Discussion:
Roadrailer / Kombirail in Europe? What happened?
(too old to reply)
Nick Fotis
2010-04-12 21:22:11 UTC
Permalink
Hello there,

as I am making a study of intermodal railroading in Europe, I noticed
something strange:

There are many mentions (even scale models from companies like Roco and
Marklin) of the Kombirail, but I have not found anything about the
prototype.

Are these in use?
If not, why did they fail?

At least, I managed to find that the European subsidiary of Wabash
National (main builder of the Roadrail in the USA) was sold in 1999 to
another companies.
Since then, silence.

What precludes Roadrailer trains in Europe?

http://robl.w1.com/obb/I-001025.htm has a photo of a European Roadrailer.
It seems that Bayerische Trailerzug (BTZ) got the Roadrailer fleet in
Europe.
Then, what happened?

N.F.
Nick Fotis
2010-04-26 15:39:15 UTC
Permalink
From more reading, it seems that Europeans moved towards the 'swap
bodies' and 'trailers in pocket wagons' solution instead of Roadrailer.

To me, this looks rather wasteful as a solution, am I overlooking something?

N.F.
Brian Rumary
2010-04-30 10:16:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Nick Fotis
From more reading, it seems that Europeans moved towards the 'swap
bodies' and 'trailers in pocket wagons' solution instead of Roadrailer.
To me, this looks rather wasteful as a solution, am I overlooking something?
I don't know if you are aware of this, but the "Trailer on flatcar" (ToF)
method used in the USA is impossible in Europe, due to the smaller loading
gauge of European railways. Double-stack container trains are also out, for
the same reason.

As for Roadrailer I think that this involves special equipment, with road/rail
rear wheel assembles. This represents a higher unit cost and also makes the
unit heavier, which may conflict with European maximum road vehicle tonnage
limits. I suspect that this is the reason that the Roadrailer system is less
popular over here.

Brian Rumary, UK



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Nick Fotis
2010-04-30 11:58:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Brian Rumary
Post by Nick Fotis
From more reading, it seems that Europeans moved towards the 'swap
bodies' and 'trailers in pocket wagons' solution instead of Roadrailer.
To me, this looks rather wasteful as a solution, am I overlooking something?
I don't know if you are aware of this, but the "Trailer on flatcar" (ToF)
method used in the USA is impossible in Europe, due to the smaller loading
gauge of European railways. Double-stack container trains are also out, for
the same reason.
I never mentioned TOFC or double stacking
(I live in Greece, so I know something about continental loading gauge :-) )
I think that only the Betuwe route has the capability for double
stacking containers *and* electrification (and the Eurotunnel)
Post by Brian Rumary
As for Roadrailer I think that this involves special equipment, with road/rail
rear wheel assembles. This represents a higher unit cost and also makes the
unit heavier, which may conflict with European maximum road vehicle tonnage
limits. I suspect that this is the reason that the Roadrailer system is less
popular over here.
From what I have gathered, the difference in tare weight of the trailer
in *pocket* wagons (ie., like the HUPAC T5, not like a conventional
flatcar) compared to the conventional trailer is around 3 tonnes,
reducing the weight you can carry by an equivalent amount.
In continental Europe, a heavy goods vehicle has a typical limit of 44
metric tonnes (including the tractor).

The Roadrailer/Kombirail has a similar overhead, if I am not mistaken
(in each case, you have to order a special fleet of trailers).
And, instead of pocket wagons, you have to use the special trucks.

So, the question remains: why did they follow the 'swap bodies' and
'trailers on pocket, low-floor wagons'?
('Rolling Highway' or 'Rollende Landstrasse' is still very problematic
and exotic, even with the low-floor Saadkms wagons that exist since the
'80ies )

N.F.
Pat Ricroft
2010-04-30 17:30:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Nick Fotis
So, the question remains: why did they follow the 'swap bodies' and
'trailers on pocket, low-floor wagons'?
I think there's a whole university thesis in that question.

