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Old July 22nd, 2011, 06:42 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1772 View Post
If you think of it; Russia has a great potential in it's transsiberian railway.

If they adopted american-style gigantic and kilometer long cargo trains, that would go from China to central Europe; they might start to compete with cargo ships.
Umm, there are already kilometer long cargo trains everywhere on the Transsiberian and its branches. Additionally, already now quite a lot of goods are transported from Western Europe to Asia this way - you can see containers owned by chinese or western european companies on those trains all the time. For instance BMW is currently planning (or is even doing it already) to ship a lot of the car parts for their chinese factories from Germany via the Transsiberian.
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Old July 22nd, 2011, 09:49 PM   #22
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The northwest passage might be just a few decades away from being passable. This circumstance would make any bigger investment in rail shipping between Europe and east Asia unprofitable.
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Old July 22nd, 2011, 11:51 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1772 View Post
If you think of it; Russia has a great potential in it's transsiberian railway.

If they adopted american-style gigantic and kilometer long cargo trains, that would go from China to central Europe; they might start to compete with cargo ships.
Well, Transiberian Railway already have that monstrous VL85 locos - 12-axle, 780 kWt each engine, resulting 9360 kWt. Even if it's not enough you can couple two VL85 and control them from a single cab. One more loco can also be coupled to the end of train, to give additional push, So we get a maximum of 28 080 kWt.

The all famous USA diesel locos are typically 4400 HP (correct me, if I'm wrong), which is roughly 3 280 kW.
USA intermodal train are typically no more than 6-8 locos, I suppose? That results in 19 680 - 26 240 kWt.

So the problem is not short/light trains.
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Old July 22nd, 2011, 11:54 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tin_Can View Post

Even that ain't needed in these days - there are variable gauge trains which can run on both 1435mm & 1520mm tracks,given that gauge changers have been installed on tracks.

It's all about investments to rolling stock - if there's a company willing to buy such locomotives & freight cars,then the pan-Eurasian freight line could be operational even right now.
The cost of freight cars will skyrocket. So, transshipping is cheaper anyway.
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Old July 26th, 2011, 10:56 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hammersklavier View Post
A service recently started running from Chongqing to I-forget-where-in-Europe via Urumqi and the Transsib*. Even with the daylong layovers necessitated by the two gauge changes, IIRC the freight still got there in half the time (a week) than it could by ship.
It's a weekly service between Chongquin and Antwerp, Belgium.

Most of the spent time is at the border crossings.

There is also a serious problem of capacity. On the transsib (a double track
electrified all the way) freight trains follow each other every 5 to 10
minutes in each direction, and usually consist of 80 to 100 cars each.
Most of this is domestic russian freight traffic. That country has almost
no roads (not a single paved road extending from east to west) so rail
carries most (above 60%) of the shipments.

I do not know which itinerary this train follows, but if it really goes through
the Dostyk-Alashankou border crossing, the map at the URL below will show
you that there are plenty of possibilities to arrive there without going via
the transsib.

http://www.bueker.net/trainspotting/...-tajikstan.gif
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Old July 27th, 2011, 10:07 PM   #26
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So I was mistaken then. It looks like the fastest, most logical route is via Almaty-Aralsk-Astrakhan and on into the Ukraine.

Border crossings and transshipments are what slows this service down. But once you have the service, then you can work to optimize it. And in this case, that means making it able to carry more cargo, and carry it faster.

XAN--to answer your first question to some extent, most heavy trains in the U.S. use three or four AC4400CWs or horsepower kin (the latest GE models are the ES40DC and ES44AC). AC equipment in particular runs at a fast clip on fairly level ground (low ruling grades) but slows to a craw on steeper grades--an issue that slows our railfreight network down some--and to answer your second question, if the cost of freight cars skyrockets, then the cheapest solution would be to eliminate transshipment (which is effected by either moving the cargo or the car). Rail-to-rail transshipment of the type gramercy suggests would triple the count of freight cars needed to move the load. (Transshipment 1: China-Kazakh border; Transshipment 2: Ukrainian-Polish/Slovak border.)

