Browsing Tag: education

    Creating a job-ready hiring pool
    Articles, Blog

    Creating a job-ready hiring pool

    August 10, 2019

    Time management is very different in a company.
    You can’t just start the thing the night before and get it done. That’s not going to work
    here. Being able to see references I think is huge. If they’ve worked at a co-op term
    and I can get a reference from someone that’s managed them, that’s huge. That gives me more
    confidence in their abilities than an interview does, than a resume does because I know someone
    that’s worked with them has enjoyed working with them and knows they can do the job. Just
    having a reference base is huge.

    Controlling Trains – Network Rail engineering education (3 of 15)
    Articles, Blog

    Controlling Trains – Network Rail engineering education (3 of 15)

    August 10, 2019

    [train passing] ♪ pizzicato background music ♪ (Narrator)
    Britain’s rail network transports 3 million passengers and 400,000 tonnes of freight a day. With hundreds of trains using it at any one time. All this traffic presents us with a safety challenge. Trains are guided by rails, so it’s impossible for them to swerve or pull over. Trains are heavy, can’t stop quickly and frequently operate at speeds which do not enable them to halt within sighting distance of the driver. Under these circumstances, one might assume that trains are prone to collision. In fact, rail is the safest mode of transport in Britain. And that’s because trains are carefully controlled. Hence our responsibility at Network Rail to control them. Signalling is the control process Network Rail uses to operate trains safely, over the correct route and to the proper time-table. The two key features of this process are line-side signals and the block system. Trains can’t collide if they’re not permitted to occupy the same section of track at the same time. So the network is divided into sections known as “blocks”. Normally, only one train is permitted in each block at any one time. The British rail network uses line-side signals to advise the driver of the status of the section of track ahead. Most line-side signals are in colour light form, but a significant number of semaphore signals remain on secondary lines. The semaphore consists of a mechanical arm that raises to signify go or lowers into the horizontal to signify stop. The most modern signals have 4 colour aspects. A green light indicates clear. A double yellow indicates that the next signal will be a caution. The yellow signal indicates caution, and that the next signal will be red. And a red means stop, otherwise known as danger. It’s prohibited to pass a signal at danger. The British rail network was originally controlled by thousands of manned signal boxes located at regular intervals along the lines. ♪ guitar background music ♪ (Stewart)
    My name’s Stewart Sentence, I’m the signaller at Uttoxeter signal box. This is the most traditional form of system on the railway as it is at the moment. A lot of this, as you see, goes back to when the original railway started. As far as we’re concerned the universe begins at Caverswall over to the right and Sudbury there and we’re in the middle. This set of blocks tells me where the train is between myself and Caverswall, and this set of blocks tell me where the train is between Sudbury and myself. These levers here will operate the points for the crossings into the loops and sidings. They’ll also work the semaphore signals. (Narrator)
    To prevent a collision caused by human error, the safety system called “interlocking” protects the railway network. Interlocking is a series of mechanical devices that prevents the signaller operating appliances in an unsafe sequence. (Stewart)
    What you have here is what looks like a simple lever system but is actually, if you looked underneath the box, is quite a complicated interlocking system. The interlocking system prevents me giving a green signal to an approaching train unless I set that route in that interlocking system safely first. It sounds simple and it basically works simple but the action what it does is very good. (Narrator)
    Level frame signal boxes, while effective, aren’t efficient. They only cover a short section of line and manning them with skilled operators is expensive. (Stewart)
    Now I can pull the signals off No. 2. [loud click] Some of these you’ll see me pulling quite ‘ard; that’s because there’s a lot of gape on these. Some people can’t actually pull ’em at all. Well a lot of it’s fairly hands on. You see the trains, you’ve got control over the trains and the job itself. It’s a good job; a better job as I’ve ever ‘ad. Without a doubt. [clank] [train passes rapidly] (Narrator)
    The next big leap in rail signalling control came with the electronic age and the advent of Power Signal control Boxes like this one in Derby. ♪ 60s electronic background music ♪ (Signaller)
    This location opened in 1969, and when it did open it represented a massive step forward to the railways in the way that trains are signalled. Well, these lines represent mainly the Derby to Birmingham main lines. This signal box actually took over 84 mechanical signal boxes, making it a far more efficient way of carrying out signalling. (Narrator)
    Routes are set by pressing buttons on a large control panel. Each section between buttons represents a stretch of line formerly controlled by a lever framed signal box. (Signaller)
    It’s very easy to work around. The signalling system is very user friendly and very easy to see the layout of the trains and where they’re coming from and going to. The presence of a train is indicated by these red lights on the panel. They’re activated by the completion of an electrical circuit when the train’s wheels pass over the track circuit. The operation of the signalling equipment is carried out by pulling and pushing the actual buttons that are set in the panel. To set a route you press the entrance button, you press the exit button and the signalling system between detects all equipment that’s located between the two signals. Once that’s in the correct position, the signal will clear for the train to proceed. To take the route out, we simply pull the exit button and the route will drop out. (Narrator)
    Power Signal Boxes are regulated by a relay room, a little like a giant mechanical computer. (Signaller)
    This is the interlocking room, underneath the operating floor of the Power Signal Box. And in ‘ere are all the banks of relays. And these relays relay all of the information from the touches of the buttons upstairs from the signaller outside to the points and the track circuits and the level crossings. (Narrator)
    Relays are interlocking electro-mechanical switches. When the signaller sets a route in the upstairs control room, you can hear the switches clicking, working out how to set the signals and switches and crossings and whether the set route is safe. [clicking] (Signaller)
    These cabinets are where the equipment in Derby PSB reach the modern era. These allow transmission of the train head code, the four-digit running number that we saw on the panels upstairs to be transmitted to adjacent signal boxes to give them advanced notification of that train coming so that train can be routed further down the line. (Narrator)
    Powered Signal Boxes are effective and safe. But at Network Rail we’re now introducing an even more efficient form of signalling control. ♪ rapid piano background music ♪ (Jason)
    Compared to the oldest lever box signal boxes, this is a world apart. It’s like an Air Traffic Control Centre basically, but controlling trains instead of aeroplanes. My name’s Jason Jones, I’m a signaller and I work at Ashford IECC in Kent. The IECC stands for “Integrated Electronic Control Centre”. All the signalling in this signalling centre is controlled by computers. A timetable is downloaded every day and any alterations etc. are all programmed into the computer. When everything’s running on-time and all the trains are in their correct place and there’s nothing else going on, the computers are all running the job and I am literally just sitting here monitoring. Hello John, yeah it’s sitting on area 83 Ashford, over. At any time there could be an emergency of any description and that’s when I will then step in and take over from the computer. I will turn the computer off and then run the trains manually using the keyboard or the tracker-ball system that we’ve got. On this screen here I can see the exact layout of the stations and the tracks. I can see where the trains are – where the red line is. Each red line indicates the location of the train. I can see where the trains are heading for (what route they’re taking) by the white line. That’s what the computer has set up for that train to use. We can also see the signals what the driver sees out on the track. The red dots indicate a signal that’s red, we’ve got a single yellow, we’ve also got a double yellow. And obviously we’ve got the green signals which means then he can proceed at line speed. ♪ slower piano background music ♪ The computers that Network Rail uses in this type of location are specifically designed for this type of system. They use various safety protocols, various fail-safes. You get three computers working in tandem with one another and before any decisions are made, two of the computers have to agree with one another. Ashford covers a huge area, right from the Kent coast at Folkstone right the way into Central London. That is the equivalent, yeah, of hundreds of the old style lever frame signal boxes. [train horn] We don’t just deal with standard trains here. As well as the commuter trains that we run we also run the high-speed trains into St. Pancras and the Eurostar trains that come from Paris and Brussels. The high speed trains are run using a totally different way of signalling trains than the old-style and conventional signals. The high-speed line is signalled using cab-signalling where the driver gets a display in the cab and that tells him when to stop his train, start his train and what speed he must run at. The trains travel up to 186 mph, and that’s just too fast for the driver to be able to see signals out on the track. All the systems, whether you’re in a lever box or you’re in this type of modern technology it’s all designed to fail safe and that is any failures, the signals go back to red. This job carries a lot of responsibility. You are responsible for people’s lives on the trains, the public, drivers, track workers. You do have a fair bit of responsibility. No matter how much the technology changes, the one thing that remains the same is the safety and the security of the trains out on the track.

