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Old February 1st, 2010, 05:36 PM   #141
sotavento
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Originally Posted by hammersklavier View Post
Wrong. Ever heard of Pacific Electric? One of the best interurban railways in the country, entirely dismantled by 1960.
Indeed I did hear from them ... long live (now defunct) GM and it's moronic economic practices.

Quote:
Both right and wrong. For passenger trains there might be more couplers than anyone can count, but with freight equipment, where the issues of standardization count, there are effectively only three systems--buffer-and-chains, which are used on most freights; and knuckles and Russian couplers, both of which are primarily used on coal drags and other heavy unit trains. That heavy trains have two different styles of couplers bespeaks to the general tonnage-moving inefficiency of the European network--due to the inefficiencies of the traditional mainline couplers and the lack of desire to standardize across the entire freight system. (Gauge issues are also a problem, Ireland's equipment's all isolates and the difference between Finnish and Russian gauge is but a paper difference, rendering the difference between standard and Iberian gauge the only one that really counts.) This inability to standardize, I'm afraid, will only be cured by a catalyst of some sort, and so far, the EU design has failed to be that.
A lot of things happened in Europe and in The USA ... you have good and bad examples in BOTH sides of the atlantic.

There was NEVER a real need for standartization of couplings to begin with ... services are RUN by specific equipment wich is indeed built for that purpose.

You missed the most important kind of coupling used in european freight trains ...

For example we use standard (old standards actually) AAR couplings here in portugal to pull heavy (2200/2500ton) coal trains in the mainlines:




do you notice the boxes underneat the frame ??? they are the Convel (EBICAB700 signaling) wich alows us to use such long/heavy trains in a real "passenger stile".

Actually these once diesel trains nowadays are run by electric locomotives:



Quote:
All of which feeds back into my original point that European equipment, in the main, is not designed to take full advantage of the efficiencies offered by diesel or electric operation.
We (and the spanish) have a wide variety of what people consider as the AMERICAN "standard" equipment ... it's is nothing but NICHE equipment due preciselly to the vast amount of differently purposed traffic that we run.

Most intermodal traffic in europe is just door-to-door single cargo traffic anyway.

A standard coupling system failed to emerge simply because there was not a real NEED for such thing in reality.

There was already plenty of options to choose from in the start.

A "standard" would in reality just be "another" one to make choises harder..

Quote:
Yes. 780m = 2560 feet, which, when divided by 40 feet (the length of a standard North American boxcar) yields a 64-car train (or 61 when you take away four boxcars for the locos). This is short by American standards.
That number sounds extremely fishy. There is no main line in the world that I am aware of that would let heavy freight trains operate under such short headways (not least because that would be the railroad version of tailgating--you can't stop in time if the train in front of you suddenly applied the brakes).
We are constantly improving our network to allow that kind of services to run ...

Quote:
600 mile-long freight trains? Don't fool yourself: it's unsafe to operate freight trains at the frequency needed for 600 U.S. trains to cross a stretch of rails in a day--not least because of braking issues. You can run passenger equipment in such a tight schedule, because it's lighter and shorter, but freight trains can take a mile or more to come to a complete stop, which is why you need to have that space between two trains--otherwise, it's exactly like tailgating on the Interstate. Although a lot trains do go through the Tehachapi Loop, it's on the Southern Cal mains for both BNSF and UP (historically, the ATSF and SP).
You missread my comment ... 1100km would be the total lenght of ALL THE TRAINS that could pass in in a day and in a given route if "standard" european methods/infraestructure were used in it's construction.

Remember ... a 120km/h train only needs 30 seconds to pass a 1000m(1km) long block ... that means that at these speeds the next train is 3km BEHIND it (4 signals behind actually) ... heavy trains operating in such LOOSE schedules are run in european rails EVERY DAY.

It's not uncommon to be tailing the train in front of you ... with only a signal block in between.


