Light Rail Freight

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Light Rail Freight
Posted by narig01 on Monday, January 2, 2006 9:38 PM
I'm a truck driver.
I was looking at the comments on If shippers want an alternative to highways why not build a light rail line for produce and other freight going to port. Typically containers and trailers are in the 30-35 ton(english) range. For railroads these are fairly lite loads. Using say road-railer technology. It would be cheaper than building a heavy rail operation & would not be as major an irratation to the NIMBY's(yea right)
It seems to me that light rail is very underutilised for freight. Could short trains of 10-20 boxes travel on light rail lines(say at nite or off peak)?
I know this sounds crazy, but remember many of the rail operations from the interurban era that survive today generally survived because they had freight.
One of the things I have noticed is that the heavy railroads are very good if you have huge amounts of cargo(Unit coal trains, grain,30-50 carloads of this or that). On the other end of the scale Truck Load & LTL are done very well by the truck load companies. what is needed is a niche of have 3-20 truck load cargos & a network to move this. Especially for the short haul market(50-700 miles).
Why are major retailers moving large quantity of boxes(100 + a day in some cases) from rail yards to their Distribution Centres by road?
I also saw the forum about moving produce from Eastern Washington state to pacific coast ports. If shippers want an alternative why not build a light rail line.
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Posted by beaulieu on Tuesday, January 3, 2006 12:30 AM
One of the Vienna, Austria tram lines is doing something like this. I am not sure which line it is (Wiener Lokalbahn?)
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Posted by rrandb on Tuesday, January 3, 2006 2:47 AM
The trick is to have lines that work for both passengers and freight. People and freight may not allways go to the same places. Do not let the term "Light Rail" fool you into thinking that the track costs less to build. It will normally cost more to build LR because of land cost in urban areas. It's called LR because the vehicles are lighter than conventional passenger trains. While a great idea the infrastructure required would be very expensive. [2c] ENJOY
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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, January 3, 2006 5:15 AM
1. A number of existing light rail lines have regular freight operations imposed on them.

The Troy trolley museum is also a short-line railroad for the town of Troy regularly handling carload freight for several shippers and often using steeple-cab electrics as locomotives.

The New Jersey Transit "River Line" (Trenton-Camdon) has block time seperation with CSX freight trains.

The Salt Lake City light rail system allows a deisel short line railroad to share most of its main line.

I believe the Portland MAX has some limited freight operation on its east-side main line, presumably BNSF.

Many of the classic interurbans handled freight. Of course the South Shore survived largely because of freight business. Even the wide-gauge Pittsburgh Railways and connecting West Penn Railways had a trolley-freight network completley independent of main line railroading.
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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, January 3, 2006 10:21 AM
Interurban freight provides probably the best example upon which the concept of light rail freight can be based. Aside from South Shore, Illinois Terminal, and a handful of others, freight service on interurbans was minimal at best and was often restricted from a lot of track due to clearances, franchise restrictions, etc. ITC built freight belt lines around some of the cities served to avoid many of these problems. Many of the Indiana and Ohio interurbans which ran freight used specialized cars which they could interchange among themselves but not with steam roads.

The current light rail examples cited above are light rail passenger operations on already existing freight lines.
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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, January 3, 2006 10:43 AM
Most interurban lines DID at one time or another have freight service. All the famous ones did, the three Insull interurbans of Chicago, who interchanged with steam railroads (South Shore is also a diesel freight railroad today.) Here is a list from memory:

Pacific Electric Railroad cars
Sacramento Northern Railroad cars
Waterloo Ceder Falls and Northern Railroad cars
Crandic Railroad cars
Mason City and Clear Lake Railroad cars
Texas Electric both railroad cars and interurban box motors with wood trailers
Indiana Railroad ditto
Cincinnati and Lake Erie Interurban cars and trailers only, as far as I know
Lehigh Valley Transit Converted passenger cars to freight motors and trailers
North Shore, South Shore, and CA&E Railroad cars
Laural Line Railroad cars
Illinois Terminal Railroad Cars
Milwaukee ("TM") Railroad cars and interurban cars
Washington Baltimore and Annapolis Railroad cars
Lehigh Valley Transit (Liberty Bell LImited) Interurban freight motors
West Penn and Pittsburgh Railways Interurban Motors and trailers
Piedmont and Northern Railroad cars
Lake Shore Electric Interurban Motors and Trailers

The real interurbans that were not just really suburban trolley lines upgraded, like Key System, were few in number that did not run freight trains.