    Every Country in the World (Part 1)
    Articles, Blog

    Every Country in the World (Part 1)

    August 9, 2019

    This is every country in the world… by Wendover
    Productions. We’ll start with
    Afghanistan, the first country alphabetically. Afghanistan is one of the few countries worldwide
    to be offset from Greenwich Mean Time by a 30 minute interval, its at GMT +4:30, while
    China is one of the many countries to only have
    one timezone… except its ginormous. It aligns to GMT
    + 8 so that means that stepping over the 47 mile long Afghanistan-China border jumps you
    forward by 3.5 hours. That’s the largest single time zone jump
    on earth. China in all its craziness
    has rather ambitious plans to build a high-speed railroad from Beijing, up across the Bering
    Strait, and down into the United States, which happens to be the home of 41% of Wendover
    Productions viewers. Up in the north-west of the US, Point Roberts,
    a part of the mainland US, is cut off from the US by Canada and since it
    doesn’t have a high-school, students have to cross
    into Canada then back into the US each day on their way to school. Canada happens to be the
    second largest country on earth and has more lakes than the rest of the world combined. Its so
    huge, in fact, that its easternmost point is closer to Croatia than it is to Vancouver. One of
    Croatia’s thousands of islands is Rab, the birthplace of the sculptor Marinas who went
    on and founded San Marino, the fifth smallest country
    in the world and one of three to be completely surrounded by another country. One of the others is the Vatican—the smallest
    sovereign state in the world—and there’s also Lesotho, which
    is home to one of Africa’s seven ski resorts. Lesotho
    is of course surrounded by South Africa which is the only country in the world to have three
    capitals—Cape Town is the seat of the Parliament, Pretoria is the home of the president, and
    Bloemfontein is the judicial capital. South Africa also almost completely surrounds
    another country—Swaziland, where roads are so bad
    that two of the last four transport ministers died in
    car accidents. While mostly surrounded by South Africa, Swaziland’s
    eastern border is with Mozambique, whose name scores higher in scrabble
    than any other one-word country, but in second place for scrabble is Kyrgyzstan which
    is home to six enclaves, the smallest of which is
    part of Uzbekistan and is only 2 miles wide. In Uzbekistan, no river leads to the Ocean—they
    all drain into endorheic basins where all the
    water evaporates out. Uzbekistan is one of only two
    countries worldwide to be double-landlocked—as in, landlocked by landlocked countries. In this
    case, every surrounding country of Uzbekistan also ends in -stan—Kazakhstan, Tajikistan,
    Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan,and Turkmenistan. The other double-landlocked country is
    Liechtenstein—a tiny and historically neutral nation. In their last military engagement in 1886,
    none of the 80 soldiers were injured or killed, and they actually returned with 81 people
    since they made a “new italian friend.” Italy is home to the Breuil Cervinia ski resort
    where you can ski across the border into Switzerland. Switzerland is rather paranoid about war to
    the extent that 3,000 points of entry into the country are
    rigged to blow at an instant in case of invasion. Switzerland is also home to one end of the
    shortest regularly-scheduled commercial international flight in the world—a six minute, 10 mile
    jaunt over to Germany where its not actually illegal to
    escape prison. Seriously—they say its only human nature. Germany is home to half of one of the
    world’s few internationally divided islands, and the Polish side of this island, despite
    being only 200 feet from mainland Poland, is not connected
    by any bridges to Poland, so just like point Roberts, residents have to cross international
    borders to get to their own country. Poland also
    happens to have been a part of Sweden’s monarchy for a brief eight years in the 16th
    century. Sweden has an internationally divided island
    too, and this one is a mere 7 acres large. The border
    looks like this because Finland accidentally built a lighthouse in Swedish territory and
    so they just readjusted the border to make everyone
    happy. Finland has exactly 187,888 lakes, and its
    northernmost point is actually closer to Greenland than Poland due to the curvature of the earth. Greenland isn’t actually a country so I’m
    not allowed to talk about it—its a dependency of
    Denmark, where its impossible to be more than 30 miles from the ocean. The wife of Denmark’s Crown Prince, Crown
    Princess Mary, was born in Australia which is the 6th largest country on earth and is
    home to the longest fence in the world—a 3,500 mile structure to keep wild dogs out
    of the the fertile south-east region. The middle of Australia also has practically
    nobody and nothing in it except a 297 mile long precisely straight section of railroad
    track. Australia freed the country of Brunei from
    occupation back in WWII which is one of the few countries worldwide to be comprised of
    two comparably sized sections. St Kitts and Nevis is
    also split into two but that’s because its a two island nation and also the smallest
    country in the Americas. In Saint Kitts and Nevis you can gain citizenship
    by making a $400 thousand real estate investment much like Bulgaria, where people nod up and
    down to signify no and shake left and right to mean yes. Bulgaria is one of the few countries to have
    an embassy in North Korea which created its own time zone in 2015 for
    no real reason than to be different. North Korea is
    only separated by one country from Norway, where more than half the population lives
    below this line. Between Norway and North Korea is of course
    Russia—the largest country in the world. Its easternmost point is, in fact, closer
    to Mexico than Moscow. Mexico once had three
    different presidents in one hour during a military coup, but also accustomed to short
    regimes is Alsace-Lorraine in France which was an fully-recognized
    independent country for 12 short days between being part of Germany and France at
    the end of World War One. France, of course, had
    an enormous empire including Algeria which is the largest country in Africa and unlike
    some of its neighboring countries, is quite nice to
    women. 70% of the countries lawyers are female. Right
    next door to Algeria is Morocco which has de facto control of some of Western Sahara,
    a place thats not really part of any country. That’s why its always blank on data maps. Morocco
    surrounds two Spanish exclaves, Ceuta and Melilla, which are politically part of mainland
    Spain, rather than overseas territories, despite
    being in Northern Africa. Spain once had an enormous
    empire, part of which was Micronesia which is now a US associated state, meaning they’re
    an independent nation but the US covers defense
    and funding. Micronesian citizens can join the US
    military without becoming a US resident—a right only given to citizens of freely associated
    states. Their currency is also the US dollar. Palau is also a nearby US associated state
    which is often compared to Fiji since they’re both
    idillic pacific island destinations even though they’re
    over 3,500 miles apart. Fiji was a British colony up until 1970 and
    you have no idea how hard it was to avoid using this transition up until
    now. I could’ve used it with Nauru, St Kitts
    and Nevis, Brunei, Australia, South Africa, Canada, the
    United States, and Afghanistan but I kept it for now. The UK is home to the shortest regularly scheduled
    commercial flight in the world between Westray and Papa Westray in the Scottish isles. It costs 17 pounds, takes 53 seconds, and
    traverses only 1.7 miles. The UK has two exclaves—both of which are
    overseas territories. One
    is Gibraltar, right across from Ceuta, and the the other is Akrotiri and Dhekelia on
    the island of Cyprus. There are border control agents from three
    countries on Cyprus, the UK, Cyprus, and Turkey. Northern Cyprus is a self-declared state only
    recognized by Turkey who helps them keep control of the territory with a heavy military
    presence and border control agents. Istanbul,
    Turkey, is the only city on the planet to span two continents—Europe and Asia—although
    there are plenty of countries on two continents. In Egypt, the Sinai peninsula sits in Asia
    while the rest is in Africa. Just past the southern border of Egypt is
    Bir Tawil, a piece of land claimed by no country since Egypt and Sudan disagree on
    where their borders are. Sudan recently split into two
    and created South Sudan—the world’s youngest UN recognized country. The second youngest
    country is Serbia which, up until 2006, was called Serbia and Montenegro but split after
    a referendum. Montenegro also happens to be a town in Costa
    Rica where about 100 people live. The capital of Costa Rica, San Jose, only
    allows car owners to drive 6 days a week to fight