In theory there are huge advantages in running Roadrailer or similar
vehicles, but as you say, they've not proved popular in Europe. I
think loading gauge is one issue, but that shouldn't be a problem for
tankers. And yet I can't think of any example of a Roadrailer tank
vehicle, whether for foodstuffs or chemicals or alcohol.

It probably all boils down to capital investment and people's
reluctance to spend any more than they have to on special kit.
Maritime containers are widely available and relatively cheap. Swop
bodies are quite widely available, at least in Europe, and not much
more expensive than containers. More to the point perhaps, swop bodies
can be carried on the same lorries and wagons as containers, and they
can be lifted by the same cranes.

By contrast, Roadrailer trailers are specialised kit. Even piggyback
trailers need lifting points and strengthened chassis, so they too are
specialised kit.

Managing the transfer of Roadrailer trailers from rail to road and
back again usually involves some complex shunting. From memory I think
you also need a stock of specialised railway bogies to link two or
more Roadrailers together.

Finally you've got the Achilles heel of any rail freight operation:
the need to assemble a significant volume of traffic that all departs
and arrives at the same time. In a normal road operation, you load
your lorry and you set off. Roadrailers set off but only go as far as
the railhead, where they then sit around waiting for - what, 5, 10, 20
other Roadrailers? When they've all arrived and been marshalled into a
train, they finally get going. It's all adding time, and cost.

The history of intermodal transport is littered with prototypes and
inventions and cunning ways of getting the most out of both road and
rail. But only the container has proved an enduring success. (So far.)
--
Pat Ricroft, City of Salford, UK
================================
Nick Fotis
2010-04-30 22:36:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Pat Ricroft
In theory there are huge advantages in running Roadrailer or similar
vehicles, but as you say, they've not proved popular in Europe. I
think loading gauge is one issue, but that shouldn't be a problem for
tankers. And yet I can't think of any example of a Roadrailer tank
vehicle, whether for foodstuffs or chemicals or alcohol.
I am pretty certain that the loading/running gauge aren't a problem with
Roadrailers, even if you have UIC B loading gauge tunnels.
Post by Pat Ricroft
It probably all boils down to capital investment and people's
reluctance to spend any more than they have to on special kit.
The question is:
why did they select to invest in 'swap bodies' and reinforced trailers
for deep well wagons?
(these special wagons are an extra cost item as well - and not cheap at
all).
Post by Pat Ricroft
Managing the transfer of Roadrailer trailers from rail to road and
back again usually involves some complex shunting. From memory I think
you also need a stock of specialised railway bogies to link two or
more Roadrailers together.
shows the hooking up of
Roadrailers.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roadrailer has some information about these.
Post by Pat Ricroft
the need to assemble a significant volume of traffic that all departs
and arrives at the same time. In a normal road operation, you load
your lorry and you set off. Roadrailers set off but only go as far as
the railhead, where they then sit around waiting for - what, 5, 10, 20
other Roadrailers? When they've all arrived and been marshalled into a
train, they finally get going. It's all adding time, and cost.
Probably this 'bundling' is the real problem?
You see, the special trucks on which the trailers sit, cannot return
alone (without the roadrailers).
So, all roadrailers must return on their departure point before the next
load departs.

On the other hand, a deep well wagon like the HUPAC T5 can be loaded with:
- containers
- swap bodies
- reinforced trailers
And if you cannot load all these wagons on the return trip, no problem.

Also, note that the container is not without its problems:
- you cannot use it effectively with Europalettes (1200x800mm).
A road trailer can hold 33 Europalettes, but a 40' ISO container can
hold only 25 of these.
- so, you are forced to use one 45' European container (only for inland
transportation) if you want to carry 33 Europalettes - these cannot be
used on ships. The European Intermodal Loading Unit (EILU) is longer and
a bit wider than the typical ISO container.
- tall ('high cube') containers for voluminous goods are problematic on
standard flatcars, you have to ensure that your whole route is at least
UIC C loading gauge (I think that the UK equivalent is W10, but I may be
wrong). So, you need lower platforms.

