Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Modern Narrow Gauge....

Here are some of the photos I was blogging about yesterday to prove that narrow gauge systems can be up to date.

The first one is of Queensland Railways 'Tilt' trains. These passenger sets come in two flavours, electric and diesel. This is the diesel version. They are the fastest trains in Australia and they travel on narrow gauge!

These are recently aquired 4000 class diesel electric locomotives. 3000 hp and again operating on 3ft 6 inch gauge.

And finally the new DL class for KiwiRail (New Zealand Railways).

Again about 3000 hp, made in China and specifically designed for narrow gauge.

So what's my point? With a bit of track upgrading, and some thought about double tracks (at least on the busiest sections), DSVN could develop a modern, high speed system, and not have to fork out the billions required to build a Very Fast Train.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The future.....

Further to my last blog, I've been thinking (careful!) about the directions that our beloved DSVN could take into the future. Lets not worry about Very Fast Trains. I'm talking about ideas to improve the current setup.

In my last blog I referred to the sorts of  rail systems that operate in places like Queensland in Australia (birthplace of the D5H class) and South Africa. They operate on 3' 6" track, approximately 3" wider than metre gauge. Thats only about 75 mm. Yet they operate some pretty heavy freight trains and some fast passengers. In particular QR (Queensland Railways) has revolutionised its long distance passenger trains with the introduction of diesel powered 'tilt' trains. As well they operate some pretty heavy locomotives to haul mainline freights.

So metre gauge isn't the problem. Its' the combination of a single line and the construction of the track itself. Doubling the line shouldn't be so expensive. And introducing heavier rail can be carried out as track is repaired and replaced. A lot cheaper than completely rebuilding into standard gauge.

I'll put up some photos next time of what can be achieved on modern narrow gauge.