Are model trains "toys" or not?

Spender wrote:
>>> Do you really feel that railroads are going to make a big >>> comeback? >>
>> Open your eyes, and look beyond the US. No need for a comeback, >> railways never went away. > > No, they are still here. But we are way past the heydays of > railroads.
Are we now?
That's a very US-centric view, and I suspect not even strictly true for the US.
As for the rest of the developed world, your opinion is wrong.
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Mark Newton spake thus:

Giving him the benefit of the doubt here, I think by "we" he (Spender) meant the US, not the rest of the world.
Hopefully he doesn't have his head stuck so far in the sand that he doesn't realize that the rest of the world is light years ahead of "us" (the US) in the realm of rail transport ...
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Only for passengers, not in freight. A typical non-North American freight train is quite small compared to what's a daily occurance here in the USA.
Paul A. Cutler III ************* Weather Or No Go New Haven *************
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Pac Man wrote:

European goods trains usually run on much shorter headways on signalled track - in that situation 'bigger' isn't better, 'faster'is better. You'll notice that almost all modern locomotives have 2 axle bogies - 3 axle bogies cause far more track damage. More track damage forces train speeds down, which forces you to run ever heavier trains and heavier axle loads which causes further damage and further slowing. It's a vicious circle.
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Speed isn't worth all that much in RR freight these days (not like the days of yore when RR's were only competing against themselves). Cost and reliability are the keys for non-captive service. Anything that's got to move fast is going to go by air or by truck, but it's going to cost. There are a lot of shippers don't care if it takes a week or a month to get a carload somewhere, they just want it to always take a week or a month, no exceptions. JIT manufacturing, for example, requires it. And if you think that C-C locos tear up the track, try speed. More speed = more money spent on maintenance to keep those speeds up.
Paul A. Cutler III ************* Weather Or No Go New Haven *************
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Pac Man wrote:

Any commodity sitting in a railway wagon obviously has value - someone hands over money for the commodity and therefore doesn't have that money to utilize while it is in transit. The railway has a lot of money tied up in rolling stock - basically if transit time is halved then only half that asset is required. Start figuring a million dollars for each wagon and several million for each load. I guess you've got lower interest rates in the US, but that's a lot of money tied up in slow trains! BTW, this is my area of (work) expertise as an analysist in international container shipping.

I quite agree, but I'd point you towards Japan, Europe etc where train speeds are high - no 3 axle bogie locomotives and no slow drags. If track repair is directly related to the weight of traffic passing and increases at say the square of the speed, then wouldn't you expect to see dozens of parallel lines, all with maximum tonage slow drags bubbling along side by side? It just doesn't happen. Consider that you can get about 12 tracks in the space of a four lane highway and those are everywhere.
Greg.P.
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True enough. However, while it's in transit, the consignee doesn't have to pay taxes on warehousing it, either. And that's JIT for you. Eliminating the warehouse is saves money. A week in transit is a lot better than having a week's supply of parts taking up room somewhere.

Agreed. But then you could also say that doubling the tonnage capacity of the rolling stock halves the asset required, too (not literally, of course, but the idea remains the same...increasing capacity reduces the number of cars needed).

RR'ing here in the States is all about cost, as in the cheapest method of transportation possible on dry land. US RR's will never be faster than airplanes or purpose driven trucks (ie, with two drivers) as our air freight and highways are too good to see RR's get that kind of business. But, US RR's can compete on price, so they focus on that. To their success, BTW. US RR'ing has made great strides business-wise since deregulation (Stagger's).

Then I would point you at CSX. Those nincompoops can barely keep the rails from spreading under the weight of an enpty car, yet they are, to their credit, a money making RR. And they run C-C locos and just as heavy a rail service as just about anyone else.

Huh? Why would I expect to see that?
Paul A. Cutler III ************* What have you done to save r.m.r today? *************
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Pac Man wrote:

JIT is JIT - if I order the components one week before I need them and they take one week to deliver then they are JIT. - if I order the components three days before I need them and they take three days to deliver then they are JIT. The difference is that for a one week delivery I pay for them four days earlier.

Doing that reduces the usefulness of the wagon to the small user - you (the railway) paint yourself further into the corner of only serving the bulk user, which of course reduces your income.

Sorry, there's still canals and slurry that are cheaper.

Of course - on long routes, but in Europe rail gets close.

Railways can certainly match trucks, given siding to siding operation, which is what existed in the past. Given a truck and a train of equal speed capability, the train will win point to point, particularly over 2 or more shifts.

