LABIS High Speed Train - Frequently Asked Questions

How do you safely board/debark passengers without stopping?

A shuttle vehicle picks up passengers in city A, waits on a side-track until the train goes by, switches onto the mainline, overtakes and docks with the train, discharges passengers from city A, takes off passengers for city B, then uncouples from the train and proceeds into city B.

What makes LABIS safer than other systems?

Wheels on other systems are set relatively close together under a wide, high, heavy body resulting in a high center of gravity over a narrow support system and very poor lateral stability. In even low speed collisions or derailments the cars tend to roll onto their side tossing passengers about the interior. This rolling action is responsible for most injuries in these cases.

The LABIS vehicle is built wide and low with the wheels out to the sides and this design very greatly reduces the tendency to roll. A scale model has been de-railed hundreds of times and has never rolled.

LABIS runs on a dedicated, elevated guideway above random surface hazards and which makes it practically an all-weather system.

The elevated guideway enables the use of an electronic hazard detecting and guideway condition warning system that looks miles ahead of the train and warns of dangerous situations in time to stop the train.

These features will make LABIS safer than most other forms of transportation.

Nearly all passenger carrying systems are subsidized. Why will LABIS be profitable and self-sufficient?

LABIS's wide-body design provides for much higher seating density than is possible in other systems. Being built using the light, strong monocoque construction techniques employed in modern aircraft fabrication, it will be light. The higher seating density coupled with it's lighter weight will provide a vehicle-to-payload weight ratio of about two-to-one. That may be compared to the about forty-to-one ratio of an average AMTRAK train carrying it's average load.

Operated in conjunction with its Metro People Moving mode, it can provide nation-wide door-to-door service cheaper than the cost of operating an automobile and much, much faster! For example, from home in suburban Chicago to an appointment in downtown St Louis should take about two hours and cost, perhaps, $65.

It will be possible to adjust the trains size to match expected loads without stopping it.

The increased speed, safety and convenience represented by these things, along with the low fares, will result in the high ridership that will make LABIS profitable.

Do you really expect to run on two hundred mph schedules?

Yes. The wide, low profile of the vehicles is a proven high speed design. As powered it will be capable of much higher speeds but considerations of wheel/rail wear underlines the advisability of the more conservative two hundred mph operation. Also, at 200 mph, some thirty-five to forty miles of track will be required between stations to safely accomplish the docking necessary to the passenger boarding/debarking procedures. As speed is increased, so is the distance between stations, thus reducing the number of stations that can be served.

Will LABIS use existing rails?

No. The narrow gauge, or distance apart (56.5 inches) of the rails on existing tracks constitutes a substantial barrier to the design/development of safe, high-speed passenger transport. The extremely poor lateral stability associated with vehicles twelve to sixteen feet high and ten feet wide weighing 50 to 200 tons tottering along on wheels set 4 feet 8 1/2 inches apart is abundantly obvious. The poor lateral stability caused by the relatively narrow gauge will continue to impose limits to the safe operation of passenger vehicles on these lines into the foreseeable future.

The obvious solution is simply to put the rails farther apart.

The cost to build appropriately wide gauge guideways may be brought into perspective by considering the cost of attempting to up-grade existing track to safely support 200 mph service or to build guideways for some of the 'new' technology's being proposed. It is highly probable that the LABIS guideway will be considerably less expensive to build than improving existing lines to safely support 100 mph traffic!

To start on 4%+ and run over 6%+ grades sounds pretty ambitious. How can this be done?

The performance on specified grades depends on the force available to move the vehicle and the ability to exert that force through steel wheels on steel rails. It's called tractive effort.

The formula for tractive effort shows it directly dependent upon both bearing pressure and bearing area. In past rail designs bearing pressure has been emphasized and enhanced by building heavier engines. We will increase tractive effort by furnishing driving wheels on every car , thus greatly increasing total bearing area. Preliminary calculations indicate that the 4% and 6% grade performance, without traction enhancement (sanding) are conservative for LABIS.

How will the Metro People-Mover (MPM) work?

Small (15 to 20) passenger vehicles will be tracked by locators which will continuously report their position, load and next destination by radio to a central computer. The customer dials access to the computer, and enters his/her present location and destination. The computer dispatches nearest vehicle with the required seating space to the pick-up for delivery to nearest LABIS station.

Won't LABIS require extensive research to make it practical?

We already have the skills and knowledge to do everything that's required. As with any existing or experimental system that has the slightest chance of providing the features and performance we claim, some development effort will be required. But we suggest that the effort required will be less with the LABIS concept than that required to produce a real-world compatible system through any other known approach.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Call Raymond Lashley at (970) 243-1849 or write to him at: 2874 C1/2 Road, Grand Junction, CO. 81501; E -Mail:


Last modified: November 20, 1998