True, many of the interurbans that used interurban equipment and did not exchange with regular railroads simply rebuilt old passenger equipment into freight equipment, and in some cases, this meant just a freight trailer (usually wood, and sometimes with cleristory roofs retained) running behind steel motor passenger cars.

In addition to reading about these services, I actually rode pure trolley freight on the Lehigh Valley Transit (and freight service through to 69th Street continued after passengers had to change to Red Arrow "bullets" at the Norristown Station), and Charles City Western.

In most cases, lines handling regular railroad cars, continued in freight service for some time after passenger service was ended.
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, January 3, 2006 6:26 PM
A good exaple of this would to have the Daily news paper load up a light rail car and throw bundles of newspapers to waiting paperboys at stations along the route. I dont know how the teamsters would work this out. I could see METRA and the Chicago Tribune work out some deal here. Would save on gas and truck maintance
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Posted by mudchicken on Tuesday, January 3, 2006 6:34 PM
You do NOT want to go from FTA to FRA rules if you are the light rail operator. Better to remain severed from the national interstate rail network.
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Posted by jeaton on Tuesday, January 3, 2006 7:06 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by mudchicken

You do NOT want to go from FTA to FRA rules if you are the light rail operator. Better to remain severed from the national interstate rail network.


If I may add, a light rail passenger operation mixed with frieght must either run the substanialy more expensive passenger cars meeting FRA crash standards, or establish locked in stone time restrictions separating freight from passenger operations. If I have it right, in the latter case a dead locomotive on line puts the passenger operation in the tank. Not so good.

Jay

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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, January 3, 2006 7:30 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by mudchicken

You do NOT want to go from FTA to FRA rules if you are the light rail operator. Better to remain severed from the national interstate rail network.


That's probably a good idea for a HSR network as well, keep the HAL to LAL transfers on rubber tires rather than de facto interchange, if it keeps the FRA and STB off your back.

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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, January 3, 2006 7:37 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by narig01

I'm a truck driver.
I was looking at the comments on If shippers want an alternative to highways why not build a light rail line for produce and other freight going to port. Typically containers and trailers are in the 30-35 ton(english) range. For railroads these are fairly lite loads. Using say road-railer technology. It would be cheaper than building a heavy rail operation & would not be as major an irratation to the NIMBY's(yea right)
It seems to me that light rail is very underutilised for freight. Could short trains of 10-20 boxes travel on light rail lines(say at nite or off peak)?
I know this sounds crazy, but remember many of the rail operations from the interurban era that survive today generally survived because they had freight.
One of the things I have noticed is that the heavy railroads are very good if you have huge amounts of cargo(Unit coal trains, grain,30-50 carloads of this or that). On the other end of the scale Truck Load & LTL are done very well by the truck load companies. what is needed is a niche of have 3-20 truck load cargos & a network to move this. Especially for the short haul market(50-700 miles).
Why are major retailers moving large quantity of boxes(100 + a day in some cases) from rail yards to their Distribution Centres by road?
I also saw the forum about moving produce from Eastern Washington state to pacific coast ports. If shippers want an alternative why not build a light rail line.


One question: Are you refering to a high speed rail concept (which I will define as capable of transit speeds faster than highways) or just a light rail at nominal speeds? I guess it is not necessary to have transit speeds as fast as highways for off highway delivery of truckloads, since I have seen a few container-on-highway-chassis being barged between Lewiston ID and Portland OR.

It is my view (reiterated for this topic) that any rail system that allows for faster-than-highway delivery of trailers and containers will result in a substantial amount of truck traffic being taken off roads for even short and medium haul corridors. Time sensitive truckload is where the money's at.
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Posted by stmtrolleyguy on Tuesday, January 3, 2006 8:08 PM
In theory, it could work. As mentioned, "light rail" has been moving freight for decades before, using either trailer cars for less-than-carload freight, or hauling railroad cars behind electric locomotives, or large heavy passenger cars. I think the problem is that it becomes too hard to manage both freight and passenger service.

