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Old December 14th, 2009, 07:38 PM   #61
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Wow, anti-car ideology again. Cars are the ultimate instrument of freedom of movement - no government telling you when/where to work and live, far less risk of disruption due to tranportation companies' strikes, reduced power for leftist urban planners ditcate your lifestyle etc.

That being said, I see no reason why US tracks should be nationalized, given the share of rail transport in total freight haulage is FAR greater than the European Union (42% in US X a mere 14% in EU, where unprofittable, cash-drain passenger service dominates). It is a system that reconstructed itself out of shambels, focused on what it is most efficient (long-distance bulk freight) and now is profitable. Why should anyone want US government (or individual states governments for that matter) to start interfering with was is working FINE? I can barely imagine... European-style public entities lowering priorities of freight trains so unprofitable passenger services could be run etc. etc.
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Old December 17th, 2009, 06:13 PM   #62
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Union Pacific pauses rail expansion projects in Arizona, New Mexico
4 December 2009

PHOENIX (AP) - Several construction projects to increase Union Pacific's freight-moving capacity on the railroad's main line across southern Arizona and New Mexico are being temporarily sidetracked by the recession.

Plans to build a new yard in Pinal County in Arizona and a new rail facility in Santa Teresa, N.M., are on hold, and spokesman Tom Lange says installation of a second set of tracks across Arizona also has been postponed indefinitely.

Lange says there's no timetable but that Omaha, Neb.-based Union Pacific Corp. expects the projects to go forward again when the economy turns around.

Union Pacific reported in October that the global recession was reducing its rail traffic, down 15 percent in the third quarter from the corresponding period of 2008.
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Old December 30th, 2009, 09:09 AM   #63
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Parked rail cars an unwelcome guest in Lakeville
25 December 2009

LAKEVILLE, Minn. (AP) - Due to the bad economy, about 300 empty rail cars parked on the tracks around parts of suburban Lakeville, and it's a scene that's become familiar in cities and towns around the country.

Green railroad cars tattooed with graffiti line the main thoroughfare in Lakeville. The rail cars stretch along the city's open fields in an unbroken line and snake through wooded neighborhoods full of sprawling homes.

They also stand adjacent to Pam Steinhagen's backyard.

"We built our homes here knowing that there'd be train activity, and probably saw the train three times in 15 years," Steinhagen said. "Never did we ever envision train storage facility in our backyard. Never. Pardon me but it looks trashy. I wouldn't have moved here if I had known."

A company called Progressive Rail began parking cars in the town two years ago.

"We've got people in this neighborhood whose homes are in foreclosure and who've lost their jobs and people don't want to buy because the trains are here," she said.

Steinhagen said the unlocked cars are a draw for area teens. Police have issued about two dozen trespassing citations since this summer.

"The kids park, young adults from other neighborhoods and Lakeville too, and they go back to the boxcars and do things that are illegal," she said. "Before someone does get hurt, we want to say we've done everything we could."

People call Steinhagen the Train Lady and she's become a spokeswoman for Lakeville's anti-rail car movement.

The community is one of many across the country dealing with hundreds of parked rail cars. In a way, the cars are a physical reminder that important areas of our economy haven't improved yet.

Several industries that usually move goods around by rail have been hit hard by the recession. They're not selling as much, so they're not transporting as much. The rail cars they usually use are sitting empty.

The American Association of Railroads said in a normal economy companies have about 30,000 cars in storage. Right now, that number is at 451,000.

"Wherever they can park cars is where they're parking them right now," said Dave Fellon, president and owner of Progressive Rail. "These issues come across the nation; it isn't just Progressive Rail."

Progressive leases the tracks that run through Lakeville, and they're renting those tracks as storage space to big railroad companies and businesses that own their own rail cars.

"(It is) really no different than just parking your own automobile in a parking ramp," Fellon said. "You're paying for the use."

Fellon won't say how much his company charges to store cars. He said storage fees only make up a small portion of Progressive's income.

And that's enough to make Pam Steinhagen feel like Progressive is profitting from the misery of others.

"Why should we have a city that's (a) dumping ground for their rail cars, and they're making money on it," Steinhagen said.

Still, the rail cars have to go somewhere. Fellon said there's nowhere else. "As soon as the economy picks up, out the door they go. We'd like to see them back to work," he said.

Fellon's aware that he could come off as the bad guy.

"I try to remind people that the railroad is good," he said. "It brings a lot of revenue to the community coffers. That helps keep their taxes low. Progressive Rail has done a number of things for the city of Lakeville, but we also have to take care of our customers too. So it's a double-edged sword."

Either way, the city can't do much because the railroad is federally regulated. And Lakeville's director of economic development, David Olson, said there's no evidence the city's economy or property values have been affected by the cars.

