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Old March 22nd, 2008, 10:38 AM   #21
Riise
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FedEx Jumps Aboard France's TGV

A consortium plans to offer express parcel service to points in Western Europe using high-speed trains. German tracks may derail idea of overnight service

February 13, 2008, 1:23PM EST
Business Week
By: Christian Wüst

One side-effect of the world of modern logistics is that Germany's national postal service can hardly afford to use trains to move packages these days. The former state-owned enterprise is forced to keep up with a pace set by competing courier services who use cargo jets and vans to deliver their goods, and that pace is clearly defined: Overnight delivery is considered the standard in express shipping. But freight trains are hardly able fit the bill when it comes to guaranteed next-day delivery.

That situation, though, is expected to change soon in France, where 20 high-speed TGV trains -- which operate at speeds of 300 kilometers per hour (186 miles per hour) and will be equipped with nine unfurnished cars designed to carry standardized airfreight containers -- are slated to being operations in four years. The Carex project (an acronym for "Cargo Rail Express") has strong political support in France. When he first developed the idea in 1994, consortium Chairman Yanick Paternotte, also a member of the French parliament, says people ridiculed him "as a dreamer."

In the meantime, though, funding has been secured for the project, with the French postal service La Poste and American package delivery service FedEx, which uses Paris's Roissy Airport (formerly "Charles de Gaulle") as its European logistics hub, on board as the lead investors.

More than 50 FedEx cargo planes take off and land at Roissy every night, connecting Paris with faraway continents, as well as domestic airports like Nice, Toulouse, Lyon and Marseilles.

The freight TGV will serve the latter two cities in the future, as well as Bordeaux, Lille, Strasbourg and European freight hubs London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Cologne. The high-speed freight train will also offer service to more distant cities like Bologna and Madrid in the future.

The French capital already has the best rail connections in Europe today. An unparalleled network of high-speed rail lines connects Paris with major domestic cities, the Benelux countries and southern England. The TGV takes two and a quarter hours from Paris to London, just over four hours to Amsterdam and only three hours to Marseilles, which lies a full 750 kilometers (466 miles) to the south.


High-Speed Post, But not in Germany

These travel times are also ideal for express freight, especially since high-speed trains have already been deployed successfully in the industry. The French postal service already uses individual TGV Fret freight express trains, manufactured by domestic rail producer Alstom, between Paris and the Lyon region today.

Alstom will also supply the trains that will be used in the Carex venture. They are based on the double-decker TGV Duplex trains that currently run between Paris and Lyon and will provide sufficient space to accommodate standard airfreight containers up to three meters (9.8 feet) tall. Carex estimates the investment in the trains and infrastructure for the first phase of the project at just under 1 billion ($1.47 billion).

"It is an innovative, environmentally friendly project," explains FedEx spokeswoman Bärbel Bussenius. A large cargo aircraft consumes more than 20 liters of kerosene and a truck about one liter of diesel fuel to carry one ton of cargo 100 kilometers (62 miles). According to Carex, the freight TGV emits only about two percent of the carbon dioxide emitted by a cargo plane to achieve the same outcome.

But Carex's plans to penetrate deep into the German rail network with its courier, express and package freight service (or "CEP") will be difficult if not impossible to achieve. The consortium has even placed Berlin on its agenda as a destination.

Still, offering overnight package service from the city on the Seine to the German capital on the Spree River is completely unrealistic. Germany lacks the sort of continuous high-speed rail network that currently exists in France (more...). The trip from Paris to Berlin on the German ICE high-speed train service currently takes just under nine hours. The very idea of operating an express freight train on this line seems utopian.

Given these obstacles, German national railway Deutsche Bahn has shown little enthusiasm for the project. The issue was examined years ago, explains Tatjana Luther-Engelmann, spokeswoman of Deutsche Bahn's Railion freight division. But the sobering conclusion was that it would offer "no real added value for customers."

Courier freight is a minor player in the industry, which makes it, from Deutsche Bahn's perspective, an unattractive commodity for shipping on freight trains. Railion operates only a few individual trains designed to handle courier freight, but none of them on high-speed lines, where signal technology alone is very expensive.

The core business consists of heavy cargo, such as raw materials and industrial products, and it is highly successful. Annual freight transport volume, which has been growing for years, now amounts to significantly more than 100 billion ton-kilometers.

That's a strong contrast to France where, unlike the TGV sector, the freight rail system is in poor shape. Freight volume in France is in steady decline and is currently less than half of the corresponding German value.

