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Old September 3rd, 2017, 10:05 AM   #3601
MarcVD
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Wouldn't Berlin be a more logical destination ? There is already a 1520 mm gauge line coming deep into Poland, so there would be less distance to cover, wouldn't it ?
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Old September 3rd, 2017, 10:39 AM   #3602
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I am highly against this project.
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Old September 3rd, 2017, 12:18 PM   #3603
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Quote:
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Wouldn't Berlin be a more logical destination ? There is already a 1520 mm gauge line coming deep into Poland, so there would be less distance to cover, wouldn't it ?
The broad gauge track to which you refer in Poland serve Sławków. The straight-line distance between Sławków and Berlin is 483 km.

The straight-line distance between Košice in Slovakia and Vienna is 365 km.
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Old September 3rd, 2017, 12:36 PM   #3604
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Ok, distance-wise you are right, I stand corrected. But what about Ukraine ? Are the current (and not likely to disappear any time soon) difficulties between Ukraine and Russia not capable to compromise smooth transit over this line ? Does the 1520 mm Magistrale to Poland come off Ukraine or off Belarus?
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Old September 3rd, 2017, 12:56 PM   #3605
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The broad gauge track to which you refer in Poland serve Sławków. The straight-line distance between Sławków and Berlin is 483 km.

The straight-line distance between Košice in Slovakia and Vienna is 365 km.
The other reason why going to Vienna makes sense is that this connects with the Rhine - Main - Danube axis, which going to Berlin doesn't.
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Old September 3rd, 2017, 01:47 PM   #3606
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Does the 1520 mm Magistrale to Poland come off Ukraine or off Belarus?
In Poland there are several short broad-gauge lines, but the longest one is:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hrubie...wy_LHS_railway

it enters Poland in Hrubieszów from the Ukraine. Belarussian border is not far to the north, and a big transport hub Brest is less than 200 km from this line, but there is no broad gauge connection.

There is broad line from Belarus which ends in a transport hub on Polish side in Małaszewicze, not far from the border. Never heard of plans of broad-gauge connecting Małaszewicze to Hrubieszów-Sławków line.

On the other side China is pushing hard on the southern connection China-EU bypassing broad-gauge regions. Not sure if the broad-gauge extension to Vienna will transport much if China manages to send containers via Iran and Turkey.
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Old September 3rd, 2017, 02:07 PM   #3607
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Why not extend the standard gauge networks in the other direction, then?
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Old September 3rd, 2017, 02:44 PM   #3608
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On the other side China is pushing hard on the southern connection China-EU bypassing broad-gauge regions. Not sure if the broad-gauge extension to Vienna will transport much if China manages to send containers via Iran and Turkey.
You are right but I don't see this happening before Turkey proposes a clear and practical alternative to the Van Lake crossing, and before political unrest ceases in Kurdistan. Also, Pakistan is Indian gauge so transloading still is necessary. So going through ex CIS countries still is, and for long, the only practical way. I suppose you do not think about an east-west link through Afghanistan and the Wakhan corridor ?
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Old September 3rd, 2017, 02:47 PM   #3609
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Why not extend the standard gauge networks in the other direction, then?
Indeed... With the proposed Vienna terminus, one could fear that containers will travel by rail only eastwards of it, and use the road for the other, shorter leg.
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Old September 3rd, 2017, 04:02 PM   #3610
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You are right but I don't see this happening before Turkey proposes a clear and practical alternative to the Van Lake crossing, and before political unrest ceases in Kurdistan. Also, Pakistan is Indian gauge so transloading still is necessary. So going through ex CIS countries still is, and for long, the only practical way. I suppose you do not think about an east-west link through Afghanistan and the Wakhan corridor ?
Pakistan has thoughts of converting to standard gauge over the coming years. It is also proposing a rail connection up through Jammu to occupied Uighurstan.

Then the biggest remaining gap will be in eastern Iran. Hopefully that will get resolved at some point. The tracks are there, they just need to be opened.
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Old September 3rd, 2017, 04:03 PM   #3611
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For China/Europe freight rail has and will always have a marginal role and mostly for special shipments where delivery time is crucial. Sea shipment is vastly cheaper and has greater capacity. Largest container ships cary about 20,000 containers. How many trains would be needed to carry the equivalent? If we assume 50 containers per train it's 400 trains and even if one could send two of those per hour 24 hours per day (probably impossible) it would still take more than 8 days just to send them on their way.
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Old September 3rd, 2017, 04:09 PM   #3612
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If there is a desperate desire to avoid Russia by rail the most logical and easiest way considering the current political situation would be coastal China-Urumqi-Kazakhstan (or Kyrgizstan)-Uzbekistan-Turkmensitan-Iran-Turkey-Bulgaria-Romania-Hungary-Austria.

