1. The Doobie Brothers: Long Train Running 

Warm-up exercise: Watch and listen to this song Long Train Running by The Doobie Brothers. It was a hit in the USA in 1973 and then later in some European countries. Can you fill in the missing words?   

Down around the corner, half a ......... from here
See them long trains run, and you watch them .....................
Without love, .......... would you be now
Without lo-o-o-ove

You know I saw miss Lucy down .......... the tracks
She lost her home and her ............... and she won't be coming back
Without love, .......... would you be right now
Without lo-o-o-ove

Well the Illinois Central
And the .......... Central Freight
Got to keep on .......... mama
You know they're .......... late
Without love, .......... would you be now
Without lo-o-o-ve

Well the Illinois Central
And the ............. Central Freight
Got to keep on ........... ' mama
You know they're ............. late
Without love, .......... would you be now
Without lo-o-o-ve

Well the ........... keep on turning
And the ..........  go round and round
The steel rails are ........... and hard…

2. Oxford University Physics Department

How Does "Maglev" Work 

Dr Andrew Steele from the Physics Department of Oxford University explains, how a Maglev train works. Perhaps you already know. But can you listen to him anyway and answer the following questions:  

1. What kind of "......... board" did they build at the Physics Department? 

2. What are superconductors? How do they work? 

3. To what temperature did Dr Steele cool down the superconductor?

4. How can you make a superconductor more stable in relation to the magnetic track? Note: it is called "flux pinning", but I want to know, how they achieved it at the Physics  Department...

5. What are the two main DISADVANTAGES that Dr Andrew Steele names in connection with superconductors? 

In case you are interested in getting some more information on the Maglev technology and how it is already used in real life, this video should answer some of the basic questions:

3. The World's Longest Railroad Networks  

Click on the image below. Study the well-respected website Railway Technology. Among other documents and analyses, it publishes a list of the longest railway networks in the world with some basic information about them. Prepare answers to the following questions

1. Which country has the 3rd longest railway network?

2. How long is the German railway network as compared to that of China? 

3. How many zones are there in the Indian railway network and how many trains does the network operate per day? 

4. How many high-speed lines does Canada have?

5. Who owns most of the railways network in Australia? 

6. What is the main problem with the Russian Sapsan high-speed rail service between Moscow and St. Petersburg?

Assignment:  Which information on the webpage surprised you? Which do you find most interesting? Please explain why.

Railway Tracks Nature

4. US high-speed railway network 

Watch this video and answer the following questions. There is more than just one-sentence answers to all of them. So, please, do not limit yourself to just one sentence, try to be more eloquent       

1. Where (in which states) are the existing high-speed rail projects already under-way or in final stages of preparation? Which cities  do they plan to connect? 

2. What train technology are they planning to use? How long should they be?

3. What are the main obstacles for the existing high-speed rail projects in the USA?

Special assignment: explain briefly what the situation like of high-speed rail projects in your own country.  Or, alternatively, in the country where you are currently residing.

5. KiwiRail on Rail Safety

KiwiRail is is a New Zealand state-owned railway company. Watch  their safety video. Prepare a short statement  no shorter than 30 and longer than 60 seconds. Do you think such initiatives are effective? If yes, why? If not, why not?  

6. European Rail Traffic Management System

This is an explanatory video by the European Union Agency for Railways about the ERTMS. Please, watch and take notes. Then explain in no less than 30 and not more 60 seconds, what ERTMS is, what are its objectives, and why it is needed.   

Note:  This video is an example of "Eurospeak", language used by professional bureaucrats and experts that is very often difficult to understand, let alone "translate". 

7. The Topic for This  Week's Essay:

Railways And Trains: Another Look

I took these photos while traveling on the Trans-Siberian Railway between the cities of Krasnodarsk and Irkutsk. It was a very inspiring, interesting, yet tiring and after some time boring experience.

I have been traveling on trains most of my life, sometimes more sometimes less often. Most of the time I used the railway as the most convenient and economic means of transport, but quite often I went by train to be able to work, observe, meet people. 

So, for me, the debate about the future of railways is about more than just economy, environment, and safety.  It is about traveling in a way that can be an experience in itself (as well as traveling on foot, by car, or by air). And I always try to make the journey  learning as much as traveling experience. 

What do you think about train travel?  Please, write an essay of not less and not more than 500 words and send it by e-mail by Friday, November 20th, 6 pm CET.   

Possible questions you may want to concentrate on: 

1.  Do you remember the first time you took a train? Where and when was it?

2. Have you traveled by train often in the past? Are you still travelling by train?

- If yes, how often? Is it something you are looking forward to?   

- If not, why? Because you do not like it and avoid it? Or just because it is not convenient? 

3. Is there a railway you would like to experience? E. g. Trans-Siberian, One of the Trans-continental railroads in the USA? Why?

4. What do you think about the future of railways - in your own country, in Europe, and in the world?  

8. Just for Fun: