[HOT] The dream

john whelan jwhelan0112 at gmail.com
Thu Oct 22 18:42:40 UTC 2015

It probably doesn't belong here but I'm not sure where else to put it.

OSM is concerned with mapping, HOT with improving the life of people in low
income areas.

Looking at Africa one thing that strikes me is it is big and that means
transportation costs are important.  Over any distance rail is uses less
energy than road, assuming you choose the appropriate power source and
load.  ie don't expect a one pound package to be carried by large loco more
cheaply than a small car.

The concept is solar panels on the top and electric motors to power the
train.  Solar power cars have been wandering round Australia for some time
now.  For a particular type of cargo the ISO container it should be simple
enough to design a frame that accepts solar panels on top.  If we put small
motors on each wagon, much like an EMU we avoid a lot of the hassles
involved with heavy locos, like they need really strong bridges and are

Since we are avoiding burning diesel someone somewhere should either
support it because the concept is green or they'll buy the carbon credits.

Now one thing some satellites are good at is determining ground height, so
can we identify a possible route preferably more than 500 kms long since
the economics are better with longer distances with reasonable gradients
and something that rail can carry in ISO containers?  That sounds like a
city at one end and a port at the other.

As I said its more a dream, it needs the EMU solar panel side sorting out,
it needs someone to work out the requirements for the track, its Africa so
a top speed of say 50 km/h and initially a lighter track than is sometimes
used by US mainline heavy rail.  It needs some one to work out the maximum
gradient, and to work out if solar will supply the power required.  It may
come down to solar assist which would reduce the amount of diesel burnt but
not eliminate it.

It needs GIS to figure out the cargo, population and markets, it needs
maps, and it needs maps with heights.  A python script to work out possible

It needs costs.

Note to Kevin you never know someone might even buy the data to make it

Cheerio John
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