Train submarine

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by mistereddb, Oct 26, 2013.

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  1. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    I am far too polite to suggest that the train sub is the product of a fevered imagination, but I would need the assistance of a substantial draught of rum to conceive of such a thing ! :)
     
  2. NavalSArtichoke
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    NavalSArtichoke Senior Member

    That's one of the weird things about this thread: people are so hung up on carrying the damn train itself instead of the cargo. Rail cars and locomotives are heavy, heavy vehicles. Lugging all this weight around costs fuel, requires extra strengthening to support the weight, and reduces the amount of actual cargo you can carry on a given displacement. Large tankers and container vessels have proven their economics in transporting large amounts of cargo at minimal cost. Granted, there are a few rail-carrying vessels trading these days: I once worked with a team doing a stability test on one. But these vessels ply special routes and are not a threat to more conventional cargo vessels.
     
  3. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    I recall in the days before electrification when steam locos, then diesel-drawn passenger trains, traversed a 600-metre long tunnel in the metro area of Brisbane. In peak hours with trains using the tunnel in both directions every few minutes, you were in danger of resembling a smoked cod passing through that tunnel. Looks like the sub train will have to be electric !
     
  4. mistereddb
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    mistereddb Junior Member

    Thought I would run the idea past people who make weird ships http://www.ihcmerwede.com/ to see what they think.
    This is the email I sent and if I get a reply I will let you good people know.
    Hi*
    Would it be possible to build a 1km long submarine that could nose up to a suitable 1km long twin rail head then after resting on a prepared gravel bed allow the unloading/reloading of a 1km long container train.
    A quick release control pod for the crew would be attached atop in case of emergency.
    The concept is to allow isolated communities all over the world to engage in world trade as well as having 100 in times of aggression to evade any attempt to block our fuel supplies.
     
  5. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    They probably don't have time to waste like all us who have been entertaining ourselves on this thread.

    Here is an long skinny boat that has solved the problem of unloading crew at tall wharves :p
     

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  6. mistereddb
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    mistereddb Junior Member

    You may be right time will tell.

    The people who are needed to change things are sometimes too busy to think outside the square.

    I remember just as a miner I saw a mine manager about an idea I had and he said how good it would be if he had the time to think of stuff like that.
     
  7. Stumble
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    Stumble Senior Member

    Ahh, but you knew all about mines and therefore had the basis on which to make recommendations about mining.

    It is true that often it takes someone with a hair brained idea to change the thinking of an industry. But for every one good hair brained ideas there are a million ones that don't work. Telling the difference is the hard part.

    In this case even assuming that it is a good idea, the material science isn't there. There is no substance on earth that we know about that could make this thing a reality. The engineering of it, not the efficiency of it just doesn't work.

    There are a lot of problems with this thing, but it keep coming back to stiffness, just because it is the easiest. There isn't a material available at any price that would make this thing work. Thicker steel doesn't come close to the stiffness you need, neither does carbon fiber. It would take a while new material science to even make this a design able possibility.

    Saying "well just put station keeping pods on it" doesn't work either. The pods that would work for this haven't been invented yet, nor have the control systems. And frankly I doubt they ever will be. It would be a massive undertaking to try and control an object this long with the precision necessary. And should anything go wrong you would be looking at a major environmental hazard. It is just easier to install a sub surface pipeline, which is well understood technology than try this.
     
  8. parkland
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    parkland Senior Member

    OK so your goal was to basically serve small communities, or people who do not have a permanent shipping dock, right?
    Like someone might want to ship 100 containers, but doesn't have a dock, crane, that kind of stuff?
    As said many times, a submarine this size would carry no stealth with it at all, it would be an easy target.

    Let me propose this;

    a giant catamaran, big enough for a container ship to drive right under. It would have a container loading crane on it, and a platform large enough for maybe 10 or 20 shipping containers.
    It could have several longitudal supports under water, with a pulley system to winch giant air bags down on them, and inflate under a ship, to cause the cargo catamaran to rest against the bottom of the ships hull to cause everything to sort of move around together as one.

    On one end of the catamaran, have a giant ferry ramp on it, so it can pull up to a beach, and allow trucks to back on , and get a container loaded on.

    I don't think this idea sounds that great, but it seems more practical than a submarine, and could be built for a small fraction of the cost, maybe out of recycled stuff yet, for cheap.
     
  9. mistereddb
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    mistereddb Junior Member

    OK
    Just to entertain you guys a bit more.

    I agree that it needs experience to tell the difference between a good idea and a whacky one and I probably will be told it is the latter but you never know.

    Regarding the station pods, I assume that is a GPS thing that keeps the ship in one location but as the sub would fill the ballast tanks so it sits firmly on the prepared bed of gravel I see no need of them.

    Just a thought on maneuverability when underway, it could be steered like a car if the props were located along the side towards the front.

    A lot of people here say how easy it is to locate a submarine but if it is that easy why are the still getting built.

    This may be the sort of place they could service http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-11/more-dredging-bundaberg-port/4814470 particularly if it was an island growing top dollar organic non GM crops free from any pesticide as there may not be any pests on that island.
     
