While working in USA in a little town near Abilene Texas last year I watched the container trains go through the main street - 4 per hour, each way!
This video is a few years old with standard containers but 127 carriages and two locomotives. Seven out of 10 now carry the 50 foot internal USA containers double stacked with 100+ carriages and 6 locomotives. The only loose loads are cars (triple decked) and cattle. Tanker trains seem to be dedicated and not mixed with freight.
I think this is a brilliant way to go make our transport system more efficient and the Australian Inland Rail between Melbourne and Brisbane with Sydney and Western interconnects will be a winner. Still work for thousands of trucks delivering containers at each end and for those requiring a door to door service faster than rail. If we go to the 50 footers like the yanks I don't think our roads will handle the big turning radius.
This is the type I saw going through Clyde Texas. Mostly 50 footers.
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Top idea Laang. Just think of all the Chinese steel we could buy to make all those drop belly wagons. But the again, they would probably buy the wagons in from over seas to save giving Ausies a job making them.
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In Australia, the limitations are loading gauge and track strength.
Double-stack is operated Parkes (NSW) - Perth, and Adelaide - Darwin.
Inland rail is looking at double-stacking from a Melbourne fringe depot at Donnybrook, to a Brisbane fringe depot (and not to the port).
I don't know the mix of international vs domestic, but the plan for international is to restack at the fringe depot to run port shuttles via the existing restricted territory.
Another Melbourne fringe depot is planned for Laverton or Little River.
Looking at your photos makes me think how unattractive Australian trains are.
It does not matter with freight trains but units like the Nullarbor and Ghan are there for tourists. We look at the beautiful streamlined passenger trains in almost every country and they sell themselves as something you would want to ride in. Here we think the journey is everything and passengers will not mind going in an industrial unit, no matter how nice they are inside.
Lang what was the apparatus on the side of each wagon?
My eyes couldn’t see clearly but were they shared bogey wagons or all individual?
Seeing that many containers plus you mentioned the frequency of complete trains makes me wonder how long they take to get everything loaded and ready to go. Marshalling yards must be massive and apparently well organised.
These days everyone wants instant delivery.
And road transport, at least up and down the coast, is still king in that respect.
They look like some sort of lift to get the second level up?
I am not a train man but perhaps Roderick can tell us.
Nothing new under the sun
Most of the rail cars are built to take a standard 40 footer or two 20 footers. As a result when you see them stacked the 53 footers are on top because they do not fit the well in the rail car. They have pins at standard 40 foot distance. It will be some years before all the rail cars are replaced to take 53 footers,
Interesting point: The most advanced country in the world does not have side lifters because the unions banned them because they put crane drivers out of work. If you get a container truck in USA you have to hire a crane to take it off and another one when you are ready to send the container away. If you have a loading ramp or a fork lift can handle your cargo you get two hours free to load/unload on the back of the truck.
I could not believe how inefficient and inconvenient this archaic system is when the whole rest of the transport chain is absolutely efficient and fast.
The stalks aren't on every wagon. I am not sure, and am having trouble focussing even when playing from youtube direct. They seem to be stalks holding the handbrake wheel.
The loading has to be done by straddle crane.
In Australia, with single-deck operation, a lot of loading is via large forklift.
Containerisation as a concept has been around for decades.
Australia was prime territory, because of the break of gauge.
We had a standard size, made with a variety of bodies for different traffics, designed to be crane loaded into well wagons. There were also some smaller ones.
That predated the implementation of the international standard shipping container, which created the term teu.
That system created standard twist locks, used on trucks, trains and ships.
In between came the flexivan concept: the bodies could be slid sideways from special truck trailers onto special skeletal rail wagons. The sliding mechanism was powered from the truck airbrake.
AFAIK the b&w tanks in this thread are an early example.
Cost and lack of versatility resulted in that style becoming obsolete.
They were important on long hauls (intercapital and Melbourne - Mildura) in Australia from about 1960 until superseded by international standard containers.
Australia also has some domestic containers which are wider than the international profile, and usually taller, but using the same twistlock standards. They are designed to take standard pallets two abreast. That would make them too wide for road transit, except as an overwidth [international 8 ft, 2.44 m; Australian jumbo 8 ft 6 in, 2.59 m]. Those standards were pioneered by TNT and Mayne Nickless in the early 1970s.
The early days of containerisation predicted landbridging to shorten the sea transits. That hasn't happened to any significant extent, and certainly not in Australia.
The most significant was across Panama, taking loading from ships which could not fit through the canal. There is now a new set of locks for a wider ship, but there may still be some which don't fit.
There is some landbridging across Russia.
A concept used widely in US was trailer on flat car: the whole trailer went onto well wagons. That suffered from loading issues, and centre of gravity issues, and is largely superseded. Australia did that to some extent, and on some of our weakest track: Darwin traffic via Alice Springs and Larrimah. Elsewhere lacked the structure clearance.
That is how semitrailer loads go on most roro shipping; the trailer is loaded by a pier tractor. Bass Strait is a prime example close to home. I have just come from a holiday around Greek islands where the crossings are short; a prime mover loads its own trailer, but then comes back to shore. That must be because the other end is the same company. On an earlier holiday I crossed the Baltic on an over 24 h journey. The full truck came aboard, and the voyage was one big party for the truckies, catching up with friends and gossip.
Looking at your photo of the 53 footer on top of the 40 footer perhaps what I was looking at was the chassis of the wagon.
External chassis rails so the 40’ container can drop down in the gap thus lowering centre of gravity.