AERODYNAMIC testing of noise generated by shinkansen trains can now be undertaken in Japan Railway Technical Research Institute’s new wind tunnel at Maihara-cho. Work has already been carried out on JR West’s Series 500, and testing of components such as pantographs has proved particularly useful.Measuring the noise generated by air flow over a train or component profile is made possible by an extremely low level of noise in the anechoic test chamber, measuring 22m x 20m x 13 m high and lined with sound-absorbent material. Background noise is 75dB(A) at a wind velocity of 300 km/h.Measurement of aero-acoustic noise takes place with the wind tunnel in its open configuration; an 8m portion of the 228m circuit is open to the chamber where a sound level meter, linear array microphone and parabola microphone are deployed. A maximum wind velocity of 400 km/h is generated by a 5m diameter fan with 12 moving and 17 stator blades, which rotates at up to 550rev/min and is powered by a 7MW three-phase motor.With the wind tunnel in enclosed configuration, aerodynamic testing is undertaken at wind speeds of up to 300 km/h. To simulate air flows between moving vehicles and the ground, models are suspended over a belt measuring 6m x 2·7m which moves at up to 60m/s. Flow visualisation is achieved by means of a smoke generator, specialised lighting and video monitoring.Railway Technical Research Institute, Japan, Reader Enquiry Form Number 141CAPTION: The anechoic test chamber at Maihara-cho, with the wind tunnel in the open position for aero-acoustic noise testing. Models are placed on a raised platform in front of the smaller hood (right) Photo: RTRI
Amtrak has formed a Customer Advisory Committee in an effort to improve its understanding of ’customers’ needs and concerns’. A maximum of 31 members will represent Amtrak’s various corridor, long-distance and short-distance services. The 14-day advance purchase qualification for discounted Eurostar Day Trip tickets from London to Calais, Lille and Brussels was lifted from July 22 until August 31. The £69 Day Trip return fare to Paris, available Mondays to Thursdays, still required advance booking. After generating losses of nearly US$1·45m in 1996, the Warszawa – Sestokai – Tallinn Balti Ekspress was to cease running on September 1. Estonian Railway has been authorised by its operating partners to put operation of the service out to tender.German Railway’s Mecklenburg-Vorpommern region has named a Chemnitz – Rostock InterRegio train Müritz, bringing to 14 the number of named trains serving the region. Most names have cultural or geographical links to particular areas, a policy intended to publicise rail travel for tourist and leisure purposes.British Train Operating Company North West Trains has launched a web site with real-time train running information for all 303 NWT-managed stations. The site is managed by BR Business Systems, which is developing ticket retailing via the Internet (RG 3.97 p152).Rocky Mountaineer Railtours, operator of land cruise trains from Vancouver to Jasper, Banff and Calgary, has ordered three extra double-deck dome coaches for its GoldLeaf Service customers. Complementing an existing GoldLeaf car, the vehicles will feature an upper-deck saloon with panoramic windows and an observation platform, private dining room and galley on the lower deck.Czech Railways is to call tenders for a major redevelopment of Praha Hlavní station later this year. Financing may be raised in part by leasing commercial space to the private sector; earlier studies had put the cost of such a scheme in the region of KC10 to 13bn.German Railway and the news magazine Der Spiegel have launched a daily newspaper appearing at 16.00 Mondays-Fridays, aimed at business travellers on late-afternoon express trains. It is planned to double the initial weekly circulation of 30000 by October.West Anglia Great Northern is promoting tourist travel from London to Cambridge with a package of discounts on leisure activities in the historic university city. Bus tours, punt and bicycle hire are offered with up to 20% off when purchased in advance with rail tickets.London Underground has announced an £800000 package of security improvements for 54 station car parks, in conjunction with British Transport Police and operators Central Parking System UK, Meteor Parking and Contract Services. An average rise in charges of £0·40 per day will fund daytime attendants at locations with over 70 spaces, and improvements to lighting, fencing and surfaces.To cater for short-distance demand, Amtrak added a supplementary coach to the New York – New Orleans Crescent between Washington DC and Danville, Virginia, during August. Lower fares were charged for use of the high-capacity seats car, which was leased from local commuter rail operator Virginia Railway Express.