    pollution and congestion, so the last digit of license plates correspond to their banned
    day. Costa
    Rica’s southern border is with Panama, home to the Panama Canal which, counterintuitively,
    has its Atlantic end, the ocean to the east, to
    the west, and its Pacific end, the ocean to the west, to the
    east. Panama’s southern border is with Colombia
    but there’s not one road crossing this 50 mile
    jungle which means its impossible to drive between North and South America. You probably
    know that Colombia was once part of Spain but so was the Netherlands. It was called the Spanish
    Netherlands. The Netherlands is also home to Baarle-Nassau,
    one of the most messed up borders in the world. Belgium is well known for having a UN headquarters,
    and so does Nairobi, Kenya —the suspected birthplace of the human race. Kenya’s northern neighbor is Somalia, which
    received its first ATM machine in 2014. Somalia has had three separate wars with Ethiopia
    in the last century, and Ethiopia national airline
    was the second in the world to receive the 787
    Dreamliner despite being the 13th poorest country. Ethiopia also has another one of those
    internationally divided islands, this one with Djibouti, which is home to the lowest
    point in Africa, Lake Assal, at 509 feet below sea
    level. Djibouti also hosts the only US military base
    in Africa, and Israel hosts one of the smallest
    ones, Dimona Radar Base. Despite being a middle eastern country, Israel
    competes in Eurovision and many European sports leagues since they’re
    culturally much closer to Europe than the middle-east. Israel has one of the weirder international
    borders with Palestine which is only a country depending on who you ask. The largest
    Palestinian community outside the Arab world is in Chile which is one of the only countries
    to have a government sponsored UFO research organization. Chile is the southernmost mainland
    country in the world but doesn’t have the southernmost commercial airport. That title goes to
    Argentina with their Ushuaia – Malvinas International Airport. This (Iguazu Falls) spectacular
    waterfall is the border between Argentina and Brazil which is home to the Amazon River,
    which doesn’t have a single bridge over it. Not one—its just in an area where practically
    nobody lives. Recife, Brazil is closer to Dakar, Senegal
    than to Porte Alegre in South-western Brazil. Just off
    the coast of Senegal is Cape Verde which is pretty much paradise. They have a high human
    development index score, high GDP, high literacy rate, and the lowest recorded temperature
    in history there was 50 degrees fahrenheit. As a former Portuguese colony, Cape Verde
    speaks Portuguese which is the 6th most spoken language
    in the world even though its origin country, Portugal, is smaller than Kentucky. They just had an enormous empire, which for
    a while included Indonesia, which has another one
    of those internationally divided islands with Papau
    New Guinea, similar to Hispaniola island which is divided between Haiti and the Dominican
    Republic. Hispaniola is the 22nd largest island in the
    world but Madagascar is number four. Its
    also the largest single-island-country. 85 million years ago Madagascar was connected
    to India before the continents shifted but Sri Lanka
    was connected to India as recently as 1480 via a land
    bridge that has since eroded. Sri Lanka is just north of the equator but
    right on the equator is Ecuador. Its capital, Quito, is only 20 miles from
    the equator so its day length varies by only 15
    minutes between winter and summer. Although, since the country is split by the
    equator, winter and summer happens at the same time in the
    same country. Ecuador is one of 30 countries to have an
    antarctic research base and right next door to
    Ecuador’s base is Peru’s. Copacabana, not that one, this one, in Bolivia,
    can only be reached by driving through Peru. Bolivia, despite being a landlocked country,
    maintains a 5,000 person Navy, although Mongolia, also a landlocked
    country, maintains a navy that has one ship—a tugboat—and seven total sailors. Mongolia is also the least dense country on
    the planet with only 5 people per square mile. While they may seem un-intimidating now, the
    Mongolian empire was once, the largest contiguous land empire in
    history. Part of that empire was Cambodia, which has
    changed its name six times in the last 65 years. 95% of Cambodia’s population is Theravada
    Buddhist. The other major branch of buddhism is Mahayana
    Buddhism which is practiced in Japan where, out of its total population of
    126 million, they had three gun murders in 2012. Iceland, however, can top that, because they
    had one murder total in 2012. Of course, Iceland
    doesn’t have a huge population which makes it less impressive until you consider that
    30% of Iceland’s residents own guns. 60% of that population, however, lives in
    this circle. Iceland was
    also the first country to recognize Armenia’s independence, and Armenia separates Azerbaijan
    from its Nakhchivan exclave and since the Armenia-Azerbaijan border is closed, residents
    of Nakhchivan have to go all the way around Armenia
    to get to to their own country. Azerbaijan’s
    national soccer team has played Andorra’s five times in the past few decades and four
    of those games have ended in a 0-0 tie. Andorra is the largest country in the world
    to not have an airport which is less impressive when you consider
    that they’re the 19th smallest in the world. The
    smallest country in the world to have a major international airport is the Maldives, the
    8th smallest country. This airport has dozens of destinations and
    is on a small island with no land connections to other islands which means once
    you land you have to either take a boat or seaplane to your destination. One of the airport’s destinations is Kuala
    Lumpur in Malaysia which is home to world’s largest roundabout
    in Putrajaya at 2 miles in diameter. Malaysia is the
    only country connected by road to Singapore, the largest surviving city-state in the world. Despite having hundreds of skyscrapers, Singapore
    is not the densest country in the world. That
    title goes to Monaco which is less than one square mile large. Monaco has no income tax, much
    like the Bahamas, which is one of two countries whose official name starts with the word
    “the”, the other one being the Gambia. The Gambia’s interesting shape comes from
    the flow of the river Gambia whose watershed reaches all
    the way to Guinea which is one of three countries to have the word Guinea in its name. The other two are Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial
    Guinea. Guinea was once the word for the entire west-african
    region so when these countries became independent from their colonizers many chose
    to include “guinea” in their names. Equatorial
    Guinea’s capital actually isn’t on the mainland—its on an offshore island—and,
    despite its name, the equator doesn’t intersect Equatorial
    Guinea but the country is on both sides of the equator
    since they have sovereignty over Annobón island to the south of the equator. This is similar to
    Kiribati—a nation comprising of a few dozen islands in the Pacific. Kiribati is the first place on
    earth to experience New Year’s since their time zone is UTC +14—a time zone exclusive
    to these islands. Kiribati is close friends with Cuba since
    Cuba sent doctors to the islands who reduced the child mortality rate by 80%. Cuba—the only Caribbean island to have a
    commercial railroad—is one of the few remaining communist
    states. One of the others is Laos—the only
    landlocked country in south-east Asia—which borders Vietnam—also communist and the 14th
    most populous country in the world despite having the size of about New Mexico. Vietnam is
    good political friends with Venezuela who is not great friends with bordering Guyana
    since Guyana thinks the border looks like this and
    Venezuela thinks the border looks like this. Guyana
    —the only English-speaking country in South America—borders Suriname—the smallest
    country in South America and the only country other than the Netherlands whose sole primary
    language is Dutch. Suriname was our 98th country so that means
    that we’re halfway through and that that’s the end of part one of Every Country in the
    World, however, part two will be out on Tuesday, December 13th so make sure you’re subscribed
    to catch that right when it comes out. If you enjoyed this and other Wendover Productions
    videos, please consider supporting the channel on Patreon. Every dollar contributed over there goes right
    into the channel and I even release expense reports to show you where your money went. You can receive great rewards through that
    like t-shirts, stickers, early access to videos and more. You can either click here or go to Please also follow me on Twitter @WendoverPro,
    watch my last video on the Five Freedoms of Aviation, check out my fan moderated subreddit
    at, and once more, subscribe to this channel. I’ll see you next Tuesday for part 2 of
    every country in the world.