N.F.
Willms
2010-05-01 06:08:38 UTC
Permalink
Am Fri, 30 Apr 2010 22:36:11 UTC, schrieb Nick Fotis
Post by Nick Fotis
why did they select to invest in 'swap bodies' and reinforced trailers
for deep well wagons?
For a truck hoalier swap bodies are just much more flexible -- they
can be carried by standard trucks, and can also be loaded onto trains.
But I think that most swap bodies never see a train except from afar.


I must think of the factory which I had the chance to visit last
year. They produce those 200-liter barrels for oil and chemicals (also
in smaller sizes) in a largely automated process, and at the end of
the line, the finished product is loaded directly into a swap body.
They are then transported by truck to all over the country. No trains
.. the railway station which was adjacent to the factory is closed
and the tracks are ripped out.


Cheers,
L.W.
Nick Fotis
2010-05-02 16:27:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Willms
Am Fri, 30 Apr 2010 22:36:11 UTC, schrieb Nick Fotis
Post by Nick Fotis
why did they select to invest in 'swap bodies' and reinforced trailers
for deep well wagons?
For a truck hoalier swap bodies are just much more flexible -- they
can be carried by standard trucks, and can also be loaded onto trains.
But I think that most swap bodies never see a train except from afar.
My question is, the 'swap bodies' existed before Roadrailers, or were
invented later?

If these were invented before, their popularity in central Europe seems
to show that the market decided in their favor, instead of the Roadrailers.

N.F.
Willms
2010-05-02 20:51:55 UTC
Permalink
Am Sun, 2 May 2010 16:27:21 UTC, schrieb Nick Fotis
Post by Nick Fotis
Post by Willms
For a truck hoalier swap bodies are just much more flexible -- they
can be carried by standard trucks, and can also be loaded onto trains.
But I think that most swap bodies never see a train except from afar.
My question is, the 'swap bodies' existed before Roadrailers, or were
invented later?
Frankly, I have never heard about those Roadrailers until I stumbled
over this thread opened by you.

Swap bodies are useful for road transport completely independent of
the possibility of them being loaded upon a rail car. They can be used
as a storage container, not being moved for months. No cranes are
needed to move them on or from a truck, different from a standard
container. They need no special equipment. They are dirt cheap,
compared to something so complicated -- as I understand it -- as a
road railer.


Cheers,
L.W.
Nick Fotis
2010-05-03 13:50:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Willms
Am Sun, 2 May 2010 16:27:21 UTC, schrieb Nick Fotis
Post by Nick Fotis
Post by Willms
For a truck hoalier swap bodies are just much more flexible -- they
can be carried by standard trucks, and can also be loaded onto trains.
But I think that most swap bodies never see a train except from afar.
My question is, the 'swap bodies' existed before Roadrailers, or were
invented later?
Frankly, I have never heard about those Roadrailers until I stumbled
over this thread opened by you.
Well, what about Kombirail?
If you collect model railroads, you may have seen the Kombirail wagons
by Marklin and Roco.

Where are these now?
The only reference I found for the prototype Kombirail (in a book) was
that these wagons/trailers got a permit for operating at 120 km/h at the
notoriously bureaucratic Channel Tunnel.
Post by Willms
Swap bodies are useful for road transport completely independent of
the possibility of them being loaded upon a rail car. They can be used
as a storage container, not being moved for months. No cranes are
needed to move them on or from a truck, different from a standard
container. They need no special equipment. They are dirt cheap,
compared to something so complicated -- as I understand it -- as a
road railer.
The crane/reach stacker is necessary if you want to load swap bodies on
rail wagons.
(example: http://www.robl.w1.com/obb/I-000884.htm and
http://www.norfolklinelogistics.com/LG/Equipment/Swap_bodies/ )

The Roadrailer doesn't need any cranes (did you see the Youtube video I
mentioned previously?).