Quote:
Freight rail is thriving more in the U.S. than it has been in the last fifty years! What killed passenger trains in the U.S. was because people shifted to cars and planes as we sunk a ton of money into the infrastructure necessary for them--but neglected the railroad infrastructure and overregulated the railroads themselves. Remember that Amtrak, on Day One, cut 50% of the passenger trains it'd inherited from its constituent railroads. Mismanagement in the U.S., it is arguable, can be more costly than it was in Europe--the Milwaukee Road died, for example, not because it wasn't profitable (its transcon route was the most profitable railroad in North America c. 1972) but rather because its management bungled the management of the Pacific Extension until it no longer remained competitive with the competing transcon routes across Bozeman and Marias Passes, thereby killing its main source of revenue, thereby forcing the railroad into bankruptcy liquidation in 1980--whereas mismanagement in Europe seems to have had little, if any, effect, on the road's survival in Europe. Or: Mismanagement has been more costly in the Americas than it has in Europe.
Just finished reading it's history the other day ... to me Milwaukee Road cames second only to GM in terms of doing-always-the-wrong thing.

About Europe ... just ask for Beeching in the UK , vias verdes in the iberic peninsula and other such lunacies ...

Quote:
How you managed the railroads once they were rebuilt is not the same as lending you the money to help rebuild them in the first place.
Portuguese and Spanish railroads didn't had a single bomb landing on them ... wich makes this point of our discussion a little bit off-topic.

Quote:
No. The difference was the nationalization which meant that, since there railroads were an arm of the government, there was no need for any regulation (the government would be telling itself what to do). Passenger service was forced to remain, again, by the wishes of the government--had Europe's major railways been private, they would likely have shed passenger services in much the same way the UP or D&RGW or SP did. In fact, prior to the formation of Amtrak, both Europe and the FRA were forcing the passenger trains to keep running--only in very different ways.
Big whoop. We're not talking about shortlines. A lot of shortlines in the U.S. have passenger service, too. I can name three within forty miles of where I live.
Portuguese railways were PRIVATELY OWNED until 1976.

Quote:
That's because the lines were all nationalized!
Most european countries maintained a privately owned railway infraestructure and service until today ... on the other hand the state owned road infraestructure seems to have missed the purpose of robbing the entire traffic share from the railways.

Quote:
Most European rail services are there because the nationalized railroads made them be there. I'm pretty sure SNCF still banks a net loss on its non-high-speed intercity trains.
Quote:
The difference is: In Europe the railroads were (and still are) managed primarily to benefit the public sector; in America, they were (and still are) managed primarily to benefit the private sector (this is why Amtrak has shed about 90% of the routes it inherited and has never made money: because private-sector management simply does not work in respect to non-high-speed intercity passenger trains). Furthermore, the demands the public sector places on freight--making it run more like passenger trains--undermines the efficiencies the private sector has been able to demonstrate in their handling of railfreight transport.
Freight transport in europe is a private thing ... state run railway companies only provided a means to transport that freight from one point to another.

Passenger traffic (be it private or nationalized) never seemed to suffer from any of the problems that affected (let's say literally killed) the american passenger traffic.

Quote:
By the way, there a lot of railroads throughout the NAFTA zone that are today considered Class II when once upon a time they would've been considered Class I. FEC, ARR, and PANAM all spring to mind.
What better serves as a comparison between what European and American railroads did right or wrong is this:


Most large scale freight traffic travels allong europe by shiping ... the primary feeding method is by rail (americas use long and slow freight)

A single and common railway network serves all kinds of traffic inside europe (be it either passenger or freight , short or long haul).

Air and road (bus or truck) both mingle with the railways to gain the most advantages from one another ... in europe.



The most hilarious thing in the middle of all this is that ...








American "cliché" BUS company Greyhound is owned by british FIRST group that is one of the most pro-train european passenger transport companies.

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Old February 1st, 2010, 05:40 PM   #142
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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Just a side question, not exactly directed only to you: why do people usually group Portugual with Spain when discussing any European theme or issue? The fact Portugal doesn't have a land border with any other country but Spain doesn't make it a "West Spain" autonomous region!

It was not your case, but I even recall some people, in other topics on SSC, treating Portugal like it was a subordinated political divison of Spain with some autonomy like Catalunia or Euskadi.

Meanwhile these same people usually don't mix other countries like talking about "rail transport in Germany + Austria", or airports in "United Kingdom + Ireland".

Sad, really sad.
Portuguese and Spanish in STATE/international discussions usually side in the same group.

In gauge discussions it's the IBERIAN gauge ... the gauge in portugal and spain is refered by such name so there's nothing we can do about it.

