My million dollar plan.

by Awais Leghari

Considering the fact that I have been able to convince myself that I am going to share my ‘million dollar plan’ with the world, it’s either me being not confident and telling you that it’s not a million dollar plan, or simply that I am giving the world a generous gift.

You all can thank me later.

Transportation is one of the most important part of the economic wheel. After all, without movement, materials cannot be processed, products cannot be made or delivered and people cannot get to their workplaces to run the world in the first place. Trains once revolutionised the transportation sector and also played a vital role in the Industrial Revolution boom. When Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour visited England before rising to prominence in the Italian state of Piedmont, he was impressed by two particular things; the banking structure and the train transportation system. Later, he would use these trains to ship French soldiers into Piedmontese borders to ward off the assault from Austria and to launch their own. India’s puppetry under the British administration gave it the benefit of a well established train transportation network from which both Pakistan and India today benefit.

That’s just a little on how important the trains are, but what is my plan?

My plan is slightly inspired by the current environmental woes in the world, but isn’t exactly too much of an environmentally friendly idea.

Trains today can waste a lot of fuel when they stop between one station to another. Although it’s obvious because that’s how it is supposed to be, but in my opinion, ‘stopping’ can be avoided. When a train stops and if it’s engines are still engaged, then they’re consuming fuel. It takes some good 2-5 minutes for people to unload and then another good 10 minutes for people to load again. Let assume that the train stops for 15 minutes in total for unloading and loading. When the train starts to move again, it has to do some work against static friction, which has obviously increased when the train is fully loaded as it goes by the formula “F = μ R” – where F equals ‘Frictional force’, μ equals the ‘friction constant’ and R equals the ‘ vertical Reaction force’. Vertical Reaction Force is dependant on the weight of the body and the weight has increased when there are more passengers in the train. Furthermore, the cables holding all the bogies of the train into one body also experience forces of tension, against which the train’s engine must work. All this can consume a significant amount of fuel and it takes more time for the train to reach the desired speed because now Inertia comes into play.

Train 1 copy


If somehow, we could solve the problem of the train stopping and moving again between destinations, not only would we able to save a lot of time for travelling but also help curb fuel consumption to some extent. Any fuel consumption curb is better than none in an environmentally challenged world of today.

I think I have a potential solution to this supposed ‘problem’. We can make use of alternate bogies, but this idea would be practically implementable on an open train platform and not in a subway train system. But what are alternate bogies?

Alternate bogies can be connected with the main track via a small sub track. These bogies are simple bogies without engines, however, they’re fully functional. People can be instructed to arrive at the train station some time before the train’s arrival, so that the administration can help people get into these alternate bogies in the meantime. When the train arrives, it doesn’t stop and instead, it slows down it’s speed considerably. As the speed slows down, the bogy already connected with the train dispatches onto another sub-track and the bogy filled with people for the next destination is geared, motioned and latched onto the train’s engine body. After a solid connection is confirmed, the train can roar ahead and move back to it’s normal speed.

train 2


This method would require significant initial investment in the form of sub-tracks and new bogies, but the system can be very effective. As mentioned before, the train wouldn’t need to stop, increasing time and fuel efficiency. Furthermore, it also provides a more ‘modern’ outlook to a train system which is always a plus for any city.

So that is my million dollar plan. You may think it sucks, but it actually can be an extremely practical application.