In short, for me the positive points of the Roadrailer/Kombirail are the
following:
+ excellent tare weight to load ratio (the worst case is the RoLa wagon,
where you have to haul: tractor, semi-trailer, and wagon)
+ excellent aerodynamics (very small distance between trailers)
+ works even in UK loading gauge (small tunnels)

The minuses I can see are:
- need to invest in reinforced semi-trailers (same problem with swap
bodies and reinforced semi-trailers for deep well wagons)
- lose approximately 3 tonnes of weight capacity (due to reinforcement)
- need to have at the terminals an amount of special rail trucks on
which the reinforced wagons sit

N.F.
Willms
2010-05-03 15:12:13 UTC
Permalink
Am Mon, 3 May 2010 13:50:47 UTC, schrieb Nick Fotis
Post by Nick Fotis
Post by Willms
Frankly, I have never heard about those Roadrailers until I stumbled
over this thread opened by you.
Well, what about Kombirail?
If you collect model railroads,
which I don't
Post by Nick Fotis
you may have seen the Kombirail wagons by Marklin and Roco.
Post by Willms
Swap bodies are useful for road transport completely independent of
the possibility of them being loaded upon a rail car. They can be used
as a storage container, not being moved for months. No cranes are
needed to move them on or from a truck, different from a standard
container. They need no special equipment. They are dirt cheap,
compared to something so complicated -- as I understand it -- as a
road railer.
The crane/reach stacker is necessary if you want to load swap bodies on
rail wagons.
Yes, but only then. Most swap bodies never see a railway.
Post by Nick Fotis
The Roadrailer doesn't need any cranes
I understand it being a specialized railcar which can also roll on
streets.
Post by Nick Fotis
(did you see the Youtube video I mentioned previously?).
No, I didn't (until now). I'm just watching a "Norfolk Southern"
train lof roadrailes rolling thru the screeen. If you could specify
the title or catchwords to find the video you mean, it would be
helpful. The strange database key of those videos is just not
memorizable.
Post by Nick Fotis
In short, for me the positive points of the Roadrailer/Kombirail are the
A transport box which is used uniquely for rail transport and only
for "the last mile" on the road.

Well, it seems there does not appear much of an interest in Europe
in such railcars.

The stress here seems to be on making it as easy for the road
hoalier to use the railway, not for the railway to cover the last mile
on the road.


Cheers,
L.W.
Willms
2010-05-03 16:25:25 UTC
Permalink
Am Mon, 3 May 2010 15:12:13 UTC, schrieb "Willms"
Post by Willms
Post by Nick Fotis
The Roadrailer doesn't need any cranes
I understand it being a specialized railcar which can also roll on
streets.
Post by Nick Fotis
(did you see the Youtube video I mentioned previously?).
No, I didn't (until now). I'm just watching a "Norfolk Southern"
train lof roadrailes rolling thru the screeen. If you could specify
the title or catchwords to find the video you mean, it would be
helpful. The strange database key of those videos is just not
memorizable.
I watched a video titled "Norfolk Southern: Hooking Up the
Roadrailer" which shows a glimpse of how such railcars are linked
together, and some others showing such trains in movement.

Obviously, with those railroaders they compose an articulated
freight train which can't include anything else than such railroaders.
When I see freight trains passing along the line near the place where
I live, I rarely see trains of such homogeneous compositions.

I also guess from that video that the railway bogies are not part of
the railroader, but have to be pushed under it. It seems to me that it
takes a lot of shunting to put together such an articulated railroader
train.

obviously, the railroader also needs some railway specific
equipment, at least to pass along the brake line.


Cheers,
L.W.
Nick Fotis
2010-05-03 17:30:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Willms
Am Mon, 3 May 2010 15:12:13 UTC, schrieb "Willms"
Post by Willms
Post by Nick Fotis
The Roadrailer doesn't need any cranes
I understand it being a specialized railcar which can also roll on
streets.
That's depending on each one's viewpoint, I suppose.

My viewpoint of the Roadrailer is 'a semi-trailer that can ride on
special rail trucks for the long haul'
Post by Willms
I watched a video titled "Norfolk Southern: Hooking Up the
Roadrailer" which shows a glimpse of how such railcars are linked
together, and some others showing such trains in movement.
In the first minute of this video, you see the semi-trailer being
lowered to the rail truck
(these can stand like typical semi-trailers, on extensible legs in front
of their wheels).