For this reason, Carex is primarily a prestige project for a fundamentally ailing transportation company. The 20 TGV freight trains are expected to carry about 350 million tons of freight a year -- a drop in the bucket as far as rail cargo goes. By the same token, the French railroad has no reason to pin high hopes on express services.


'We Want a Reliable German Rail System'

Although national railways like France's may currently have little incentive to enter into the business of high-speed, express package delivery, companies already successful in the sector like UPS and FedEx are clamouring for improved railway infrastructure as new limitations are imposed on their traditional means of transport. Indeed, some are raising their expectations for Deutsche Bahn.

"We want nothing more than a reliable German rail system," says Christian Messerschmidt, logistics manager at UPS, "because we all know that roads are becoming less reliable." Germany's notoriously clogged autobahns are especially problematic for express courier businesses, while night flight restrictions limit the option of using airfreight instead.

Another challenge facing express service providers is the relentless growth in package volume. FedEx estimates that the industry will continue to grow by at least 10 percent a year. Rail is the only mode of transportation that could provide sufficient capacity to meet this growing demand, provided the operator of the German system can be motivated to step up to the plate.

Eckhard Kuhla, a former developer for Deutsche Bahn's predecessor, the state-owned Deutsche Bundesbahn, is one of Carex's advisors. He assesses the potential to generate enthusiasm for the project with his former employer as low. "The scent of airfreight must be palpable in the courier, express and parcels business, and that's something I've never noticed in the rail freight business."

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Old March 23rd, 2008, 12:49 PM   #22
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Europe uses short freight trains - which is actually a good practice, much safer.

Usually, freight trains' lengths in North America are measured in kilometres, not metres (often they are well over 100 cars).

As far as cargo goes, yes, we live in an era of just-in-time deliveries, but freight rail has no real participation in that industry. Freight rail is more about quantity of good shipped rather than the quality [expediency] of the shipping service. Speed has never been a high priority of freight rail because it doesn't need to be, and given the safety concerns that would be associated with a high-speed version of freight rail, it wouldn't be feasable with existing networks.

SAFETY CONCERNS
1. A freight rail HSR could not have at-grade crossings, because trains would automated in operation due to their high speed and they might appear too fast at crossings without sufficient warning. These kinds of crossings are commonplace and conversion expensive.

2. Signal systems of current freight rail corridors are not compatible with a high-speed rail equivalent, as when speeds get well above 200km/h, there is not enough time to read signals, particular around curves. For this reason, ATC is mandatory.

3. A different approach to marshalling yards may be necessary.

The diamond in the rough? This applies to passenger rail equally as freight rail.

However, with freight rail typically not about speedy delivery, it might be smart from a marketing perspective to design a different system that is compatible with the just-in-time market. Instead of intermodal shipping containers, a system where trucks drive-on, drive-off, might be way more expedient (not sure how to handle the issue of carbon-monoxide, obviously a very serious angle to address). The catch to something like this though, is that it requires a really high demand area to pay off, because this only works with really high-frequency freight trips. In order for any real benefit to be had in time savings, it may also consider a maglev technology for such, rather than steel wheel on steel rail. This has advantages for both freight and passenger services. While the corridor can certainly be shared, the tracks cannot. Freight and passenger would need to be kept separate as there would be far too much scheduling conflicts given the high demand area requirement for the freight service in this, so at least 2 passenger and 2 freight tracks in the corridor would be a minimum.

Otherwise I think it is something that requires further study
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 07:03 AM   #23
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Typical Freight Prime Mover

I like the look and sound of these... not fast, but fast enough. And pound-for-pound and gallon-for-gallon (or kilo-for-kilo and liter-for-liter) they are the typical solution for freight-hauling in the US. Both pictures taken along Airport Way in South Seattle (Georgetown):

GE ES44DC


GE Dash9-44CW


JF
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 04:07 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRZ View Post
Europe uses short freight trains - which is actually a good practice, much safer.
DITTO!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TRZ View Post
Usually, freight trains' lengths in North America are measured in kilometres, not metres (often they are well over 100 cars).

As far as cargo goes, yes, we live in an era of just-in-time deliveries, but freight rail has no real participation in that industry. Freight rail is more about quantity of good shipped rather than the quality [expediency] of the shipping service. Speed has never been a high priority of freight rail because it doesn't need to be, and given the safety concerns that would be associated with a high-speed version of freight rail, it wouldn't be feasable with existing networks.

SAFETY CONCERNS
1. A freight rail HSR could not have at-grade crossings, because trains would automated in operation due to their high speed and they might appear too fast at crossings without sufficient warning. These kinds of crossings are commonplace and conversion expensive.

