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RailAnywhere is a chassis that holds a container, so its about extending the Roadrailer system from bimodal to true multi-modal.

Are you sure we are talking about the same thing? On the official site of RailRunner, all photos and graphs of the Terminal Anywhere system show a bi-modal system consisting of semi-trailers specialized for running in both modes (chassis with road wheels and fifth wheel coupler on and with specialised ends for railroad mode) and bogies only. The only difference seems to be that in Terminal Anywhere the trailer is lifted by being pushing up a slide on the bogie, while if I read my sources right, in classic RoadRailer the trailer is raised by active operation of its suspensions. Here is a RailRunner video showing both the jacking-up and jacking-down of a semi-trailer on the bogie:

It doesn't appear to be any higher than a standard North American semi-trailer or a Triple Crown trailer, either,having similar fifth wheel heights and being 13,5' high when loaded with a high-cube container (which would be 11 cm higher than a standard European semi-trailer, however, so they'll need to modify the trailers if their tentative European export plans are to come to anything).

BTW, what is the top speed of classic Roadrailers on rail?

closer to the tracks than with any piggyback railcar.

Quite likely, but by how much? 50 mm, 100 mm, 150 mm? Again, do you have any figures on the wheeled end lifting height? I again couldn't find any, even with the Triple Crown help. Here I find a good side view, but the 135 mm I estimate between road wheel and rail (based on the trailer interior height data) isn't really useful.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jul 18th, 2012 at 01:58:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you sure we are talking about the same thing? On the official site of RailRunner, all photos and graphs of the Terminal Anywhere system show a bi-modal system consisting of semi-trailers specialized for running in both modes (chassis with road wheels and fifth wheel coupler on and with specialised ends for railroad mode) and bogies only.

Yes, and those semi-trailers are composed of two parts: a chassis that accepts standard containers, which holds the freight. So the internal floor to internal ceiling dimensions for the freight capacity are determined by the container used, whereas with the Roadrailers, there is no separate chassis and freight container, its an integrated unit, and the internal floor to internal ceiling dimensions for the freight capacity are whatever you build it to.

Indeed, if there is a more "rounded" loading gauge in the target network, the top of the Roadrailer trailer could be made higher and the freight capacity larger by putting the top higher than a rectangular box will allow, and slanting the sides near the top.

Now, I presume that the Roadrailer is designed within the AAR standard loading gauge, but so long as it fits within the STRACNET loading gauge:

... if there is a loading gauge constraint on some shortline between the STRACNET corridor and the origin/destination loading dock, it can just hit the road.

Railrunner may well have to work through European loading gauge issues if they are aiming for the European market. Its not likely to be a binding constraint for them given the standard AAR loading gauge to work with. A conventional Roadrailer would not be the same challenge, as you just design the trailer dimensions to suit the target market.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Jul 18th, 2012 at 03:40:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, so you meant to differentiate between container-carrying and standard enclosed semi-trailers? However, that's not a core difference between RoadRailer and RailRunner's Terminal Anywhere technology (particularly if I interpet RailRunner's note about "a trailer solution can also be made available" right), and I don't think there can be that much difference in freight capacity.

IMHO the limiting factors in a US context are not AAR- but road-related: the 13.5' outer height limit and the standardised 47-49" fifth wheel height. So the front end external height of the cargo-holding structure cannot be larger than 115". A high-cube container is 114". So what about the inside? Checking figures, high-cube container internal height is 106", while Triple Crown dry vans have an inside height of 110" at the front and 112.25" in the rear. So in effect the 4" thick bottom of the container (about 10 cm) and a slope 2.25" high at the end is what's gained.

If RailRunner (or any new RoadRailer version) comes to Europe, they'll need to lower their stuff by about 10 cm to fit roads, but fortunately that won't reduce the cargo height: both the road vehicle height limit (4 m or about 13'2") and the standard fifth wheel heights (seem to be between 950 and 1,150 mm, or about 37" and 45") are lower.

if there is a more "rounded" loading gauge in the target network, the top of the Roadrailer trailer could be made higher

If a trailer is designed to fit the rounded corners of older railway loading gauges in Europe, then it will have a smaller capacity than a standard road trailer while already being more expensive as a special rail-ready construction, and thus be at a disadvantage.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 05:01:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IMHO the limiting factors in a US context are not AAR- but road-related

That's what I said ~ its not an issue that has had to be considered in the US context, given US common loading gauges.

If a trailer is designed to fit the rounded corners of older railway loading gauges in Europe, then it will have a smaller capacity than a standard road trailer while already being more expensive as a special rail-ready construction, and thus be at a disadvantage.

But if it has the potential to extend the advantages of a Roadrailer in operating costs per trailer (labor/fuel) from the southeast of England into the Midlands or the North / Scotland, they could well be the dominate advantage. It depends on the number of trucks required to carry the freight ~ when you start combining the labor savings and the fuel savings for an eight trailer load, it starts to add up.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 02:22:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I see a 1999 info sheet (pdf) for the Triple Crown rolling stock as 55mph (88km/h) empty, 60mph (96km/h) loaded. I don't know what the practical speed limit would be for the design in general, as there isn't market pressure in the US to go any faster. A Cargosprinter style consist would have the advantage of distributing braking along a train, which is what limits Roadrailers to either a unit train or a unit of Roadrailers at the end of a train.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Jul 18th, 2012 at 03:54:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Could you expand on the braking comment? From what I read, in both the Triple Crown RoadRailer and RailRunner's Terminal Anywhere, the trailers have an inbuilt railroad brake hose and bogies are braked, so braking is distributed. (The brake connection is shown in the RailRunner video.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 05:06:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, I may have misread the information sheet I linked to. On re-reading, it talks about the Roadrailers not having manual parking brakes. Rather, they have brakes engage when a certain time interval has passed without pressure on the brake hoses.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 03:45:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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