    An Introduction to Switches & Crossings – Network Rail engineering education (12 of 15)
    Articles, Blog

    An Introduction to Switches & Crossings – Network Rail engineering education (12 of 15)

    August 9, 2019

    [train passing] ♪ background music ♪ (Narrator)
    Switches and crossings play an essential role in connecting the rail network. We use them to guide trains from one track to another and to enable lines to cross paths. Put simply, they’re the junctions that allow us to create a multi-lined, multi-routed rail network. At Network Rail we own over 20,000 switch and crossing units. They come in many different shapes and sizes and all are made to measure for their specific location. To understand how switches and crossings work, we’ve first got to look at the wheel-rail interaction. Train wheels move along the rails guided only by the pound coin sized area of wheel that sits on the rail head. The wheel rim or flange doesn’t normally touch the rail. Flanges are only a last resort, to prevent the wheels becoming derailed. A switch can guide a wheel in one of two directions. A crossing creates a gap in the rail for the flange to pass through. This is a switch. Also known as a point. It’s the moving part of the switch and crossing layout and is made up of two long blades which can move across to guide the train one way or another. This is the switch rail. And this is called the toe. This is called the stock rail. It’s a non-moving part of the switch. The two switch blades are fixed to each other by a stretcher bar to ensure that when one is against its stock rail the other is fully clear and provide room for the wheel flange to pass through cleanly. This is a crossing. It’s the non-moving part of the switch and crossing layout that allows a train to pass in either direction once the switch has been set. This is the nose of the crossing. Either side of the crossing area, wing and check rails are provided to assist the guidance of the wheel sets through the crossing. Crossings can be either fabricated, made up of two machined rails joined together, or they can be cast as a single unit. Modern crossings are now cast from manganese steel which is an advanced alloy that gets harder with use. This is an important property, as the nose of the crossing can take high impact loads as train wheels pass through. (Lawrence)
    My name’s Lawrence Wilton, and I’m a graduate engineer working for Network Rail. I’m here today to teach you about switches and crossings. The most simple form of S and C is the turn-out. This is a left-hand turn-out. As you can see, it diverges from the main route in a leftward direction. This is how it works. In normal mode, the left hand wheel rolls along the switch rail and there’s flange way clearance for the right wheel to continue along the stock rail. The inside surface of the right flange is kept on course by the track rail. This restrains the wheel set and ensures it is directed along the correct route. Meanwhile, the left wheel transfers contact between the different parts of the crossing. That’s where there’s a high impact load. In the reverse the right wheel rolls over the switch rail and follows its geometry. The inside surface of the left flange is guided by the check, forcing it to follow the stock rail on the new route and the right hand wheel makes a crossing, again, impacting a load on the crossing nose. (Narrator)
    There are many different types of switch and crossing on the network. They include turn-outs, diamonds, cross-overs, and slip-diamonds. The type we use is determined by a number of factors including the number of lines involved, frequency of use and running line speed. Trains travelling at high speeds need long switches and crossings. At low speed, such as in stations, trains can make tighter turns. Train movements across the network are set and controlled by signallers who use switches to set routes for trains. Switches can be propelled by various devices. One of the simplest forms is a ground frame set-up. A series of rods and cams attached to levers in signal boxes. These are now largely being replaced by remotely operated hydraulic and electro-mechanical devices. (Lawrence)
    Seen by rail-sides all across the country, this is an HW2000 points machine. This is electro-mechanical. What we have here is your drive motor. To check that motor has done its job, over here we have an interlocking and detection system. Detection tells us when the points have completed their travel and locked. Locking holds the points in this state, so they cannot be physically moved. So when a train runs over the top, it remains in position. Facing point locks are one of the most important safety features on the S and C layout. They ensure that the points cannot be moved when set. This is important because failure to lock the switches could cause a derailment. (Narrator)
    As engineers, we face an ongoing challenge to maintain and improve our switch and crossing assets. Trains can create large impact and lateral forces as they change course. And these forces can cause wear and deformation. Switches and crossings therefore have a limited lifespan before we need to replace them. Less than 5% of track miles are made up of switches and crossings, but over 17% of our maintenance budget is spent on them. We’ll continue to research and develop new inspection techniques and material usage to increase their performance. (Lawrence)
    It’s all about creating a network that’s safe, reliable and efficient. It’s what we do.

    8. Retaining Walls
    Articles, Blog

    8. Retaining Walls

    August 9, 2019

    Retaining walls serve the important role of holding back soil and rock, just as dams hold back water. The first video in this series showed that granular materials, such as soil and rock, generate horizontal pressures that increase linearly with depth. Retaining walls must resist these pressures, and many strategies exist for doing so. In this video, we focus on a popular, L-shaped, cantilever design. If you were going to use an L-shaped wall to hold back soil and rock, as represented by these marbles, would you point the bottom leg toward the marbles or away from them? Many people would say that the base of the “L” should face away from the marbles. They probably realize that it is hard to tip the wall over toward the left if the bottom leg points in that direction. In engineering, we call tipping like this “overturning”. If the bottom leg points the other way around, it is easy to make the wall overturn – so easy, in fact, that I can do it with just a puff of air. It looks like the case is closed. Or is it? Before we declare a final verdict, let’s use the model to find out what happens when the bottom leg points to the left, away from the marbles. As we add marbles, we discover that the horizontal forces they produce create yet another mode of failure, namely sliding of the wall. And this occurs when the marbles reach a depth of 3 centimeters. In the model, we can increase the friction between the retaining wall and the base by placing a rubber mat between them. You will have to do some extra reading if you want to find out how they achieve this end in the real world. As you can see, increasing the friction allows our model wall to support a noticeably greater depth of marbles. But it still eventually fails by overturning, in this case, when the depth reaches 8 centimeters. Now, let’s turn the wall around so its bottom leg points toward the right, the side where the marbles will be placed. We again use a rubber sheet to prevent sliding, and we add some marbles. As before, the marbles generate a horizontal force that depends on the marble depth. You might be surprised that this wall can hold back 11 centimeters of marbles before it overturns. Can you explain why the wall can resist a greater height of marbles when the bottom leg points toward them? Is there an additional force that comes into play? Recall that granular materials generate both horizontal and vertical pressures. When the bottom leg is oriented away from the marbles, overturning is resisted only by the weight of the wall itself, and so it overturns easily. When the bottom leg points toward the marbles, the vertical pressure from the marbles helps to keep the wall upright. The downward pressure also increases the friction between the bottom of the wall and the ground, thereby reducing the likelihood of sliding. When engineers design L-shaped retaining walls, they imagine them overturning about the point labelled Q. They first calculate how strongly the soil pressure will tend to make the wall rotate about Q. We call this tendency to tip an overturning moment, and we label it MO. Next, they figure out the stabilizing moment, MS, produced by the soil pushing downward on the horizontal leg of the wall. Lastly, they make sure that the horizontal leg is long enough that the stabilizing moment is at least as large as the overturning moment. Then the retaining wall will be stable. You might be surprised to learn that L-shaped walls are seldom used as dams. The reason is that pressurized water at the bottom of the dam can seep under the base of the dam. And if it does, the resulting upward water pressure on the bottom of the dam can generate an additional moment and make the dam overturn. Lots of other clever approaches can be used to design retaining walls, but we do not have time to discuss them here. To learn more about how soil, water
    and other materials interact with structures, we hope you will view our videos on “Dams”,
    “Silos and Tanks”, and “Tunnels and Culverts”.