Variable-gauge axles are a reasonable interim solution but IMHO are too complex (have too many moving parts) to be robust and reliable enough for equipment that will typically be moving for at least a week before the next reasonable full inspection--probably more. The equipment this service needs is extremely tough and durable, able to weather anything thrown at it...exactly the same type of demands routinely placed on transcontinental railroads in Australia, Russia, and the Americas.
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Old July 28th, 2011, 12:19 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hammersklavier View Post
Rail-to-rail transshipment of the type gramercy suggests would triple the count of freight cars needed to move the load. (Transshipment 1: China-Kazakh border; Transshipment 2: Ukrainian-Polish/Slovak border.)
Don't forget there is a Russian gauge extension being made up to Vienna. This method could be very useful for shipments to Eastern and Central Europe from there.
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Old July 28th, 2011, 02:35 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcVD View Post
It's a weekly service between Chongquin and Antwerp, Belgium.

Most of the spent time is at the border crossings.

There is also a serious problem of capacity. On the transsib (a double track
electrified all the way) freight trains follow each other every 5 to 10
minutes in each direction, and usually consist of 80 to 100 cars each.
Most of this is domestic russian freight traffic. That country has almost
no roads (not a single paved road extending from east to west) so rail
carries most (above 60%) of the shipments.

I do not know which itinerary this train follows, but if it really goes through
the Dostyk-Alashankou border crossing, the map at the URL below will show
you that there are plenty of possibilities to arrive there without going via
the transsib.

http://www.bueker.net/trainspotting/...-tajikstan.gif
"The Eurasian Land Bridge passes Xinjiang’s Alataw Pass and Kazakhstan, ends in Russia’s Moscow, and the freight rail was expanded to Germany’s Duisburg through Poland in March 2011 before further extending to Antwerp in May."

http://www.supplychain.cn/en/article...tview.asp?3980
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Old July 28th, 2011, 02:57 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hammersklavier View Post
So I was mistaken then. It looks like the fastest, most logical route is via Almaty-Aralsk-Astrakhan and on into the Ukraine.

Border crossings and transshipments are what slows this service down. But once you have the service, then you can work to optimize it. And in this case, that means making it able to carry more cargo, and carry it faster.

XAN--to answer your first question to some extent, most heavy trains in the U.S. use three or four AC4400CWs or horsepower kin (the latest GE models are the ES40DC and ES44AC). AC equipment in particular runs at a fast clip on fairly level ground (low ruling grades) but slows to a craw on steeper grades--an issue that slows our railfreight network down some--and to answer your second question, if the cost of freight cars skyrockets, then the cheapest solution would be to eliminate transshipment (which is effected by either moving the cargo or the car). Rail-to-rail transshipment of the type gramercy suggests would triple the count of freight cars needed to move the load. (Transshipment 1: China-Kazakh border; Transshipment 2: Ukrainian-Polish/Slovak border.)

Variable-gauge axles are a reasonable interim solution but IMHO are too complex (have too many moving parts) to be robust and reliable enough for equipment that will typically be moving for at least a week before the next reasonable full inspection--probably more. The equipment this service needs is extremely tough and durable, able to weather anything thrown at it...exactly the same type of demands routinely placed on transcontinental railroads in Australia, Russia, and the Americas.
If traffic builds up, it would make more sense to make the Russian gauge track dual-guage. Then both types of trains can just run as normal.
Or just build a new standard gauge trunkline like Kazahkstan is thinking about, that is designed for much longer trains.

There are all sorts as benefits as standard gauge is what North America, Europe, China and the Middle East use. It costs less to build, the rolling stock is cheaper and more readily available etc etc
The new railway lines in South East will be standard gauge instead of the existing narrow gauge for these reasons.
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Old July 28th, 2011, 05:07 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Restless View Post
If traffic builds up, it would make more sense to make the Russian gauge track dual-guage. Then both types of trains can just run as normal.
Or just build a new standard gauge trunkline like Kazahkstan is thinking about, that is designed for much longer trains.