  10. Stumble
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    Stumble Senior Member

    Station keeping pods are rotating thrusters that can move 360 degrees and allow the vessel to keep stationary, generally relative to A GPS location. On a large ship there are typically two gos recievers, one on the bow and another on the stern, and the computer controls the thrusters to keep the vessel stationary forward and back, stationary side to side, and on the same bearing. Doing this takes a significant amount of processor capability, thruster power, and reserve capacity. These systems are not cheap, nor are they low maintenance, but they do work.

    On your sub you couldn't use just two stations you would need multiples, because the structure isn't ridged enough to translate forces acting on the bow back thru the ship. This lack of rigidity would require multiple pods all along the ship. I have no idea how many, but no fewer than every 100' or so. Again because the ship is so flexible it would also have to be used while under way to keep the sub in a strait line.


    Boats don't steer like cars. They slide, kind of like a plane. For the sub you would probably have to have multiple rudders that worked in opposition to turn this thing. The front and rear working opposite of each other. Either that or a huge number of tugs. Again because the sub isn't stiff enough to translate forces applied at the front and the back thru the entire ship, you would have to have multiple points where the force was applied.

    The subs that are difficult to locate have massive amounts of money dedicated towards making them silent. The US Navy subs spend tens of millions of dollars per year just working on making the propulsion blades quieter. They also do things like wear clothes designed to not make any noise, practice silently moving thru the ship, don't talk... The ships themselves are locked down with everything put into quiet boxes to keep things from rattling. I have no idea how you would do this with a train onboard. And this is just for the sonic side of things. They also use sonar absorbing materials on the hull to deflect sonar. Magnetic compensators to reduce the magnetic signature of the ship as it passes they the water (part of the reason Soviet subs were made from titanium), and these days they look at the hump in the water created while the sub is moving thru the water.


    Finally even assuming that these things could be build for your budget, which I highly doubt, it would still make them orders of magnitude more expensive than a ship of similar capacity but of normal design.
     
  11. mistereddb
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    mistereddb Junior Member

    Stumble
    Yep I thought that was what they were , if you check out my last post you will see why they would not be needed.

    If they do contact me I assume they will point out any steering problem if indeed there is a problem.

    From what I can gather once a sub is below the surface radar cannot detect them, sonar has to be within a couple of kilometers, magnet detection from the air does not work below 50m and the satellite wave detection is a bit iffy so even if they found and destroyed a couple it is a vast ocean to find the others.

    So if the fuel cost ten times the cost to deliver at least people could eat.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2013
  12. Stumble
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    Stumble Senior Member

    No, subs are detectable to below 1000 foot depending on the method used. However there are relatively few subs that can operate at these depths.

    With 10 mile long sonar microphones subs are detectable from halfway across the Atlantic. The US has also dropped sonar buoys throughout the worlds oceans for active listening, that make tracking a sub possible no matter where in the world it goes. At least unless it has millions of dollars spent in making it quiet. And without nuclear power this sub will have very limited sub-surface range anyway, so it will be relatively detectable by satellites, planes, helicopters, ect.

    MAD sensors can pick up subs from about 500m. But this is assuming a normal size sub with military anti-MAD technology. A 1000m long metal tube would be much easier to detect.
     
  13. mistereddb
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    mistereddb Junior Member

    Yep there seems to be a lot of hide and seek technology going on but when I drove a semi we used to go through the 60kph at 80kph in the middle of the night with the idea the cop would only get one of us and how much harder to find and destroy 100 subs dispersed over a wide area.

    I often think if a million refugees all hopped on fishing boats and came to Australia there would be no way to stop them.

    For example one refugee boat even tied up at the dock and then rang the police to come and get them.
     
  14. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    The "good old days" before speed cameras ? :p
     

  15. CT 249
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    It's one thing for someone who works in an area (like you did when you were a miner) to see what could be done. Isn't it something very different when someone who works outside an area and has no idea about what is involved in that area tries to see what could be done?

    What would you have said if a naval architect who had never been down a mine or driven a truck told you how you could do it much better?

    The more I look at the history of inventions, the more I see that those who made breakthroughs often had lots of respect for conventional wisdom and had a strong foundation of conventional knowledge and theory as a base.

    A classic example is the Wright Brothers. People often say things like "everyone said that man couldn't fly in a heavier than air vehicle but two bicycle mechanics proved that the so-called experts were wrong".

    In fact when Wilbur decided to investigate flight, the first thing he did was to write to the Smithsonian Institute and ask them to send every publication they had about heavier-than-air flight, which had already been well studied.

    The Wrights picked up so much knowledge from experts, and had so much respect for it, that they became greatly concerned when their predictions based on the theory of Lilienthal and Smeaton didn't match up with reality. In fact the problem was that Smeaton's figures were wrong. But the Wrights didn't ignore conventional wisdom - they used it and developed it. And they were greatly respected by many people in "the establishment", such as Chanute.

    It seems to be similar in the area of boat design that I am interested in. Those who make the breakthroughs are those who have a deep understanding of conventional theories and realities. The idea that breakthroughs come from people outside the area seems to be one hell of a lot more hype than truth.
     
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