    The Railroad Journey and the Industrial Revolution: Crash Course World History 214
    Articles, Blog

    The Railroad Journey and the Industrial Revolution: Crash Course World History 214

    August 9, 2019

    Hi, I’m John Green, this is Crash Course
    World History and today we’re returning to a subject that, could have an entire Crash Course
    series all of its own: the Industrial Revolution. Mr. Green, Mr. Green, are you going to do
    a whole series on the Industrial Revolution? Because that actually sounds really boring. Yeah, Me From the Past, no. I’m a little bit
    busy. I’ve got this movie that’s about to film. So yeah, no. But, uh, we are going
    to talk about like a specific and essential slice of the Industrial Revolution, that also
    like pleases my four year old self a lot: Railroads! Choooga chooga choooga chooga choo choo! We’re going to be talking about a small book by
    Wolfgang Schivelbusch called “The Railway Journey.” So in this Crash Course World History series
    we’re talking a lot about a lot of different history books so that we can approach subjects
    from a variety of angles. We want to try to introduce you to how exciting
    history can be and also how unsettled it is. How many arguments there still are. So to be clear, I’m not saying I agree with
    everything in this book – it’s one interpretation of a series of events. But it contains a ton
    of interesting ideas, and it’s one of those books that makes you think differently about
    the world. And it’s vitally important that we think
    about the role technology plays in our lives including the technology of railroads. So railroads were these big, loud machines
    that people hadn’t seen before, which makes them a pretty good metaphor for industrialization. Also, since not everyone worked in factories,
    railways were one of the few places that both middle and upper class people came face to
    face with industrial machinery. You know, if you were a factory worker that
    stuff was around you all day everyday slowly killing your soul. But if you were, say, a
    mortgage broker your work life hadn’t changed – it’s not like you had a computer. But the presence of railroads reminded you
    that you were in a different world from that of your parents or grandparents. It wasn’t
    just locomotion though, the railway itself changed the idea of an industrial machine
    to include its surrounding infrastructure, right? You needed rails and these huge engines. You
    needed timetables and organization. That encompassed everything that industrialization was about. And since railways changed the lives of middle
    and upper class people, who tend to write a lot, we know a lot about them. And the change was definitely seen as radical.
    For instance the phrase, “annihilation of time and space” was a pretty popular one
    when talking about railways. This wasn’t just a fancy way of talking
    about how railways sped up travel, but also the way that the railroad destroyed traditional
    relationships with nature. I mean sometimes nature was literally annihilated
    as when tunnels were cut through hills and depressions were graded to make the railroad as
    straight as possible, “as if drawn with a ruler.” But railroads also shaped space and time in
    a manner totally unprecedented in human history by, for instance, speeding up travel times
    which shrunk the world. And then they expanded space by creating suburbs
    and new towns. In a positive development for 99% of the population,
    railroads changed space too by opening up previously inaccessible like vacation spots
    of the wealthy. Then the wealthy migrated further away to
    places only accessible by air travel like, I don’t know, Ibiza. But now Ibiza’s full
    of Eurotrash because of inexpensive airlines. Where will the 1% vacation! Poor rich people that have to go to the Hamptons
    which aren’t even that nice, they’re just really expensive.
    And then there’s the fact that railroads literally changed time, or at least created
    the standardization of time. Like before railroads, time in London was 4 minutes ahead of Reading,
    and 14 minutes ahead of time in Bridgwater. Then in 1847 The Railway Clearing House – an
    organization established to regulate rail travel – established Greenwich mean time
    as the standard time on all rail lines, and in 1880 it became general standard time in
    England. So to be clear, time as you know it is about as
    old as the oldest living person in the world. But, the most obvious way that railroads changed
    things was travel. Until railroads, all travel was powered by muscles – either animal or
    human – so we had a sense of distance as defined by fatigue. Like when your horse died,
    you had gone a long way. Or your horse like sprained a leg going down
    a hill and you had to shoot it. Point being, for 250,000 years all power was
    muscle power and unless you could like ride a cheetah you weren’t going to go faster
    than about 20 mph. So babies could go really fast because they
    can ride cheetahs, but adults, there’s no way, cheetahs weigh like 20 lbs. As Thomas
    De Quincey put it: “When we are travelling by stage-coach at
    the rate of eight or ten miles an hour, we can understand the nature of the force which
    sets the vehicle in motion … and in the course of a day’s journey we can appreciate
    the enormous succession of efforts required to transport a loaded vehicle from London
    to a distant town.” Although to be fair, De Quincey’s ideas
    about enormous effort may have been a bit skewed as he also wrote Confessions of an
    Opium Eater Anyway, People were so comfortable with horses
    that some even argued that horsepower was superior to mechanical locomotion because
    horses relied more on renewable and easily obtained fuel. By the way, as you may see in comments there
    is still a debate about whether horse power or railroads are more carbon efficient. Anyway, the romantics at the time saw railroad
    travel as a “loss of a communicative relationship between man and nature.” And some also saw
    the old technology – horses – as having like more soul. Mechanical travel was generally seen as a
    definite economic win since it “rendered all transportation calculable,” and economists
    love to calculate. Railroads also changed the way we looked at the world, like literally
    through a window, with nature being this blur. And you can argue that like watching the world
    go by through a static window kind of prepared people for motion pictures and television
    where we stare at a screen that doesn’t move and watch a world that does. Now these noisy, coal powered trains affected
    all the senses, but especially vision. As Victor Hugo described it in 1837, “the flowers by the side of the road are
    no longer flowers but fleck, or rather streaks of red and white; there are no longer any
    points, everything becomes a streak.” So many people experienced this landscape
    as a monotonous blur, but for others it was something new and exciting. For Benjamin Gastineau,
    the constantly changing view was thrilling: “in quick succession it presents the astonished
    traveler with happy scenes, sad scenes, burlesque interludes, brilliant fireworks, all visions
    that disappear as soon as they are seen.” That sounds like a great movie. All I see when I
    look out the train window is the infinite abyss of meaninglessness, and then I pull out my phone and
    open Floppy Bird and everything is okay again. And railroad travel also changed human behavior.
    Okay let’s go to the Thought Bubble. Since looking at the landscape was no longer
    the same experience, and, according to the medical journal The Lancet, “The rapidity
    and variety of the impressions necessarily fatigue both the eye and the brain.” many
    people turned to reading books on railroads. For starters, reading was a way for upper
    class passengers to avoid having to talk with each other. European first and second class
    rail cars were designed to mimic stage coaches, with passengers facing each other. Now, in
    pre-railroad travel, you knew you were going to be stuck with whoever else was in your
    stagecoach, so it was important to try to be nice and strike up a conversation. But
    the short duration of railroad journeys discouraged the formation of rapport between travellers,
    changing our habits and turning reading on the train into a necessity.
    Rail travel also brought new fears, like when travelling at the speed of a cannonball, it
    was hard to overcome one’s terror of a possible derailment. As Thomas Creevy put it: “It is really flying, and it is impossible
    to divest yourself of the notion of instant death to all upon the least accident happening.” So that’s why I’m afraid of flying. And
    to be fair railway accidents were common enough that physicians began to document cases of
    “railway spine” a condition suffered by people who had come through railway accidents
    with complaints of pain, but few or no signs of physical injury. By the end of the 1880s,
    however, railway spine gave way as a diagnosis to “traumatic neurosis” reflecting new
    ideas in psychology. Eventually, pathological explanations for what looks a lot like nervous shock
    slipped away and only the psychological ones were left. Thanks, Thought Bubble. So new technologies
    often bring new anxieties because change is terrifying. Remember how the internet was
    going to bring an end to reading books? Remember how “e-learning” was going to
    replace classrooms and there were going to be all of these “e-teachers” who would
    replace your real teachers? But yeah, no, it turns out that real life
    teachers are pretty great. Like Heinrich Heins wrote that railroads produced “tremendous foreboding such as we always
    feel when there comes an enormous, an unheard-of event whose consequences are imponderable
    an incalculable.” Fortunately, our new industrial world view
    associated change with progress. Like this notion that humans move forward,
    that children will have a better life than their parents did – that’s new. As… oh it’s time for the Open letter! But first let’s see what’s in the globe
    today – oh no, it’s change. I hate change. An Open Letter to Progress: One of the reasons,
    I think, we’re afraid of change is that change doesn’t really mean progress. For the vast majority of human history the
    lives of children could be much worse than the lives of their parents. It depended on disease and
    weather and kings – mostly on disease and weather. There was no idea that moving forward also
    meant moving up. And I would argue that certainly innovation
    has given us much to be grateful for, but there’s something to a reluctance to change. I love you progress and you have given me
    much to be grateful for, but a gentle reminder: change doesn’t always mean progress. Best wishes, John Green. So as Schivelbusch puts it “new modes of
    behavior and perception enabled the traveler to lose the fear that he formerly felt towards
    the new conveyance.” “The sinister aspect of the machinery that
    first was so evident and frightening gradually disappeared, and with this disappearance,
    fear waned and was replaced by a feeling of security based on familiarity.” Huh, that sounds precisely like my relationship
    with a phone that always knows where I am. New technologies often change the way people
    live and perceive the world. Like one example would be the printing press. It made knowledge
    and information available as never before. But it only really affected a small segment
    of the population, at least initially. Industrialization was different in that it
    had a profound effect on large numbers of people in a very short time. And since the
    dawn of industrialization, the pace of this change and the enormity of its impact has only
    increased like, well, like a speeding train I guess. Except it’s like a speeding train that gets
    faster and faster until it reaches the speed of light – oh my gosh what a wonderful idea.
    Somebody call Elon Musk. So for most of us the Internet is a technology
    very much like the railroad. Like the railroad, the Internet in its earliest stages was both frightening
    to detractors and exhilarating to its boosters. And like railroads it has both shrunk the
    world, enabling me to communicate with you via, you know, the tubes – I don’t really
    know how the Internet works. And it’s also changed our perception of time. Think about how much sooner you expect a response
    to an email or text message vs a letter or even a phone call.
    Think about the fact that you can order a phone from China and have it arrive at your door in a
    week and that still feels like kind of a long time. In the age of the railroads to get a phone,
    which didn’t exist, from China to Indianapolis would’ve taken months. To get that same
    nonexistent phone from China to Indianapolis in 1700 would’ve taken more than a year.
    And then you turn it on and there’s not even a cell network. And you’re like “This
    is essentially just a brick. I waited more than a year and I can’t do anything with
    it!” And once the battery dies you’re going to go to plug it in and oh right there’s
    no freaking electricity! So yeah, the world is different. Now like
    railroads there’s plenty of nostalgia about the time before the Internet when people supposedly
    consumed less and talked to each other more because they weren’t constantly on their phones. But if railroad reading is any indication
    we’ve been looking for ways to use technology to avoid interacting with each other in real
    life for a long time. And we shouldn’t forget that railroads made
    travel easier and opened up new vistas and made goods less expensive and brought people
    closer together. And they also helped create the idea of nostalgia.
    I mean without industrial production the nostalgia for pre-industrial methods of travel and manufacture
    couldn’t exist. One of the best things about books like “The
    Railway Journey,” is that they help us to draw parallels between the past and the present
    and get us to focus on overlooked aspects of history, like what it meant for people
    to ride on trains for the first time. Now our study of history shouldn’t be focused
    too much on what we in the present can learn from the past, but trying to glimpse innovation
    and change as those who lived through it saw it, well I think that can be very useful to those of us
    living through a new technological revolution. Thanks for watching. I’ll see you next week. Crash Course is filmed here in the Chad and
    Stacey Emigholz studio in Indianapolis, it’s possible because of all these nice people
    who make it, and because of our Subbable subscribers. Subbable is a voluntary subscription service
    that allows you to support Crash Course directly so we can keep it free for everyone forever.
    Also you can get like, I don’t know, Mongol t-shirts, posters, DVD’s if you want to
    support us. Regardless, thanks for watching and as we
    say in my hometown, “thanks for being awesome. Wait, no, we say, “don’t forget to be