Sadly crossing India/Pakistan border will not be feasible any time soon and neither will safely crossing Afghanistan.
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Old September 3rd, 2017, 04:11 PM   #3613
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Thank god for boats.
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Old September 3rd, 2017, 05:36 PM   #3614
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From geopolitical reasons, any of these routes would be problematic if they became the main route for China-Europe freight traffic (not to say they'd have to be 4-tracked and electrified all the way).

Comparisons with transcontinental railway shipping in North America are really out of place, in that sense.

If merely gas and oil pipelines already gives plenty of headaches with unstable and or anti-West countries like Russia, imagine letting Iran becoming the gatekeepers of import/export flow.

Furthermore, ocean shipping is cheap for non-time sensitive cargo. Once global warming reduces even more ice conditions in the Arctic, shipping from China to Europe will become even faster around Russia than via Suez.
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Old September 3rd, 2017, 07:52 PM   #3615
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Pakistan has thoughts of converting to standard gauge over the coming years. It is also proposing a rail connection up through Jammu to occupied Uighurstan.

Then the biggest remaining gap will be in eastern Iran. Hopefully that will get resolved at some point. The tracks are there, they just need to be opened.
Which gap in Eastern Iran ? The line Kerman Zahedan was already operational till Bam when I was there in 2009 and was fully opened a few years later, I don't remember exactly when. There have been demonstration trains between Karachi and Istanbul already. The connection to the Afghan border is operational too. Which other gap might that be ?
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Old September 3rd, 2017, 07:58 PM   #3616
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Originally Posted by Sunfuns View Post
If there is a desperate desire to avoid Russia by rail the most logical and easiest way considering the current political situation would be coastal China-Urumqi-Kazakhstan (or Kyrgizstan)-Uzbekistan-Turkmensitan-Iran-Turkey-Bulgaria-Romania-Hungary-Austria.

Sadly crossing India/Pakistan border will not be feasible any time soon and neither will safely crossing Afghanistan.
There are passenger trains crossing the India Pakistan border daily at two different locations. But there are no connections between China and India by rail, and unlikely to happen, given the terrain to cross, and the difficult - to say the least, they were almost at war a few weeks ago - relations between the two countries.
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Old September 3rd, 2017, 08:26 PM   #3617
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There are passenger trains crossing the India Pakistan border daily at two different locations. But there are no connections between China and India by rail, and unlikely to happen, given the terrain to cross, and the difficult - to say the least, they were almost at war a few weeks ago - relations between the two countries.
China to India could also happen via Myanmar, but sure it's not to be expected any time soon.

There used to be a time few decades ago when it was safe to travel overland to India from Europe. There even was a bus line used by hippies starting in Amsterdam. Now it would be a very risky endeavour. Unless maybe by roundabout way via China and South East Asia.
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Old September 3rd, 2017, 11:46 PM   #3618
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Which gap in Eastern Iran ? The line Kerman Zahedan was already operational till Bam when I was there in 2009 and was fully opened a few years later, I don't remember exactly when. There have been demonstration trains between Karachi and Istanbul already. The connection to the Afghan border is operational too. Which other gap might that be ?
I knew the tracks were done, but I had heard that trains weren't running or were extremely erratic for some reason.

The fact that there have been Karachi-Istanbul demonstration runs is totally new to me. Do you have any pictures?
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Old September 3rd, 2017, 11:59 PM   #3619
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China to India could also happen via Myanmar, but sure it's not to be expected any time soon.

There used to be a time few decades ago when it was safe to travel overland to India from Europe. There even was a bus line used by hippies starting in Amsterdam. Now it would be a very risky endeavour. Unless maybe by roundabout way via China and South East Asia.
I still hope I will be able to do that in my lifetime. I still have 10 years, after that I'll be too old.
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Old September 4th, 2017, 12:24 AM   #3620
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I knew the tracks were done, but I had heard that trains weren't running or were extremely erratic for some reason.

The fact that there have been Karachi-Istanbul demonstration runs is totally new to me. Do you have any pictures?
No I don't have pictures. I searched the web but could only find press articles, no pictures. You may have some luck in the Iranian railways thread. I think it was in 2012, but not sure.
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