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Old 10.06.2011, 12:10
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The Swiss Gyrobus- gyroscope powered bus!

Internet meanderings brought me to reading up on gyroscopes recently, which brought me to Eric Laithwaite's lecture to youngsters in 1974 on the very peculiar qualities of these objects (some kind soul has posted the whole lecture on Youtube), and finally I found out that our dear hosts had been quite creative in the 1950s and produced a bus powered by a giant gyroscope.



There she is in Yverdon spinning up the gyro at a charging station. It had a range of about 6km, with traffic stops accounted for, between spin-ups.

Not practical in the end, but fascinating that such an odd creation would be put on the road in what is regarded as a particularly stuffy and stubborn old fashioned country.

The monster gyro:



and a nice article on the bus.

Any old timers here remember or perhaps take a ride on this bus?
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Old 10.06.2011, 12:36
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Re: The Swiss Gyrobus- gyroscope powered bus!

Not soo much a old-timer you young whipper-snapper, but I do remember riding in one of them, (dont nail me where) somewhere in north Germany.
This had a slightly different system where at the busstop there would be a mechanism to spin the gyro from underneath.
Seems that the things had a lot of difficulty turning and the fear was that the gyro would go AWOL.
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Old 10.06.2011, 12:47
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Re: The Swiss Gyrobus- gyroscope powered bus!

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Seems that the things had a lot of difficulty turning and the fear was that the gyro would go AWOL.
The article said they were strange to drive, but the ride was nice from all the stabilizing from the gyro. Now, a 1.5 ton gyro rotor on the loose would be a frightening thing! The whole concept is built on the stored energy in the rotor, which if it is sufficient for several kms of bus service must be immense.
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Old 10.06.2011, 13:48
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Re: The Swiss Gyrobus- gyroscope powered bus!

Well, I'm old enough to remember the hype. The gyrobus was said to be THE means of public transportation of the future, just like nuclear fusion being the future source of energy, making all hydro-electric plants redundant by the early sixties (nineteen-sixties, mind you).

Sometimes it's fun to re-read old popular science magazines with all those predictions that never panned out. However, sometimes reading old "real" science magazines is even more fun. Today's science often is tomorrow's unintentional humor.

The gyroscope system was used on railroad switching engines too, where it was less awkward to handle, because turns to be made are much rarer and less narrow on rails than on streets.
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Old 10.06.2011, 13:50
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Re: The Swiss Gyrobus- gyroscope powered bus!

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1.5 ton gyro rotor on the loose would be a frightening thing!
I can just picture a bus full of passengers careening down the road like a taz.devil
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Old 10.06.2011, 13:53
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Re: The Swiss Gyrobus- gyroscope powered bus!

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I can just picture a bus full of passengers careening down the road like a taz.devil
The mysterious power of a rotating object- even overcomes the energy of small children .

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Old 10.06.2011, 14:06
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Re: The Swiss Gyrobus- gyroscope powered bus!

Fribourg has an upper town and a lower town, there is a funicular train similar to many in the world, only this one uses sewage water! Water is poured in at the top and the train operated. It is definitely a bit smelly at the bottom station where the water ballast is emptied.
http://www.seilbahn-nostalgie.ch/fribourg.html
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Old 10.06.2011, 14:10
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Re: The Swiss Gyrobus- gyroscope powered bus!

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Fribourg has an upper town and a lower town, there is a funicular train similar to many in the world, only this one uses sewage water! Water is poured in at the top and the train operated. It is definitely a bit smelly at the bottom station where the water ballast is emptied.
http://www.seilbahn-nostalgie.ch/fribourg.html
Goes to show that sometimes a sh1tty idea works out in the end .
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Old 10.06.2011, 14:41
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Re: The Swiss Gyrobus- gyroscope powered bus!

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The mysterious power of a rotating object- even overcomes the energy of small children .
And big children!

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Old 10.06.2011, 14:42
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Re: The Swiss Gyrobus- gyroscope powered bus!

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Well, I'm old enough to remember the hype. The gyrobus was said to be THE means of public transportation of the future, just like nuclear fusion being the future source of energy, making all hydro-electric plants redundant by the early sixties (nineteen-sixties, mind you).

Sometimes it's fun to re-read old popular science magazines with all those predictions that never panned out. However, sometimes reading old "real" science magazines is even more fun. Today's science often is tomorrow's unintentional humor.

The gyroscope system was used on railroad switching engines too, where it was less awkward to handle, because turns to be made are much rarer and less narrow on rails than on streets.
Don't be too sure it won't be the means of public transportation in the future. Perhaps not in the same way as in the article above, but certainly in terms of energy storage. Although the KERS (kinetic energy recovery systems) deployed in Formula 1 cars at the moment use electric storage in capacitors, flywheel systems have been developed. In fact there's a car running at le Mans this weekend with just such a system. It's even Swiss!
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Old 10.06.2011, 14:45
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Re: The Swiss Gyrobus- gyroscope powered bus!

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The mysterious power of a rotating object- even overcomes the energy of small children .
In my elementary school playground, we had this enormous welded-pipe and chain contraption that we called "The Witches Hat". It looked quite a lot like that rim of the hat were two concentric pipe circles connected to the top of a tall pole via chains. It was possible to spin this thing at quite a good rate if a kid held one of the outer pipe circles and then held onto the central pole. It was then possible to load the outer pipe circle with willing volunteers who were then spun at a high rate until they eventually flew off into the grass (or the chain link fence for those with poor timing skills). It was very popular with the kids. Not so much with the parents. Passing that school recently, I noticed, with sadness, it was gone, along with many of the other "dangerous" playground items.
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Old 10.06.2011, 15:27
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Re: The Swiss Gyrobus- gyroscope powered bus!

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And big children!
The russian response..

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Old 10.06.2011, 19:51
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Re: The Swiss Gyrobus- gyroscope powered bus!

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I
Not practical in the end, but fascinating that such an odd creation would be put on the road in what is * regarded as a particularly stuffy and stubborn old fashioned country.
* I think you forgot to add "allegedly" and "arguably"

Thanks for the post. Really cute that bus. (off to find out what is a gyroscope )
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Old 13.06.2011, 20:11
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Re: The Swiss Gyrobus- gyroscope powered bus!

Thanks for posting. BTW I contributed to the linked article so its nice to see it getting a bit of publicity.

It may be easy to laugh at the optimism of yesteryear, but even today hardly a month goes by without some bright spark suggesting an idea not too similar to this, totally unaware that it was already tried 50 years ago.
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