"It doesn't add to the community's aesthetics necessarily, but you know it's just a fact of life that our community was built along this rail line," Olson said. "It's something we'd prefer it not be there, but I don't think it's changing the image of the community necessarily."

Still, the Lakeville City Council has adopted a resolution asking Minnesota's congressional delegation to look at ways rail cars can be kept out of residential areas.

------

Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News
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Old January 3rd, 2010, 09:35 PM   #64
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Another uptight suburban whiner... why do we have the worst of them in Minnesota?

I mean.. I understand where she's coming from.. I wouldn't like the situation either.. but I think she's blowing it a bit out of proportion.
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Old January 13th, 2011, 01:02 PM   #65
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Old January 13th, 2011, 06:50 PM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coccodrillo View Post
Do you know the weight of goods transported in a year by these trains (without counting the weight of waggons), especially on the line with 3% grade?

I would compare this traffic with similar European railroads, for sure with few freight traffic compared to American oens.
A bit of a late response here, but I would say that on a fully loaded freight train in North America, about 10-12Kt of that weight is cargo, including on the lines into and out of the Los Angeles area. I don't offhand have the figures for that on an annual basis. The main difference between here and Europe is the relative strength of the respective standard couplings.

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Old January 13th, 2011, 07:12 PM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoosier View Post
I experience the jam first hand. The at-grade crossings need to be removed. And I noticed how just in NW Indiana so many rail lines have been torn up over the past fifty years. That has to stop. Rebuild the rail lines!!

Ultimately, laying more track and separating passenger from freight traffic on rail lines is what will have to happen. It is an expensive solution, but it has to happen and the gains made in decreased transportation costs and shipping time will make up for the expense.
I was (fancifully?) musing not long ago about what current rail line would likely become the busiest freight railroad in the World should North American railroads ever be successfully converted to European-style 'open access' and pretty much settled on the southern part of what is now (or until very recently was) the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern (now part of CN), especially between West Chicago (UP ex CNW mainline)/East Aurora (BNSF ex CBQ mainline) and Lake County, IN - nearly all of the through traffic coming in from the west on the present-day UP and BNSF mainlines will head south and then east on it to bypass Chicago. Under 'open access', I can easily see it having to be upgraded to at least four main tracks. The present-day Indiana Harbor Belt (closer 'in' from the EJ&E) will also be a popular alternate routing.

Mike
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Old January 15th, 2011, 06:20 AM   #68
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There is nothing quite like the sight of a quartet of NS Dash 9s hauling a milelong unit coal train. Thoroughbred indeed.

I have a question (if anybody knows the answer): of Chicago-New York transshipments, how much winds up, percentage-wise, on each of the tree mains--that is, the former main lines of the New York Central, Pennsylvania Railroad, and Baltimore & Ohio? And what types of cargo are most frequent?
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Old January 15th, 2011, 09:18 AM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgk920 View Post
A bit of a late response here, but I would say that on a fully loaded freight train in North America, about 10-12Kt of that weight is cargo, including on the lines into and out of the Los Angeles area. I don't offhand have the figures for that on an annual basis. The main difference between here and Europe is the relative strength of the respective standard couplings.

Mike
Thank you.

American trains are bigger than European, thus less frequent. 10.000 tonnesin a train X 20 loaded trains X 320 days a year (to exclude low traffic days like holydays) = 64.000.000 tonnes...

I may suppose traffic around 50 millions tonnes on a quite used double track line, as in Europe the highest traffic is probably around 20 (on lines full of passenger trains which have priority).

To compare on the main Italy-Northern Europe axis (the Brenner Pass) traffic is 50 millions tonnes, 15 on rail and 35 on road (in 2008, much less after the economic recession).
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Old January 15th, 2011, 10:11 AM   #70
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Passing through the Kearny CSX Yard..

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Old January 15th, 2011, 06:13 PM   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hammersklavier View Post
There is nothing quite like the sight of a quartet of NS Dash 9s hauling a milelong unit coal train. Thoroughbred indeed.

I have a question (if anybody knows the answer): of Chicago-New York transshipments, how much winds up, percentage-wise, on each of the tree mains--that is, the former main lines of the New York Central, Pennsylvania Railroad, and Baltimore & Ohio? And what types of cargo are most frequent?
At least in Indiana, the former PRR mainline (parallels US 30) is used by only a couple of local/regional freight trains per day. Much of its route between Gary, IN and Chicago has been abandoned. I'm not sure on the split between the CSX (ex B&O) and NS (ex NYC) mainlines, but the NS is two main tracks with trains running on about about 20-30 minute headways in each direction while most of the CSX is single track. Amtrak's long-distance trains between Chicago and points due east (ie, the Lake Shore Limited) use the NS at least to Cleveland, then the CSX into western upstate New York (former NYC all the way).

