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*1296 tonnes trial freight train

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dave182
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Picking up on the Wanderers picture of the Freight trials run between Hueston and Sallins today, I'm wondering is there something in the pipeline in terms of a new freight flow? I've speculated before, but the first thing I thought when I saw that train of 16 autoballasters was 'biomass'! I never thought the current load limits would make biomass flows economical, but if a train load suddenly jumps from 36 to 54 TEUs then that's a different matter. Pure speculation and wishful thinking on my behalf! However Foynes is moving forward, and I think that biomass plant in Killala is going ahead... I don't think Irish Rail would run trials like this 'for the craic'?

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The heaviest trains to run were 1,000 ton cement trains between Northwall and Cork, they were hauled by either a 071 or 201. They were specials, the max limits are currently 36TEU with 740 tons. There was talk last year of going to 40TEU on the IWT liners but there is at least passing loop that can only take a 201 and a 36TEU 18 47ft flats maximum and thats were IWTs regularly pass each other. That loop would no longer be an option.

 

Great to see if they do increase the limits to make freight more economic assuming they can fill a 40+TEU train every time. Axle loading is another issue, with a loaded tanktainer, only one can be placed on a flat wagon because the axle load limited would be exceeded with two. That's why you see only single tanktainers loaded leaving Dublin but the return empty have them doubled up.

 

As it is an autoballaster loaded to it's max will exceed the Irish axle load limit, they are never fully filled and have a load gauge on the side of each wagon to make sure they stay in the limit.

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David Franks the IE Chief Executive signalled a change in thinking towards freight including a cheap and cheerful re-opening of Foynes and a interest in competing for the Biomass traffic. Significantly spoke about substantially increasing train lengths and better scheduling of freight trains to avoid crossing on single lines.

 

A reduction in freight rates by operating longer less frequent 80TEU overnight train may be more attractive than a daily 36TEU train for shippers like IWT. However investment would be required to increase terminal capacity and critical passing loops, there is little to be gained in running an 80TEU train if you cannot fit it in a terminal or yard

 

In most Western Countries the rail infrastructure owner and local authorities often co-fund investment in improving line capacity with Port Companies and shippers funding terminal facilities and private sidings.

 

A good example is our local freight line where capacity improvements now allow 100TEU trains increased traffic as a result of increased competition between ports

.http://www.kiwirail.co.nz/news/140/129/Further-investment-in-busy-rail-line-between-Hamilton-and-Tauranga.html

 

Even local government and haulage companies building rail terminals https://www.nzta.govt.nz/about-us/news-and-media/keeping-connected/tokoroa-road-rail-terminal-opens-for-business/

Edited by Mayner
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Yard space will be an issue with longer trains. As it is Ballina yard can holdabout a 40 TEU train in each loading line without fouling the other roads.

 

In Northwall yard IWT liners are regularly split in half to store them if loading or unloading is delayed to free up space for other movements.

 

I'd love to see them coping with 54 TEU trains.

 

Another fun point will be in locos getting loaded liners up Ossary road in poor rail conditions. 084 had an incident about 18 months ago where it stalled with a IWT liner out of Northwall. Another 071 was sent as a banking loco to help push it, even with 2 071s it was a struggle with a 36 TEU train with the wet rails and leaves on the line.

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I wonder if the length/weight of the liners was increased, would it mean the end of 071's on such work, or are they capable of more?

 

Was wondering that myself. I dont think an 071 would manage that kind of weight, especially on gradients like the gullet. Maybe they could double head instead??? :)

 

It might mean increased demand for 201s...

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There's a proposal to re-engine both the 071s and the 201s, which could theoretically boost their power ratings.

 

Think that's more down to emissions and fuel economy than anything else.

 

To get more power you need different gearing ratios and traction motors. A 3,200hp class 66 in the UK can haul way more than out 3,200hp 201s but the 66 can't go as fast. Then there is the 66/5 sub class, they have a lower top speed than the standard 66 but they can haul even heavier trains. The class 59s, again 3,200hp can haul more than another other loco in the family.

 

It's probably safe to say it would be 201s only on a 1300 ton train seeing as 071s are already struggling with 700-800 ton trains in poor conditions and were only allowed to haul 1000 ton trains to Cork when they were really needed.

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Think that's more down to emissions and fuel economy than anything else.

 

To get more power you need different gearing ratios and traction motors. A 3,200hp class 66 in the UK can haul way more than out 3,200hp 201s but the 66 can't go as fast. Then there is the 66/5 sub class, they have a lower top speed than the standard 66 but they can haul even heavier trains. The class 59s, again 3,200hp can haul more than another other loco in the family.

