Serving the Acoustics Community Since 1994
Cross-Spectrum Acoustics Inc. offers Sound & Vibration Consulting Services
I saw a demo of this system back in 1994. Unfortunately the engineers didn’t give any detailed information on the system, but it seemed to work as advertised. One thing that the article doesn’t mention is that the active suspension also enables the car to take corners much more smoothly. I remember one engineer mentioned that test drivers had to be careful because the system kept the car level even during high-speed cornering — the lack of “feel” meant that the driver could unknowingly push the car beyond it’s cornering limit.
After the demo, I never really thought much about the system until I started learning about the mechanics behind train vibration (PDF, see sections 22.214.171.124 and up). Basically the suspension on a railroad truck is (kinda-sorta-but-not-really) similar to a car suspension, and the unsprung weight of the wheel rolling on rough tracks causes vibration. The heavy mass of the unsprung weight causes the high vibration levels, and the primary suspension resonance affects the characteristics of the vibration.
So what if you could adapt the Bose system for trains? I know, it’s impractical for any number of reasons (cost for one, complexity and durability for another) but if you can actively control the suspension, you could (I think) dramatically reduce the wayside vibration from the train. I think someone at Bose needs to talk to someone at TTCI.