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posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday December 06 2017, @06:24AM   Printer-friendly
from the quite-the-charge(r) dept.

Siemens SC-44 Charger seen rolled out across country to replace some older locomotives for corridor work.

The new Siemens Charger locomotives, with 16-cylinder, 4,400-horsepower engines, are both lighter and quieter, and meet EPA emission standards. The trains will travel the same speed as before—79 miles per hour—but they'll reach the top speed faster.

The new locomotives can also take you to from Chicago to Detroit, or Chicago to St. Louis, for example, and they can do it using one-third the fuel, emitting one-tenth the pollution, and at speeds up to 125 miles per hour. (The Chicago-St. Louis route has been cut from 5-1/2 hours to 4-1/2 hours thanks to the new engines and track improvements.

"A lot of our customers care about the earth and about pollution, and these are so much cleaner to operate, and they're better for our partners at IDOT and the customers because they're going to cost less to operate in that they get better mileage," said Marc Magliari, Amtrak spokesman.

Just saw one while I was out for a cigar and thought it was pretty cool, I figure others might find it interesting as well. I have been taking my kids to go watch them do trackwork on the north-south line in Oregon and was wondering why they were so extensive in replacing all of the old ties. Although the speed limit is 79 I wonder if this will be increased with updated track and new locomotives. Here is hoping someone models it soon so I can waste money.
4400 horsepower, top speed of 125, and meets EPA Tier VI emission standards.

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  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06 2017, @07:45AM (12 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06 2017, @07:45AM (#606027)

    Students get tracked from before they even reach secondary education. Lots of them are diverted off to non-college tracks. They get trained to do stuff like plumbing.

    Is that what you want? A young c0lo would have been happy with "sorry you didn't make the test scores -- how about training to be a roofer instead", right? There will always be a need for resource allocation; leftist government just makes it non-monetary, at least not counting bribes.

    It's funny you should admire the German policy. Perhaps you were unaware of the tracking? The left got all upset when Trump family members dared to suggest that college might not be for everybody. That's how it is in Germany.

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  • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday December 06 2017, @08:07AM (8 children)

    by c0lo (156) on Wednesday December 06 2017, @08:07AM (#606035)

    It's funny you should admire the German policy. Perhaps you were unaware of the tracking?

    Citation needed.
    The way I read, Germany offers tertiary education [] free of charge [] even to international students [].
    It makes no sense to block access to their own citizens.

    • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06 2017, @08:34AM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06 2017, @08:34AM (#606041)

      Citation given, even though you were rude to not visit yourself: []

      So 4 years of school with everybody, and then the kids are split 3 ways. Only a third of the kids go on to college. That saves money! Some of the German states ignore parents who object to a child's track. Those in the lower tracks are more likely to be poor and/or immigrants. Socialism is not utopia.

      Going to college is mostly only available if you are in the upper track. That is the only track that leads to taking the expected test, and the only track that would cover all the material for that test. There are some alternate tests that can sometimes be used; international students could take them.

      More: []

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by c0lo on Wednesday December 06 2017, @09:20AM

        by c0lo (156) on Wednesday December 06 2017, @09:20AM (#606049)

        even though you were rude to not visit yourself:

        Rude? I deny that. Lazy at best.

        Citation given,

        Thanks for it.


        Let me tell you my life experience in regards with the education, in my native country, under a communist regime:
        - faculties were having a limited number of openings for students every year;
        - neither the results one obtained during high-school nor the mark one obtained at the baccalaureate exam mattered for the admission as a student
        - what mattered was the total mark obtained by sitting the admission exams (3 of them in 3 consecutive days). Each faculty would craft the exam subjects of their own, in fact deciding their own "ideal profile of a student".
        - the faculty I chose (and then graduated) had 400 places and 12 candidates for each of them. The reality was for each admitted student, 11 other candidates were rejected. For other faculties (e.g. medicine) the competition went as far as 30 candidates for one spot.
        In the case you failed the exam, tough, do what you want for the year and try again. Or use your high school diploma and get a low to medium qualified job (would I have not been admitted into university, I could have started as a low level electrician).

        Ah, yes, for high school it was the same - the only difference was that the exams were crafted at national level, on bands/tracks. Coulnd't get a place in high school? If lucky, you'd be directed to another, less prestigious, high school. If none found, a vocational/trade school then. In any case, no matter which track, 12 years of schooling was mandatory.

      • (Score: 2, Informative) by c0lo on Wednesday December 06 2017, @10:16AM

        by c0lo (156) on Wednesday December 06 2017, @10:16AM (#606064)

        From the linked:

        Turner's daughter is 9-years-old and will be placed on a track soon. If she isn’t recommended for Gymnasium, the university track, Turner and her husband could decide to ignore the suggestion and send her there anyway. In the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the government recently granted parents the right to make that choice.

        Limited choice, I know, but not all is that bleak.

    • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06 2017, @09:25AM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06 2017, @09:25AM (#606051)

      Always, everywhere there is "rationing" in the sense that universities have a certain capacity. There's only so many professors to go around, you cannot increase student numbers forever. The US selects through tuition fees and entrance exams. Germany selects through final grades of secondary education, seldomly through additional entrance exams, and for a very few subjects there is a nationwide waiting list (based on secondary education grades and waiting time).