I would think that you could (technically, not legally) haul a few freight cars on a "light rail" line (4-5 max), even mixing in with regular traffic. I think the problem is that there aren't any customers that need only 4-5 cars moved at a time, or that need them all in the same place. Any freight movements would need to go quickly - they can't tie up the main LR line while switching out a customer. This adds costly siding tracks for the industries. There just aren't enough customers who need this kind of service. Most light rail lines are near cities, where it would be easiest to simply unload the freight cars and make the final delivery by truck. Also, a lot of regular freight cars still weight a lot more loaded than a light rail vehicle. The difference isn't enough for a car or two, here and there, but start sending more and more heavy freight cars on a light rail line, and the track will take a beating. A road-railer like concept might work, but then add on the cost of the facility to change from over-the-road to over-the-rail and the costs start to add up. That, and currently the FRA requires all cars that run with regular trains to be built to much higher standards of crash protection.

I think the reality problem is that the two types of service just don't work well with each other at the same time. I would hope that in the future dual-use lines could be built, where passenger traffic can use the line during the day, and freight traffic can use the line during the night, allowing full utilization of the right of way and the tracks.
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, January 3, 2006 9:26 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by daveklepper

Most interurban lines DID at one time or another have freight service. All the famous ones did, the three Insull interurbans of Chicago, who interchanged with steam railroads (South Shore is also a diesel freight railroad today.) Here is a list from memory:

Pacific Electric Railroad cars
Sacramento Northern Railroad cars
Waterloo Ceder Falls and Northern Railroad cars
Crandic Railroad cars
Mason City and Clear Lake Railroad cars
Texas Electric both railroad cars and interurban box motors with wood trailers

Add Springfield Interurban (Springfield Ohio) to your list. John.
Indiana Railroad ditto
Cincinnati and Lake Erie Interurban cars and trailers only, as far as I know
Lehigh Valley Transit Converted passenger cars to freight motors and trailers
North Shore, South Shore, and CA&E Railroad cars
Laural Line Railroad cars
Illinois Terminal Railroad Cars
Milwaukee ("TM") Railroad cars and interurban cars
Washington Baltimore and Annapolis Railroad cars
Lehigh Valley Transit (Liberty Bell LImited) Interurban freight motors
West Penn and Pittsburgh Railways Interurban Motors and trailers
Piedmont and Northern Railroad cars
Lake Shore Electric Interurban Motors and Trailers

The real interurbans that were not just really suburban trolley lines upgraded, like Key System, were few in number that did not run freight trains.

True, many of the interurbans that used interurban equipment and did not exchange with regular railroads simply rebuilt old passenger equipment into freight equipment, and in some cases, this meant just a freight trailer (usually wood, and sometimes with cleristory roofs retained) running behind steel motor passenger cars.

In addition to reading about these services, I actually rode pure trolley freight on the Lehigh Valley Transit (and freight service through to 69th Street continued after passengers had to change to Red Arrow "bullets" at the Norristown Station), and Charles City Western.

In most cases, lines handling regular railroad cars, continued in freight service for some time after passenger service was ended.
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Posted by DSchmitt on Wednesday, January 4, 2006 12:28 AM
Many light rail lines have extensive street running. Strings of freight equipment mixes less well with autos than even LRV's do. Even where there is "private" right of way people don't want freight trains running near their homes or businesses. Historically many street car lines were built to a non-standard gauge to discourage freight hauling and/or franchises prohibited freight trains.

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Posted by rrandb on Wednesday, January 4, 2006 2:11 AM
QUOTE: Originally posted by stmtrolleyguy

In theory, it could work. As mentioned, "light rail" has been moving freight for decades before, using either trailer cars for less-than-carload freight, or hauling railroad cars behind electric locomotives, or large heavy passenger cars. I think the problem is that it becomes too hard to manage both freight and passenger service.

I would think that you could (technically, not legally) haul a few freight cars on a "light rail" line (4-5 max), even mixing in with regular traffic. I think the problem is that there aren't any customers that need only 4-5 cars moved at a time, or that need them all in the same place. Any freight movements would need to go quickly - they can't tie up the main LR line while switching out a customer. This adds costly siding tracks for the industries. There just aren't enough customers who need this kind of service. Most light rail lines are near cities, where it would be easiest to simply unload the freight cars and make the final delivery by truck. Also, a lot of regular freight cars still weight a lot more loaded than a light rail vehicle. The difference isn't enough for a car or two, here and there, but start sending more and more heavy freight cars on a light rail line, and the track will take a beating. A road-railer like concept might work, but then add on the cost of the facility to change from over-the-road to over-the-rail and the costs start to add up. That, and currently the FRA requires all cars that run with regular trains to be built to much higher standards of crash protection.