In other discussions ... welll ... let's just say that some people like to be provocative now and then.
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Old February 1st, 2010, 05:41 PM   #143
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Originally Posted by mgk920 View Post
And even more far-sighted if that pipe-dream of a Bering Strait crossing is ever realized - as the railroads in China and North America (Canada, Mexico and the USA) are 100% compatible with each other (same track gauge, maximum axle loading, coupling and braking standards, etc).

Mike
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makita09 View Post
Although it must be said that the standardisation is being pushed through in various ways. A slow and painful process, as ever, within the EU. But it is being done.



Yes that figure was a bit fishy. Nonetheless a 5 minute headway for freight certainly is available on many routes. European freight trains can stop from 70mph in half the time and third of the distance of US trains it seems. Indeed, if a train can't stop in 1.2km (or however long exactly a normal signal block is) from 70mph it isn't allowed to do 70mph. I've seen 'emergency' stops by freight train in the USA on youtube that are unbelievable taking much longer than a European train would on a normal timetabled stop, obviously piggybacked intermodal will be of a higher weight/brake force ratio but still, the braking performance of USA freight trains is seriously poor (though I'm sure this is on purpose as it is not needed to be any better), so much that USA freight trains would not be allowed on European rails just because of braking ability alone (ignoring guage issues etc).

The rest of the points you have made seem fair though. (The following is an open reply to the whole thread btw)

But in general, there is an odd understanding of the situation, from Europeans as well as americans. Couplers, signalling, safety regs, etc etc, are not the cause of why they are different, they are the result.

From the outset there has been no desire to have very long freight trains in Europe. In the USA there has. Unsurprisingly therefore, the trains and the track have been optimised by the engineers for these very criteria. It is not rocket science. If a coupler does not need to be strong why build it strong? Does anyone think a USA-strength coupler is beyond the capabilities of European industry?

Henry Ford learnt that there's no point over-engineering something unecessarily, indeed he lowered the quality of some parts of the model-T when research discovered these parts were lasting far longer than most of the rest of the car.

Fact is, Europe and the USA are different because the intented operations are different, the infrastructure then followed suit. It wasn't the other way around. Neither approach is necessarily best.


European freight trains in the mainlines usually need to follow the same rules as passenger trains when dealing with standard stopping distances and such stuff.

One thing that most people in the american-run-oh-so-great-freight-trains side don't seem to understand is that basically in a route served by a 2km long container train , by the time that single train would have cleared the point at the end of the yard ... in europe there would already have passed double that volume of traffic.

Most problems in europe deal with low axle load alowance and specially the upgrading of entire routes to allow longer/heavier trains ... this of course in the secundary network ... in the mainlines is just a matter of sending one after another for as long as they are needed.
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Last edited by sotavento; February 1st, 2010 at 05:51 PM.
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Old February 1st, 2010, 06:11 PM   #144
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coccodrillo View Post
The problem is mainly between the 1435 and 1524 mm networks, that is, western and eastern Europe.

And only 4% of goods cross the land border between Spain (1668 mm) and France by rail, that is about 3 million net tonnes per year.

The other gauges are 1600 mm in Ireland and 1000 mm on other lines here and there.
between Portugal and Spain there arw about 20 major harbours ... all have container terminals and other such things.

Why should anyone try to shuffle the enormous amount of freight possible in post-panamax ships into tiny trains ???

And why break the cargo into trains when there are other means available ???

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Old February 1st, 2010, 08:09 PM   #145
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Maybe because of about 70 milion of tonnes that cross the spanish-french border only 3 travel by train?

As most (*) spanish and portuguese railways have a low or very low traffic, it would not bee too penalizing convert all broad gauge lines to standard gauge. This will greatly help freight traffic.

(*) Except some HSL, all suburban networks, and some railways here and there like the portoguese coal trains you have posted.
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 05:50 AM   #146
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sotavento View Post
Indeed I did hear from them ... long live (now defunct) GM and it's moronic economic practices.
Actually, GM ain't dead yet. It went into bankruptcy protection, not liquidation.
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Originally Posted by sotavento View Post
A lot of things happened in Europe and in The USA ... you have good and bad examples in BOTH sides of the Atlantic.