 

It's probably safe to say it would be 201s only on a 1300 ton train seeing as 071s are already struggling with 700-800 ton trains in poor conditions and were only allowed to haul 1000 ton trains to Cork when they were really needed.

 

True, gearing is a major factor, too. Alterations to the 071s gearing could be done at the same time as an engine replacement. Looking at what EMD are doing with SD40-2 rebuilds in North America (SD30C-ECO), the 071s could be fitted with engines from the 12-710 family, which would also increase their horsepower rating.

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I would say looking forward that 071's will feature less and less. Whilst there is talk of re-gearing down a bit, the future is looking more like re-engineered 201's. Savings are plain to see - common maintenance, common driver rating etc. There would have be to be changes (such as the traverser at Alexandra Dock Road) but I honestly can't see the 071's lasting much longer sadly

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In fairness I think the 071s have earned their keep. It would be nice to see the fleet of 201s utilised fully and paying their way. Should freight pick up over the next 5 years and the 071s were retired, what type of locomotive would Irish Rail go for to supplement the 201s? Maybe a small order of 8 to 10 Vosslok 4 axle locos to keep the Tara Mines and engineers trains rolling? Just a thought!

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I can't see the 071s going anywhere for a while. Why would IE bother with the overhauls, body and cab rebuilds of all 18 locos only to retire them in a few years. 3 years ago was a different story, 087 was being used for parts and was destined for the scrap heap along with 077 and 078. IE had plans to keep just 12 071s in operation and scrap 6 as when they were due major overhauls or had big failures.

 

If they would allow for a tara train to be reversed on the tramway with a flag man leading they would not need to modify the traverser for a 201 as the loco would not need to run around.

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I'd say that they would keep a few for as long as they can. I think they REALLY don't want to deal with the thought of having to bring back the stored 201s which lets say the 071s are retired in 10 years, and none of the stored 201s had re entered service prior to that, the would have been in store for about 15 years and would need a serious rebuilding. Of course they could just buy some small locos, probably just 4 axle versions of the 201s, as Dave has mentioned above.

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Most of those stored 201s cannot come back unless they buy alot of new parts for them. 233 is going around with 211's engine after it's massive failure at Clongriffin on the Enterprise in 2012, it could not be repaired economically so they did a transplant. 223 is going around on 210s bogies as 223's were life expired. That's just a few.

 

I reckon there are/will be enough 201s to cover as I can see the Enterprise and Mk4 stock gone in 8-10 years so there will be a surplus of active 201s.

 

4 axle versions of the 201 would exceed the Irish axle loading gauge by quite a bit. Fr example, a re-bogied class 67 cannot run over here.

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Yep, great refurb. This is what 077 was like after two years

 

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And note that both 077 and 071 went back into the works before other members (such as off the top of my head 075 in the silver/black livery).

 

I'm not saying the end of 071's is immediate, but they won't do trains to this weight (as has already been stated they struggle with the 942 tonne Taras)

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They only struggle in poor rail conditions, the 071s don't have creep control like the 201s and they are not great for getting the power down to the rails. In some cases a pair of BGMs were better than an 071 in getting a heavy train moving as they have more axles between them.

 

For pure tractive effort the 071 generates more than a 201 below 15mph. So in theory they are better at getting a heavy train moving than a 201 but in real world conditions a 201 wins out.

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They only struggle in poor rail conditions, the 071s don't have creep control like the 201s and they are not great for getting the power down to the rails. In some cases a pair of BGMs were better than an 071 in getting a heavy train moving as they have more axles between them.

 

For pure tractive effort the 071 generates more than a 201 below 15mph. So in theory they are better at getting a heavy train moving than a 201 but in real world conditions a 201 wins out.

 

Thanks for that feedback Railer. That's very interesting. Noel

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its an interesting aside , as to what IE will do in the next few years as regards locomotives, the 201s are not really suited to general duties and the 071s must be close to life expired now. Then you have the issue of many of the 201s may never run again anyway. I can see IE having great difficulty justifying any sort of loco purchase for thunderbird duties and the odd PWD work. With the virtual complete demise of freight , is will be a tricky decision to justify new locos

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  • 2 weeks later...

I would imagine that the initial intention would be to run fewer, but longer, trains to reduce running costs in order to make rail freight more attractive economically. If that proves successful, then is the time to worry about enough wagons. The infrastructure is not there yet to run longer trains on many routes, so careful timetabling will be necessary. More freight running at night will free up paths for passenger services.

 

Stephen

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