I think the reality problem is that the two types of service just don't work well with each other at the same time. I would hope that in the future dual-use lines could be built, where passenger traffic can use the line during the day, and freight traffic can use the line during the night, allowing full utilization of the right of way and the tracks.

This already happens every day in south Florida between W. Palm and Miami on TRI-RAIL/CSX. They are now negotiating with FEC to move to there line closer to where people live. Since most FEC frieght moves at night anyway( hard to get photo's) they are thinking about both Tri-Rail and Amtrak!!! There may be once again a downtown Miami station east of I-95.. [wow] [yeah] as always ENJOY
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, January 4, 2006 2:17 AM
The San Diego Trolley's Santee line serves a couple of freight customers in El Cajon. These small manufacturing operations have been in business for years - I can remember seeing freight traffic on the west edge of El Cajon along Interstate 8 when I first came to San Diego, about 1968. The motorman told me the local customers are now served at night by San Diego & Ariizona Eastern from the downtown San Diego yard near the Convention Center.
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Posted by rails39 on Wednesday, January 4, 2006 8:24 AM
That would never work mixing the two the purpose of the LRT is to move people and just as the full scale railroads proved with todays freight traffic it is hard to mix freight and passenger service it can be done but somebody will have to be standing still to move one or the other.

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Posted by Eric Stuart on Wednesday, January 4, 2006 1:15 PM
It sounds a good idea, but it would have to be evalued for each line.
A street tramway in Germany - I forget the city, but it begins with D!!! (Duisburg?) - has recently started a freight tram service to move car (auto) parts to and from sites in the city, taking lorries (trucks!) off city streets.
In Europe, as in the US, many tram systems ran frieght services, such as parcels + letters (Amsterdam trams had post-boxes on them until about 1970) as well as larger items. Paris had an amazing service of fruit and vegetable trains/trams, that were steam-hauled over the city lines between 01.00 and 05.00 (that's am!), to and from the market at Les Halles.
But, to return to modern times, if the conditions were right, an existing system could be used and, in other cases, a special line could be built.
It needs lateral and "out-of-the-box" thinking. With palets and containers, possibilities are there. Use of 8ft-wide containers might be a problem on some existing lines.
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Posted by Randy Stahl on Wednesday, January 4, 2006 2:06 PM
In fact many systems in the 20s and 30s converted electric passenger cars into a variety of freight haulers , buisness was good until .................
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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, January 4, 2006 3:09 PM
Even the New Haven Railroad's main line used time sharing: Most of the fast passenger trains ran during the day and most freights after 10 PM at night. Ditto the Indiana Railroad high speed interurban lines. And so it is today with New Jersey Transit's River Line, Salt Lake City's light rail system, San Diego, and others. Most light rail systems do not run owl service 11pm-5am and that is when the freight trains have track occupancy. A locomotive dead on the line tieing up service is a far-fethced possibility, because the freight operators have more than one locomotive/

During WWII in Boston, two newspapers pooled their resources and hired Type 4 streetcars, loaded on a regular service track near Norfth Station that was not regularly used by Owl cars, to replace newspaper delivery trucks. Trucks returned with greater gasoline availability.

In Wofsburg, VW's home town, an articulated freight box car, streetcar controls and equipment, carries VW parts from one part of townn to another on the tram (streetcar) tracks.

In 1905, New York Railways had several stgreet railway box cars used as delivery trucks by Macy's and Gimbel's. When replaced by the solid tire battery trucks, they moved to the MOW fleet.
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Posted by germanium on Wednesday, January 4, 2006 5:32 PM
What would be the practicability of a form of"mixed" train - say a streetcar carrying passengers but delivering light goods to customers on its route ? Anyone come across this ?
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Posted by stmtrolleyguy on Wednesday, January 4, 2006 10:26 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by germanium

What would be the practicability of a form of"mixed" train - say a streetcar carrying passengers but delivering light goods to customers on its route ? Anyone come across this ?


It was done in the US all across the country. There were many electric interurban lines with combination cars for baggage and passengers. (In Maine, for their regular trolleys (not interurbans), instead of combines, they had little 4-wheeled baggage cars about 6x10 inside to tow behind ordinary trolleys with a drawbar.

I suppose it could be done again if :
1) A dedicated route was set up for the items to move on
2)The items were in bulk, possible on pallets for easy unloading/loading with a forklift

The real problem with the idea is the economics. There would need to be someone to watch over the freight in transit. Loading and unloading times would delay the car (and the passengers.) Also, the space used for baggage is not being used to carry passengers - a problem when the same cars are needed when there is and is not baggage (baggage area becomes wasted space.) Passengers would be the real moneymakers in most cases.