There was NEVER a real need for standardization of couplings to begin with ... services are RUN by specific equipment which is indeed built for that purpose.
Yet standardized equipment is one of the most important facilitators of railroad movement. The fact that tons of traffic is lost at the Franco-Spanish border due to the gauge change is the most blatant example of the losses brought on by non-standardization. Standardized couplers is a good way of matching the right engine to the job, and not just hoping that the engine builders did their job and designed it properly.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sotavento View Post
]
You missed the most important kind of coupling used in European freight trains ...

For example we use standard (old standards actually) AAR couplings here in portugal to pull heavy (2200/2500ton) coal trains in the mainlines:




do you notice the boxes underneath the frame ??? they are the Convel (EBICAB700 signaling) which allows us to use such long/heavy trains in a real "passenger stile".
Those would be knuckle couplers. No, I didn't miss them.
By the way, the signal equipment is a definite improvement over U.S. signaling systems. Signaling is definitely an advantage Europe has over North America--so long as the blocks aren't overly short.
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Originally Posted by sotavento View Post
Actually these once diesel trains nowadays are run by electric locomotives:

It would be nice if we still had mainline freight electrification. Electric motors can develop more horsepower than diesels: the AEM7, the brave little toaster that could (needless to say, I like watching them go by), is a perfect example thereof.
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Originally Posted by sotavento View Post
We (and the Spanish) have a wide variety of what people consider as the AMERICAN "standard" equipment ... it's is nothing but NICHE equipment due precisely to the vast amount of differently purposed traffic that we run.
That's because the American standard is perhaps the most heavy-duty in the world. It seems like unit trains tend to be operated according to that standard the world over.
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Originally Posted by sotavento View Post
Most intermodal traffic in Europe is just door-to-door single cargo traffic anyway.

A standard coupling system failed to emerge simply because there was not a real NEED for such thing in reality.

There was already plenty of options to choose from in the start.

A "standard" would in reality just be "another" one to make choices harder..
Well, as I keep pointing out, on most mainline freight (excluding the really heavy unit trains) buffer-and-chains do seem to be a de facto European standard--it is, after all, the dominant coupling system in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the Benelux, and Austria at least.
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Originally Posted by sotavento View Post
You misread my comment ... 1100km would be the total length of ALL THE TRAINS that could pass in in a day and in a given route if "standard" European methods/infrastructure were used in it's construction.
Well, in any case, I'm pretty sure that Tehachapi Pass is so congested that trains follow one another at the minimal distances safely allowed. Walong Siding is incredibly busy. I wouldn't doubt that some 400 trains total run through it daily. (But I've never been there, so this is conjecture...)
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Originally Posted by sotavento View Post
Remember ... a 120km/h train only needs 30 seconds to pass a 1000m(1km) long block ... that means that at these speeds the next train is 3km BEHIND it (4 signals behind actually) ... heavy trains operating in such LOOSE schedules are run in European rails EVERY DAY.

It's not uncommon to be tailing the train in front of you ... with only a signal block in between.
I think it's about time to time the time it takes between trains to pass at Duncannon (a busy spot along the busy Norfolk Southern main that was once the Pennsylvania main.)
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Originally Posted by sotavento View Post
Just finished reading it's history the other day ... to me Milwaukee Road cames second only to GM in terms of doing-always-the-wrong thing.

About Europe ... just ask for Beeching in the UK , vias verdes in the Iberian peninsula and other such lunacies ...
Lesser-used lines were cut in such a fashion all over the world! The travesty of the Milwaukee Road was that its management treated a transcontinental main like a branch line, and so allowed it to decay until it lost its revenue-generating capacity and so caused the whole system to implode!

