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UNDER OR OVER: For the first time in many years it looks as though a link-tunnel or bridge-between Britain and France could be a practical possibility. Gradually the various objections to such a project are being whittled away. Currently the big question is not the link itself, but whether the link is to be a bridge or tunnel. The bridge sponsors are backed by Union Routiere, which represents French road transport interests. Heading the Channel Bridge Study Society is Jules Moch, former French Minister of Communication. The bridge-300 ft. above the frequently turbulent English Channel - would carry a four-lane highway and two railroad tracks. Its opponents claim that it would cost twice as much as a tunnel to build, would offer a very poor financial return to investors, and would be a hazard to shipping and navigation. Bridge supporters point to the disadvantages of a tunnel which would require all autos, buses, trucks, and so forth, to be carried through it by rail. A railroad tunnel is the only practical possibility because the dispersal of gasoline and diesel oil fumes would raise enormous and expensive ventilation problems. Both projects would have a capacity far in excess of any likely demand in this century. for example, all road vehicles which were moved across the channel by sea and air in 1960 could be cleared through the tunnel in three or four days.
Naturally the tunnel project has the support of British and French railways, and at a recent press conference of the Channel Tunnel Study Group, the British Transport Commission displayed a scale model to give some idea of how traffic would be handled at a tunnel terminal. The facts on a tunnel are that it would be 32 miles long, have two single-track bores with a service tunnel between them. There would be crossovers from one bore to another every few miles so that maintenance could be facilitated. Automatic block signaling would be installed for either-way working on both tracks and would be suitable for trains operating at an average speed of up to 70 mph and on a 3-minute headway. Tracks would be electrified on the overhead 25 kv. 50-cycles
system. Cost: 294 million dollars. On the anticipated traffic and charges, the average return on invested capital would be 6 per cent from the date of the tunnel opening or 10 per cent over the 20 years from the date construction started. The Group is confident that finance on this basis will be possible - mainly from British, French, and American sources. Construction time: five years.
There would be through trains between London and Paris and Brussels hauled by dual-frequency locomotives (BR 750 v. D.C. third rail and BR/SNCF 25 kv. 50cycles A.C.) and with stock suitable for British and French loading gauges. Longdistance Continental trains would commence running from the English tunnel terminal. By far the largest group of traffic going under the Channel would be motor vehicles. Accompanied automobiles would be handled by trains of doubledeck enclosed cars which would be of the "drive on at one end and drive off at the other end" type. Drivers and passengers would remain in their vehicles. Each train would take 300 automobiles, and loading or unloading would take only 10 minutes; transit time would be 33 minutes. Singledeck cars would take trucks and buses. "Car-sleeper" trains could also be run from the English terminal to a variety of Continental destinations. Freight trains would be made up of stock suitable for British or Continental operation. There is already a substantial nucleus of such vehicles because of the growing volume of trainferry traffic.
NEW RHINEGOLD: Whatever else may happen in the passenger traffic sphere in Europe next summer, one train that will take some of the limelight will be Germany's new Rhinegold Express. The Rhinegold [page 12, May 1961 TRAINS] is to be made up of new rolling stock, including a dome car. Four German manufacturers are busy on the new vehicles which will be finished in a blue and cream livery.
Haulage in Germany will be handled by "hotted up" E.10-class B-B electrics with maximum speed increased from 87 mph to 100 mph. The train will start from Amsterdam instead of the Hook of Holland. There will also be through cars from the Hook which will be added to the train at Utrecht. It will then run via Emmerich to Cologne where another section from Dortmund (containing the dome) I will be added. The entire train will then run via the Rhine valley line to Switzerland, part going to Chur and the remainder via the St. Gotthard route to Milan.
AUTOS-BY-RAIL: For 1962: new "car sleeper" services by French Railroads. Carsleepers - trains which convey private automobiles and their passengers in order to cut out driving to one's vacation area have steadily increased in popularity in Britain and on the Continent. Two of the new routes will start from Le Touquet, which is convenient for cross-channel vacationists from Britain whether they use the sea or air ferries. One route will run to Avignon (for the south of France and Italy) and the other will serve Narbonne (for Spain). A third service will run from the channel port of Calais to Switzerland. It will be routed via Bale, but the final
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7 BECAUSE previous installation of aluminum roofs on box cars was so satisfactory, GTW has ordered 200 aluminumroofed cars from ACF, plans to standardize these roofs on its box cars. Five new tank cars with record capacity of 15,000 gallons for carrying liquid gases at temperatures as low as -320 degrees are in service for NCG Division of Chemetron Corporation. Convertible flat car with Hydra-Cushion underframe for reduced-shock transport of fragile goods was developed for Espee by Stanford Research. Car, built by Thrall, is shown with Evans tri-level auto rack. "Carquake" system at Marquette Cement Manufacturing Company, Nashville, Tenn., spots and unloads one hopper of limestone every 6 minutes, requires only two-man crew to operate.