• How the Channel Tunnel changed Europe forever

  • Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of North America.
Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of North America.

Moderators: Komachi, David Benton

  by george matthews
 
No, I don't think so. But it has made it a lot easier to cross the Channel. I invested in it, but did not gain much.
  by Tadman
 
"The same can be said for freight train drivers readying themselves for an epic 18 day, 7,500-mile trip from Barking in East London all the way to China."

Surely this is incorrect, the drivers don't go all the way do they? It is my understanding they change out at crew bases or borders.
  by David Benton
 
I would think the Drivers, and in many cases the locomotive , are changed at every border crossing, at least. In addition , the Tunnel requires additional safety features (mainly to do with fire detection), that normal locos don't have.
  by george matthews
 
Don't forget the gauge changes. The route to China continues to be through Russia. Thus there are two gauge changes on the route. For freight traffic drivers would change, as would locomotives, usually at national borders.

The Channel Tunnel route for freight has been a moderate success for European trade. While Britain has been a member of the European Union business has cooperated across the border. Industrial processes often require crossing the border for activities in different countries. How that would change if Britain leaves the EU is still very unclear. The signs are that trade would become more difficult and there would be a tendency for less traffic.

Of course we must remember that by far the largest amount of freight is lorries loaded on to the Shuttle trains. All day there is a steady stream of road traffic waiting on each side to load on to the shuttles. There are even a few buses.
Last edited by george matthews on Mon May 13, 2019 7:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by ExCon90
 
I'd think they would have to change drivers about a dozen times within Russia alone. And at borders it's easier and quicker to change locomotives than gauges. Specially designed flat cars with adjustable axles would make sense, however.
  by kato
 
I've seen one description of the first connection China to France in 2016:
- requiring three transloadings between trains "at gauge change points"
- eight different locomotives being used overall
- twenty drivers in total
  by george matthews
 
David Benton wrote:I'm trying to think where the 3rd Gauge change would be .
First would be China to "ex USSR"
Second would be Ex USSR to European at the Polish border.
There is also the problem of Loading Gauge. Continental railways allow larger trains so that continental freight cannot travel to much of Britain. Continental trains are allowable only as far as London. Whether there is any route beyond London I don't know.
  by johnthefireman
 
george matthews wrote:There is also the problem of Loading Gauge. Continental railways allow larger trains so that continental freight cannot travel to much of Britain. Continental trains are allowable only as far as London. Whether there is any route beyond London I don't know.
There are a number of freight routes in UK which have been upgrading to allow a larger loading gauge, and they often take advantage of routine maintenance work to increase the loading gauge at the same time. However you are correct that continental freight trains cannot travel over much of the UK network.
  by kato
 
Loading gauge might actually be the "third gauge". China has different loading gauges than continental Europe, to some extent meaning that even if one disregards the changes in track gauge the same train starting in China could not necessarily run in Europe either.
  by Semaphore Sam
 
Pardon my ignorance; but wasn't the Great Central built to international loading guage? If so, what a waste to destroy such an asset! Sam
  by george matthews
 
Semaphore Sam wrote:Pardon my ignorance; but wasn't the Great Central built to international loading guage? If so, what a waste to destroy such an asset! Sam
Yes, the Great Central was built to Continental gauge. It could have carried trains at least far as Birmingham. At the time it was built the proposer intended it to be a Continental connection, but 100 years ago that was not going to happen. From time to time there have been proposals to rebuild it but so far they have come to nothing. The High Speed 2 route to Birmingham could be built to Continental standards but it is hard to imagine freight on what would be a fast passenger line. And that line too may never be built, given the current governmental instability.
  by ExCon90
 
I've never read anything that mentioned the means of propulsion intended by the GC for movement through the tunnel. Was electrification sufficiently far advanced by that time that it would have been practical? Another thing I have trouble understanding is the General Staff's objection to the tunnel (which was one of the things that nixed it); almost a century after Waterloo, were they still apprehensive about France invading through the tunnel? I would think just mass the troops around the portal and pick them off as they emerge from the tunnel.