A lot of branch lines were abandoned the world over. In the U.S., if they continued to be considered worthy of operation, they tended to become shortlines, but shortlines can make money in a multiplicity of ways. That's why shortline operations, while interesting in their own right, is more a distraction than anything else when we're trying to compare mains.
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Originally Posted by sotavento View Post
Portuguese and Spanish railroads didn't had a single bomb landing on them ... which makes this point of our discussion a little bit off-topic.
Franco must've done something to Spanish railroads in his time, though...
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Originally Posted by sotavento View Post
Portuguese railways were PRIVATELY OWNED until 1976.
That tends to be the exception rather than the rule.
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Originally Posted by sotavento View Post
Most European countries maintained a privately owned railway infrastructure and service until today ... on the other hand the state owned road infrastructure seems to have missed the purpose of robbing the entire traffic share from the railways.
I think that the operations of shortlines and such has always been allowed to be private (outside the Communist sphere of influence) even when the key mains--the lines we're comparing to American operations--were nationalized. These are lines that are marginal, as far as the major railroads are concerned, and often utilize rather creative means to raise money.
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Originally Posted by sotavento View Post
Freight transport in europe is a private thing ... state run railway companies only provided a means to transport that freight from one point to another.
DB Shenker, which manages all freight transport in Germany, Denmark, and (with its purchase of EWS) the UK (among other countries?), is, in fact, an arm of Deutsche Bahn, the nationalized German railroad corporation.
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Originally Posted by sotavento View Post
Passenger traffic (be it private or nationalized) never seemed to suffer from any of the problems that affected (let's say literally killed) the american passenger traffic.
As I've stated before, I feel that the nationalization and the politicians' subsequent ability to keep the lines in their jurisdictions open managed to mask most of the passenger issues as compared with the American situation.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sotavento View Post
What better serves as a comparison between what European and American railroads did right or wrong is this:


Most large scale freight traffic travels allong europe by shiping ... the primary feeding method is by rail (americas use long and slow freight)
Actually, in many cases in Europe, shipping can be quite slow. See the example I posted earlier today (well, yesterday for you).
Quote:
Originally Posted by sotavento View Post
A single and common railway network serves all kinds of traffic inside Europe (be it either passenger or freight , short or long haul).
The lack of a common carrier between, say, the German Baltic Sea coast and Milan, is exactly the biggest thorn in the side hurting Europe. In the U.S. a single main would cover that distance. The EU's privatization of railroads is meant to help alleviate the situation somewhat, and DB Shenker is definitely buying its way through other carriers.
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Originally Posted by sotavento View Post
Air and road (bus or truck) both mingle with the railways to gain the most advantages from one another ... in Europe.
This isn't just European. Toys made in China are shipped via container from the port of Shenzen to that of Long Beach, then loaded onto a train from Long Beach to Newark, N.J. (presumably via Chicago); the container transferred onto a truck to a warehouse, where the container is unloaded and then reloaded into other trucks, one of which would be sent out to a Toys R Us in Philadelphia, just to get those Hot Wheels to a six-year-old kid.

Containerization means that all modes of transportation that can utilize those containers can work together: that's why it's one of the greatest innovations of the late 20th Century, IMO.
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Originally Posted by sotavento View Post
The most hilarious thing in the middle of all this is that ...

American "cliché" BUS company Greyhound is owned by british FIRST group that is one of the most pro-train european passenger transport companies.

So that's why those Greyhound buses have been looking nicer lately!
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 06:10 AM   #147
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In the UK the two main rail freight companies are:

DB Schenker (formerly EWS) - http://www.rail.dbschenker.co.uk/index.asp

Freightliner - http://www.freightliner.co.uk/

UK Passenger Train Operating Companies - http://www.rail.co.uk/ukrail/railcomp/towelcm.htm

DB Schenker Freight Trains operating in the UK

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Old February 2nd, 2010, 07:47 AM   #148
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Originally Posted by sotavento View Post
Indeed I did hear from them ... long live (now defunct) GM and it's moronic economic practices.
It's actually a myth that GM killed the interurbans on purpose to force people in to cars. Don't forget that interurbans were disappearing everywhere, even in Europe.


Back on topic however:

The reason the AAR choose to standardize on a knuckle coupler at the end of the 19the century have little to do with the need to run humongous trains, or to make shunting easier. It had all to do with worker safety.
See, before the knucke coupler US railroads used a "link and pin" coupler, without buffers, like in Europe. Coupling cars was very dangerous, as a worker had to guide the link in to its socket between two moving cars. And in the US there were no buffers protecting them. It was an extremely dangerous job, and many railroad workers got killed.
The European "chaing and buffer" coupler does not suffer from this problem, as you can just push two cars together, and once they're stopped a worker ducks below the buffers and hooks up the chain. The European coupler also has the advantage over the US coupler that it is possible to push a train without the couplers engaging. That is quite convenient when shunting and banking.
That's why the urge to change to a US style coupler has never been really there in Europe.
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 10:33 AM   #149
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaeger View Post
In the UK the two main rail freight companies are:

