Solution to: Train Trouble
Let the length of the bridge be x meters.
Running towards the train, Charles covers 0.5x-10 meters in the time that the train travels x-4 meters. Running away from the train, Charles covers 0.5x+2 meters in the time that the train travels 2x-8 meters.
Because their speeds are constant, the following holds:
(0.5x-10) / (x-4) = (0.5x+2) / (2x-8)
which can be rewritten to
0.5x2 - 24x + 88 = 0
Using the quadratic formula we find that x=44, so the railway-bridge has a length of 44 meters.