    How To Make a 3 Penny Battery
    Articles, Blog

    How To Make a 3 Penny Battery

    August 9, 2019

    Is there free energy hiding in your spare
    change? In this video you’ll learn how to turn a handful of pennies into batteries that
    can power some of your small electronic devices. For this project, I’ll need pennies. My neighbor
    Trevor gave me these and I’ll begin sorting them by date. I want pennies newer than 1982
    because they’re nearly 98% Zinc. Ok I’ve picked out 10 pennies that I think will work, so
    I’ll use this 100 grit sandpaper and start sanding one side of the penny. Actually, this
    may be too much work, so I’ll try some double sided sticky tape and an orbital sander. This
    is working much better to expose the zinc, but the adhesive has melted from the friction,
    and left these pennies in a sticky mess. No problem, I’ll just use some adhesive remover
    to clean them up, and now they’re looking great! It’s time to build a battery. I’ll
    cut some thin cardboard into pieces just bigger than the penny, and throw them in some vinegar.
    While those are soaking, I’ll start my battery cell by placing one of the pennies with the
    copper side down on a piece of aluminum foil. As you can see, nothing is happening yet,
    so I’ll blot dry one of my cardboard pieces, and place it on top. This time when I measure
    the voltage, I’m excited to see over half a volt from this one cell! I’ll add another
    penny and cardboard, and repeat the process until I’ve stacked up all my pennies. Now
    the cells are connected in series, and the electric potential has jumped to nearly 6
    volts! Wow. This should be more than enough voltage to drive an LED, so I’ll test it out
    with this one. It works perfectly, and I can’t believe how brilliantly this lights up. Just
    for fun I’m testing the currant draw and it’s pulling about 170 microamps. I can even light
    up two at once. Ok, so it works, and it’s actually really impressive that I’m getting
    electricity from pennies, but now I’m curious to know how long this can last? I’ll use some
    electrical tape to hold everything in place, and try to fix these cardboard edges because
    they shouldn’t be touching. I’ll do my best to make it air tight to prevent the wet cardboard
    from drying out too quickly, and then carry it with me for the next couple of hours to
    watch when for it dies out. Ok so now it’s more than 2 days later and I really can’t
    believe what I’m seeing. The green light is still on, which means these little pennies
    are still pumping out juice! This is awesome, so I wanna try another idea. I’ve picked up
    a calculator from the dollar store and I’ll remove the screws on the back so I can get
    to the battery. Once that’s removed I’ll pull the negative and positive leads out of the
    casing. And now I’ll need to make another penny battery. This time I don’t feel like
    sanding the pennies, so I’m adding these zinc washers I got from the hardware store for
    about 3 cents each. I need around 1.5 volts, so I’ll use 3 pennies, 3 washers, and 3 pieces
    of cardboard soaked in vinegar. This time I’ve rounded the cardboard edges so they won’t
    be a problem. And I’ll stack them with the washer on the bottom, the cardboard in the
    middle, and the penny on top. This is one cell, and I need 3 so I’ll stack up 2 more.
    The penny on top is the positive side and the zinc washer on bottom is the negative.
    I’m getting just over 2 volts and 700 microamps, so I’ll add wires to the terminals and use
    some more electrical tape to hold it together. Time to test it on the calculator. I’ll press
    the “on” button, and it’s incredible, the calculator fires right up! I’m testing out
    a few functions and everything calculates correctly, so now I just need to clean these
    wires up a bit. I’ll chip holes in the casing, and hardwire my pennies into the battery leads,
    then tape the penny stack to the back. A penny powered calculator?! I really am impressed
    at how well this worked out… …and still patiently waiting for this little green light
    to die out. Well there’s an idea that’s worth a few cents. If you like this project perhaps
    you’ll like some of my others. Check them out at

