Sunday, June 13, 2010

Another one of those geeky moments

Been a while since the last one that I wrote about. Yesterday, I managed to identify a train from 2 miles away by nothing but sound.

So, I was out golfing. In the rain, which is not a lot of fun, but I had some good shots. The golf course is only about three miles from the train tracks, so I could hear trains when the rain was light.

At one point, I heard a train whistle to the southwest, then later to the southeast. The pitch shifted a bit between them, so I guessed, based on the Doppler effect, that the train had to be moving at a pretty decent clip.

Now, there's only two services that operate on that section of the Northeast Corridor. There's the Northeast Regional, the local service. However, it stops at Mystic and Westerly, just nine miles apart, and it's only two miles from the Mystic station. Therefore, it would not be at full speed when passing the course.

I, then made a guess that this train, which I could not see, was the only other service along that section of the NEC, the Acela Express, the high-speed service. What a geek I am.

I was, of course correct.

My reasoning was as follows: On weekends, no Acelas stop at nearby New London Union Station, so they have a straight-shot run at better than 110 mph from New Haven to Providence. This train, going northbound, left New Haven at 131 pm and did not stop until 307 at Providence. It was likely going around 120 mph when passing by, accounting for the pronounced Doppler effect.

2 comments:

Laura said...

When you say "Doppler Effect", I think "Big Bang Theory".

fencer_22 said...

how ironic is it that someone who thinks like Sherlock freeking Holmes knows someone named Moriarty? and why arnt you trying to become a private detective?