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I no longer live somewhere over looking a railway line so I have to bring the dog for a 'walk' to get my fix of railway reality. I thought I better start recording pictures/videos of this just in case I get notions in the future.

The line between Jyväskylä and Pieksämäki, is one of the few lines I know of in the area that are still dominated by VR Sr1 class electric bo-bos. These were built in the 1970s in the Soviet Union and are now starting to be replaced in Finland by Siemens vectrons. At this stage, they are predominantly used for freight and only touch passenger trains on secondary lines with lower speed limits (which includes my local line).  

This one came through with the almost daily Kuopio freight yard to Tampere freight yard train at 23:11. The driver must have been desperate to get home as he had been over half an hour earlier than scheduled and was a good 10-15km/h faster than freight normally runs on this line for the majority of the journey. The wife must have said something to him...

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Another evenings movement from the past week. This was the Ruokosuo/Siilinjärvi - Hangonsaari freight. This 500-odd km trek starts in the Yara mines complex in the east of Finland, picking up additional wagons in the nearby town of Siilinjärvi, bringing them to the port in the south-west of Finland. Since covid, the trains are not as long as they were, but they are still always double-headed. The two Sr1 in charge of this train sport the two different modern liveries that the class has had. The lead locomotive has the most recent green and white which started to be applied about 5 years ago. The red and white livery of the latter is the older livery. This train passes through my area almost everyday, and can be one of the more diverse in its makeup, with four or five different wagons being the norm, making it interesting to check out imo.

(Apologies for the shaky camera, my hands aren't the steadiest when cold)

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18 minutes ago, Ironroad said:

Two questions, when does it stop snowing?  And more seriously is it not the practice there to have a red lamp on the end of trains, looks like this video was shot at dusk or dawn?

Don't be so cruel, not everybody has 28 degree-latitude climate... You know damn well that three hundred days a year up there, it goes dawn-dusk-night-repeat...

😂

A serious question, though. Are those freight wagons actually converted passenger stock or something?

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5 hours ago, Ironroad said:

Two questions, when does it stop snowing?  And more seriously is it not the practice there to have a red lamp on the end of trains, looks like this video was shot at dusk or dawn?

Business first: I have only noticed red lights on the rear of passenger trains. I can't say I ever notice red lights on freight trains in this neck of the woods.

As for the snow, the main winter snows are finally melting away from the ground here. Generally snow starts accumulating on the ground in November/December and melts away properly in April. However, extensive snow showers can still fall into the early summer months. I have seen a few centimetres fall on the 1st of June before and the local joke is that midsummer's day can usually have snow falling too.

5 hours ago, DJ Dangerous said:

Don't be so cruel, not everybody has 28 degree-latitude climate... You know damn well that three hundred days a year up there, it goes dawn-dusk-night-repeat...

😂

A serious question, though. Are those freight wagons actually converted passenger stock or something?

The majority of the wagons in both trains I have posted here are purpose built 4-wheeled vans. There are 2 types of these vans, Gbln built in the mid 90s and Gbls built between 2009-2013. Both are 14m long and weigh about 15t. Latest figures I have seen for them put about 560 and 750 of each on the network respectively.

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No lamps on the rear of freight trains here in Germany either, just two (nowadays reflective) red and white markers on the last wagon.

As long as the signalman can see them to know the whole train made it through the block that is enough I suppose. I presume all signal boxes have sufficient floodlighting to allow the signalman to see the end of train markers.

 

 

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1 hour ago, murphaph said:

No lamps on the rear of freight trains here in Germany either, just two (nowadays reflective) red and white markers on the last wagon.

As long as the signalman can see them to know the whole train made it through the block that is enough I suppose. I presume all signal boxes have sufficient floodlighting to allow the signalman to see the end of train markers.

 

 

They have gone a step further in most of Finland, with signalling and points changing all being done remotely. The nearest signalman (or computer) to my hometown is roughly 150km away

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Another Sr1 led train; this time a movement of empty timber wagons from Äänekoski to Pieksämäki just up to speed. The 24 wagons of this train is the usual length for longer distance timber trains. Only local movements of timber wagons that are being moved from loading sites to/from the marshaling yard are longer this.