As for freight on the ex NYC across Indiana, it's lots of mixed freight and double-stacked container trains.

Mike
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Old January 15th, 2011, 06:22 PM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coccodrillo View Post
Thank you.

American trains are bigger than European, thus less frequent. 10.000 tonnesin a train X 20 loaded trains X 320 days a year (to exclude low traffic days like holydays) = 64.000.000 tonnes...

I may suppose traffic around 50 millions tonnes on a quite used double track line, as in Europe the highest traffic is probably around 20 (on lines full of passenger trains which have priority).

To compare on the main Italy-Northern Europe axis (the Brenner Pass) traffic is 50 millions tonnes, 15 on rail and 35 on road (in 2008, much less after the economic recession).
The busiest freight line in the USA (and the World) is Union Pacific's mainline across central Nebraska, between Gibbon and Sutherland, NE - 120 trains per day is normal. The train mix is probably half to 2/3rds unit coal trains (loads eastbound, empties westbound - loaded trains about 14-15Kt gross weight, empties about 3 Kt) with the rest being mixed freight and double-stacked containers. It was upgraded to three main tracks about ten years ago.

Also, 20 trains per day would warrant only a single-track mainline with CTC and passing sidings. CN's ex Wisconsin Central/Soo Line mainline here in eastern Wisconsin is mostly single-track and carries more traffic than that (30-40 trains/day). Traffic growing to beyond about 40 or so freight trains per day, or adding useful passenger service to the mix (as was done to that line in the 1990s in northern Illinois), would warrant upgrading to double track.

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Old January 15th, 2011, 07:48 PM   #73
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70 coal trains, of them half are empty, say around 11.000 tonnes of coal X 35 trains X 330 days = 127.000.000 tonnes

I don't know the average weight of goods on other trains, say 6.000. Then 6.000 X 50 X 330 = 100.000.000

I know it isn't accurate, but the weight is the only way (beside TEU) to compare traffic on so different railway systems. Maybe volumes could be better to compare, but these values are harder to find.

Excluding coal transport 100 millions of tonnes (Mt) is the double of the Brenner Pass, so this seems a reasonable estimate (or something in the range 70-120 Mt). All goods exchanegd by Italy by land are around 180 Mt (metric), without counting the sea which has a relevant part for intra-EU traffic (unlike Northern America).

In Europe some railways reach 160 freight trains a day (some around 400 to 500 mixed traffic, but usually less than 250), weighting usually no more than 2.000 gross tonnes. This could give 1.200 X 160 X 330 = 63 Mt of goods in theory. Single tracks lines handle 50 to 90 (usually no more than 70, sometimes 110) trains a day. Each train is never (beside very rare exceptions) longer than 750 m or 2500 feet or around 0.5 miles (but often trains are shorter, like 600 m).

We need automatic couplings, chains are too weak...and more lines dedicated to freight. But above all higher clearance profile, on some lines high cube containers can't be transported even on low floor wagons...except very low floor wagons used only for trucks (not containers) because they are too expensive...maybe we should try wagons similar to the ones seen in Nexis' video in post 23.

Last but not least...the three different gauges on main network, standard, 5ft and 5ft6in. This without considering 5ft3in of Ireland (but it's an island) and metre gauge.
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Old January 16th, 2011, 09:11 AM   #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgk920 View Post
At least in Indiana, the former PRR mainline (parallels US 30) is used by only a couple of local/regional freight trains per day. Much of its route between Gary, IN and Chicago has been abandoned. I'm not sure on the split between the CSX (ex B&O) and NS (ex NYC) mainlines, but the NS is two main tracks with trains running on about about 20-30 minute headways in each direction while most of the CSX is single track. Amtrak's long-distance trains between Chicago and points due east (ie, the Lake Shore Limited) use the NS at least to Cleveland, then the CSX into western upstate New York (former NYC all the way).

As for freight on the ex NYC across Indiana, it's lots of mixed freight and double-stacked container trains.

Mike
Thanks for the info. I guess I should have clarified: on those parts of the mainline which cross the Eastern Divide (i.e. the Alleghenies), which sees the most traffic?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coccodrillo View Post
70 coal trains, of them half are empty, say around 11.000 tonnes of coal X 35 trains X 330 days = 127.000.000 tonnes

I don't know the average weight of goods on other trains, say 6.000. Then 6.000 X 50 X 330 = 100.000.000

I know it isn't accurate, but the weight is the only way (beside TEU) to compare traffic on so different railway systems. Maybe volumes could be better to compare, but these values are harder to find.

Excluding coal transport 100 millions of tonnes (Mt) is the double of the Brenner Pass, so this seems a reasonable estimate (or something in the range 70-120 Mt). All goods exchanegd by Italy by land are around 180 Mt (metric), without counting the sea which has a relevant part for intra-EU traffic (unlike Northern America).

