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Old August 30th, 2008, 10:20 PM   #1
amirtaheri
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MISC | Track Gauges, Loading Gauges and Interoperability

Okay, quick question, from what I understand most of Europe uses the standard gauge, so therefore, would a trainset from France be able to run in the UK or would this be impossible?

For example, the TGV Duplex, would this, in theory, if all tunnels and bridges were refitted to allow their use, would they be able to operate on UK tracks?
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Old August 31st, 2008, 10:18 AM   #2
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hmm it would be very expensive the CTRL can handle the TGV's like trains but problem is that it won't work anywhere else in the UK because of the loading guage is too big for the UK Railways.

the UK Railways is like that its because it was one of the first nations to have a national Railway network and with that the Trains were very Experimental.

so i don't know how will ti work but it would be super Expensive sadly.
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Old August 31st, 2008, 11:22 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amirtaheri View Post
For example, the TGV Duplex, would this, in theory, if all tunnels and bridges were refitted to allow their use, would they be able to operate on UK tracks?
If you rebuild the infrastructure and fit the TGV with the correct signalling system and pantographs, yes (at least on the 25 kV lines).

But refit tunnels and bridges is expensive...
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Old August 31st, 2008, 02:57 PM   #4
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[SIZE=2]
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirtaheri View Post
Okay, quick question, from what I understand most of Europe uses the standard gauge, so therefore, would a trainset from France be able to run in the UK or would this be impossible?

For example, the TGV Duplex, would this, in theory, if all tunnels and bridges were refitted to allow their use, would they be able to operate on UK tracks?
No. As the inventors of trains the UK didn't benefit from anyone else's previous experience. As such most UK lines were built to a slightly restrictive loading guage (the loading guage is the size of the train on the track, as opposed to the track guage which is obviously standard). One notable exception to this rule is anything built for Brunel's western region.

From Wikipedia
Quote:
Britain

British loading gauge is 9 ft (2743 mm) wide by 11 ft (3353 mm) high on the sides, rising to a 13 ft 6 in (4115 mm) centre. Below platform level (the lower 3 ft 6 in or 914 mm) the vehicle can be no wider than 8 ft 8 in (2642 mm). Some lines, particularly the Hastings Line, had even narrower loading gauges. By contrast the European (Berne) loading gauge is usually 10 ft 2 in (3150 mm) wide by 10 ft 5 in (3175 mm) rising to 14 ft 0½ in (4280 mm) in the centre. This is a clearance envelope on a curve of 250 m (820 ft 2.5 in) radius.
British loading gauges currently use a classification system prefixed with 'W'. This ranges, in height at least, from W6a to W12. W6a, formerly British Rail W6, is available over the majority of the British rail network.[1] A strategy was adopted in 2004 to guide enhancements of loading gauges.[2]

The main difficulty we have in the UK isn't the passenger trains, as they are built specially for the UK anyway so having them of any size is not a particular problem, but transporting freight poses difficulties due to the standardised nature of deep sea containers. Slowly more routes are being cleared for w12 guage. Below you can see the size difference. Also, the UK tends to require shorter cars than Europe due to the less space around the cars when negotiating corners. The whole southern region in the UK seems to have a maximum of 20m. The typical maximum elsewhere is 23m.








