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Rail transport is less energy intensive than road transport. By between half and a full order of magnitude, depending on whether it is electrified or not, and depending on the capacity utilisation. I suspect, but don't know, that it is about as bad in terms of bisecting habitats.

But the real advantage to electric rail is that it permits of a comparatively straightforward conversion from fossil fuels to other forms of electrical generation.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon May 31st, 2010 at 06:11:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect, but don't know, that it is about as bad in terms of bisecting habitats.

By the nature of traffic, i.e. longer pauses between trains, a normal rail line in the temperate climate zone is less bisecting habitats. High-speed lines with fences along the tracks are another thing, though the longer tunnel stretches than on highways mean reduced impact.

Interestingly, a problem reported from Sweden is that trains hit a lot of elks who insist to squat on the tracks, presumably because there are less mosquitoes in the sunshine.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon May 31st, 2010 at 10:31:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And they do have some problems on high-speed lines in Germany. I remember once an announcement that we would be delayed (somewhere in NRW) because of a "Leichenam" on the track. We, of course, assumed that the police would have to investigate, etc., and we would be stuck for hours. Then came an announcement that it was merely a "Wildschweinleiche" and we all breathed a sigh of relied.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon May 31st, 2010 at 10:35:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NRW? Cologne-Frankfurt line? Or was it an ICE on a conventional line?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon May 31st, 2010 at 03:43:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it (the corpse) was around Dortmund, but the train I was on was somewhere to the west. This was a while ago, and may even have predated the faster Cologne-Frankfurt line.

On the same line, somewhere between Bonn and Cologne I think, we once stopped for a while, and then proceeded slowly because of children playing by the tracks. The announcement?

Wir bitten um Ihr Verständnis, und hoffen dass wir keine erwischen.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon May 31st, 2010 at 04:53:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ugh...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon May 31st, 2010 at 04:56:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a general problems with elks (for americans, please note that this is European elk, or what you call moose) and traffic in Sweden.

I would say that the problem is less for rail then cars though, or at least much less human casualties are reported from rail accidents. I guess the engine manages such a collision without much trouble. In the case of cars, the car often hits the elk at the legs, tipping the body so it crashes through the windshield, killing both elk and humans (male elks can weigh up to 700 kg). There has been different attempts to solve this by steering the moose to safer passages. Synthesized wolf urine was used in one large scale experiment, I do not think it worked out though.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon May 31st, 2010 at 11:13:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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