2. Signal systems of current freight rail corridors are not compatible with a high-speed rail equivalent, as when speeds get well above 200km/h, there is not enough time to read signals, particular around curves. For this reason, ATC is mandatory.

3. A different approach to marshalling yards may be necessary.

The diamond in the rough? This applies to passenger rail equally as freight rail.

However, with freight rail typically not about speedy delivery, it might be smart from a marketing perspective to design a different system that is compatible with the just-in-time market. Instead of intermodal shipping containers, a system where trucks drive-on, drive-off, might be way more expedient (not sure how to handle the issue of carbon-monoxide, obviously a very serious angle to address). The catch to something like this though, is that it requires a really high demand area to pay off, because this only works with really high-frequency freight trips. In order for any real benefit to be had in time savings, it may also consider a maglev technology for such, rather than steel wheel on steel rail. This has advantages for both freight and passenger services. While the corridor can certainly be shared, the tracks cannot. Freight and passenger would need to be kept separate as there would be far too much scheduling conflicts given the high demand area requirement for the freight service in this, so at least 2 passenger and 2 freight tracks in the corridor would be a minimum.

Otherwise I think it is something that requires further study
I think I can speak for all europeans as I say "that is totally alien to us" ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpm_seattle View Post
I like the look and sound of these... not fast, but fast enough. And pound-for-pound and gallon-for-gallon (or kilo-for-kilo and liter-for-liter) they are the typical solution for freight-hauling in the US. Both pictures taken along Airport Way in South Seattle (Georgetown):

GE ES44DC


GE Dash9-44CW


JF
The tipical European Freight Locomotives:


Running light ...


2x 5600Kw = 11200Kw = something like 15.000h.p. ???


Pulling a small 2000ton. coal train ...


The same locomotives are used to haul Intercity passenger trains at speeds as high as 200km/h

But we do have our variations of GE/GM/ALCo diesel monsters ...




the same 2000ton. coal train used to be hauled by 2 or 3 Gec-Alsthom 1900 diesels

But usualy european freight trains are just "small":

Singlehanded in a shorter version of the coal train:


Even raw minerium (700 ton?):





But nowadays most traffic is just long trains of Containers:
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 07:23 AM   #25
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well yeah most trains in the united states is long and huge but the europeans and asians ones are smaller and shorter.
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 07:40 AM   #26
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Quote:
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I think I can speak for all europeans as I say "that is totally alien to us" ...
It should be quite alien to just about anybody given that there is no model like that around that I know of (it is a truck-dominated industry (the just-in-time market)). What? Just because it is dramatically different it is bad?
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 08:29 AM   #27
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Interestingly, CN, a company well known for using its union-agreed 150 cars/train length limit to its fullest, with some trains approaching or exceeding 3 km long, still operates a service that their Wisconsin predecessor started up in the 1990s - a twice-daily round trip train hauling coarse aggregate gravel from a mine in Wisconsin (between Milwaukee and Fond du Lac) to a construction materials company in the northwest suburban Chicagoland area using European-style short trains and single locomotives.

Anyways, even here in North America, cross-continent intermodal freight (trailers and containers) trains normally operate on the fastest schedules that their operators can give them and often at the same speeds that long-distance Amtrak trains run at - the business is extremely time-sensitive and cut-throat competitive.

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Old April 4th, 2008, 06:39 AM   #28
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It's easy...

for truly high speed(250 kph or more) freight rail do it just like air cargo but on rails. Load up the freight into special crates and put it on trains running in the normal schedule. Perhaps some trains would carry both passengers and light cargo, and at terminal stations the freight would be carted.

for medium high speed use faster locomotives pulling container cars perhaps with some kind of skirting to make them more aerodynamic

a third idea might be to think of a road-railer type concept(truck trailers that can directly hook up to sets of steel wheels and couplers thus functioning as a single rail car) but sturdier for high speed operations. Once again the trailers would be specially shaped to be aerodynamic

it would be a point to point operation. No yards or sidings or any kind of switching. Haz mat and heavy bulk cargo would not even be part of the equation. Safety would be the same with trucking. Grade seperation should be a thing for all HSR and is not a concern specific to this.

Last edited by zaphod; April 4th, 2008 at 06:49 AM.
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Old April 4th, 2008, 07:51 PM   #29
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Actually in Austria we have freight locos which are capable of max speeds of 357km/h. However we both lack the tracks and the freight cars for these speeds.

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These American Diesel locos are far from being high-speed
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Old April 5th, 2008, 06:11 AM   #30
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then we here are a step ahead of you:

Why the HSL Lisboa-Madrid will be a "mixed" traffic line: (just put it on google translator)
http://www.rave.pt/estudos/merc.htm


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Old April 5th, 2008, 06:07 PM   #31
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@sotavento: Actually I think it's a good thing to have mixed traffic if the freight trains are capable of a speed higher than 200 km/h.

