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Old March 18th, 2010, 02:32 AM   #61
makita09
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxmulder View Post
I think main rationale for this network is not connecting Europe to China but rather relatively closer countries to China, mostly neighboring countries. Since both China and neighboring countries are very large, network becomes immense and once you a network connecting Russia to China or India to China why not reach to Europe?
Precisely. If HSR gets from Beijing to China's western border its already a half way to Romania.
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Old March 18th, 2010, 12:51 PM   #62
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And people thought I was mad for suggesting Paris-Istanbul.
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Old March 18th, 2010, 01:07 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by gramercy View Post
And people thought I was mad for suggesting Paris-Istanbul.
Which the Chinese may very well be building anyway.

What about Beijing-Kunming-Mandalay-Dhaca-Calcutta-Karachi-Tehran-Istanbul-Milan-Marseilles-Madrid-Lisbon?
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Old March 18th, 2010, 02:14 PM   #64
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From the articles I've managed to find, these are the two main routes being considered:


Click the picture for a larger version.

Please be informed this is a map of tracks, not lines. Once you can reach Berlin, you can cruise through the rest of Western Europe because the HSR infrastructure is already in place. For a high speed service from London to Beijing, you only need to construct new lines to Berlin. Or possibly Milan but that doesn't seem to be considered at this point.
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Old March 18th, 2010, 07:37 PM   #65
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Although thinking about it. I think it makes more sense to build a mixed-use freight/passanger line while putting more emphasis on freight.

A distance this long, I think it's more feasiable for freight than actually people.

After a certain distance, even at 350km/h, air travel start to become more attractive to passangers than rail, and probably cheaper too consider the cost of infrastructure. Beijing to Burlin should be way beyond that mark.

There currently is already a Beijing - Berlin freight train that's running. It however must change gauges along the way. Might be a good idea to start building a standard gauge non-highspeed conventional lines first. Something along China's 200km/h standard line would work great.
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Old March 18th, 2010, 07:40 PM   #66
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Yikes ... they really should tunnel to Hainan and Taiwan first before trying to HSR to Europe!
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Old March 18th, 2010, 08:13 PM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UD2 View Post
There currently is already a Beijing - Berlin freight train that's running. It however must change gauges along the way. Might be a good idea to start building a standard gauge non-highspeed conventional lines first. Something along China's 200km/h standard line would work great.
But what will Russia gain from it?

Rail traffic inside Russia works. They have a lot of 1524 mm track and rolling stock. They are not regauging that - they deal with break of gauge at their borders.

Will Hainan have a bridge or a tunnel? And should China tunnel under Yellow Sea to reach South Korea?
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Old March 18th, 2010, 08:59 PM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slartibartfas View Post
I'd say any route is better than the one through Afghanistan. This country is terribly instable already for decades if not longer. Varying gauges are not an all too big problem as one could construct that rail link in one gauge, either European standard gauge or whatever they use in China. That would limit the need for switching the gauge dramatically. Connection hubs along the way would grant access to the track also along the way. Thats no problem Spain for example also has different gauges.

One could also create a special treaty framework, creating a corridor, where border controls are not necessary if the containers remain closed all along the way.

The Deutsche Bahn experiments with cargo trains from Europe to China on existing tracks, via Russia I think. It takes its time and the largest problem is probably to overcome incompatibilities changing trains etc. But it seems it is possible and i can be considerably faster than by ship.
I never said I recommended the route through Afghanistan. I just said it was
the only possible route if one wants to avoid countries where the track
gauge is different than what is used in Europe and China (1.435 both). I
agree with you that the current political conditions in this country do not even remotely allow to think about using it for passenger or freight transit.
This ia a pity, though, as a link through this country would allow to cruise
from Europe to China using the same track gauge all the way.

On rail gauge changes, you are wrong. Rail gauge changes are a big problem,
actuallly. Not for passenger traffic, for this you have indeed Talgo-like trains
that allow to go through the gauge change in 15 minutes. For freight it is
very different. I won't go into the technical details ; it is enough to mention
that because of the gauge change at the french-spanish border, the freight
international trafic through this border is almost exclusively carried on road.
Freight rail traffic over there is minimal, just a few trains per day. Much less
than any other border in Europe. The break-of-gauge IS the reason...

Special treaties and corridor traffic are possible between countries that
have a reasonnable level of confidence among each other. That does not
exist in Asia. China despises India, which despises Pakistan. All ex-soviet
republics hate each other. Azerbaijan is at war with Armenia. The whole
world pretends to be at war with Iran. Russia is almost at war with Georgia.
The list goes on. All those countries are cash-starved and hope to get hard
currency by imposing tariffs on transit goods. They won't let any container
pass their borders without inspecting it and tax all what is inside. Each border
crossing costs days of delay.