What we're facing is large increases in oil prices. So long as (potential) supply outstrips demand the price will stay low, but once oil usage surpasses supply the bidding wars will start by those who need it most. I would predict that 90% supply would at least double the price. Fuel economic means of transport forms of transport will be in tremendous demand overnight.

I'll take a bet that they won't be able to cope with the potential increase in traffic. They will need substancial investment in track bed and rolling stock, not to mention major signalling improvements.

Outside the US. Why aren't European and Japan building 12 track railways and running slow drag trains rather than (germany) retaining restrictions of 150 axles and running goods trains at circa 160 km/hr?

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Pac Man wrote:

Hmm. European freight trains, perhaps. I would argue that it's not the case these days in places like Australia, or China.
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Mark Newton wrote:

You're getting confused by the yank concept that 'bigger is better' whereas in fact 'faster is better' as far as deliveries are concerned.
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Greg Procter wrote:

No, not confused at all - here we do "big AND fast". I just like to remind some of our American friends that they aren't the only ones running freight trains...
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Pac Man wrote:
> A typical non-North American freight train is quite small compared to > what's a daily occurance here in the USA.
Hmm. European freight trains, perhaps. I would argue that it's not the case these days in places like Australia, or China.
But as was pointed out another poster, the practice outside the US is to run smaller, faster trains more often.
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On Sun, 27 May 2007 12:59:15 -0700, David Nebenzahl

Yes, I meant the U.S. And no, I realize that rail travel, especially passenger trains, are still very popular in Europe and elsewhere.
They'd probably still be popular here if Amtrak's schedules weren't grand works of fiction and they did a better job of keeping the trains on the rails.
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Spender wrote:

If you're going to run axle loadings that are beyond the capacities of the rails, 3 axle bogie locomotives and train lengths that have to be nursed, then you're going to have crap track. If you have crap track you're going to have slooow trains. If you have slow trains and vast signal blocks then you're going to have long delays. Long delays and passenger trains at the bottom of the priority list ...
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Greg Procter spake thus:

Which just shows *your* ignorance of North American railroad practice. None of what you listed above have much of anything to do with Amtrak's problems, or even with any significant problems with freight trains. In particular, your obsession with 3-axle loco trucks is misplaced.
Just as a lot of the Americans who post here could do well to learn about railroads outside of their country, you could benefit from better knowledge of our practices.
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

Err, I may not know much, but I do know that poorly maintained, uneven mialigned track isn't somewhere you want to run 300km/hr trains.

Me and the rest of the world.

What would be the benefit, other than you not being able to arge the unarguable?

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Greg Procter spake thus:

You're talking about high-speed rail, which the US has never even made a pretense of having (well, except for, possibly, Acela in the Northeast Corridor, which isn't really high-speed, compared with, say, TGV). Besides which, freight, which makes up the overwhelming majority of rail traffic in most corridors here, never moves anywhere near that fast.
It's true that there are *some* stretches of "poorly maintained, uneven and misaligned" track here, but most of it is sufficient for our standards (i.e., 79 mph limits in most places).
Again, nobody's claiming that the US has anywhere near world-class rail service, but there's no point in just making up stuff about how bad you *think* it is, a subject you're clearly out of your depth in.
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

Ok, 300km was overstating the situation ;-) Substitute 100km/hr (60 mph)
Err, I may not know much, but I do know that poorly maintained, uneven misaligned track isn't somewhere you want to run 100km/hr trains.

Sure, I've heard comments from people who've ridden on Amtrak trains in the last decade - the constant theme is how badly they ride, especially when they are actually moving! (that and the ficticious timetables)

So why are you commenting?
Regards, Greg.P.
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David Nebenzahl wrote:
>>> Which just shows *your* ignorance of North American railroad >>> practice. None of what you listed above have much of anything to >>> do with Amtrak's problems, or even with any significant problems >>> with freight trains.
> It's true that there are *some* stretches of "poorly maintained, > uneven and misaligned" track here, but most of it is sufficient for > our standards (i.e., 79 mph limits in most places).
Not so fast, David. That 79mph limit is for track that meets FRA Track Safety Standard Class 4, and also meets the FRA signalling system requirements - block signals or TCS.
That being the case, the 79mph for passenger trains does not apply in *most* places...
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On Tue, 29 May 2007 03:38:17 +1200, Greg Procter wrote:

This does seem to be your favorite bogey-man. What, pray tell, given the lower axle loading for a given size of loco that more axles would lead to, would make three axle power trucks more destructive than two axle trucks?
--
Steve

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