I think Portugal/Spain could be a great example for the rest of Europe!
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Old April 5th, 2008, 06:16 PM   #32
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Actually in Austria we have freight locos which are capable of max speeds of 357km/h. However we both lack the tracks and the freight cars for these speeds.
I doubt freight trains will ever run at more than about 120 km/h.

Max speed of these engines however is about 220 km/h and for passengers only. 357 km/h were reached by one of them during a test run. They can't be used at these speeds in normal service, even with passengers.
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Old April 5th, 2008, 07:38 PM   #33
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What effect does the coupling system used in Europe have on train length limits?

IIRC, the very long, heavy trains that are regularly seen in North America are possible due to the strength of the coupling/drawbar system that is used here.

Would European train lengths also increase if a more North American style coupling system were used there?

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Old April 5th, 2008, 10:39 PM   #34
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There are basically two reasons freight trains are bigger and longer in the US. On the one hand, Europe has mixed traffic, which makes it hard to have those huge, slow freight trains used in the US. The other, equally important reason is that Europe's geography favors maritime transport. Very few places (Switzerland?) are far from the coast or a major river and since maritime transport is generally the cheapest form of transport available, we tend to use that instead of heavy freight trains. In contrast, the geography in the US favors freight trains instead. I imagine that if Europe needed to, we could adopt the same freight technology the US is using but I'm not sure how useful it'd be for the above reasons.
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Old April 5th, 2008, 11:02 PM   #35
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1) What effect does the coupling system used in Europe have on train length limits?

2) Would European train lengths also increase if a more North American style coupling system were used there?
1) hevaier and longer trains in Europe are 750 m/half-mile long and on mountain lines have three engines, one at the rear because of the low resistance of couplers

2) maybe, but in Europe tehre are a lot of passenger trains - 3 or 4 per direction per hour is common
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Old April 6th, 2008, 03:17 AM   #36
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Quote:
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1) hevaier and longer trains in Europe are 750 m/half-mile long and on mountain lines have three engines, one at the rear because of the low resistance of couplers

2) maybe, but in Europe tehre are a lot of passenger trains - 3 or 4 per direction per hour is common
Reposting some pictures:

Old train:


New train:



These wagons weight more than 96 ton. each (maximum payload of 63 ton. or higher) and can run at 120km/h ... the entire 300km corridor in wich they run had to be upgraded to allow them to run ... dedicated sidings/ side tracks had to be built along the route due to their lenght (originally there were two consists of 25 wagons pulled by 3 locomotives and the reaminder 7/8 wagons were pulled by a lonely locomotive ... the last loco on every consist just goes there for the pleasure of it ... as an extra locomotive was needed to get past the steep inclines out of the harbour and the 1st initial km's of the route ... it was decided that it was easier to just let the damn "helper" attacked and try not to stop that many times when the trains runs northbound (fully loaded with they weight 2000/2400 ton. and were pulled by 3x 113 ton diesel locomotives ... so it wouldn't be too safe to have it stopping every 10km in a single line just to cross another train in the oposite direction)

The route was then electrified and a CTC instaled ... then the electric locomotives started doing their job.

Actually there has been a grave accident with these trains.

After the electrification phase was completed the trains used to run in the same manner as in the diesel era ... untill one single 5600 locomotive (one of the red electrics) pulling a "light" consist (8 coal trains?) failed to stop inside its and was subsequently hit by another train ... let's say that everything that could have gone whrong in that scenario did indeed go wrong ... its that kind of things that only happen once.
I for myself only say that every since I first saw both locomotives involved in that accident always felt that 5624(the accident electric loco) was very "gray" (As in it was not very shinny or photogenic even when compared to completely dirty locomotives it was not visible unless one walked into it)


After the accident some more wagons were produced and the consists were reduced to as low as 22 wagons because a 3rd full consist was then created ... new wagons are being produced and consists are again augmented.



It's basicaly a 24h run round the clock .. .harbour(loading coal) running full onto the powerplant , unloading and returning light to the harbour ... 3 or 4 loaded trains per day 365 days a year minimum.


Pur these kinds of trains in a High speed route ????


Wellll ... they run on some 50km of "upgraded" track here


in southern line the bigest incentive for the upgrade was the heavy freight trains so it was renewed with 60kg/m rail (and now is at 220 km/h) ... in northern line and since the route they run had been recently renewed (bibloc sleepers , 54kg/m rails = 140km/h) it was decided to left that particular stretch to be upgraded last.