Let's see some sample photos from details:
1. A Roadrailer train behind a single locomotive:
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=319608

Bear in mind that often USA railroads have up to 125 Roadrailers in a
single train
(according to manufacturer Wabash National, this is the limit on
mountainous routes).

2. A whole semi-trailer in a train:
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=260258
Did you notice the standing legs under the semi-trailer?
(right of the photo)

3. Each Roadrailer (or Kombirail) train set must be connected to the
locomotive.
The start and end of each train uses an adapter truck:
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=149982

Do you see the plate where the roadrailer sits?
(lower right in the photo).

Another view of the adapter truck:
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=102646

4. intermediate truck at speed:
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=321924
and
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=99559
Note the brake line under the semi-trailer?
It's one of the additions needed in order to become part of the train.

And some such trains being pulled by diesel locomotives:
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=146756
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=107665
Post by Willms
Obviously, with those railroaders they compose an articulated
freight train which can't include anything else than such railroaders.
You can add other wagons at the start or the end of such sets (provided
that you add 'adapter trucks' like the ones I showed)
The first and the last truck are the 'interface' with the other rolling
stock.

See as an example this photo:
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=64153
Here, you have an adapter truck, so you can add locomotives or other wagons.

The rail trucks stay on the rails (and the terminal), so the
semi-trailer is not forced to carry railroad equipment while driving on
roads (this is valid on Mark V Roadrailers, not older versions).
Post by Willms
When I see freight trains passing along the line near the place where
I live, I rarely see trains of such homogeneous compositions.
It depends on the size of flows (and the associated 'bundling/groupage'
of cargo)

The terminal operations are shown in this GIF photo I downloaded ages ago:
Loading Image...
Post by Willms
I also guess from that video that the railway bogies are not part of
the railroader, but have to be pushed under it. It seems to me that it
takes a lot of shunting to put together such an articulated railroader
train.
obviously, the railroader also needs some railway specific
equipment, at least to pass along the brake line.
I suppose that you wanted to write 'Roadrailer', not 'railroader'?

Besides the already mentioned structural reinforcement (compared to
conventional semi-trailers), a Roadrailer needs to have a brake line
under it.

N.F.
Willms
2010-05-03 17:58:42 UTC
Permalink
Am Mon, 3 May 2010 17:30:43 UTC, schrieb Nick Fotis
Post by Nick Fotis
In the first minute of this video, you see the semi-trailer being
lowered to the rail truck
if you had written "bogie" instead of "truck", it would have been
clearer to me, and probably to other people in Europe, too (your name
made me think that you are located in Greece).

Thanks for all the links to photos and the like.
Post by Nick Fotis
Post by Willms
obviously, the railroader also needs some railway specific
equipment, at least to pass along the brake line.
I suppose that you wanted to write 'Roadrailer', not 'railroader'?
sure. I don't want to be railroaded...
Post by Nick Fotis
Besides the already mentioned structural reinforcement (compared to
conventional semi-trailers), a Roadrailer needs to have a brake line
under it.
That's an important difference to the swap-body ("Wechselbrücke" in
German): this is only a container for the load, and does not carry
anything which is needed for the actual movement on road or rail. To
the difference to the container, it can stand on its own feet and does
not need any lifting equipment to be put on a truck (I mean truck and
not bogie). On the other hand, most swap bodies are not stackable, so
normally not suitable for sea transport.


Cheers,
L.W.
Nick Fotis
2010-05-03 18:56:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Willms
Am Mon, 3 May 2010 17:30:43 UTC, schrieb Nick Fotis
Post by Nick Fotis
In the first minute of this video, you see the semi-trailer being
lowered to the rail truck
if you had written "bogie" instead of "truck", it would have been
clearer to me, and probably to other people in Europe, too (your name
made me think that you are located in Greece).
OK, sorry for the confusion (it's not easy to be clear when the word
'truck' has multiple meanings).