There are all sorts as benefits as standard gauge is what North America, Europe, China and the Middle East use. It costs less to build, the rolling stock is cheaper and more readily available etc etc
The new railway lines in South East will be standard gauge instead of the existing narrow gauge for these reasons.
One big problem with creating dual-gauge track in your instance is that the difference in gauge between the two is about as insidious as a difference can be - 85 mm (1435 vs. 1520 mm). They are too far apart for equipment to be able to run directly between them and too close together to easily create dual-gauge track by laying a third running rail (as can be done between, for example, France and Spain). Standard/Russian dual-gauge track would require four running rails.

The coupling standards between the three are also incompatible with each other ('buffer and chain' used in Europe/SA3 used in Russia and the other countries of the former Soviet Empire/AAR used in China/Middle East/North America) and that would have to be resolved. Of the three, AAR knuckle couplers are the strongest and thus allow for the longest and heaviest trains.

Mike
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Old July 28th, 2011, 06:13 PM   #31
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1) I did a little bit of research on the 'net and it seems that the Antwerp-
Chongquin service goes not through the Dostyk-Alashankou border point,
but well via the classical itenerary through Mongolia.

2) I was myself on the transsiberian-transmongolian itenerary earlier
this month and observed that while the couplers are indeed exchanged
at the Belarus border in Brest-Litovsk, they are not at the Mongolian/
Chinese border in Erlian. So even if ex-USSR uses SA3 and China uses
AAR, those two seems to be 100% compatible with each other.

3) There isn't enough difference between 1435 and 1520 mm tracks to
put in place a third rail. In the boggie exchange facilities, 1435 mm boggies
run on 1520 mm tracks and are prevented from de-railing by inner rails that
keep them centered. In Erlian, the track just beside the station building
is dual-gauge, but uses 4 rails to achieve that.

4) As far as I know, the 1520 mm track extension to Vienna is still at the
early proposal stage, no decision to build it has been taken yet.

5) Transshipment from 1435 to 1520 rolling stock can be cheap and very
automated for goods travelling in standard containers lying on flat bed cars.

6) I don't believe you can couple 2 VL85 together as this would probably
exceed coupler strength. While I was there I have seen many formations
of 1 + 1/2 VL80, but all VL85 I have seen were running solo.

7) While I was there, I noticed already a lot of western containers travelling
on russian and mongolian rails. It's still a bit surprising, even 20 years after
the fall of the soviet empire, to see a train of APL (American President's Line)
containers in Itkursk...
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Old July 29th, 2011, 12:11 PM   #32
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An old article of Railway Gazette International :

http://www.railwaygazette.com/nc/new...al-artery.html

Does anyone knows whether parts of this plan have already been realized,
or at least started, or is this just more hot air ?
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Old July 29th, 2011, 02:39 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stainless View Post
Don't forget there is a Russian gauge extension being made up to Vienna. This method could be very useful for shipments to Eastern and Central Europe from there.
Well, the project seem to be either frozen or semi-frozen.
It seems that Slovakia hadn't decided yet, and other countries aren't rushing the project either. So until there would be at least a detailed project with milepost and etc. - you may forget about broad gauge to Vienna.
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Old July 29th, 2011, 02:44 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcVD View Post
An old article of Railway Gazette International :

http://www.railwaygazette.com/nc/new...al-artery.html

Does anyone knows whether parts of this plan have already been realized,
or at least started, or is this just more hot air ?
I don't know about KZT part, but Ukrainian state railway never heard about a standard gauge trans-Ukrainian railway.
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Old July 29th, 2011, 02:58 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcVD View Post

6) I don't believe you can couple 2 VL85 together as this would probably
exceed coupler strength. While I was there I have seen many formations
of 1 + 1/2 VL80, but all VL85 I have seen were running solo.
Its possible. Many VL85 have an electrical sockets for Multiple-unit train control, it just aren't widely used nowadays.
And SA3, AFAIK is at least 2/3 as strong as AAR?
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Old July 29th, 2011, 03:10 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hammersklavier View Post
and to answer your second question, if the cost of freight cars skyrockets, then the cheapest solution would be to eliminate transshipment (which is effected by either moving the cargo or the car). Rail-to-rail transshipment of the type gramercy suggests would triple the count of freight cars needed to move the load. (Transshipment 1: China-Kazakh border; Transshipment 2: Ukrainian-Polish/Slovak border.)

