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Offline Sarlock

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Long Trains
« on: March 15, 2013, 06:31:27 AM »
Having lived in Canada my whole life, I am naturally accustomed to long freight trains.  Being stuck at a railway crossing for 5-10 minutes is a regular event, it really sucks when you arrive just as the crossing arms come down because you're in for a long wait.  Being limited to 24 cars in Simutrans means that I cannot model the freight trains that we have here but 24 cars is certainly long enough from a gameplay standpoint (imagine a 120-car train needing 60 tiles for a station!!).

I was doing some viewing of trains today on Youtube and it dawned on me that Canada has some of the longest freight trains in the world, even longer than the average train in the US and many times longer than the average European freight train.  A lot of this has to do with the vast distances between major cities in Canada, some over 1,000km apart with no freight yards in between.  This makes it more economical/efficient to run longer trains.

I ran across this video that might be fun to watch.  This is a bit longer than the average train that I see here in Vancouver, but we generally see in them in the 100-150 car range, mostly container cars (double-stacked), petroleum and coal cars heading to/from the ports.  This train is about 4,000m long.  Canadian National Railway will run them up to around 4,200m+/- long.  They use distributed power systems with a locomotive near the end to take off some of the stress on the couplers.  Pulling this much weight with just the lead engines alone would increase the wear on the couplers and the tracks and other systems when going around curves.

If you're a train nut, you'll enjoy.  This train is moving fairly fast and it still takes 5 minutes to pass.  Imagine sitting at the crossing while it was only doing 60kph through the city.  Check out all of the different types of rolling stock on this train.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQswnET1E94

There's a link to another video he took of a CNR train with 211 cars.

Offline prissi

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Re: Long Trains
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2013, 10:07:06 AM »
In central europe freight trains are limited to 740m and 252 axles, which would be good for 60 cars at 12 m or 30 at 24 m. In reality more than 18 cars rarely occur, since several tracks does not allow such long trains (for instance many track in Switzerland just allow for 600m).

Also the ancient coupling system is much weaker and does not allow for distributed power in freight trains.

Offline Markohs

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Re: Long Trains
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2013, 11:05:20 AM »
Wow! impressive :)

Offline prissi

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Re: Long Trains
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2013, 01:14:15 PM »
Does his not need insane amounts of shunting? It seems a rather random arrangement of cars ...

Offline Spacethingy

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Re: Long Trains
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2013, 01:30:43 PM »
 :o  That's fairly astounding, for someone who's used to seeing little one-car sprinter units chugging round his area!


What dictates where the DPU goes? It seems kinda randomly placed, or is that positioning to help shunting (as Prissi said...)


Nice vid, thanks!

Offline ӔO

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Re: Long Trains
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2013, 01:55:58 PM »
Does his not need insane amounts of shunting? It seems a rather random arrangement of cars ...

yes. freight trains in north america don't have as much double track to use, but are really flat, so they end up becoming really long on some routes.

Yes, tons of shunting required for assembly, but not all of it is collected at the starting yard. Quite a lot of it can be added along the way.

Can't expect much in the way of average speed with the classical way of moving freight cars, but rail companies make plenty of profit on them.

Offline Lmallet

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Re: Long Trains
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2013, 02:26:37 PM »
What dictates where the DPU goes? It seems kinda randomly placed, or is that positioning to help shunting (as Prissi said...)
That is still being figured out.  Railways want to build the longest trains possible as it is more cost effective both for staffing and trackage use, however numerous derailments have occured with DPUs involved, mostly because the railway companies are still figuring out the physics of running such long trains.  Sometimes it is better to have the DPU in the middle, other times in the rear.

Here is some light reading about it: http://www.teamstersrail.ca/TCRC_News_February_26_2011.htm

Offline cy087

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Re: Long Trains
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2013, 02:31:56 PM »
Firstly let me say "nice vid".