DB Schenker (formerly EWS) - http://www.rail.dbschenker.co.uk/index.asp

Freightliner - http://www.freightliner.co.uk/

UK Passenger Train Operating Companies - http://www.rail.co.uk/ukrail/railcomp/towelcm.htm
And significant traffic is operated by First, Direct Rail Services, and a few others. Hammersklaviers' post did make it seem like DB had a monopoly over freight in the UK, which it certainly doesn't.
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 11:46 AM   #150
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And significant traffic is operated by First, Direct Rail Services, and a few others. Hammersklaviers' post did make it seem like DB had a monopoly over freight in the UK, which it certainly doesn't.
There are a few freight operators in Britain, although DB and Freighliner are by far the largest rail freight companies.

FirstGBRf - http://www.gbrailfreight.com/first-g...materials/p_2/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categor...ting_companies

The opening up of competition via the Eurotunnel may mean more European and International Rail Freight Companies operating within the UK, as Europe's rail systems becomes ever more intergrated.

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Old February 2nd, 2010, 04:15 PM   #151
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Originally Posted by sotavento View Post
between Portugal and Spain there arw about 20 major harbours ... all have container terminals and other such things.

Why should anyone try to shuffle the enormous amount of freight possible in post-panamax ships into tiny trains ???

And why break the cargo into trains when there are other means available ???


The irony is the photo you show is of an LKW Walter semi-trailer.

If you look closely, you'll see that is a 'piggyback' trailer - in other words, one specifically able to travel by train! In case you didn't know, LKW Walter operates one of the largest fleets of intermodal swap bodies and piggyback trailers in Europe, and in Germany and Austria you will see whole trains carrying just LKW Walter equipment.

Last edited by TedStriker; February 2nd, 2010 at 04:31 PM.
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 04:26 PM   #152
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Maybe because of about 70 milion of tonnes that cross the spanish-french border only 3 travel by train?

As most (*) spanish and portuguese railways have a low or very low traffic, it would not bee too penalizing convert all broad gauge lines to standard gauge. This will greatly help freight traffic.

(*) Except some HSL, all suburban networks, and some railways here and there like the portoguese coal trains you have posted.

There is already a rather serious plan to build a standard gauge freight-only route via the Cerbere/Portbou crossing to at least the Port of Barcelona.

Such a link would do a tremendous amount to boost the share that rail has of Iberian trade flows, especially for the intermodal market, be that the shipping container segment or the Continental segment, comprising containers, swap bodies and semi-trailers.

I can think of no better way of illustrating the potential of this corridor than highlighting the DB Schenker/Stobart service which links London with Murcia and Valencia, catering for both Spanish-grown fresh produce and that which comes in from North Africa.
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 05:00 PM   #153
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There is already a rather serious plan to build a standard gauge freight-only route via the Cerbere/Portbou crossing to at least the Port of Barcelona.
This will not run via the Cerbere - Portbou crossing. The new Perpignan - Figueres line, which is almost finished, has from the outset been intended for freight too. So future railfreight Spain - France will go through the new Perthus tunnel.
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 06:05 PM   #154
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TedStriker View Post
The irony is the photo you show is of an LKW Walter semi-trailer.

If you look closely, you'll see that is a 'piggyback' trailer - in other words, one specifically able to travel by train! In case you didn't know, LKW Walter operates one of the largest fleets of intermodal swap bodies and piggyback trailers in Europe, and in Germany and Austria you will see whole trains carrying just LKW Walter equipment.
The irony was there to see ... it was not unintentional.


the thing about iberia to europe freight AVOIDING to go tru france is just that ... SNCF Fret and french highway tolls are the only responsible for the detour of such traffic.


For instance even DB operate inside the peninsula by the hand of its long time subsidiary Transfesa.

Such DB trains are hauled by the national carriers of both countries (Renfe in spain and CP in portugal) ... it's the BLOCK in between that hold's back most cargo transfers.

If there's such a great availability of DETOUR services (ro-ro shipping even) theres surely a reason.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coccodrillo View Post
Maybe because of about 70 milion of tonnes that cross the spanish-french border only 3 travel by train?

