog eats tail (Score 1) 393

by xaxa (#49718121) Attached to: Feds Order Amtrak To Turn On System That Would've Prevented Crash

$1000M for 9 miles of light rail isn't completely crazy (expensive, but believable). The average cost in the UK is £25M/mile ($40M), but Edinburgh's cost £100M/mile ($156M). A lot of the cost is moving whatever's buried under the road out of the way, to allow future repairs without disrupting the tram.

It's a lot cheaper to build something outside a city on worthless land, whether rail or road.

The 2009 cost per mile for building a 2+2 road in the UK was £13M, for a basic two-lane road £8M. Are you sure your final figure is correct?

(NB the British rail costs will include all appropriate safety systems. This article is interesting. It's over 8 years since a passenger on a train died in Britain, though some have died falling down stairs/escalators, off platforms etc.)

Comment: Re:former trucker here... (Score 1) 615

by xaxa (#49707749) Attached to: The Economic Consequences of Self-Driving Trucks

Fuel is the easy one -- the truck pulls into a fuel station, and the attendant fills it up. The truck company has a contract with the fuel station franchise.

Lots of journeys probably don't involve any complicated roads. Port or rail freight yard to supermarket distribution centre, from there to the out-of-town supermarket, etc.

Comment: Re:And for some of us, that's late mother (Score 1) 164

by xaxa (#49677215) Attached to: I spent Mother's Day this year ...

But I suppose almost everyone here is a twentysomething....

The core demographic seems to be grouchy, middle-aged, American libertarians, going by the comments.

See in fact, average age was 38.2 in 2012. Can I assume no new users, and say the average is now over 40?

Comment: Re:$70 max (Score 1) 515

by xaxa (#49660735) Attached to: Examining Costs and Prices For California's High-Speed Rail Project

Think of the London metropolitan area as the new Royal Court. A royal toilet cleaner isn't privileged relative to the nobility, but he is privileged relative to toilet cleaners elsewhere.

You're a fucking idiot.

Comment: Re:$70 max (Score 1) 515

by xaxa (#49660613) Attached to: Examining Costs and Prices For California's High-Speed Rail Project

Either you're one of those super-privileged people who live close to the center of London and Paris

You have no idea about London.

When I was a student I lived 15 minutes walk from St Pancras International Station. Immediately north of the station used to be really bad, but since its redevelopment (The Guardian / Google offices etc) you need to walk a little further -- about 10 minutes is plenty.

Council (social) housing on all sides on Copenhagen Street, 0.7 miles from trains to Paris.

The main local issue for the area is the expansion of one of the stations, which is criticised because an area of council houses behind the station would be demolished.

(Incidentally, I live relatively close to LHR, it's about the same time by public transport to either that airport or St Pancras. I'd still prefer the train if I'm going to Paris.)

You might be correct in 10 years or so, if the new government's desired changes to the way social security is paid are fully implemented. (Poor people will no longer be allowed to live in inner London, and the state-owned housing will be sold off.)

Comment: Re: No (Score 1) 515

by xaxa (#49660513) Attached to: Examining Costs and Prices For California's High-Speed Rail Project

Trains are obviously a terrorist target worldwide, but the only one I know of in Europe with a security checkpoint is between London and Paris/Brussels (where there is a passport check anyway). If someone wants to crash a train, it's *far* easier to drive a road vehicle onto the tracks, and probably more deadly and disruptive to target a busy commuter train (example).

Trains should be something like every 30-60 minutes, if the service is to be useful. Compare or (so I'm not picking such major cities)

Seats have airline-style fold-down tables (but larger), except the facing ones that have real tables. It's generally possible to pre-book the type you prefer — 4 seats around a table is nice for a family, but on a peak-time train will be used by business travellers. There will be power sockets, WiFi, a drinks trolley.

Comment: Re:How big are these trains? (Score 1) 515

by xaxa (#49659991) Attached to: Examining Costs and Prices For California's High-Speed Rail Project

750 people can sit on the 387 metres of a London to Paris/Brussels train. They're particularly long, since they were built for a system with a serious limitation (a very-much-in-demand undersea tunnel) and the expectation of high demand.

French TGV trains carry 350-500 people. British national long distance express trains a bit more, up to 600.

There are 16 London-Paris trains per day (plus London-Brussels, and some others), from 05:40 to 20:31, slightly more than one per hour.

Comment: Re:No (Score 1) 515

by xaxa (#49659909) Attached to: Examining Costs and Prices For California's High-Speed Rail Project

A train is just a much better experience. You can show up 2 minutes before departure, get on without a strip search, get a nice big seat, have a dining car, can get up and walk around at will, and just grab your luggage on the way out.

Sounds like what this guy said about living in London and commuting to his job in Paris at 25:10 in this video,

The Eurostar is one of the few services in Europe where there *is* a security check and a requirement to arrive 10-30 minutes beforehand (it's 10 with the expensive ticket, 30 otherwise, and they're actually very accommodating if you're late). California shouldn't need this, as there's no international / undersea borders.

For other trains, 2 minutes is a bit short. For a long-distance journey, I aim to be waiting at the correct platform 5 minutes before the scheduled departure time, or a bit more if it's an infrequent (>20m) service.

Logic doesn't apply to the real world. -- Marvin Minsky