Here in Australia we have (AFAIK) three 2km plus consists running at present. Also (AFAIK) they are all single commodity trains. The first is the "Clermont-Dalrymple coal" line that I first saw 30-40 years ago at a woe-begotten place called the "Sarina turnoff".  Recollection says it was a triple header with three followers (C190s?) that provided breaking retard on the downgrades towards the coast and then acted as split points with motive power to move 25% of the value into the coal loaders.  Given the grade and the power available in those years we manged to light the "Primus", boil the water and make a cup of tea before the train had disappeared. 

The second was much more recently (2 years ago) observed and again is an coal train on the "Leigh Creek" coal line, (2.8 km, 161 wagons and 2 locomotives). It's amazing that the amount of power that has increased.  This is a double header.  Where and how they split 161 wagons efficiently is beyond me, as is the empty back-haul.  I was all set up to film the passing on this occasion, but all I ended up with was a 4 minute rendition of something best titled "An Australian Dust Storm". Bah!

The final one is something I have yet to see.  It's the Norseman iron ore line, reported as >3km, ~336 wagons and "six to eight locos"...  consist unknown.

But, as the young ladies use to say to me, "Well, length isn't everything. It's the way you move it!"

cheers
Cy

Offline Sarlock

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Re: Long Trains
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2013, 02:41:00 PM »
The DPU is usually in the last 20 cars or so of the train and is electronically controlled by the lead units to provide for variable pushing power depending on the grade, curve, etc.  As mentioned, its location is probably partially determined by shunting and ongoing experimentation.

In my area, a lot of the smaller "feeder" lines that go in to industrial areas can pick up 10-15 train cars of various types and takes them all to the rail yard.  Because almost all freight in Canada goes either east or west (often to/from the ports), it's fairly easy to split the cars up as to their destination.  Add to that the fact that the average car is likely travelling 2,000km or more and once you assemble a long freight train, there won't be much shunting required until you reach the end.

For the most part, rail is not seen as the fastest transportation method but is generally cheaper per tonne than trucks.  If you want it quickly, use a truck.  If you can wait for a week or so (and have access to a rail line) then use rails.

Australia is in a similar situation as Canada where most freight only goes to a few select destinations (the difference being that there are no large cities to deliver to in the interior of the country).  Especially bulk hauling like coal, oil, ore, sulphur, etc.  Like Australia, it's almost all shipped to the ports in long trains (generally 2-3km long) and then back hauled empty.  Australia holds the record for the longest freight train ever assembled, a test run with over 7,000m total length.

Offline cy087

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Re: Long Trains
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2013, 02:47:51 PM »
OK, here is a youtube that gives some idea.http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=jYsXSZ7bbYQ
Oops, I missed your post Sarlock, the youtube vid is out of context.

But did you count them? :-)
« Last Edit: March 15, 2013, 03:00:15 PM by cy087 »

Offline ӔO

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Re: Long Trains
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2013, 03:52:59 PM »
if simutrans allowed assemble/disassemble of rail cars, then you would not need extremely long stations, just one large enough to break down the train.

Offline Ters

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Re: Long Trains
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2013, 05:13:32 PM »
Anything beyond 400 meters or so is considered a long train here. Longer trains require special planning because they can't fit in many/most passing loops, including stations, complicated by the fact that passenger trains have priority.

I've heard that the railway line where I grew up used to push the limits for what screw couplers could manage, and that line has been almost exclusively for lumber trains the last decades. I don't remember the trains being particularly long, though, and the line is quite flat, so it might be a myth.

The famous ore trains to Narvik might be the longest trains in the country, and certainly the heaviest. They use couplers similar to what is used in America (actually, they are more similar to those in Russia). They only use locomotives in front, or rather a single locomotive made up of multiple units. It's also double tracked.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2013, 03:47:28 PM by Ters »

Offline ӔO

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Re: Long Trains
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2013, 06:44:59 PM »
is that the same coal train that uses that crazy 2x5400kW, Co-Co+Co-Co locomotive?

what was it called... IORE?


I recall American and Russian couplers are well suited for freight, but not so much for passengers due to natural amount of slack in the couplers.

Offline DirrrtyDirk

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Re: Long Trains
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2013, 07:46:49 PM »
is that the same coal train that uses that crazy 2x5400kW, Co-Co+Co-Co locomotive?

what was it called... IORE?

