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Rail News Blogging #4

by DoDo Sat Dec 3rd, 2011 at 02:22:02 PM EST

This week, I comment news on bottlenecks for freight in Europe and the USA, privatisation in Russia, and the final section in the reconstruction of the Istanbul–Ankara line in Turkey.

Railway Gazette: HS1 open to Eurotunnel

UK: Eurotunnel announced on December 1 that its Europorte Channel subsidiary had been granted approval to operate its fleet of Class 92 locomotives on High Speed 1. Driver training is now in progress with the expectation that commercial freight services will be launched early in 2012.

...Clearance for use on HS1, able to accommodate standard European wagons and swap bodies, opens the prospect of only one locomotive change on international services between Britain and Europe, given that the Class 92 is already approved for operation on Network Rail, but not on the RFF network in France.

And the Class 92 is the only loco approved for the Chunnel. Now the key obstacle for more efficient Britain–rest-of-Europe freight transport by rail will be the French infrastructure manager.


Railway Gazette: Colton Crossing grade separation gets underway

USA: The Colton Crossing grade separation project to build a fly-over to eliminate a flat crossing between east-west Union Pacific and north-south BNSF lines in the city of Colton, California, was officially launched with a ceremony on November 8.

...Skanska will build a flyover to raise the UP tracks by more than 9 m. The $202m cost is being met by a combination of UP, BNSF, state and federal funding sources, with completion scheduled for early 2014.

$212 million for a single flyover, that's... a lot. But, it may be justified, given that this flyover is not like one in Europe for suburban electric multiple units, but one that should have a low grade so that heavy freight trains don't have difficulties climbing it.

Railway Gazette: Commuter privatisation

RUSSIA: The government has decided to auction a 25% minus three shares stake in Moscow commuter operator Central Suburban Passenger Co, Russian Railways announced on November 15. The minimum sale price will be set by an independent review.

Russian Railways, which is performing well lately, is currently in the initial stages of a massive marketista reform: having been chopped up into dozens of semi-independent subsidiaries, 25% to 75% stakes in each of the subsidiaries are sold to private investors. Just five weeks ago, a 75% stake in one of the biggest subsidiaries, Freight One, was sold to the richest oligarch for c. €3 billion.

Railway Gazette: Istanbul line upgrading contract

TURKEY: Italian firm Salini Costruttori has won a €146·8m contract to modernise one of the busiest sections of the Ankara - Istanbul route.

The contract awarded by the government's Central Finance & Contracts Unit on October 14 covers renewal of the 56 km Köseköy - Gebze section of line on the eastern approach to Istanbul...

This 160 km/h upgrade connects the end of the new 250 km/h alignment and another upgraded section which is part of the Marmaray project, which is more aimed at Istambul commuters (the centerpiece is a rail tunnel under the Bosphorus).

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Check the Train Blogging index page for a (hopefully) complete list of ET diaries and stories related to railways and trains.

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I'm again keeping another news for the diary on open access which I am working on (maybe finished at last tomorrow).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Dec 3rd, 2011 at 02:23:17 PM EST
In Russia, are they breaking up the intercity passenger railways or will it remain a large company ?

It could become pretty hard to operate the Transsiberian freight and passengers if there are too many companies involved...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Dec 4th, 2011 at 01:35:48 PM EST
No, all long-distance passenger trains are under the subsidiary called Federal Passenger Company. In the freight sector, there are two big subsidiaries (Freight One and Freight Two) which AFAIK are supposed to compete across the whole country, plus some specialised ones (like TransContainer, 35% of which was privatised via stock market listing in London and Moscow). I don't know how the latter relate to the former.

This is a different route to privatisation than either sell-off of complete sub-networks (Japan), franchising (Sweden, Britain) or open access (EU), but I won't hold my breath for a good cooperation between the different subsidiaries even if RZD has a stake in them all.

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

by DoDo on Sun Dec 4th, 2011 at 04:35:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it's a shame that UK-inbound european freight will have to be moved onto different wagons once they get to the end of HS1 due to clearance issues.

The Western region, having been originally built to broad gauge, could be upgraded fairly straight-forwardly to enable continental freight through to Bristol, Cardiff and Birmingham but beyond that we're stuffed.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 5th, 2011 at 02:49:12 AM EST
The Western region, having been originally built to broad gauge, could be upgraded fairly straight-forwardly

Would passenger platforms built/rebuilt since re-gauging not pose a problem?

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

by DoDo on Mon Dec 5th, 2011 at 09:33:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure but I doubt it as Brunel designed the whole thing with a lot of clearance. there might be some slewing of track needed at some points but by and large I'm convinced it could be accommodated within the current architecture

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 5th, 2011 at 10:40:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brunel may have designed the whole thing with a lot of clearance, but elevated passenger platforms have to be sufficiently close to train doors so that passengers don't fall down, so modern platforms should conform to standard standard-gauge British trains and thus likely follow a narrower clearance. British W6 etc. and C1 loading gauges are 2,820 mm wide at platfrom level, UIC loading gauges are 3,150 mm wide, that is, you may need to move back platforms by up to 165 mm. From the point of view of infrastructure, this is a minor problem if Brunel-time platforms only got some light structure added, which can me dismantled easily; but a big problem if concrete or masonry side walls have to be removed and replaced. From a train operator point of view, British-gauge passenger trains on UIC-gauge lines may need telescoping doorsteps to bridge the gap.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Dec 5th, 2011 at 12:30:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
165 mm ; aka "Mind the Gap", a commonly heard expression on UK railways already

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 5th, 2011 at 12:33:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not only in Britain. You normally have a gap anyway because you leave a tolerance and because train width is less than loading gauge width due to curvature – the up to 165 mm would come as extra to that. (It's been a long time I was in Britain, though, so you tell me if gaps can be much wider there than say France.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Dec 5th, 2011 at 12:42:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Telescoping doorstep of a Eurostar train (which is British loading gauge) at Gaure du Nord in France:



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

by DoDo on Mon Dec 5th, 2011 at 12:38:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've seen that style of door before, on the 1935 style Burlington Zephyrs that didn't have to call at floor-level platforms.

Stephen Karlson ATTITUDE is a nine letter word. BOATSPEED.
by SHKarlson (shkarlson at frontier dot com) on Tue Dec 6th, 2011 at 12:09:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be an interesting question to sort out how much of the cost of the UP flyover is the low gradient and the support for up to 30tonne axle load trains, and how much is the seeming magic rail infrastructure cost multiplier that applies to rail work done in the US .


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 Dec 7th, 2011 at 11:52:57 PM EST


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