How does the Gautrain work?

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Offline thedoc

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How does the Gautrain work?
« on: 08/07/2015 02:50:01 »
ZetZee asked the Naked Scientists:
I was on the Gautrain recently and noticed that whilst its travelling underground, the speed is phenominal, however as soon as it approaches the open area it noticably slows down.  What causes this?
What do you think?
« Last Edit: 08/07/2015 02:50:01 by _system »


Offline evan_au

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Re: How does the Gautrain work?
« Reply #1 on: 08/07/2015 11:51:47 »
Quote from: ZetZee
the speed is phenomenal, however as soon as it approaches the open area it noticeably slows down...
How were you measuring the speed - was there a speed display in the carriage?

If you are relying on the speed at which landmarks pass the windows, lights in the tunnel (close to the carriage) will flash by at the Gautrain's rated 160km/h.

However, in open country, your eye may be drawn to distant landmarks like mountains, which don't move very quickly across your field of view, even at the same 160km/h.

So I think that this is merely an illusion; for a fairer measurement, compare the passing lights in the tunnel with the passing poles holding up the wires, in open areas.