• China launches direct weekly train to London stuffed with go

  • 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
 
David Benton wrote:I found the reference to the train going through Pakistan a bit puzzling, but otherwise an excellent indepth report.
Clearly, Pakistan has no role in this train service which does not pass through any part of the territory. Will there ever be any role for Pakistan? Only if a new line is built to connect with Pakistan. And there would still be the same gauge problems as with the current service. Can we foresee a new SG line between China and Iran, through Pakistan? That seems to be possible only in a fairly distant future. Pakistan, as a rather poor country, may be open to persuasion to allow a SG line. From China's point of view it would be helpful to have an alternative route, to avoid possible pressure from Russia.

Pakistan's existing rail routes are decaying as they were built originally by the British as part of an all-India network. By being cut off from India they lack the traffic that made them viable. But if rail traffic for exports grows there may well be a future for an all SG route, perhaps even with branches into Pakistan. But would Pakistanis view that as linking them too closely to China?
  by JayBee
 
In spite of the Al Jazeera report the containers are not unloaded. The containers are transferred still sealed at Khorgas on the Kazahkastan China border and again at Malaszewicze on the Poland - Belarus border. China subsidized the construction of the facility at Khorgas. While the EU subsidized the construction of the transfer facility at Malaszewicze, Poland.

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  by David Benton
 
JayBee wrote:In spite of the Al Jazeera report the containers are not unloaded. The containers are transferred still sealed at Khorgas on the Kazahkastan China border and again at Malaszewicze on the Poland - Belarus border. China subsidized the construction of the facility at Khorgas. While the EU subsidized the construction of the transfer facility at Malaszewicze, Poland.

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I think they mean unloaded from one wagon and loaded onto another wagon , not having the container opened and unpacked.
Its the same terminology we would use here. Means the same as transferring the container from one wagon to another.
  by johnthefireman
 
Presumably it could be speeded up if they used wagons where the wheel gauge or the bogies could be quickly changed, which is pretty standard technology. A whole train can be changed in about 45 minutes, I believe, without any need for unloading. Or maybe they have just decided that there is no need for the journey to take any less time. Saving 10 days or so on the time a ship would take is enough; saving a few extra hours or even a day or so would not make it any more commercially attractive than it already is?
  by David Benton
 
I think reliability is more important than speed. At this stage , Maybe a day or two extra doesn't matter. If we are talking about competing with sea freight. But a day or two will make a huge difference if they start competing more with air freight. Along with more departures per week. If someone like China post service start sending a container to Europe by rail rather than air, Then it would be competitive. The boom in the likes of Aliexpress, selling small components post free to western companies, where the freight cost is a major component of the total cost, they are already talking a 2 week delivery time. I presume much of that is waiting for cheaper space on airlines, rather than actual transit time. Rail would fit in here nicely if it was more frequent.
I don't see why there cant be a daily train , China - Europe, with it then splitting to deliver to various European destinations.
  by george matthews
 
David Benton wrote:I think reliability is more important than speed. At this stage , Maybe a day or two extra doesn't matter. If we are talking about competing with sea freight. But a day or two will make a huge difference if they start competing more with air freight. Along with more departures per week. If someone like China post service start sending a container to Europe by rail rather than air, Then it would be competitive. The boom in the likes of Aliexpress, selling small components post free to western companies, where the freight cost is a major component of the total cost, they are already talking a 2 week delivery time. I presume much of that is waiting for cheaper space on airlines, rather than actual transit time. Rail would fit in here nicely if it was more frequent.
I don't see why there cant be a daily train , China - Europe, with it then splitting to deliver to various European destinations.
Speed is important for perishables, such as fruits and vegetables. I don't think China is likely to export many of these as they are in fact a net importer of food. Now that they have abandoned their one child policy they are like to increase their need for imported food.
  by Semaphore Sam
 
Of course, creating a SG route for the whole distance would help efficiency greatly. But, remember why the different gauges exist historically. When railways were first built in Russia, the Czar insisted that the gauge be different from the German gauge, thus making invasion more difficult. Smart guy. This made the three-pronged invasion of Russia, Barbarossa, much more problematic, and also aided the communists in resisting invasion from the West during WWI. Thus the Czar saved Russia for the communists (not his intention, but it worked); I doubt the various military ministries along the route would favour standardizing the gauge, potentially facilitating invasion(s). Sam
  by spRocket
 
Semaphore Sam wrote:But, remember why the different gauges exist historically. When railways were first built in Russia, the Czar insisted that the gauge be different from the German gauge, thus making invasion more difficult.
That isn't the only strategic thinking that I've seen in Russia's rail system. Another thing I've noticed is that, on double-tracked routes, most if not all of their major river crossings have two widely-separated spans rather than a single bridge carrying both tracks. Aside from making it more difficult for an adversary to take a crossing completely out of service, it also does the same against ice jams, unmoored barges, etc.
  by SemperFidelis
 
FYI- Using the article's numbers of a 12,000 kilometer journey and an average 18 day transit time, the trains are making about 414 miles per day or about 17 miles per hour.

As China is a massive net importer of food, it would be interesting to see how long it will be (if ever) before the infrastructure is in place to allow a similar service to be initiated between various African nations and China. I would imagine it would be damnn near impossible as so many different countries would need to be involved, many of which suffer from a serious lack infrastructure, political differences between nations and various groups within those nations that make our own problems seem so very simple, and the need to traverse the Middle East which, aside from lacking necessary rail connections and infrastructure, is obviously a rather interesting place poolitically and religiously speaking.
  by george matthews
 
SemperFidelis wrote:FYI- Using the article's numbers of a 12,000 kilometer journey and an average 18 day transit time, the trains are making about 414 miles per day or about 17 miles per hour.

As China is a massive net importer of food, it would be interesting to see how long it will be (if ever) before the infrastructure is in place to allow a similar service to be initiated between various African nations and China. I would imagine it would be damnn near impossible as so many different countries would need to be involved, many of which suffer from a serious lack infrastructure, political differences between nations and various groups within those nations that make our own problems seem so very simple, and the need to traverse the Middle East which, aside from lacking necessary rail connections and infrastructure, is obviously a rather interesting place poolitically and religiously speaking.
As there is no continuous rail route in Africa the only routes to import food from Africa to China are via sea, or air. Forget rail fantasies.