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The marker lamps on Irish and British freight trains are really a hangover from the days of Block Signaling and  loose coupled goods operation to indicate to the signal man that a goods train was complete and hadn't divided in section. 

American and Australasian railroads/railways use a radio end of train device (ETD) that allows the engineer/driver monitor the braking system and ensure the train is complete, some but not all EDTs incorporated a flashing tail light.

Locally we had an interesting incident about 15  years ago when an overnight freight train on the Auckland-Wellington Main Trunk line divided as a result of a defective wagon coupling. The Locomotive Engineer (officially we don't use the term driver) stopped his train in response to a sudden drop in pressure walked back to what he thought was the end of the train and closed the valve on the brake hose thinking the EDT had dropped off, before reporting the issue and continuing his journey.

Train Control in Wellington 480km (300miles) away became concerned when the track circuits continued to show the section occupied and alerted the engineer of a following train by radio who  then found the remainder of the first train complete with EDT in his path.

Edited by Mayner
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  • 2 months later...

It's been a hectic few months of work but it didn't stop me getting a few chances to take in some railway sites. Last year, Estonian operator, Operail, entered into the Finnish freight haulage market. This was my first chance to see one, moving empty coal wagons (of Russian origin) from Koverhar harbour to Lappohja for that afternoons T7305 Lappohja - Kouvola. The Dr20 locomotive is very much like an updated version of the 201s I thought.....

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Ironroad said:

Impressive,   twice the length of an Irish train.  No barriers or stop lights evident at the level crossing, are there advance warning lights?

 

As it is a smaller secondary road and it is the end of a private siding for the harbour, there are no advance warning lights or barriers. The main running lines in the area have lights and barriers, but there are plenty of small roads which literally have only a stop sign. Outside of larger towns, one can access all accept the fastest mainlines relatively easily, and walk along the trails used by maintenance workers adjacent to the lines thanks to strong right to roam laws.

There is generally a very different approach to health and safety in Finland, where there is a greater onus on the individual to not do something reckless (personal injury claims are prohibitively expensive processes for minor accidents and so are almost unheard of). As such very little 'safety padding' around railway infrastructure which allows for some great views/exploration.

Edited by Liam_Murph
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8 hours ago, Liam_Murph said:

There is generally a very different approach to health and safety in Finland, where there is a greater onus on the individual to not do something reckless (personal injury claims are prohibitively expensive processes for minor accidents and so are almost unheard of). As such very little 'safety padding' around railway infrastructure which allows for some great views/exploration.

That is to be commended, the "Nanny State" in Ireland seems to get more pervasive as time passes.

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7 hours ago, DJ Dangerous said:

Wow, that train is long!

What's the restriction in Ireland? The passing loop length or something?

The DR20 definitely has an updated 201 look to it.

Hi DJ, if you refer to the resources section on this forum you'll find a document published by IE in 2019 that provides a lot of infrastructure information on the Irish railway network;- the following is an extract:  This explains the reasoning behind the length of passenger trains but not freight trains.

3.3.2.5 Maximum Train Lengths The maximum length of passenger trains is governed by the length of platforms at stations the trains serve. Platform lengths are set out in Appendix 1B and are measured from Top of Ramp to Top of Ramp where usable length may actually be less. Usable lengths may vary according to signal location or local infrastructure. Please consult the Infrastructure Manager regarding the usable length for specific locations. Except where specifically authorised, the number of vehicles attached to fully braked freight trains must not exceed 36 Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs). For the purpose of calculating train lengths, one 18.6 m (62’ 9”) bogie wagon or one 22 m bogie pocket wagon is counted as 3 TEUs, all other bogie wagon types are counted as 2 TEUs and 2-axle wagons are counted as 1 TEU. 3.3.2.6 

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As it was too wet to collect insect samples for work over the midsummer holiday, the next best thing I could think of was head to the nearest station during lunch. Double headed Dr12 diesels were a bit OTT considering the trains were exceptionally short (midsummer is second only to christmas in terms of holiday importance in Finland so very little industrial activity occurs). T3639 (Hanko harbour to Hämeenlinna) passes T3534 (Karis to Hanko harbour) at Lappohja. The red livery on the locomotives is very slowly being replaced around the country, with locomotives in the old livery being allowed to build up lovely levels of grime and dirt compared to newly liveried ones. 

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