    How Container Ports Work: Logistics of Intermodal Transport
    Articles, Blog

    How Container Ports Work: Logistics of Intermodal Transport

    August 8, 2019

    If you’re like me, you’ve seen wharfs
    and ports and been fascinated by the huge ships, cranes, trucks and most of all by the
    containers stacked like building blocks. But what are the processes of container ports
    like this? How are containers unloaded, where do they
    go, and what happens next? We’re going to find out if containerisation
    is as orderly as it seems, or if there is some chaos in these neatly stacked rows – and
    what opportunity and challenges automation has brought to the shipping industry. Containerisation has changed the world. Previously ships would hold multiple smaller
    loads all jumbled together into a cargo hold – now the sorting of cargo into containers
    is done before the cargo is loaded. This allows ships to have a greater efficiency
    when loading and unloading cargo. But is has also brought new challenges for
    organisation, as gigantic ships dock in large ports and need to unload hundreds or thousands
    of containers at a time. Container terminals are hubs of intermodal
    transport. That means that the containers are switching
    modes of transport, from a ship, which travels on the sea, to either road or rail. Containers can also be moved by air – but
    this is not usually the focus of container ports. Switching modes of transport is not quite
    as simple as loading a cargo container from a ship onto a truck – multiple steps and
    organisational challenges are involved before the container rolls out of the freight yard. First – the container must be unloaded from
    the ship. This is achieved with huge gantry cranes that
    are able to lift the several tonnes of container and its cargo. Cranes can be hinged to allow for passage
    of large ships beneath, or can be fixed, to reduce airspace being taken up. Freight terminal cranes are either semi-automated,
    or fully-operated by a human, and some ports have a mix of both. Cranes connect to containers by their corner
    fittings – which, like most other parts of a container are standardised throughout
    the world, by the International Organisation for Standardisation. Another international standard is the unique
    identifier number which helps to keep track of each container. The containers are typically loaded onto Terminal
    Tractors. These funny-looking trucks are meant for short-distance
    haulage, in order to get the container from beside the ship, into the storage yard where
    the containers wait to be picked up by a truck or a train. In order to move containers around a storage
    yard, and onto trucks and trains, there are several options for machinery – 2 of the
    most interesting are reach stackers and rubber-tyre gantries. Rubber-tyre gantries have wheels, and are
    cranes that are able to fully straddle containers. Larger versions may run on tracks, rather
    than tyres, and can straddle multiple rows of containers. Reach-stackers have a long arm that can easily
    be used to stack containers several rows deep, or to negotiate them onto semi-trailers and
    rail cars. Every step of the process described so far
    has the capacity to be fully- or semi-automated. And in fact, at some of the terminals at the
    Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands – they all are, at least partially. At this port, a crane operator remotely operates
    the gantry crane via computer software that unloads containers from a ship. The container onto a fully automated terminal
    truck which drives it to the storage area to be unloaded by an automated stacker crane. This is one area where logical planning augmented
    by computers can provide a huge benefit. Knowing exactly what date and time a container
    needs to be picked up, a computer can plan the most efficient way to stack containers. This ensures the container isn’t buried
    too deep in the stacks when its time comes to leave the yard, reducing the number of
    operations required to access the required container. There are still some storage yards around
    the world that used a paper-based tracking system. For some of these yards, this means that containers
    are simply stacked according to when they are brought in to the storage yard – so
    that when the time comes to take them out again, they might be at the bottom of a stack
    of containers. Like many other industries, computerised automation
    provides some unique benefits over human-operation, such as accuracy of repetitive tasks and logical
    planning of efficient processes – until something goes wrong and many hours are spent
    trying to troubleshoot and fix the issue. For now at least, humans maintain the advantage
    of adaptability over fully-automated machines. Automating a container port is very expensive,
    but ports implementing this technology hope to gain benefits such as increased productivity,
    and increased safety. Of course, even at ports where automation
    exists, humans are still employed to oversee and maintain the machines and rectify problems
    as they arise. As automation continues, concerns about job-losses
    are always on the forefront of debate. There is also the real cost to society with
    a smaller income tax revenue stream to fund things like roads and rail – the very things
    the transport industry relies on. Ideas have been put forward for a robot tax
    to help subsidise this loss. However these problems are dealt with in the
    future, it is clear for now that the inevitable march of the machines will continue. Perhaps the solution lies balanced somewhere
    in the middle. With human operators and overseers able to
    quickly adapt to unforeseen problems, but with machines performing dangerous tasks for
    us, and with organisational systems augmented by computerised calculations. Thanks for watching this video about how a
    shipping container port works. Be sure to subscribe to the channel for more
    videos, leave me a thumb, and let me know what you thought of the video in the comments. Thanks for watching.