... "teoric" line speed limit is 250km/h but due to the heavy freight traffic , a software limit on high speed trains , and overhead cathenary optimizations hte max. sped is reduced to 220km/h

- Pendular trains in portugal are capable of 250km/h but only run at 228 km/h inm comercial service ... but the Pendular trains have a "light" axle load of only 13,5 ton ... or about 1/2 of that of the coal trains.

Mixing both traffics can be somewhat problematic ...
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Last edited by sotavento; April 6th, 2008 at 03:24 AM.
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Old April 6th, 2008, 03:26 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by virgule82 View Post
There are basically two reasons freight trains are bigger and longer in the US. On the one hand, Europe has mixed traffic, which makes it hard to have those huge, slow freight trains used in the US. The other, equally important reason is that Europe's geography favors maritime transport. Very few places (Switzerland?) are far from the coast or a major river and since maritime transport is generally the cheapest form of transport available, we tend to use that instead of heavy freight trains. In contrast, the geography in the US favors freight trains instead. I imagine that if Europe needed to, we could adopt the same freight technology the US is using but I'm not sure how useful it'd be for the above reasons.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgk920 View Post
What effect does the coupling system used in Europe have on train length limits?

IIRC, the very long, heavy trains that are regularly seen in North America are possible due to the strength of the coupling/drawbar system that is used here.

Would European train lengths also increase if a more North American style coupling system were used there?

Mike
Heavy trains in europe usualy use ATLAS coupling ... and its difficult to introduce long parking space for freight trains.

How many trains in the USA do actualy surpass the 2000/3000 ton. outside of dedicated mining explorations ???
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Old April 6th, 2008, 12:55 PM   #38
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@ mgk920 There are many reasons why really long freight trains can't happen in Europe, and that's mainly down to everything not having developed that way. The USA is quite unique in that the freight industry has been allowed to develop in it's own direction, in a way at the expense of other traffic, whereas in Europe all traffic has had to develop together, with perhaps more of an emphasis on passenger. Still, having to share traffic with freight is one of the reasons the French built LGVs.

Firstly, there aren't the stabling yards. Nearly all the goods yards in Europe were built in the 19th century, and expanding them would be difficult - for example in London the goods yards are now surrounded by suburbia.

Secondly, really long trains are great for single track operation, where only one train can pass, as there is another waiting to come the other way, so instead of waiting 12 hours for the next window, make the first train really long. This is the approach needed in the USA. In Europe there is a much larger proportion of double track routes - if more freight is to go than can be fitted on one train, rather than wait for ages for the next window, another train can be sent withinh a few minutes/hours without necessarily holding up other traffic.

Thirdly, due to the high usage of many routes long freight trains get in the way. For example the maximum length in Europe generally is 775m, yet on the routes into south London this isn't really allowed as the trains have to traverse a complex commuter network, the timetables of which lose robustness if trains are having to wait an extra 3 minutes whilst a ridiculously long train clears a set of points. It is preferable to wait one 1 minute, have the commuter train pass, then send another freight train later. In this way freight must mimic passenger operations - people want regular services - they don't all wait at a station for 6 hours and then get on a mile long commuter train. So, as all over south London there are junctions with passenger trains criss-crossing every 3 or 4 minutes there is no way a really long freight train can be allowed through without impacting the other services.
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Old April 20th, 2008, 10:10 PM   #39
Rodalvesdepaula
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The USA already had a "high-speed" freight train: the Super C, operated by defunct Santa Fe Railway, from Chicago to Los Angeles in 34 hours. This train operated from 1968 to 1976, to compete with Union Pacific trains, and the speedy was 108 Km/h. The Super C was formed by diesel locomotives EMD SD45 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EMD_SD45-2) and 15-20 wagons (containers and piggyback).

Here in Brazil, a route that could be perfect for high-speed cargo trains would be São Paulo-Rio de Janeiro, operated by MRS, a Brazilian railroad. As the motorway between the two cities (Presidente Dutra motorway) is saturated, a high-speed cargo train could meet the increasing demand for transportation of cargoes in the region, mainly containers, cars, trucks and bus chassis, etc. The train would a push-pull composition, with two diesel locomotives in each edge, and 20 wagons (autocars or double-stack cars), in a medium speedy of 130 Km/h (after adjustments on the line), against 25 Km/h in another Brazilian railways.
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Old April 21st, 2008, 02:50 AM   #40
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what about in Asia they use the same type of frieght system as Europe i think?

i think in japan its like Europe somehow?
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