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 Post subject: construction costs - monorail vs 2-rail
PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 12:37 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:52 pm
Posts: 914

I was playing with the idea (inspired by my second hobby interest - Science fact and fiction) of how Sci-fi pictures use mono-rails to represent futuristic development.

On Earth, I do not think mono-rail will ever be more than a people transport. On earth, the extensive railroad networks (steel wheels on steel rails) are lied on the ground and monorails have expensive bridge-like track structures. I have only seen one show where the monorail was placed on the ground (Firefly).

On other planets (say the Moon or Mars), there are other items to be overcome. The moon has no atmosphere so hauling items there may require air tight and pressurized compartments. What would be a gauge - maybe seven feet?

If earth containers we see on double stacks could be sent to the moon it would make sense to design the gauge for stacking containers 1-2 high and 1-3 wide.

I was wondering what the mean cost for laying a mile of track on Earth was for both a two-rail and a monorail track.

As a related observation, Air freight does exist but is expensive while the steel wheel on two rails is still the standard for bulk low cost cargo.

One item I've thought of was a monorail for passengers and two-rail for freight.

Moving items from LEO (low earth Orbit) to the lunar surface (1/6th gravity) could be done with something approximating the Space 1999 (TV show) transporters - a skeleton beam support that only needs enclosed area where the crew may need access from time to time in a shirt-sleeve environment. Something like the no-longer active Space Shuttle would only be needed for bringing cargo to and from earth from LEO.

Mars has a thin atmosphere so maybe the container pods could be lowered to the ground from space using parachutes.

Now that retiring is a year away, I am considering making a display lunar or Martian layout and am doing some basic research. It would be a fun layout. Maybe C3P0 or a Klingon or a "Robby the Robot."

As an example, here is the text I wrote about the Dew Mountain Railroad. It was done tough in cheek but shows how consistency is kept. Have a laugh if you wish to. I posted it on April Fools day several years ago.


Doug vV


Back about 1968-1972, I came up with the idea (or heard it in mathematics) that any sort of specified assumptions were equally valid and as long as they held through the entire system, they would be equally valid as well as what we know as "Real" life. This is why fantasy stories work.
I had started to create a history and set of rules for an HOn30 railroad called the Dew Mountain. Not long after, I went to to HOn3 and D&RGW narrow gauge and the writings have been lost.
I have thought about the Dew Mountain on and off for several years and have started over with the history and basic fantasy details for creating a railroad to serve this mythical valley.

Doug vV

The Dew Mountain Railroad

Back in the 1780's, a valley in the Blue Rock Mountains was discovered near the
divide. The local Indians said that the place was haunted by strange
occurrences. They told the new comers that the only way in or out was via a
narrow and crooked cleft in the side of what the English named Dew Mountain.

The Doent Valley was safe from outsiders and a small group of settlers settled
it. The climate was what you'd expect in the mountains at its elevation - cold
in winter good in summer, good water fertile soil plenty of water. Snows in the
winter that closed Crooked Cleft.

Odd plants in the fall sprouted and grew and were washed away in the spring
floods They seemed to melt away in the water. There was a pleasant taste if it
was small enough but it was easily over harvested. In later years it was
determined that this lepenojeay was a mild euphoric.

Since transporting items into and out of Doent Valley was very difficult and
dangerous, the settlers had to become self sufficient.

In addition to the usual ores (iron, peat, lead, etc), an odd substance was
discovered on Dew Mountain. It was an ore like substance that went into the
mountain like a vein of coal. Since no one knew what to call it, it was called
Like Ore.

Another item that was a tree like plant whose sap was quite mellowing. Old Al
Key found it and hauled it into town and it raised the shout Al Key's haul was
brought to town. It was thick and syrupy. It did cause many headaches the next

There was an interesting tree-like plant that stood 150 feet high and had black
wood. These became known as the Kol trees since the wood acted a bit like coal
from the outside world. These trees had a fuzzy fern like bark.

Then there was old lady Pop's discovery. It was an opaque sugar like sphere on a
short stick that had a chewy chewy center that lasted a long time. About an hour
later, men and women disappeared and sometimes the women gave birth about 9
months later. Pop's tootsies were quite popular.

These items were not widely known outside of the Doent Valley. Those that did
know about them were glad to get them when they showed up in their towns.

In about 1874, the Mississippi East Or Western Railroad built a line through Dew
Pass some 20 miles away from Dew Mountain. The railroad town of Doent Stop was
created for the helpers of the trains coming up over the Smoky Rocks.

The people in the Doent Valley decided that they wanted easier access to the
outside world.

They incorporated the Dew Mountain Railway to connect Crooked Cleft to Doent
Stop on the MEOW.

2015 --------------------------------------------

The Dew Mountain Railroad started from the interchange with the MEOW at Dont Stop
going in a northwesterly direction. A few miles out of Doent Stop, the
first obstical occured = crossing the Lazy River. THere was never enough flow in
the river to turn a waterwheel - hence the river was lazy - no hydrauliic work
could be gotten from it.

The person who laid out the Dew Mountain RR (Gnat "King" Automichael) turned the
grade up the Lazy River. The DMR had to cross the river once at Quai. If was made
of a strange looking wood that was pipe like with a sort of ring around it every
2-3 feet. Dan - who daily went to the same place so get this strange wood - named
it "boo". So the entire bridge over the river Quai was built from Dan's Boo.

Once across, the DM grade had to use sharp turns to stay with the Lazy River for
a few miles. It was decided to use a gauge of 2.71 feet. Using this strange gauge
of 32.52" the line continued its way towards the cleft.

After a few miles, a feller named John said about going by Wain along the country
road. Living in Wain was a fellow named Dehner who showed Automichael where
elevation could be the gained by going around and between two "hills". Using a
figure 8 like over and under around the hills, the Dew Mountain RR was able to get
up the steep escarpment.

Once on the top of the escarpment, a tribe of short short natives were found.
They were a help grading the track over Kebler and to Hi O Creek. With this done,
it was a sprint to get to the cleft.

The cleft had a creek flowing through it and the walls were often next to vertical.
Mr Jones from Indiana assisted the line by going through a natural cavern system and
crossing the stream in the cleft many times. Last heard from Mr Jones was still
hunting a grail for directions to the skull.

A frenchman worker had a cat who got into the liquid spirits at the enterence to the
Cleft and he exclaimed "Chat in Hooch EEEEE!". That was how the stream becaome known
as the Chatinhoochee.

In later years, the grade through, accoss and up the Chatinhoochee, the cavern system,
and Crooked Cleft became infamous to revenu agents. They were sent to find the
bootleggers in Doent Valley. They never returned. It was whispered that following the
Dew Mountain RR track into the valley was a death sentence.

Once into the Dew Valley itself, a main staging yard was built at Alone. From Alone,
several lines reached out to server the valley. Since the valley floor itself was not
flat, some branches were almost flat and others had grades up to 5%.

The mainline from Alone to Dont Stop was operated with several 0-4-4-0s and a few
0-4-0s. The Valley itself used some 0-6-0s, 0-4-0s, 2-6-0s and a 2-4-6-8 (it was never appreciated).

Supposedly when the line shut down (whispers are that it never did) all the equipment
was put into the yard as Alone and it still sits there all Alone.

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