      Yes, in Germany there are some "selection points" earlier during the school system. Most German states have (up to three) parallel tracks in secondary education, with different focus. The basic idea is that a future university student needs a different kind of schooling (content, methods) than a future master carpenter (which is an official degree here), and again different from a future factory worker. And let's be honest: not everybody is the brightest candle on the cake and can take the same schooling ... so why not acknowledge that and prepare everybody as best we can for their future lives?

      That being said: there's *always* a possibility to reach higher, you are not forever-doomed to your track. Everybody, at any time, can switch to a different school type and continue from there. But you have to learn the same stuff as the others there, and prove it in the same tests, and they had a head start. The tuition (always for kids, otherwise mostly) and the testing (always) is free of charge. Obviously it's still difficult, but it *is* possible and it is being done, in both directions. Universities require you to have completed the "university track" with acceptable grades ... *OR MASTER AN TEST* after which it's the same as if you had been in the "university track" secondary school all along.

      So yes, there's *is* early selection, and there undeniably are some drawbacks to that. But so far our it's been working out quite well .... :-P
      And it's DEFINITELY NOT the kind of Stalinist "the-state-determines-your-life" rationing that the grandparent's propaganda would lead you to believe.

      I am German, so you may take the factual parts above as a citation.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06 2017, @09:42AM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06 2017, @09:42AM (#606055)

        Is it good for anything? Could you get something like a PhD (the German equivalent) in something utterly worthless?

        Is the state willing to fund a decade of studying one of: feminist line dances, American football, communication with spirits, lesbian guitar songs, or the proper installation of toilet paper rolls?

        If not, how do they say "NO" to that?

        • (Score: 2, Insightful) by c0lo on Wednesday December 06 2017, @10:34AM (1 child)

          by c0lo (156) on Wednesday December 06 2017, @10:34AM (#606072)

          If not, how do they say "NO" to that?

          I reckon it's very simple: the universities, being non-for-profit institutions, trade in prestige - the better prepared graduates, the higher number of students will ask for them. I know, this centuries old traditionalism looks a bit out of fashion for the modern American.

          Anyway, back on track: one doesn't get much academic prestige if one engages in American football or communication with spirits.

          Ah, for the sports - there are academic institutions dedicated to these kind of studies. I reckon it wouldn't be uncommon for athletes that didn't reach a point allowing them to earn their living from sport to seek a tertiary education in this area. But, apart from this case, I guarantee you, the choice of a student of which university/institute to attend is in no way determined by the results of their "football" team.
          So most universities don't maintain a "professional level" sport team. True, they'll have facilities for anyone willing to play a sport as an amateur, but... "sports scholarships"? A waste of money

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06 2017, @09:08PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06 2017, @09:08PM (#606404)

            We have people who waste money on useless degrees. Some of them are very seriously stupid. No normal business finds value in an African Poetry graduate. That doesn't help design a truck, remove a cancer, or formulate gasoline. It doesn't do shit.

            If the USA taxed people to pay for college, we'd have even more people getting useless degrees. There would be zero fear of being unable to pay back loans. There would be very little pressure from parents to chose a useful subject to study.

      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday December 06 2017, @10:19AM

        by c0lo (156) on Wednesday December 06 2017, @10:19AM (#606065)

        Grateful for it, always good to have a first hand insight.

  • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by Grishnakh on Wednesday December 06 2017, @04:12PM (2 children)

    by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday December 06 2017, @04:12PM (#606176)

    What are you whining about? It's not that different in the US: haven't you heard of SAT and ACT tests? You have to get good enough scores on those to be admitted to a university, plus they have additional admissions requirements. The German system just starts the process earlier, and pushes kids to go into the trades earlier if they're better suited for that, instead of stupidly assuming that everyone can do college, or should. As a result, we have a serious lack of people in the skilled trades here, a problem they don't have in Germany, and we also have a ton of 20-somethings with utterly useless college degrees and gigantic student loans.

    As for "the left" being upset, the left is a very large field, and most of them (the voting ones at least) don't buy into the extremist bullshit that some college students are into these days. As for the Trump family members, most of them don't seem to be smart enough for college, and really should be doing other jobs, like cleaning toilets.

    • (Score: 2) by t-3 on Wednesday December 06 2017, @09:38PM (1 child)

      by t-3 (4907) on Wednesday December 06 2017, @09:38PM (#606425) Journal

      The US also does a lot of the track type stuff, at least when I was in school. I wasn't allowed to take the vocational classes because my test scores were too high and "you have to go to college!".

      • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Wednesday December 06 2017, @10:29PM

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday December 06 2017, @10:29PM (#606451)

        Yep. The deal in the US is that things aren't very standardized at all, since schools are locally-run, with some direction from their state, but very little from the federal government. So as you found out, some school systems had systems that resembled Germany's in some ways, though other people will have different experiences. The high school I went to had several different tracks too, one for AP classes (only for some subjects), one for college-bound kids, one for kids bound for trade school, and one for special-ed kids. It wasn't impossible to take vo-tech classes if you were college-bound, but it was very difficult because of the requirements you had to meet to graduate, and the availability and scheduling of various classes, made it difficult to actually fit them in.