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Old August 31st, 2008, 10:50 PM   #5
amirtaheri
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Could however, in theory, tracks be relaid to allow them to be brought up to European Standard? Also, understanding that this would require the refit of all Britain's railway network, how much would that cost exactly? £100 billion? £200 billion? More?
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Old September 1st, 2008, 02:59 AM   #6
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Interesting side note. Russian gauge is 1520mm and Finland uses 1524mm which is compatible with that.
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Old September 1st, 2008, 12:56 PM   #7
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the track gauge in Portugal and Spain in the main lines is of 1668mm. Only the new High Speed Lines (built - Spain or planned - Portugal) are now being built in european gauge 1435mm.
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Old September 1st, 2008, 12:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dösanhoro View Post
Interesting side note. Russian gauge is 1520mm and Finland uses 1524mm which is compatible with that.
Maybe a bit more shaky for russian carriages for those 4 mm wide. And as long as they don't have square wheels, they can ride in Finland.
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Old September 1st, 2008, 01:22 PM   #9
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1524mm, which was the official gauge in the Russian Empire, is five feet. During the 1960s, the Soviet railways officially switched to the more metric-friendly 1520mm. I imagine that it probably took years to adjust all the lines to 1520mm, and perhaps it hasn't been finished yet. In the meantime the rolling stock has to cope with both, so they couldn't have made the change if the difference created any practical problems.
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Old September 1st, 2008, 03:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amirtaheri View Post
Could however, in theory, tracks be relaid to allow them to be brought up to European Standard? Also, understanding that this would require the refit of all Britain's railway network, how much would that cost exactly? £100 billion? £200 billion? More?
Its the bridges, tunnels, cuttings and platforms that are the problem. Tracks can be lowered, as has been done on some routes already to put in overhead catenary, and if height is the only issue then this can be done further to allow larger guages. Obviously width-wise it doesn't really help. Generally uprating the loading guage is really expensive, and more foten than not there is no need to do it.

Network Rail intends to get the ECML and WCML both up to w12 guage, which I think is about the same as European standard guage, as well as some other routes, but this is only really for reasons of freight operations. Try searching through the freight Route Utilisation Strategy on the Network Rail website, there may be some costings in there.

I think I also need to point out that loading guage is not the space between the rails. Thats just guage, or track guage. Loading guage is the space around the vehicles. As far as interoperability is concerned most standard guage trains could be hauled pretty much anywhere around Eruope, and certainly any UK train could. Doing so under its own power is another issue entirely and requires signalling compatibility (which almost nothing will have) and to have undergone a million years of safety certification with the authorities in every country its going to, which for most vehicles would be impossible anyway.

Last edited by elfabyanos; September 1st, 2008 at 03:13 PM.
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Old September 1st, 2008, 05:43 PM   #11
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North America has one of the largest railroad loading gauges in the World - allowing for containers to be double-stacked on rail cars throughout most of the continent. The NYC area is one of the major exceptions (overheight Amtrak 'Superliners' cannot operate into NYC nor on the Northeast Corridor, either) and discussions relating to doing major rail upgrades to the area (mainly a new rail freight tunnel between New Jersey and Brooklyn) have been ongoing for many years now.

Right now, a standard-sized North American rail freight car cannot cross the Hudson River anywhere south of the Albany, NY south suburbs.

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Old September 4th, 2008, 02:18 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amirtaheri View Post
Okay, quick question, from what I understand most of Europe uses the standard gauge, so therefore, would a trainset from France be able to run in the UK or would this be impossible?

For example, the TGV Duplex, would this, in theory, if all tunnels and bridges were refitted to allow their use, would they be able to operate on UK tracks?
That depends if you want to have EXPENSIVE and RESTRICTIVE rolingstock spread all over europe of if you just use some dedicated wagons to certain specialized workings.

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Originally Posted by Coccodrillo View Post
If you rebuild the infrastructure and fit the TGV with the correct signalling system and pantographs, yes (at least on the 25 kV lines).

But refit tunnels and bridges is expensive...
Forget about retrofiting railways in britain for compliance with the European "continental" gabarit ... cost of construction in the UK is proibitively high ... if they don't even supress the level crossings in 125mph trackage on ECML would they be spending billions on removing each and every bridge on the mainlines ???

TGV sets run daily on the british gabarit and trackage ... they are called "eurostar" sets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JMFA View Post
the track gauge in Portugal and Spain in the main lines is of 1668mm. Only the new High Speed Lines (built - Spain or planned - Portugal) are now being built in european gauge 1435mm.
"Being built" as in "will be built in the near future" ... and it is still to be seen if they will be built with 1435mm , dual gauge or iberic 1668mm in mind.

And by the way ... 1668mm is the "new" iberic gauge ... there are still lot's of "old" iberic gauge tracks over here ... 1665mm = "old" portuguese gauge ... 1674mm = "old" spanish gauge.

yess ... a 9mm diference between both.