As most (*) spanish and portuguese railways have a low or very low traffic, it would not bee too penalizing convert all broad gauge lines to standard gauge. This will greatly help freight traffic.

(*) Except some HSL, all suburban networks, and some railways here and there like the portoguese coal trains you have posted.
Your numbers are completely wrong ... 99% of the portugal/spain-europe traffic doesn't even set a foot inside france.

And you are wrong in your assessment ... theres virtually no low-traffic railway open in portugal ... most railways here are run at capacity 24-7 ... the rest are constantly being upgraded to allow them to be increasingly explored.

The "interest" in transporting anything from portugal to central europe by train is nonexistant (to say the least) ... specially when you have plenty of capacity available in ocean shiping.
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 06:17 PM   #155
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This will not run via the Cerbere - Portbou crossing. The new Perpignan - Figueres line, which is almost finished, has from the outset been intended for freight too. So future railfreight Spain - France will go through the new Perthus tunnel.

That contradicts what I've read. Not only have I read that the HS line to/from Perpignan is to be only for passenger trains, I've also read about the specific plans for a new freight-only line.

If the HS line is to allow for freights also, why would the Port of Barcelona, for example, be talking about the construction of a freight-only line?
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 06:17 PM   #156
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Actually, GM ain't dead yet. It went into bankruptcy protection, not liquidation.

Yet standardized equipment is one of the most important facilitators of railroad movement. The fact that tons of traffic is lost at the Franco-Spanish border due to the gauge change is the most blatant example of the losses brought on by non-standardization. Standardized couplers is a good way of matching the right engine to the job, and not just hoping that the engine builders did their job and designed it properly.
Those would be knuckle couplers. No, I didn't miss them.
By the way, the signal equipment is a definite improvement over U.S. signaling systems. Signaling is definitely an advantage Europe has over North America--so long as the blocks aren't overly short.
It would be nice if we still had mainline freight electrification. Electric motors can develop more horsepower than diesels: the AEM7, the brave little toaster that could (needless to say, I like watching them go by), is a perfect example thereof.
That's because the American standard is perhaps the most heavy-duty in the world. It seems like unit trains tend to be operated according to that standard the world over.
Well, as I keep pointing out, on most mainline freight (excluding the really heavy unit trains) buffer-and-chains do seem to be a de facto European standard--it is, after all, the dominant coupling system in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the Benelux, and Austria at least.
Well, in any case, I'm pretty sure that Tehachapi Pass is so congested that trains follow one another at the minimal distances safely allowed. Walong Siding is incredibly busy. I wouldn't doubt that some 400 trains total run through it daily. (But I've never been there, so this is conjecture...)
I think it's about time to time the time it takes between trains to pass at Duncannon (a busy spot along the busy Norfolk Southern main that was once the Pennsylvania main.)

Lesser-used lines were cut in such a fashion all over the world! The travesty of the Milwaukee Road was that its management treated a transcontinental main like a branch line, and so allowed it to decay until it lost its revenue-generating capacity and so caused the whole system to implode!

A lot of branch lines were abandoned the world over. In the U.S., if they continued to be considered worthy of operation, they tended to become shortlines, but shortlines can make money in a multiplicity of ways. That's why shortline operations, while interesting in their own right, is more a distraction than anything else when we're trying to compare mains.

Franco must've done something to Spanish railroads in his time, though...
That tends to be the exception rather than the rule.
I think that the operations of shortlines and such has always been allowed to be private (outside the Communist sphere of influence) even when the key mains--the lines we're comparing to American operations--were nationalized. These are lines that are marginal, as far as the major railroads are concerned, and often utilize rather creative means to raise money.
DB Shenker, which manages all freight transport in Germany, Denmark, and (with its purchase of EWS) the UK (among other countries?), is, in fact, an arm of Deutsche Bahn, the nationalized German railroad corporation.

As I've stated before, I feel that the nationalization and the politicians' subsequent ability to keep the lines in their jurisdictions open managed to mask most of the passenger issues as compared with the American situation.

Actually, in many cases in Europe, shipping can be quite slow. See the example I posted earlier today (well, yesterday for you).
The lack of a common carrier between, say, the German Baltic Sea coast and Milan, is exactly the biggest thorn in the side hurting Europe. In the U.S. a single main would cover that distance. The EU's privatization of railroads is meant to help alleviate the situation somewhat, and DB Shenker is definitely buying its way through other carriers.

