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Conductor
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Having watched numerous american freight You Tube film clips, I noticed that nearly all wagons from tank cars to gondolas use the same pattern bogie (truck) including the autorack which is a low height , 3deck car carrier but has smaller wheels. This seems a sensible option especially compared to the UK where there seems to be dozens of different pattern bogie. I recall that a few years ago trying unsuccessfully to find a supplier of schlieren bogies as fitted to TEA tank wagons, which were different to those fitted to the Midland Pullman cars. Even today's wagons seem to have different pattern bogies. Is this because of higher speeds used in the UK, or because of wagon design?
 

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In depth idiot
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... I noticed that nearly all wagons from tank cars to gondolas use the same pattern bogie (truck) ...This seems a sensible option especially compared to the UK where there seem to be dozens of different pattern bogie...
I have a suspicion that the US legal system and insurance industry might have a role here. When things go wrong, if it can be shown that it was a vehicle with a proven less optimal bogie design that caused the incident...

Of course it might be rational cooperation: common design for all reduces costs and improves efficiency in maintenance and sparing.

Take your pick until someone who actually knows produces the evidence.
 

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Alan, Chalk it up to the US penchant for standardization. I makes more sense to use a standard "anything", especially if this standardization is across many companies in any industry. So, fIrst it was the Andrews arch bar truck, then the Bettendorf truck which had a better frame and then the roller bearing truck. The rollerbearing trucks may look the same but they are not. I have a set of articles on the different model trucks that were/are available for North American modellers. Remember, North America is a large place and all the railroads interchange with each so having a common standard for safety and equipment is necessary. Speed is not a factor in the context you mention. Trains here can do 70 mph depending on where they operate. The main issue here is stopping power. An 50' boxcar, and an 89' autorack is a different beast from a well car which can be 305' long (a five car set). In Canada you can have a 17 500' long intermodal train. In steam days the issue was the power to get a train going and the ability to get the train over steep terrain like the Rockies. Now, it is the opposite, it is how to keep the train from "running away" when going downhill. As well, the equipment manufacturers produce products based on AAR (Association of American Railroads) specs as well as government requirements which again is a North American standard versus the UK and Europe where each country has its own standards.
 

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I can't comment on the US scene, but I would suggest that the reason for variation in Europe probably has more to do with a combination of specifications, who the builder is, which country wagons are built and economies of scale and costs.
You ask the Swiss to build a wagon, they will build it with the same bogies they use on their own railways, for example.
Others may not manufacture bogies at all, so they import them from elsewhere, subject to requirements and specifications. No cost benefit to duplicating effort.
 

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Conductor
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks guys, didn't realize that US freight traveled at 70 mph , as most of the clips that I have watched seem to be doing around 60. Their use of DPU's (distributed power units) is fascinating although I would not want to be stuck at a crossing when one of those monster trains went through. Modelling those trains would be impossible even on a layout the size of Watermans O gauge layout.
 

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In depth idiot
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...Their use of DPU's (distributed power units) is fascinating although I would not want to be stuck at a crossing when one of those monster trains went through...
Actually it's a lot more fun than being inevitably stuck on a UK motorway, every time you go more than 30 miles. Because where most of the North American grade crossings are located the roads are lightly trafficed, so the odd hold up doesn't really matter, and you can look at the train as it goes by. Admittedly the bulk coal hauls do become monotonous, though they are impressive, but get a mixture and its great, gondolas, flats, reefers, open and closed hoppers, tanks,autoracks, containers, double stacks, stillages, box cars, steel coil, you might even get a stake or bolster vehicle. No caboose though....
 

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Alan,
It all depends. If the maiinline runs through the city as in Edmonton and Calgary, you do get a long wait. Even I a rail nut like myself sometimes find this a pain. Here in Canada and specifically Alberta, many cities made land deals with CN and CP were they move the tracks out of the city and into the "countryside" were there is no traffic. For example, in Lethbridge AB, CP moved out of the middle of the city (in the "old" days, the towns later to become cities built up around the train station and the tracks) and a freeway was built on the original right of way. Outside of Kamloops BC,CP built a large yard just for coal trains. My understanding in the UK, was in the 1800's (?) legislation was passed prohibiting rail companies from obstructing the movement of traffic on roads. Not so here as the population density was so low especially on the prairie areas. Now those DPU's are mainly on unit trains. That is, the train is composed of all one commodity (coal gondolas, container cars, potash cars). For example, in Biggar Saskatchwan, a merchandise (mixed traffic) freight came through town. At the first grade crossing where we were, a pickup truck drove down to the tracks. The locomotives slowly came through the grade crossing, once through they stopped, out of the pickup came the next crew who climbed into the wide cab door, the train commenced on its way. The pickup truck left and preceded through town and onto the highway. At the next convenient rail crossing (far enough away that the crossing we were at opened), the train stopped, the old crew came off the locomotive, got into the pickup and were driven to the crew change housing. I knew a fellow who was a train master being responsible for scheduling crews for his divisions trains. Initially, when the 17 500 foot trains were tried, they were given priority over all other trains. Later, both CP and CN starting lengthening passing sidings to accommodate these long trains. Oh, and the rules for obstructing motor traffic here, are the locomotive is allowed to block any grade crossing for only 10 minutes (if I recall correctly). However, this does not apply to the freight cars, and I assume you can picture what happens next. And that crew change housing. Because it is two stories high, it has to have an elevator! Although as one engineer commented to me, he wasn't exactly sure how many wheelchair engineers CN had.
 

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...My understanding in the UK, was in the 1800's (?) legislation was passed prohibiting rail companies from obstructing the movement of traffic on roads...
I really don't know what the position in the UK was or is, beyond the requirement that the rail route be fenced off, thus traditionally moving gates at level crossings. There were plenty of level crossings, nowadays steadily reducing in numbers, especially where line speeds are high.
 

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I really don't know what the position in the UK was or is, beyond the requirement that the rail route be fenced off, thus traditionally moving gates at level crossings. There were plenty of level crossings, nowadays steadily reducing in numbers, especially where line speeds are high.
The reason why railways in the UK were and still are, fenced off was to do with legislation that made it the responsibility of the railways to keep people off the railway track and not the responsibility of people to stay off the track. I believe this goes back to the very early days of railways in the mid 1800's.

In most non-UK jurisdictions, the responsibility is on the individual, not the railway company.

I suspect that level crossings were partly a function of this, but as 34C states, because line speeds are considerably higher than what they were in the past, level crossings are seen as less safe and therefore, their use (in the UK) is minimised wherever possible.

Graham Plowman
 

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Last Friday Gaugemaster published an article on why the railway crossing next to their premises at Ford is down for such long periods - Ford Level Crossing: Why Are The Gates Down For So Long?
I thought our local crossing was bad with closures of up to 35 minutes per hour but the Ford crossing can be closed for up to 40 minutes out of 60...

David
 
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