Mini Railway

Votes: 3
Views: 1168

My idea is to design and fabricate a 1/5th scale model of a basic transport infrastructure for rural communities using second hand scaffold tube. The track will be locally made under supervision and the trolleys are remotely controlled by WiFi so human to human contact is minimised or eliminated. The spread of infectious disease will be mitigated. The rolling stock will consist of trolleys four meters long by two meters wide fitted with four swiveling drive wheels each fitted with a brushless motor to eliminate the need for a transmission. The maximum load capacity is 600kgs and the speed regulated at 30 km/hr until the system has demonstrated its ability under test to safely exceed these limits.

My innovation is the addition of two small guide wheels fitted front and back to each drive wheel. These wheels slip down on either side of the scaffold tubes which are installed flush with the ground. The guide wheels keep the drive wheels centered on the scaffold tubes. Cement contamination of the tubes due to their second hand nature is an advantage as it will improve traction on an incline. The guide wheels are narrow and are spring loaded downwards so as to cut through debris and tree roots trying to grow over the scaffold tubes. When another trolley approaches the first trolley will stop and lift up all the four sets of guide wheels and rotate the drive wheels through ninety degrees. This trolley will now drive off the track to allow the oncoming trolley to pass. After the passage of the second trolley the first trolley drives back onto the track and reverses the first set of operations and proceeds on its way. All operations will be automatic and data driven but must be sanctioned by a remote human operator who will have information from video cameras with infrared capability. All the parts to make this system are available off-the shelf. The scaffold track will be vulnerable to theft so it will be secured to the ground by welding it to ground augers at six meter intervals.

The very first trolley will be a workshop fitted with a generator, welding set and a set of powered rolls to produce the bends needed in the scaffold tube. The 1/5th scale model will consist of a trolley with adapted drive wheels and two meters of steel track to show the principle of operation.


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  • Name:
    John Venning
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    Mechanical and electrical engineering
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    Singapore DIY
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    I am inspired by the basic need for safe transport of goods in this time of Covid. It is also good to spread the knowledge of engineering and also the tools and equipment for people to make useful items in their own community, lessen the need for migration into cities whose infrastructure is challenged and reduce reliance on nuclear and coal fired power stations. Rural communities can make their own electricity given the tools to make their own generators.
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