Yes the DB experiments are over China. I have pictures of train containers
with APL (American President's Line, an american company) containers in the
consist, an rather surrealistic view, even after the demise of the soviet
empire... The containers are trans-shipped from european to russian, and
then from russian to chinese waggons at the borders. This is ridiculous if
one wants to consider any kind of massive traffic. A newly built line, in order
to be profitable, would require a volume of, say, a container train every
20 minutes or so, in (less if we consider trains made to US standards with
hundreds of double-stack waggons in tow, but that won't happen). Do you
realize how many container trans-shipments a day it represents ?
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Old March 18th, 2010, 09:09 PM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UD2 View Post

Not to mention the fact that the areas that it crosses is simply not dense enough to warrent the investment.
This is one of the reasons indeed. A high-speed line between Europe and
China would not be profitable with only the passengers that would use it
on its entire length - there are just not many enough, even if all air
passengers would have switched to rail. To make it profitable, you need
people who use it for trips that use part of the line only. The problem is,
you only have people concentration at both extremities, and almost
nobody living in the middle. Say you take the north path proposed.
You can have lots of traffic on the Berlin-Moscow part. You can have
lots of traffic between Peking and Urumqi too - China IS building an HSL
there, in fact. But in the middle ? A desert, cold or warm. Who's going
to fill-up 50 high speed trains per day over there ?
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Old March 18th, 2010, 09:18 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by K_ View Post
Actually the gauge is not really a big problem. It would probably be best to build the line to whatever gauge other lines are in the area you pass through, so that you have some operational flexibility. You might want to have alternative routes available in case of an interuption, or offer connections to other places, not just Europe - China.
That would mean two breaks of gauge, once a the Chinese border, and once at the Polish (or wherever you enter the EU) border. With modern technology changing the gauge on an entire HST doesn't need to take more than 15 minutes.
You might want to note that this is not the option chosen by any rail
company anywhere in Europe where a similar situation exists. Spain decided
for 1.435 rail gauge for its high-speed network, even if its historic gauge is
1.676. If a HSL is blocked, they have no alternative. Same for UK. The rail
gauge over there is the same as in Europe, I know. But since the HSL
between St Pancras and the Chunnel is built, the pickup shoes have been
dismounted on all Eurostar rakes, making them unable to use the 750V DC
3rd rail power supply used in south England. The only line they can still
use is the HSL, full stop. Savings in maintenance costs are more important
to the railways bean counters - euh, managers, sorry - than operational
flexibility.

You might also want to note that, as far as I know, dual gauge high-speed
trains do not exist yet, so you certainly may not say that they can change
gauge in 15 minutes.
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Old March 18th, 2010, 09:31 PM   #71
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Originally Posted by K_ View Post
Indeed. And don't forget that when Europe and the US started building railroads in the 1830-ies it went at an amazing pace too.
The first railroads on the European continent were build in 1935. In the decades afterwards the networks expanded by about 7000km per year... China is catching up with the rest of the world, and it is no surprise that it is doing it at a terrific speed. As it catches up it will probably slow down a bit on the infrastructure front, as other things increasingly will become more important.
Because at that time,
- trains were the only economic way to transport heavy goods. Today we
have trucks for that, and trains remain used only where massive flows of
traffic exist.
- trains were also the only possible wat to transport people at decent speed.
Today we also have cars, planes, and trains remain only used where
massive flows of traffic exist.
- Train infrastructure was much lighter (remember conditions in which many
american lines were built!) and therefore much faster to build than today

Don't forget also that the automobile parc in China is expanding exponentially,
which means that soon China will have to concentrate on its road network
rather than on its rail network like it (rightfully) does today. They probably
know that, and this is even probably why they put so much emphasis now on
building their rail network, while it is still possible to do it. But it won't last
long...

Now, whether the whole world will be able to survive when each chinese
household will own its own automobile is entirely another topic...
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Old March 19th, 2010, 12:04 AM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcVD View Post
Because at that time,
- trains were the only economic way to transport heavy goods. Today we
have trucks for that, and trains remain used only where massive flows of
traffic exist.
- trains were also the only possible wat to transport people at decent speed.
Today we also have cars, planes, and trains remain only used where
massive flows of traffic exist.
- Train infrastructure was much lighter (remember conditions in which many
american lines were built!) and therefore much faster to build than today

Don't forget also that the automobile parc in China is expanding exponentially,
which means that soon China will have to concentrate on its road network
rather than on its rail network like it (rightfully) does today. They probably
know that, and this is even probably why they put so much emphasis now on
building their rail network, while it is still possible to do it. But it won't last
long...

Now, whether the whole world will be able to survive when each chinese
household will own its own automobile is entirely another topic...
China's pace of road/expressway building in recent years rivals that of the 1950s Interstate Highway boom in the US.

But you're right, can't keep up with this pace of infrastructure expansion forever. It'll slow down at one point.

