george matthews wrote:
On one of the old tunnels there is not only a double track but a third gauntleted track for extra high trains. Obviously that reduces the number of trains able to pass through.
george matthews wrote:
One reason for those new base tunnels is to get large lorries off the roads. Switzerland wishes to tackle air pollution by taking road traffic through the country by train. The new tunnels will be big enough to carry lorries on trains. Switzerland is a major traffic route between Germany and Italy.
And a laudable goal that is. The St. Gotthard Tunnel is single lane each direction which strikes me as a rather horrific concept. The sooner they can get vehicles out of that thing the better.
Lorries will be charged a prohibitive tax to use the roads - one reason Switzerland cannot join the EU, as the EU would probably prevent the extra road toll.
I realize this is OT but does illustrate a difference in approach to a situation -- Switzerland vs USA. I'll do my best to tie this to adding a train to Lynchburg. Switzerland has two issues they are addressing:
1) Can't run heavy freight trains north/south through the Alps. If you believe what's on the internet, they are limited to 1400 tons. Having taken a train down that rail line and through the Gotthard rail tunnel (maybe the best rail journey I've ever been on), I can certainly believe it.
2) The Gotthard vehicle tunnel is a single bore bottleneck and is a nightmare situation especially considering all of the truck traffic between Germany and Italy.
How to solve both problems? Build a new and longer rail tunnel at lower elevation that eliminates all of the slow spiral tunnels along the way, reduces the grade, and allows much heavier freight trains. Put trucks onto the trains for the cross-Alps travel and that solves problem #2 and also further lowers truck pollution.
It's a massive amount of money but it's being used to solve real problems. What problem will be solved by adding a train to Lynchburg? I'm not saying this is categorically a bad idea but the contrast is remarkable. What are the truly big problems that rain can solve in the USA (better than other options) and can we focus our resources on them? Simply throwing more money to replicate what we had 100 years ago (e.g. adding a train to Lynchburg) doesn't seem to be as useful or as wise expenditure as what the Swiss are doing.