The other problem would be the transloading of goods. For example, to ship a package, I might go to FedEx. They would put the package on a truck, and ship it. But for that package to utilize the baggage compartment, it would need to be unloaded from the truck, loaded onto the trolley, and loaded back onto a truck to arrive at my door.


However, If there was a pallete of mail for my town, and there was a forklift standing by to take if off the car as soon as we stopped, it would work fine. The forklikft would just take the pallete, back away from the car, and we could be on our way again in two minutes or so. The real problem is getting goods that need to be shipped and loaded/unloaded as fast and frequently as passengers, also on relatively dedicated routes (to have a forklift availible at each dropoff/pickup point.)

I wonder if it would be possible to have a mail car included with the light rail. If normal passenger cars can run as a train, simply connect the mail car as the second car on the train. Bags of mail could be quickly unloaded and loaded on and off the cars. The mail cars could even run at almost any time. You would simply need to add the mail car to the back of any passenger run (on a busy light rail line, this could be every 15 minutes) and make sure the dropoff and pickup points along the route would be ready for its arrival. If the mail provider was willing, it would even seem possible to have a dedicated mail car that would run along the same routes, just carrying mail. I think, however, that most cities sort their mail to its final destination in one central office, and don't really need a distribution netowork by trolley/light rail, although the idea could work with very few modification.
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, January 5, 2006 2:34 AM
In Stockholm, Sweden, the five-year-old light-rail system "Tvärbanan" shares tracks with a regular freight spur. It is only for a distance of a few hundred yards where the two lines intersect but still...

That connection with the railroad network is also used for the delivery of new streetcars (light-rail vehicles) to "Tvärbanan".
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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, January 5, 2006 4:22 AM
There were tram system, possibly still are, in Europe, that had mailboxes on the tram cars.

Nearly all interurban lines had express business for high valued on-line freight. Often this was simply carried next to the motorman or operator in space next to the controls at the front of the car. The recepient was expected to meet the car at the destination stop, often a flag stop, except at major terminals like Indianapolis or Dayton, or 69th Street Upper Darby, where the package or packages could be handled with regular baggage if the car was not met. But when I mentioned the interurbans that ran freight trains, this meant always including vehicles that were not for passenger use, not just baggage compartments, but freight motors and the typical wood boxcars and gondolas, with radial couplers that could take the sharp streetcar curves in the towns and cities. And again, at one time or another, this was characteristic of about 90% of the North American interurban lines if we also include those that handled regular freight cars without special interurban freight cars (like Pacific Electric, Piedmont and Northern, the three Chicago lines, and Waterloo Ceder Falls and Northern).
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Posted by Randy Stahl on Thursday, January 5, 2006 6:16 AM
QUOTE: Originally posted by daveklepper

There were tram system, possibly still are, in Europe, that had mailboxes on the tram cars.