Car ownership in China will never be universal as the country's public transportation infrastructure is simply too effecient to produce the economics that will alow a one car/household staus quo. It currently already is cheaper to take taxis as a primary mode of travel in major Chinese cities than owning a car.
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Last edited by UD2; March 19th, 2010 at 12:09 AM.
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Old March 19th, 2010, 12:25 AM   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcVD View Post
On rail gauge changes, you are wrong. Rail gauge changes are a big problem,
actuallly. Not for passenger traffic, for this you have indeed Talgo-like trains
that allow to go through the gauge change in 15 minutes. For freight it is
very different. I won't go into the technical details ;
A simple reason: a variable gauge axle is an extra item of weight, complexity and cost at each car. Passenger trains mean relatively small number of rolling stock; freight cars are usually more numerous.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcVD View Post
it is enough to mention
that because of the gauge change at the french-spanish border, the freight
international trafic through this border is almost exclusively carried on road.
Freight rail traffic over there is minimal, just a few trains per day. Much less
than any other border in Europe.
Even the other gauge change borders?
Quote:
To make it profitable, you need
people who use it for trips that use part of the line only. The problem is,
you only have people concentration at both extremities, and almost
nobody living in the middle. Say you take the north path proposed.
You can have lots of traffic on the Berlin-Moscow part. You can have
lots of traffic between Peking and Urumqi too - China IS building an HSL
there, in fact. But in the middle ? A desert, cold or warm. Who's going
to fill-up 50 high speed trains per day over there ?
Look at the north route - Transsiberian.
A typical train, like 002M Moscow-Vladivostok, begins Moscow-Nizhny Novgorod (461 km, 6 h - and that is the 2nd route of Sapsan.). Which is roughly as long as Zhengzhou-Xian (which the Chinese cover in 2 hours). Comparing the speeds on Wuguang railway, 1:30 Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod should be realistic, and in lots of demand. Then going on to Kirov, Perm, Yekaterinburg at 1778 km - all major cities. West Siberia is fairly populous, too. Krasnoyarsk is 4065 km from Moscow, and now reached in 2 days 11 from Moscow. So Moscow-Krasnoyarsk is not much longer than Beijing-Urumqi.

Half of the HSL that China IS building IS in desert. 1800 km Lanzhou-Urumqi line goes through much worse landscape than most of Transsiberian - and Chinese are building this line anyway.
Quote:
Spain decided
for 1.435 rail gauge for its high-speed network, even if its historic gauge is
1.676. If a HSL is blocked, they have no alternative.
But they DO have gauge changing trains, which travel part way on narrow gauge, and continue to the wide gauge branch lines.
Quote:
You might also want to note that, as far as I know, dual gauge high-speed
trains do not exist yet, so you certainly may not say that they can change
gauge in 15 minutes.
AFAIK they do, in Spain.
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Old March 19th, 2010, 10:15 AM   #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcVD View Post
Because at that time,
- trains were the only economic way to transport heavy goods. Today we
have trucks for that, and trains remain used only where massive flows of
traffic exist.
That's not entirely true. At that time there were even people saying that trains would never be able to compete with waterways.

However, my point is really that the reason for the high speed of construction in China is similar to the reason for the high speed of construction in Europe in the 19th century. It's just a lot easier to make big advances when you're starting from basically nothing. China is 19th century Europe, but with more advanced technology.
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Old March 19th, 2010, 10:21 AM   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcVD View Post
On rail gauge changes, you are wrong. Rail gauge changes are a big problem,
actuallly. Not for passenger traffic, for this you have indeed Talgo-like trains
that allow to go through the gauge change in 15 minutes. For freight it is
very different. I won't go into the technical details ; it is enough to mention
that because of the gauge change at the french-spanish border, the freight
international trafic through this border is almost exclusively carried on road.
Freight rail traffic over there is minimal, just a few trains per day. Much less
than any other border in Europe. The break-of-gauge IS the reason...
I wonder how much of that is due to it being as border between France and Spain, and how much of it is due to it being a break of gauge...
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Old March 19th, 2010, 10:25 AM   #76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcVD View Post
Now, whether the whole world will be able to survive when each chinese
household will own its own automobile is entirely another topic...
It will probably be an electric car, so I don't really worry about that much...
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Old March 19th, 2010, 10:27 AM   #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chornedsnorkack View Post
AFAIK they do, in Spain.
Indeed. The Talgo 250 has variable gauge axles. I suppose a variable gauge version of the Talgo 350 could be build if someone wanted one...
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Old March 19th, 2010, 04:29 PM   #78
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I think the idea is that china wants to build new rails for the HSR line, which means gauge breaks would not be needed in the 1st place.
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Old March 19th, 2010, 07:54 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by yommy View Post
I think the idea is that china wants to build new rails for the HSR line, which means gauge breaks would not be needed in the 1st place.
Yes, but Russia is developing their Sapsan, on 1520 mm gauge.
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Old March 20th, 2010, 04:23 AM   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K_ View Post
Indeed. The Talgo 250 has variable gauge axles. I suppose a variable gauge version of the Talgo 350 could be build if someone wanted one...
250 km/h max... Not high speed in my book, certainly not for such distances.
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