Probably yes.

Offline Junna

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Re: Long Trains
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2013, 07:57:08 PM »
is that the same coal train that uses that crazy 2x5400kW, Co-Co+Co-Co locomotive?

what was it called... IORE?


I recall American and Russian couplers are well suited for freight, but not so much for passengers due to natural amount of slack in the couplers.

Previously it used the 3-section Dm3 (a Dm2 double-unit with a intermediary extra section added between them) 7200kw units - which was a much prettier sight than the hideous IORE. The Malmbanan also used Soviet-style SA3 couplers for a while (not sure if it still does) to allow larger loading than the standard swedish couplers, but generally trains were limited to 68 cars (I think they used 90 ton hoppers, 100 nowadays).

Soviet railways ran some impressive long (3000m+) and within the same region some long goods trains are still run, but they aren't very common within the European hinterland.

What amuses me quite a bit is the way U.S. railways tend to overpower their trains significantly. I've never seen anywhere else use so many locomotives even for what is not an exceptionally long train (upwards 7 bloody locomotives for maybe 50-70 wagons!) They really like these unpleasant long-hood quite-low-powered "road shunter" designs with awful visibility, too.

Offline ӔO

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Re: Long Trains
« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2013, 08:31:29 PM »
The overpower of locomotives is done for safety reasons. Going over hills requires amazing amounts of banking and braking power on long trains.

But for the 50~70 long, sometimes, the extra locomotives are in the consist, because they need to be elsewhere.

We do have some lines where european style unit trains are used, but they are rare.

Offline Ters

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Re: Long Trains
« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2013, 09:07:20 PM »
is that the same coal train that uses that crazy 2x5400kW, Co-Co+Co-Co locomotive?

It's iron ore. Strictly speaking, the IORE is two individual locomotives, each with their own name and number, but with cabs only in one end.

Previously it used the 3-section Dm3 (a Dm2 double-unit with a intermediary extra section added between them) 7200kw units - which was a much prettier sight than the hideous IORE. The Malmbanan also used Soviet-style SA3 couplers for a while (not sure if it still does) to allow larger loading than the standard swedish couplers, but generally trains were limited to 68 cars (I think they used 90 ton hoppers, 100 nowadays).

While Dm3 and El 12 have their charms and appeals, I wouldn't have thought of using the word "pretty". Yes, they still use SA3, or something very much like it. (Actually, ex-Ofotbanen El 15, refitted with screw couplers, now haul lumber trains from further south in Norway into Sweden. At least some of the trains going to Sweden are in a sense made up of two trains, and I think they pretty much fill the 1 km long station when assembled. El 15 is something in between Dm3 and IORE both technically and in appearance, except that each unit has a cab in both ends and now operate individually. BTW, I have read that Romania has started producing new El 15-ish locomotives, of which they apparently have had an earlier version of.)

Offline ӔO

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Re: Long Trains
« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2013, 09:23:01 PM »
I really wonder how the power substations handle 10800kW of power draw.

JR's EF200 blew up one of their power substations when it used all of its 6000kW of power. They had to limit the locomotives to 3900kW in the end.

Offline prissi

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Re: Long Trains
« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2013, 09:37:32 PM »
The Japanese ones were made for DC 3kV, if I remember correctly. The Malmbanen was a relatively short line, made for 30t axles load, whcih is nearly twice the typical 17 t of Japan.

Even the german E103 could be greatly overloaded and had an initial starting power of 14 000 kW (single engine!), and still an hourly output of more than 7800 kW. (Without any upgrades to the net.) AC can handle short overloading without problems, since an overloaded transformer will just reduce its voltage, while an overloaded diode will burn.

The norwegian trains have their engines on one end only for safety concerns, since they run on quite some slopes.

Finally, the american trains require so many engines, since they are very weak. The legendary F7 had only 1100 kW and even more ecent units do not go beyond 3000 kW. Furthermore, those are diesel engines, which cannot be overloaded. A proper designed electric engine may be able to draw twice its design power for starts, while a diesel engine is limited by its own motor. Hence for starting in mountaneous region, you may need to haul twice the power. (Often such engines are not running, i.e. from five only three are running.)