And yes, I am located in Greece (but often I mix American and Queen's
English... railroad or railway? :-) )
Post by Willms
Post by Nick Fotis
Besides the already mentioned structural reinforcement (compared to
conventional semi-trailers), a Roadrailer needs to have a brake line
under it.
That's an important difference to the swap-body ("Wechselbrücke" in
German): this is only a container for the load, and does not carry
anything which is needed for the actual movement on road or rail. To
the difference to the container, it can stand on its own feet and does
not need any lifting equipment to be put on a truck (I mean truck and
not bogie). On the other hand, most swap bodies are not stackable, so
normally not suitable for sea transport.
Well, if you want to lift a swap body, you have to get a reinforced (=
more tare weight) version, lowering the capacity as in the Roadrailer.
Both of these lose in capacity to the conventional semi-trailer, of course.

N.F.
a***@yahoo.com
2014-03-10 09:02:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Willms
I watched a video titled "Norfolk Southern: Hooking Up the
Roadrailer" which shows a glimpse of how such railcars are linked
together, and some others showing such trains in movement.
From the way these things are being trumpeted, one might think
they're all thze rage in the USA. On all of my USA trips, covering
different geographic regions, I have never seen them in large
numbers. The "trailer on flatcar" thing is much more prevalent,
but the vast majority of freight seems to be in containers these
days (if its not in block trains of coal hoppers or similar)

Nick Fotis
2010-05-03 17:35:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Willms
The stress here seems to be on making it as easy for the road
hoalier to use the railway, not for the railway to cover the last mile
on the road.
Which is probably a defensive tactic ('if you cannot beat them, join
them'), but unlikely to give a big piece of the modal share.

Triple Crown Corporation (the Norfolk Southern subsidiary that runs the
majority of Roadrailers in eastern USA), operates as a typical trucking
company.

When they find preferable/less costly the haulage by rail, then they
contact NS or other railroads. Most of their life, Roadrailers ride on
the road (hence the 10.000+ semi-trailers fleet).

N.F.
Pat Ricroft
2010-05-01 10:16:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Nick Fotis
I am pretty certain that the loading/running gauge aren't a problem with
Roadrailers, even if you have UIC B loading gauge tunnels.
Well, you're right in the sense that the technology will still work,
regardless of loading gauge. But the need to fit within a railway
loading gauge still means that a Roadrailer trailer has a lower
internal height than a standard road trailer. And it will generally
have chamfered corners on the roof too, again limiting the goods that
can be stacked inside it.