Nearly all interurban lines had express business for high valued on-line freight. Often this was simply carried next to the motorman or operator in space next to the controls at the front of the car. The recepient was expected to meet the car at the destination stop, often a flag stop, except at major terminals like Indianapolis or Dayton, or 69th Street Upper Darby, where the package or packages could be handled with regular baggage if the car was not met. But when I mentioned the interurbans that ran freight trains, this meant always including vehicles that were not for passenger use, not just baggage compartments, but freight motors and the typical wood boxcars and gondolas, with radial couplers that could take the sharp streetcar curves in the towns and cities. And again, at one time or another, this was characteristic of about 90% of the North American interurban lines if we also include those that handled regular freight cars without special interurban freight cars (like Pacific Electric, Piedmont and Northern, the three Chicago lines, and Waterloo Ceder Falls and Northern).
Don't forget the Fort Dodge Line! The FtDDM&S and the IT were prime examples of a passenger interurban line with a little freight buisnesss that became freight lines with a little passenger buisness. Both railways survived the electric railway purges of the late 50s and early 60s to become profitable little lines in thier own right. The Fprt Dodge line was purchased by the CNW and viable portions still exist today. The IT sadly has become only a memory.
In the midwest, milk was a big commodity. In addition to passenger sections the cars would also have large baggage sections for picking up milk cans at nearly every cross road. The milk was hauled to the nearest dairy (most towns had one) and processed.
Mail was hauled in regular trains, along with express baggage.
Chicago surface lines had street railway RPO cars as well as jail cars to move prisoners from the Cook County courthouse to the jails on the north side.
My point is there are really no new ideas in this area, one only needs to know history to avoid the pitfalls of our predicessors.
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Posted by TH&B on Thursday, January 5, 2006 9:09 AM
In Kassel Germany they have street running light rail vehicles like street cars that can also run on main line voltage and in the suberbs they do travel on mainline track shared with "real" trains. Perhaps the future will blur the differences between heavy and light rail, and freight and passenger or even HSR and heavy haul as long as the gage matches.
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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Thursday, January 5, 2006 10:10 AM
While street railways did handle mail (including RPO's), newspapers, and some package freight in the past, the truck has been developed since that era and it would be unlikely for similar freight service to be operated on modern light rail operations.
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Posted by Eric Stuart on Friday, January 6, 2006 11:44 AM
1 - The Wofsburg (I think it's Wolfsburg) operation is probably the one I mentioned, as it is part of a city begining with "D!" There are a number of brand new frieght trams for this service, so it is no cheap-jack operation!
2 - Mixed pax/freight operation.
This is ok in out-of-the-way places. Country bus services often offer it and also mixed mail/pax operations. But the mix can slow the service down. That's ok in the case of many country operations (also on the D&RG narrow gauge, with their Galloping Gooses!), where it is the only hope of viable operation.
But to mix the two on an urban line woulod ask for trouble, as the requirements of the frieght would slow the cars down. Even on conventional railways, separate parcels-cars were build in the 20s and 30s because they realised the goods were slowing the trains down.
Again, it's a case of individual examination, but I doubt of many modern light-rail services could have mixed service on the same vehicle!
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Posted by OldPoleBurner on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 3:24 PM
This is certainly a worthy idea for consideration anywhere, and is done. Salt lake and San Diego come to mind. But as usual, there are legal complications, as any trackage that operated in connection with the national freight system comes under the authority of the Federal Railway Administration (FRA). Most transit operations so sconnected do not. The most difficult of regulations the FRA imposes is safety related, involving the buff forces that must be withstood by all vehicles traversing such a line. Most transit vehicles do not qualify in this regard and cannot therefore be intermixed with freight operations.

In some cases, the FRA has allowed a sort of timeshare arrangement where for certain hours only freight trains are operated (late at night), while during other hours only transit vehicles may be operated. Usually some sort of interlock is required to prevent simultaneous use. Of course, if beefed up transit vehicles are used, traffic may be intermixed at will.

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Posted by narig01 on Friday, January 13, 2006 1:26 AM
In thinking of my original post on this subject, I kind of did this on the fly,after reading of the problems shippers were having with getting BNSF to accept short haul freight from E.Washington to Port.(I also had the problem that I did not have enough coins to feed the infernal wi-fi meter). Under those conditions I tend to ramble all over the place.
Anyway, my ideas conitinued.
1. Equipment. Use equipment that would be compatable with passenger light rail vehicles,ie equipment that would cause telescoping into passenger carrying light rail vehicles & would not subject the light rail vehicles to FRA heavy rail crash standards.
What I'm thinking of is vehicles that are more at home on the highway that could run on rail.
1.Power, A modified truck tractor in the 475-600 hp range. The power unit (locomotive seems an overstatment), capable of pulling 5-10 trailers(steel wheel on steel rail mode). What I'm thinking of is what RJ Corman & several contractors use to move equipment around rail sites. These trucks have smaller rail wheels to guide them on the tracks but the tires carry the weight still. Also I think CN used to use a modified truck to move railcars around branch lines. It had rail wheels, a coupler & larger air compressor & air tank. The coupler&additional weight to be mounted on a detachable module.The idea is that you can drop the rail couplers and then turn around & use the tractor to deliver the trailer a block or tow to customers
2.Trailers(Not box cars) Mark 3(?) Road Railers. These are road railers that have a single rail axle between the road axles to run on the street. In addition Road Railer Chassis to move containers. Yes I know these are heavier trailers(NS had real problems with the weight on highways),but in many cases you would be moving very short distances or on private property.
3.Siding yes I know expensive. However I will make this point, Road railers do not need a lot of infrastructure, simply an area where you can break apart. CN put it's original ramp in Montreal in by just putting down a lot of rock & gravel (under $50000 for the whole terminal) & fencing an area in one of there yards there.
narig01

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