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Long Trains
« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2013, 10:17:07 PM »
I should note that the limit in Experimental is 64 vehicles.

Offline ӔO

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Re: Long Trains
« Reply #20 on: March 15, 2013, 10:17:52 PM »
14000kW in a single engine? That has to be german engineering right there.

Most of the older american diesel electric locomotives, which are sub 1500kW, are normally restricted to yard service.
Road switchers are around 1500kW to 2200kW.

More recent offerings have more than 3000kW. SD90MAC has 4470kW for instance.
But the real impressive part about north american diesel electrics are the tractive effort they have. 400~470kN is normal.

One does not need much power, when what is needed is TE to get long and heavy trains started and up to a, fairly slow, 80km/h. Power is easy to add into a single locomotive, but there are limits to traction you can get out of a single axle without breaking weight limits.

Offline Junna

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Re: Long Trains
« Reply #21 on: March 15, 2013, 11:31:24 PM »
It's iron ore. Strictly speaking, the IORE is two individual locomotives, each with their own name and number, but with cabs only in one end.

While Dm3 and El 12 have their charms and appeals, I wouldn't have thought of using the word "pretty". Yes, they still use SA3, or something very much like it. (Actually, ex-Ofotbanen El 15, refitted with screw couplers, now haul lumber trains from further south in Norway into Sweden. At least some of the trains going to Sweden are in a sense made up of two trains, and I think they pretty much fill the 1 km long station when assembled. El 15 is something in between Dm3 and IORE both technically and in appearance, except that each unit has a cab in both ends and now operate individually. BTW, I have read that Romania has started producing new El 15-ish locomotives, of which they apparently have had an earlier version of.)

El-15 looks quite a bit like the contemporaneous Swedish Rc-locomotives or something French from the era, but it seems unrelated mechanically; the closest with the NSB was the El-16 (which is a quite tastefully designed locomotive, I think, I really hate those modern TRAXX-like designs). The modified Rc-locomotive class Rm was used in multiple on Malmbanan to cover for extra runs before the introduction of IORE as far as I recall.

Offline prissi

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Re: Long Trains
« Reply #22 on: March 16, 2013, 12:09:52 AM »
According to several sites, any diesel engine with more than 3200 kW in North America was not very sucessful. But then giving 10 000 kW (or 1200 kN tracktive effort like IORE) is still at least twice the power of a large american diesel. (The large tracktive efforts comes not least from the weight, which is twice the one of european engines; also axle loads of 23 tons and more are not allowed, the maximum here is either 22,5 t or 21 t.)

Offline ӔO

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Re: Long Trains
« Reply #23 on: March 16, 2013, 01:15:11 AM »
That must some really good traction control system in the european locomotives then.

Offline Ters

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Re: Long Trains
« Reply #24 on: March 16, 2013, 07:48:50 AM »
El-15 looks quite a bit like the contemporaneous Swedish Rc-locomotives [...]

Well, they are both ASEA products. Swedish locomotives of the 20th century, being made by ASEA, do show some family resemblance, even if not closely related technologically (such as TMX and Ra, though they are are quite distinct from all the other Swedish locomotives and owe their looks to American designs).

According to several sites, any diesel engine with more than 3200 kW in North America was not very sucessful. But then giving 10 000 kW (or 1200 kN tracktive effort like IORE) is still at least twice the power of a large american diesel. (The large tracktive efforts comes not least from the weight, which is twice the one of european engines; also axle loads of 23 tons and more are not allowed, the maximum here is either 22,5 t or 21 t.)

When being transported from the factory to Kiruna, the IORE locomotives are fitted with unmotorized and lighter bogies because their weight (axle load) would otherwise be too high for the standard rail network (or so I think I've read). The real bogies were transported on flat cars in the same train. (One bogie on each flat car apparently, but that might be for other reasons than weight for all I know. The locomotives are also not transported coupled in pairs.)