    Why the World’s Smallest Country Has a Railroad
    Articles, Blog

    Why the World’s Smallest Country Has a Railroad

    August 8, 2019

    This video was made possible by Brilliant. Start learning intuitively with Brilliant
    for 20% off by being of the first 424 people to
    sign up at So I hear you want to learn why the world’s
    smallest country has a railroad. Well, the Vatican has a railroad because the
    Roman Empire was awesome. There’s the answer. Now I know what you’re thinking—“you
    just gave me the answer why should I stick around for the rest of the video?” The Vatican, like Canada, is a pretty cool
    place. It has the world’s highest density of Popes,
    the world’s highest wine consumption per capita, and compared to me it’s pretty huge. Compared to other countries, though, it’s
    on the smaller side. It’s about 3,000 feet wide and 2,500 feet
    tall. If you took the tallest building in the world,
    the Burj Khalifa, and laid it on its side over the Vatican you would be responsible
    for the death of thousands. Despite its small size, the Vatican is a fully
    recognized and sovereign country with its own government, its own banks, own stamps,
    own passports, postal system, radio station, police officers, fire fighters, and, of course,
    railroad. Being smack dab in the middle of Rome, it’s
    not exactly hard to get to the Vatican. There are no border controls between it and
    Italy so anyone can pretty much stroll into the country without even realizing and there
    are also, of course, roads going in and out. Now, considering the runway of the nearby
    Rome Fiumicino Airport is more than twice as long as the Vatican is wide, there is no
    airport in the country. This isn’t all that unique. Four other countries don’t have airports—Andorra,
    Liechtenstein, Monaco, and San Marino. Now, it would’t be unreasonable to think
    that the Vatican, the smallest country in the world, also doesn’t have a railroad
    because plenty of countries don’t have railroads. Libya, the 16th largest country in the world,
    does not have a foot of functional railroad track but there are a lot of things Libya
    doesn’t have… like a functional government. Even some of the world’s most highly developed
    nations like Qatar and Iceland lack trains. I don’t know if it’s related but both
    countries have some interesting beliefs—Iceland believes in Elves and Qatar believes in wealth
    disparity. The Vatican though, has a railroad and quite
    fittingly, it’s the smallest national railroad in the world. But why? Now for the worst part of the video—the
    bit you actually learn stuff. So, back during the Roman Empire Italy looked
    like this—it was all together. But then the Roman Empire stopped existing
    which was a bummer unless you were Theoderic the Great who ruled a united Italy under the
    Ostrogothic Kingdom until that fell and they eventually became part of the Frankish empire,
    which frankly sucked, and so Italy fell apart faster than a Kickstarter funded startup into
    a bunch of city-states as it remained for the next 1000 years until people remembered
    how awesome the Roman Empire was and decided that Italy should be united once again. Everyone thought that was a great idea except
    the Pope who controlled this land—the Papal States. The new Kingdom of Italy disagreed with the
    Vatican’s obviously irrational desire to keep hold of the only territory they had so
    they took it and so the Pope wasn’t happy. For the next 60 years the different popes
    did not leave the presently unrecognized country of the Vatican at all as a way to protest
    Italy’s claim to Rome which is exactly the level of stubbornness I admire. That was until 1929 when the two parties signed
    the Lateran Treaty which said, “hey, we’re chill,” in exchange for money, a recognized
    sovereign state, and a free railroad. The Vatican rail line originates in Rome at
    a nearby rail station, curves off over a viaduct, then enters the state through a 35 ton iron
    gate that’s closed when there’s no traffic to keep Italy from invading by train which
    I guess was a concern? Immediately on the other side of the wall
    is the Vatican City train station. While this whole branch is run by the country,
    only about 200 feet of track are actually within the Vatican which definitively makes
    this the smallest national railroad in the world. You could walk from one end of the line to
    the other faster than you could walk to the moon. This railroad has been occasionally used by
    Popes to get to the Papal summer palace south-east of Rome, but nowadays its main purpose is
    to get food and supplies in and out of the country without having to drive trucks through
    the crowded streets of Rome. With the exception of a once-weekly train
    for tourists, there are no scheduled passenger trains to the station. If you become the next Pope and decide to
    extend the rail line to two or maybe even three stations there are a lot of things you’re
    going to need to learn like which bank angle to use so that trains can go around curves
    without derailing, how much to adjust timetables to account for slower running during repair
    work, and how to open the Vatican’s secret underworld housing the real Slim Shady. Luckily, you can learn two of those three
    things in’s classical mechanics course. This course, like all Brilliant courses, makes
    learning complex topics simple by first breaking concepts down into their intuitive principles
    then combining those to build up to the answer. It’s seriously the best way to learn. If classical mechanics isn’t your thing,
    they have loads of other courses on topics like probability, astronomy, machine learning,
    and my favorite, logic. Best of all, you can try Brilliant for free
    by going to and then the first 424 people to use that link will also
    get 20% off their annual premium subscription.

    Workin’ on the Railroad: CSX Careers | Fast Forward
    Articles, Blog

    Workin’ on the Railroad: CSX Careers | Fast Forward

    August 8, 2019

    On Fast Forward, we’ve met environmental
    engineers, process engineers, acoustic engineers, mechanical engineers,
    electrical engineers, structural design engineers, technical development
    engineers, flight control systems engineers, agricultural engineers, civil
    engineers, and industrial engineers… Just to name a few. But we just found one kind of engineer we haven’t met yet. Today’s the day! Today, Fast Forward is visiting CSX, a company that combines cutting edge technology with one of the nation’s most
    established modes of transportation. CSX is the biggest railroad east of the
    Mississippi, with more than 3000 people across the state of Georgia working on
    the railroad. So I’ll let them tell you a little more about the place. CSX hauls freight anywhere from grain, ethanol, propane, gasoline, plastics… Just about anything that you would come in contact with on a daily basis was hauled by a train across the United States. We mainly deliver for the east coast. We run as far south as Florida, all the way up to Canada. Everything you see within this room, within in your classrooms, where you’re at at one time or one form is probably riding on one of our trains. And it’s how I make my living Nice! So how big is this operation? CSX operates 36,000 miles of track throughout its 23 state network. 36,000 miles?! That’s a lot of track to–well keep track of. And CSX employees actually weld
    all those rails together. A little help?? That’s Cullen’s expertise there. Then he’s the perfect person to tell us about the different types of welding. The electrical welding is what everybody thinks of when we when we talk about
    welding. That’s where they’re striking the arc and you see the guys wearing a
    welding hoods and what not. Thermite welding is pretty railroad specific. Thermite welding? It’s actually a chemical reaction. What we do is in order to make the rail bond, we have to heat the rail ends up 800 degrees and that gets the metal consistency where we need to let the molten steel bond to it. But the actual thermite itself is a powder. It’s aluminum oxide and iron ore powder. And we use a magnesium starter and that ignites it. And once it ignites, the chemical
    reaction actually produces so much heat that it melts the steel. The pure iron will drop down into the mold in between the two rails, fuse them
    together and it makes our rail the clickety-clack. And the joints, they’re out there we get rid all that. We make it a smooth transition. It’s no more speed bumps for the trains. Now if only you could do something
    about those speed traps. So tell me about the trains. The lightest rail car that we have is over 15 tons. And that is one car. So a standard freight train could haul
    over a hundred cars, could be tens of thousands of tons. CSX trains, depending on the track,
    passenger trains from travel up to 79 miles an hour. The larger locomotives are rated for up
    to 4,000 horsepower. Your smaller locomotives can range anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 horsepower. That’s a lot of horsepower. And speaking of that… time for a teachable moment. Horsepower is simply a way of measuring power. And to understand exactly what power is, you need to start with force, which is the push or pull exerted on an object
    measured in Newtons. When you measure that force over a distance, such as the energy it takes to move a 50,000 ton train a thousand miles, you get the work measured in joules. And when you measure that work over a period of time, you get the power. Or in this case, horsepower. That’s a cow. Better! Anyhow… Inventor James Watt first coined the term
    “horsepower” back in the 18th century while looking for a way to measure the
    power of his steam engine. Because there was no accepted unit of measurement at
    the time, he used horses as a benchmark for comparison. Therefore one unit of horsepower
    equals the average effort generated by a single draft horse. Later, a different unit of measure was developed that could be used in
    conjunction with the metric system. This new unit was named the watt, after James Watt. And 761 watts are about equal to one unit of horsepower. Sorry, guys. so what kinds of jobs do you have here at CSX? The railroad has jobs available for
    all aspects of talent. We look for people that are high school graduates all the way up to college graduates. We can start off with conductors, yard masters. You have train masters,
    you have terminal superintendents division managers and you even have other departments such as safety, health and environment. We even have personnel here that do personal training for us. So a lot of opportunity. And CSX is also a great place to work if
    your future includes military service. Military has become a very important part of CSX And the people that come from the military have a discipline that is needed to work
    in the railroad industry. In fact one out of every five CSX employees
    has a military background. Anyone? I am actually in the Army Reserves. The US Army National Guard. I went in the military. I got the GI Bill.
    And now I’m utilizing it. I’m working here for CSX and getting my
    college paid for by the GI Bill. So after high school, whether you’re heading to the military or college or getting straight to work, CSX could work for you. I really enjoy watching the young
    people come through here. We have men, as well as women, that are very well trained and good at their job. You know the biggest benefit of working for CSX is that you know that you’re working for a company that’s making a contribution. A company that is that is really
    helping to drive our economy. As the railroad goes, so does our American economy and so does the Georgia economy. I think the opportunities here
    are beyond the limits. Limits never pay too much attention, which is probably why Fast Forward and
    CSX are such a great match. Right now, I’ve got a train to catch. But I’ll see you on another episode of Fast Forward.