Variable-gauge axles are a reasonable interim solution but IMHO are too complex (have too many moving parts) to be robust and reliable enough for equipment that will typically be moving for at least a week before the next reasonable full inspection--probably more. The equipment this service needs is extremely tough and durable, able to weather anything thrown at it...exactly the same type of demands routinely placed on transcontinental railroads in Australia, Russia, and the Americas.
Well, I actually wanted to say, that introducing variable gauge will cause price skyroketing. A passenger variable gauge bogies are expensive, even the passenger cars aren't cheap themselves, and the freight variable gauge bogies (and their maintence!) gonna be times expensive than classic variant.
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Old July 29th, 2011, 03:21 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcVD View Post
There is also a serious problem of capacity. On the transsib (a double track
electrified all the way) freight trains follow each other every 5 to 10
minutes in each direction, and usually consist of 80 to 100 cars each.
Most of this is domestic russian freight traffic. That country has almost
no roads (not a single paved road extending from east to west) so rail
carries most (above 60%) of the shipments.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...an_railway.png

Well capacity isn't that big problem. Ironically, the Baikal-Amur mainline (green) is catastrophically underutilized! (the old good Transsib is red). And it is still possibly to make train ever longer, e.g. by using 2 vl80 instead of 1,5 or 2 vl85 instead of 1.
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Old July 29th, 2011, 05:11 PM   #38
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In long term there will be two routes or network of routes. First the existing route trough Russia. Second a route south of the black sea following the old silk road. The second one will be standard gauge while the first one Russia gauge.
In my opinion the best solution is to have a few high capacity inter modal facility which can load and unload a two kilometer train in less than an hour. Provide access for trains of different gauges, trucks and ships. Through running trains are not that important as the different containers have many different final destination. And its more efficient to just move containers that to have a classification yard for the trains. There are already the first multiple units for cargo trains, so single rail cars cannot be detached anymore. Contrary to US practice the network is or will be electrified so having heavy locomotives pulling unpowered railcars will be a thing of the past. multiple units are more expensive than rail cars but cleverly used the will have much a higher average speed and a minimum waiting time. Like ships trains will move between the large terminals.
Problem for such a big network is that there are four gauges. Meter gauge in South-East Asia, Standard Gauge in Europe and China,Russian Gauge and Indian Gauge. As well as different loading gauges, couplers, etc. Its already a trouble to have trains moving on the European network. The issue with containers is that rail cars can hold more cargo. This problem can be solved by introducing a wider container.
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Old July 29th, 2011, 07:13 PM   #39
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Quote:
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In long term there will be two routes or network of routes. First the existing route trough Russia. Second a route south of the black sea following the old silk road. The second one will be standard gauge while the first one Russia gauge.
In my opinion the best solution is to have a few high capacity inter modal facility which can load and unload a two kilometer train in less than an hour. Provide access for trains of different gauges, trucks and ships. Through running trains are not that important as the different containers have many different final destination. And its more efficient to just move containers that to have a classification yard for the trains. There are already the first multiple units for cargo trains, so single rail cars cannot be detached anymore. Contrary to US practice the network is or will be electrified so having heavy locomotives pulling unpowered railcars will be a thing of the past. multiple units are more expensive than rail cars but cleverly used the will have much a higher average speed and a minimum waiting time. Like ships trains will move between the large terminals.
Problem for such a big network is that there are four gauges. Meter gauge in South-East Asia, Standard Gauge in Europe and China,Russian Gauge and Indian Gauge. As well as different loading gauges, couplers, etc. Its already a trouble to have trains moving on the European network. The issue with containers is that rail cars can hold more cargo. This problem can be solved by introducing a wider container.
SE Asia is going with standard gauge for the new lines. As is Kazakhstan when they finally get going.
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Old July 30th, 2011, 04:40 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XAN_ View Post
Well, the project seem to be either frozen or semi-frozen.
It seems that Slovakia hadn't decided yet, and other countries aren't rushing the project either. So until there would be at least a detailed project with milepost and etc. - you may forget about broad gauge to Vienna.
First from all, Slovakia cannot afford to build the extension. Second, it would be pointless for Slovakia to waste billions to build the railway to Vienna and thus lose income from transhipping.
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