Here in the UK there are no legal limits on the height of lorries
(there is a practical limit imposed by the heights of bridges over
motorways but no legal limit).
Post by Nick Fotis
why did they select to invest in 'swap bodies' and reinforced trailers
for deep well wagons?
(these special wagons are an extra cost item as well - and not cheap at
all).
Well yes, they are. And that's one reason why so much traffic is still
on the roads, not on the railways.
Post by Nick Fotis
Probably this 'bundling' is the real problem?
You see, the special trucks on which the trailers sit, cannot return
alone (without the roadrailers).
So, all roadrailers must return on their departure point before the next
load departs.
One other factor that I didn't mention before is length of haul. The
YouTube clips that you mentioned show North American railroads, where
length of haul can be measured in days rather than hours and there is
much less competition from coastal shipping or inland waterways.
Post by Nick Fotis
- containers
- swap bodies
- reinforced trailers
And if you cannot load all these wagons on the return trip, no problem.
The downside with well wagons is the length of the wagon. For a given
train length you get to load fewer freight units. The load has to sit
between the bogies rather than over them.
Post by Nick Fotis
- you cannot use it effectively with Europalettes (1200x800mm).
True, though there are such things as Euro-wide containers (non-
standard containers). But the real point here is not that containers
have problems, but that Roadrailer units also have problems. Which is
why the traffic is actually on the roads not the railways.
Post by Nick Fotis
A road trailer can hold 33 Europalettes, but a 40' ISO container can
hold only 25 of these.
- so, you are forced to use one 45' European container (only for inland
transportation) if you want to carry 33 Europalettes - these cannot be
used on ships. The European Intermodal Loading Unit (EILU) is longer and
  a bit wider than the typical ISO container.
All good points, but none of them make a convincing case for investing
in Roadrailer technology when conventional road transport is simpler
and more flexible. And the option of lifting boxes on and off flat
wagons at container terminals is still available. I think there's just
a greater perception of financial risk with Roadrailer - specialised
technology that forces compromises on both road and rail operation.
Post by Nick Fotis
- tall ('high cube') containers for voluminous goods are problematic on
standard flatcars, you have to ensure that your whole route is at least
UIC C loading gauge (I think that the UK equivalent is W10, but I may be
wrong). So, you need lower platforms.
W10 is not the equivalent of UIC "C", it's a different gauge
altogether. It's designed to permit the passage of intermodal units so
clearance at corner height is better, but the overall width is
restricted. There's a bit more detail at <http://
www.joyce.whitchurch.btinternet.co.uk/gauges/text.htm>. But yes, it
does allow the movement of high cube containers on conventional flat
wagons in Britain. Not many routes are cleared to W10 though (from
memory, just London - Glasgow, plus a few branches; and work is
progressing on clearing Birmingham - Southampton).
--
Pat Ricroft, City of Glasgow, UK
================================
Nick Fotis
2010-05-02 16:59:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Pat Ricroft
Post by Nick Fotis
I am pretty certain that the loading/running gauge aren't a problem with
Roadrailers, even if you have UIC B loading gauge tunnels.
Well, you're right in the sense that the technology will still work,
regardless of loading gauge. But the need to fit within a railway
loading gauge still means that a Roadrailer trailer has a lower
internal height than a standard road trailer. And it will generally
have chamfered corners on the roof too, again limiting the goods that
can be stacked inside it.
The photo that I showed in the initial post (
http://robl.w1.com/obb/I-001025.htm ) shows that the European
Roadrailers have no such limitation
(these show rectangular construction and seemingly standard height)
Post by Pat Ricroft
Here in the UK there are no legal limits on the height of lorries
(there is a practical limit imposed by the heights of bridges over
motorways but no legal limit).
I think that *there is* a limit on height for LGVs in Europe (around 4.2
meters, if my memory serves me correctly).
UK is rather the exception on this, having no clearly defined height limit.
And the continental weight limit is 44 tonnes.
Post by Pat Ricroft
Post by Nick Fotis
why did they select to invest in 'swap bodies' and reinforced trailers
for deep well wagons?
(these special wagons are an extra cost item as well - and not cheap at
all).
Well yes, they are. And that's one reason why so much traffic is still
on the roads, not on the railways.
I am not sure about that - the cost of the investment goes with the
wagon leasing company, not the road traction company.
Post by Pat Ricroft
Post by Nick Fotis
Probably this 'bundling' is the real problem?
You see, the special trucks on which the trailers sit, cannot return
alone (without the roadrailers).
So, all roadrailers must return on their departure point before the next
load departs.
One other factor that I didn't mention before is length of haul. The
YouTube clips that you mentioned show North American railroads, where
length of haul can be measured in days rather than hours and there is
much less competition from coastal shipping or inland waterways.
The geography is a general impediment on intermodal railroading in Europe
(along with national borders, customs clearance, differences in
signaling, etc.)

But what about routes like e.g. Valencia (Spain) to Dagenham (UK)?
Such routes of 2200+ kms and 3 days are, I think, long enough for
examining alternative options.
Post by Pat Ricroft
Post by Nick Fotis
- containers
- swap bodies
- reinforced trailers
And if you cannot load all these wagons on the return trip, no problem.
The downside with well wagons is the length of the wagon. For a given
train length you get to load fewer freight units. The load has to sit
between the bogies rather than over them.
The well is used only for the wheels of the trailer, not for containers
or swap bodies.
Other loads are loaded conventionally, so you do not get penalized
regarding train length.
Post by Pat Ricroft
Post by Nick Fotis
- you cannot use it effectively with Europalettes (1200x800mm).
True, though there are such things as Euro-wide containers (non-
standard containers). But the real point here is not that containers
have problems, but that Roadrailer units also have problems. Which is
why the traffic is actually on the roads not the railways.
Hm, how many 45' "high cube" containers do you meet on the highway
loaded on trucks?
Here in Greece, these are frequent on international trucks.

