Re: Nuclear power & tomorrow trains
Date: 05-07-2021 - 05:33
I, too remember when nuke was supposed to be cheap power. These days, cheap power is fusion, from a reactor at a convenient distance (93 million miles). The main problem is that it goes away at night so we need something else, or lots of batteries to store it in the daytime, for then.
As for electric trains: that's a proven technology, though somewhat expensive; those wires aren't cheap to install or keep working, though probably less expensive once they're up compared to burning lots of diesel, and producing only the emissions of the power system. It's been rejected many times in the US because of the cost, and the relatively low power need for occasional, long, slow trains as we have here. Haven't seen that change much. Where there are lots of passenger trains dominating the traffic, with short, fast freights if any, and especially where high speeds are needed (with high power demand to reach and maintain them), electric makes sense, or in niche things like the coal mine-power plant captive lines (basically conveyor belts on rails) that were used in a few cases.
I'd like to see more info on how that "hybrid consist" scheme is working out at BNSF - lots of press releases at first, then crickets. The idea seemed sensible, and combined with biodiesel in the engines has promise. But is it just breakdown city like so many other attempts to do electric trains without wires?