Portuguese gabarit is larger than most european ones (except russian?)
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Old September 4th, 2008, 01:01 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by sotavento View Post
TGV sets run daily on the british gabarit and trackage ... they are called "eurostar" sets.
Indeed. Although isn't the only restriction on the rest of the TGV types the fire safety restrictions in the Chunnel? (Requiring double air-tight doors at the end of the cars) I think a Thalys could quite happily be allowed to travel on the HS1 as the loading guage, power supply and signalling system are identicle to that on the TGV-Nord, just as long as it doesn't go through the tunnel, or at least if it does it can't have any passengers. Not very useful really. Perhaps the ICE3s that operate on the TGV-Est could also come over? Maybe they could all roll up at St Pancras for a promo-day and photo shoot - that would be good fun. Someone get on the phone to Deutsche Bahn!
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Old September 5th, 2008, 02:43 AM   #14
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Theres a conditional "special" security on trains running inside the eurotunnel ... that is why there are special trainsets ... if anyone wishes to build more trainsets "compatible" then theres no need to use old rollingstock from either SNCF or DB.

they can even go to Canada and re-lease the old sleeping cars or something ... and there are a large number of spare eurostar's and class 92's around.
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Old September 5th, 2008, 11:17 PM   #15
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These spare Eurostars sets are now almost all in use by the SNCF.

The use of the "old" TGVs trough the Eurotunnel could be economically interesting if they could use trains half the size of a Eurostar on the less busy trains.

For the future it will be interesting what they will do when the Eurostar sets have to be replaced. Although the oldest are already 15 years old they could still be service in another 15 years looking at the 30 year old TGV Sud-Est sets that are still in service. But when they eventually are being replaced they could go for trains with a wider loading gauge, maybe even TGV or AGV Duplex trains that have a higher capacity.
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Old September 6th, 2008, 06:26 AM   #16
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They are used "elsewere" ... it doens't necessarily mean that if needed SNCF wouldn't release them to go tru the eurotunnel.

When replacement ocurs it will be rolingstock compliant with each and every security/signaling system it travells tru so it will be no different from the current eurostar sets in that matter.

The mitsubishi(?) regional trains in CTRL1 don't seem to be Eurotunnel ready nor using british loading gauge so there you go ...
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Old September 6th, 2008, 10:00 AM   #17
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The Class 395 "Javelin" trains build by Hitachi have British loading gauge since they will also be used on some 3rd rail powered lines in Kent.

And the safety regulations can always be changed, especially since other long train tunnels that are currently being build won't have some of the safety regulations that the Eurotunnel has.
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Old September 6th, 2008, 01:11 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sotavento View Post

The mitsubishi(?) regional trains in CTRL1 don't seem to be Eurotunnel ready nor using british loading gauge so there you go ...
They are British loading guage, and quite a restrictive one at that. Originally they were only going to go as far as Folkstone, due to the very small shakespeare tunnels between Folkstone and Dover. It was decided to make them compliant, and to aid this a few summers ago the tunnels were closed for the entire shool summer holidays to alter the tunnels, and a further unit was ordered to bring the number of class 395s on order to 29.

Found on Flickr by jelltecks
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The majority of Kent is loading guage W5 or W6, which is very restrictive, and this was always the loading guage that the Javelins would have needed to be. The channel tunnel freight requires at least W9 of which there are only two routes through Kent apart from HS1.

http://www.networkrail.co.uk/browse%...20-%20Kent.pdf
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Old September 6th, 2008, 04:13 PM   #19
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The UK really needs to implement what is accepted as the European standard loading gauge on it's primary routes at least.

The plan to re-open the great central railway from the Channel Tunnel to Liverpool would see the UK have it's first proper European 'classic' line. Then hopefully with HS2 being built at some point work could start on re-gauging the west coast mainline and so on.

The problem would be having to modify existing trains to cope with bigger gaps to the platforms whilst enough of the network is upgraded to justify a large scale order of wider profile trains to replace them.

But I think having inter-laced tracks at platform edges could solve that temporarily. But then there's needing to refit OHE trains with higher reaching pantographs to reach heightened wires.

Interesting fact: the bridge which crosses the great western mainline just outside Paddington station was recently replaced deliberatley leaving enough room for double decker trains.
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Old September 6th, 2008, 05:26 PM   #20
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Next they'll have to lose those third rails and go with overhead catenary for train power. The ones in that image will not clear outside wheel bearings.

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