But on the Greek rail network, these containers aren't permitted to go
south of Thessaloníki to Athens, due to our old tunnels in the central
Greece region (UIC B loading gauge, mostly).

Hence, I am looking towards the Roadrailer as a possible solution to
this problem.

N.F.
Willms
2010-05-02 20:51:52 UTC
Permalink
Am Sun, 2 May 2010 16:59:11 UTC, schrieb Nick Fotis
Post by Nick Fotis
But what about routes like e.g. Valencia (Spain) to Dagenham (UK)?
Such routes of 2200+ kms and 3 days are, I think, long enough for
examining alternative options.
On that route you have the problem of the difference between the
Iberian broad track gauge and the UIC gauge north of the Pyrenean
mountain range.

The easy solution is the transboard containers at the border station
(Port Bou or Hendaye). Using road trailers with built in rail
capabilites (which is according to my understanding the "roadrailer")
would also have to have changeable track gauges.


Cheers,
L.W.
Nick Fotis
2010-05-03 13:34:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Willms
Am Sun, 2 May 2010 16:59:11 UTC, schrieb Nick Fotis
Post by Nick Fotis
But what about routes like e.g. Valencia (Spain) to Dagenham (UK)?
Such routes of 2200+ kms and 3 days are, I think, long enough for
examining alternative options.
On that route you have the problem of the difference between the
Iberian broad track gauge and the UIC gauge north of the Pyrenean
mountain range.
OK, let's leave the Iberian case, and let's suppose a route
Athens-Dagenham, if that satisfies you regarding track gauge :-)

The broad gauge problem currently is solved by transloading the
containers from Iberian gauge to UIC-gauge trains.
Post by Willms
The easy solution is the transboard containers at the border station
(Port Bou or Hendaye). Using road trailers with built in rail
capabilites (which is according to my understanding the "roadrailer")
would also have to have changeable track gauges.
Hm, now that you mention it... ;-)
A variable gauge truck that works like the Polish SUW2000 (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SUW_2000 ) would be an interesting (if
pricey) idea, I think.

N.F.
c***@gmail.com
2014-01-14 12:33:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Nick Fotis
Hello there,
as I am making a study of intermodal railroading in Europe, I noticed
There are many mentions (even scale models from companies like Roco and
Marklin) of the Kombirail, but I have not found anything about the
prototype.
Are these in use?
If not, why did they fail?
At least, I managed to find that the European subsidiary of Wabash
National (main builder of the Roadrail in the USA) was sold in 1999 to
another companies.
Since then, silence.
What precludes Roadrailer trains in Europe?
http://robl.w1.com/obb/I-001025.htm has a photo of a European Roadrailer.
It seems that Bayerische Trailerzug (BTZ) got the Roadrailer fleet in
Europe.
Then, what happened?
N.F.
Hi

sorry to be so pround, because this is a patented Portuguese invention and I

think the final solution to intermodal transportation



http://www.metalsines.com/html/ecopickers.html

Regards Carlos
Nick Fotis
2014-01-14 17:48:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by c***@gmail.com
Hi
sorry to be so pround, because this is a patented Portuguese invention and I
think the final solution to intermodal transportation
http://youtu.be/yLcV1Dxqdpk
http://www.metalsines.com/html/ecopickers.html
Regards Carlos
Interesting solution (I saw the prototype at Innotrans).
But I would like to see operation of whole trains using this type before
I pass judgment.
A single wagon is not enough.

Regards,
N.F.
a***@yahoo.com
2014-03-10 08:54:56 UTC
Permalink
The Swiss supermarket chain Migros ordered a number of these and did use them for a brief period, but them went back to using conventional wagons. Some of the trailers were parked up outside SBB's Olten workshops for many years where they gradually disintegrated under the combined effects of vandalism and the elements. I understand the owners (not sure who that was) were hoping to find somebody else who wanted them, but nobody was found and they were finally scrapped. The last one only went very recently.
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