In Europe some railways reach 160 freight trains a day (some around 400 to 500 mixed traffic, but usually less than 250), weighting usually no more than 2.000 gross tonnes. This could give 1.200 X 160 X 330 = 63 Mt of goods in theory. Single tracks lines handle 50 to 90 (usually no more than 70, sometimes 110) trains a day. Each train is never (beside very rare exceptions) longer than 750 m or 2500 feet or around 0.5 miles (but often trains are shorter, like 600 m).

We need automatic couplings, chains are too weak...and more lines dedicated to freight. But above all higher clearance profile, on some lines high cube containers can't be transported even on low floor wagons...except very low floor wagons used only for trucks (not containers) because they are too expensive...maybe we should try wagons similar to the ones seen in Nexis' video in post 23.

Last but not least...the three different gauges on main network, standard, 5ft and 5ft6in. This without considering 5ft3in of Ireland (but it's an island) and metre gauge.
I agree with the sentiment that stronger couplers need to become mainstream in Europe if they ever want to see more transcontinental freight shipped by rail than by road or ship, and that the variants in national gauges--particularly the Pyrenees divide and the one between the former Russia and the rest of Europe--do more to hinder than help things, but at the same time I don't think much real change will happen until the market demands it--namely, by enforcing standards requirements for interchange purposes, i.e. if China and Europe were linked by a standard-gauge line, the demand for Chinese-origin or China-bound freight, and hence need for knuckle-coupler-equipped equipment in Europe would increase exponentially. (See the Intercontinental thread for further discussion.)

As for your meter-gauge comment, don't forget that it has always had--and will always have--a niche in the most challenging environments. The U.S. once had a sizable meter-gauge network, particularly in the Colorado Rockies, and it is quite useful as a gauge standard for insular nations which are unlikely to see interchange traffic anyway.
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Old January 16th, 2011, 01:50 PM   #75
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Today lenght is limited by passing sidings, and for half-mile long trains chains are still usually sufficient, except on heavy gradients and with heavy loads when one engine has to be at the end of the train.

5ft3in and meter gauge are niches carrying very few traffic, the biggest traffic being on the FEVE network in Spain (3 Mt per year) and the Rätische Bahn network in Switzerland (1 Mt per year).
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Old January 17th, 2011, 01:34 PM   #76
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So long as the railways are primarily used for passengers in Europe freight trains will never get as long as in the US in general. The main problem with long freight trains is the amount of time they block junctions, and that the passing loops are not long enough.

I can see a few routes being changed but I can't see there economic benefit to going more than 1000m, especially when in Europe it is easy to send another train in a few minutes if necessary.
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Old January 27th, 2011, 06:45 AM   #77
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Some nice videos.







More here: http://www.youtube.com/user/LostOzarkRambler
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Old January 27th, 2011, 06:58 AM   #78
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Old January 27th, 2011, 06:59 AM   #79
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Quote:
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So long as the railways are primarily used for passengers in Europe freight trains will never get as long as in the US in general. The main problem with long freight trains is the amount of time they block junctions, and that the passing loops are not long enough.

I can see a few routes being changed but I can't see there economic benefit to going more than 1000m, especially when in Europe it is easy to send another train in a few minutes if necessary.
Indeed, longer trains aren't always needed. Don't forget another main difference between Europe and the US: In Europe the engineer is usually all by himself on the locomotive, whereas train crews are larger in the US.
The new Gotthard base tunnel and its approaches will eventually allow 1400m trains however. The idea there is to just join two 700m trains together somewhere one side of the Alps, and split them again at the other end, so that slots in the tunnel can be spared.

However, the economical case for longer trains in Europe is weak. The miles long trains in the US are part of a logistic chain that brings containers from China to the East coast, where most of the US population lives. In Europe containers from Asia can be landed a lot closer to their final customers in most cases.
The main cargo flows across the continent is intra-european freight, and that doesn't often travel in containers (for a variety of reasons). The most urgent investment at the moment is to enlarge the profile of as many routes as possible for 4m corner height swap bodies.
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Old January 27th, 2011, 12:02 PM   #80
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The new Gotthard base tunnel and its approaches will eventually allow 1400m trains however. The idea there is to just join two 700m trains together somewhere one side of the Alps, and split them again at the other end, so that slots in the tunnel can be spared.
Not very soon because there aren't today passing loops and yards long enough to accept them.

Quote:
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The main cargo flows across the continent is intra-european freight, and that doesn't often travel in containers (for a variety of reasons). The most urgent investment at the moment is to enlarge the profile of as many routes as possible for 4m corner height swap bodies.
...and semitrailers!
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