This isn't just European. Toys made in China are shipped via container from the port of Shenzen to that of Long Beach, then loaded onto a train from Long Beach to Newark, N.J. (presumably via Chicago); the container transferred onto a truck to a warehouse, where the container is unloaded and then reloaded into other trucks, one of which would be sent out to a Toys R Us in Philadelphia, just to get those Hot Wheels to a six-year-old kid.

Containerization means that all modes of transportation that can utilize those containers can work together: that's why it's one of the greatest innovations of the late 20th Century, IMO.

So that's why those Greyhound buses have been looking nicer lately!
1st of all ... DB is a "private" company.

Now that you mention Teachapy pass ... if it were in europe we would have one of these built and/or in project/construction:

- a 25/30km long tunnel between Tehachapi(1200m high) and Digiorgio(250m elevation)
- 54km long tunnel between Mojave and DiGiorgio
- 25km tunnel between Palmdale and Acton

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Old February 2nd, 2010, 06:28 PM   #157
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sotavento View Post

the thing about iberia to europe freight AVOIDING to go tru france is just that ... SNCF Fret and french highway tolls are the only responsible for the detour of such traffic.


For instance even DB operate inside the peninsula by the hand of its long time subsidiary Transfesa.

Such DB trains are hauled by the national carriers of both countries (Renfe in spain and CP in portugal) ... it's the BLOCK in between that hold's back most cargo transfers.

If there's such a great availability of DETOUR services (ro-ro shipping even) theres surely a reason.


It may also be worth noting that again the loading gauge issue may also be a factor to consider.

For example, the main Perpignan-Beziers corridor (UIC B+) does not allow for the carriage of unaccompanied 4m-high semi-trailers, piggyback style.

So even rail-friendly companies with piggyback trailers, like LKW Walter, would not be able to use train transport in France, let alone those companies which have yet to invest in any intermodal equipment.

On the other hand, the specialist wagons made by Groupe Lohr for the Lorry-Rail service (see: http://www.lorry-rail.com) have a platform height that is 50mm lower than the height of conventional European piggyback wagons (220mm verses 270mm). This tiny difference means that SNCF can carry 4m-high trailers, like the ones that LKW Walter uses, along UIC B+ routes.

As for the loading gauge in Spain, I'm 99.99 per cent sure that there's no way any operator would be able to carry 4m-high trailers.

Last edited by TedStriker; February 2nd, 2010 at 06:41 PM.
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 06:37 PM   #158
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That contradicts what I've read. Not only have I read that the HS line to/from Perpignan is to be only for passenger trains, I've also read about the specific plans for a new freight-only line.

If the HS line is to allow for freights also, why would the Port of Barcelona, for example, be talking about the construction of a freight-only line?
As far as I know the Perpignan - Figueres line is meant for both freight and passenger trains. It was build by a private consortium, which finished it on time, however Spain still has to connect it. Probably south of Figueres different lines will be build for high speed passenger trains and freight.
You can read more here.
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 06:42 PM   #159
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That makes sense. Certainly I know the main stretch in Spain itself is just for passenger trains only.
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 09:54 PM   #160
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It is hoped that the Port of ABrclellonawill have acces to the standard gauge network by 2010, shifting between the completed parts of the mixed traffic HSL and some double gauge tracks on the existing line.

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Your numbers are completely wrong ... 99% of the portugal/spain-europe traffic doesn't even set a foot inside france.
My numbers are correct.

http://www.certa-aquitaine.org/media...RRANEE2006.ppt

http://www.mer.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/partie_3_cle5b1e3a.pdf (in particular page 22/77)

42% by sea, 56% by road, 2% by rail.

Or, considering only land transport, 3% by rail and 97% by road.

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And you are wrong in your assessment ... theres virtually no low-traffic railway open in portugal ... most railways here are run at capacity 24-7 ... the rest are constantly being upgraded to allow them to be increasingly explored.
I don't know about Portugal, but except a few mainlines (Madrid-Barcelona, Valencia, Andalusia, Valladolid, and Barcellona-Valencia) most spanish lines have only 10 to 20 trains per day. Not very much...
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