Rockets by Train - Spaceport Shortlines

A general discussion about shortlines, industrials, and military railroads

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Rockets by Train - Spaceport Shortlines

Postby lpetrich » Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:49 am

Wikipedia's list of spaceports: List of rocket launch sites - Wikipedia

We have some threads here about rail lines at the Kennedy / Canaveral spaceport:
RAILROAD.NET • View topic - Cape Canaveral/Kennedy Space Center RR?
RAILROAD.NET • View topic - NASA Railroad to be reactivated

About the other big US spaceport:
RAILROAD.NET • View topic - Vandenberg AFB, CA rails pulled
The Union Pacific's Coast Line goes near it.
It's hard to tell what its launch arrangements are, but some of the rockets seem like they are assembled on their launchpads, with their assembly buildings then rolling away on rails.

The Baikonur spaceport has a sizable amount of on-site trackage, what its Wikipedia article claims is the largest industrial railroad in the world.
Baikonur Cosmodrome - Wikipedia
World’s Oldest Space Launch Facility: The Baikonur Cosmodrome | Sometimes Interesting
Baikonur Cosmodrome tour - Soyuz MS-08, March 15th 2018 launch. | Vegitel
RAILROAD.NET • View topic - Interesting Russian Shortline
File:Baikonur Cosmodrome Railway.webm - Wikimedia Commons

The rockets are assembled, then go horizontally by rail to their launchpads, where they are pivoted to vertical for launch.

Plesetsk Cosmodrome - Wikipedia is Russia's other big spaceport. It's more difficult to tell how railed it is, but I've found pictures of rail lines extending from launchpads there. It may work much like Baikonur.

The European Space Agency's largest spaceport is Guiana Space Centre - Wikipedia at Kourou, French Guiana. It has rail lines for transporting rockets to their launchpads: Space Centre Railways in French Guiana, 2014
The Ariane 5 rockets are moved vertically, on a platform that has lots of bogies and that runs on two tracks. It is pulled by a flat-road truck, though pulled very slowly.

Satish Dhawan Space Centre - Wikipedia, India's major spaceport, features an arrangement much like Kourou's, with rockets being transported on platforms that rest on pairs of tracks.
It is about 83 km / 52 mi north of Chennai, a major city, and it is near a rail line.

Japan and China also have some spaceports, but it's harder to find much about them, so I'll leave off here.
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Re: Rockets by Train - Spaceport Shortlines

Postby RailVet » Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:41 pm

The Stennis Space Center in Mississippi also had a rail line, which is still visible in Google Earth. Most of the line from the interchange at Nicholson to the center is still in place but heavily overgrown with brush, and much of it on the center itself has been lifted. More about Stennis here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_C._S ... ace_Center
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Re: Rockets by Train - Spaceport Shortlines

Postby ConstanceR46 » Tue May 22, 2018 11:57 pm

An interesting tidbit is Baikonur and Cape Canaveral were both supported by ALCOs (Soviet-Built copies in the form of TEM2s for Baik and S-2s for the Cape.)
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