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Transporting Goods by Train

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Re: Transporting Goods by Train

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Tue 11 Jun 2013, 12:50:28

Tanada – heard an interesting story about rail transport on NPR the other day. Long beach/L.A. want to build a huge rail yard in the port facility. A lot of of imports, something like 75%+, come thru these ports but have to be trucked about 25 miles to the rail terminals. That’s 25 miles thru some nasty CA commuter traffic. Of course the NIMBY’s are up in arms and are delaying the process. The kicker with the delay is the potential completion from the expanded Panama Canal scheduled to open up in a year or two. Thus the potential to divert imports coming into CA and then railed all the way to the east coast to cheaper delivery via ships all the way to the eastern US. So while the current economics seem to favor the new $500 million rail yard it may not hold once enough cargo starts to bypasses CA to the other end of the country.

It will be curious to see if the PC expansion significantly changes the dynamics of bulk material transport which actually makes up the majority of rail transport as I understand it.
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Re: Transporting Goods by Train

Unread postby dinopello » Tue 11 Jun 2013, 13:03:02

Inland ports seem to make a lot of sense for transshipping from the ocean port by rail and then to truck.
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Re: Transporting Goods by Train

Unread postby Tanada » Tue 11 Jun 2013, 13:51:30

dinopello wrote:Inland ports seem to make a lot of sense for transshipping from the ocean port by rail and then to truck.



I guess I don't see a significant difference between an inland port and a regular intermodal transhipment facility. A new one is opening up near here south west of Toledo, Ohio a company called midwest rail has leased a local shortline railroad with a tie in to the national network via Norfolk and Southern.
http://www.midwestrail.com/wp-content/u ... re2013.pdf

A typical intermodal of the past dealt mostly with container cargo but the tranship system they are working to develop will take anything from intermodal cargo containers up through bulk cargo like grain or gravel. This system of tranship would save tons of money for long haul bulk freight like it already does with grain from the midwest to the rest of the country or coal to power plants as unit trains. Now they are shipping a lot of oil from ND and TX on unit trains of tank cars hauling oil to refineries. One of the other local short line railroads just got a contract to haul cement from a cement plant out to the national network for distribution instead of the trucks that had been hauling it. The fuel savings from shipping a bulk commodity like cement powder are huge, a hopper rail car holds more weight and doesn't do any damage to the roads which I am all in favor of.
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Re: Transporting Goods by Train

Unread postby Tanada » Tue 11 Jun 2013, 14:11:46

ROCKMAN wrote:Tanada – heard an interesting story about rail transport on NPR the other day. Long beach/L.A. want to build a huge rail yard in the port facility. A lot of of imports, something like 75%+, come thru these ports but have to be trucked about 25 miles to the rail terminals. That’s 25 miles thru some nasty CA commuter traffic. Of course the NIMBY’s are up in arms and are delaying the process. The kicker with the delay is the potential completion from the expanded Panama Canal scheduled to open up in a year or two. Thus the potential to divert imports coming into CA and then railed all the way to the east coast to cheaper delivery via ships all the way to the eastern US. So while the current economics seem to favor the new $500 million rail yard it may not hold once enough cargo starts to bypasses CA to the other end of the country.

It will be curious to see if the PC expansion significantly changes the dynamics of bulk material transport which actually makes up the majority of rail transport as I understand it.


The only thing keeping the Chinese from relocating to Mexico or Canada for a port facility with direct rail access is the fact that they bought Long Beach facilities back in the Clinton Administration. Even so if the NIMBY's make too much fuss they will cut their losses and leave eventually. For a state that claims to be so environmentally minded they sure do fight every improvement took and nail! You would think that putting cargo on rail where it doesn't damage the car/truck roadways and relieves congestion in addition to cutting carbon pollution would be a win-win-win to even the poorest educated Californian.

At the rate the Arctic sea ice is collapsing the Chinese and other Asian shippers now have an average of 10 weeks a year when they can go over the top of the world and skip PC completely. Facilities already exist on the east coast for offloading containerized cargo shipping and if you are talking about bulk cargo the Canadians have a good facility at Churchill Manitoba on Hudson's Bay and several bulk cargo ports along with the USA around the Great Lakes inland waterway. There have already been test shipping arrangements between Europe and Canada using Churchill and more between Rotterdam Netherlands with China Korea and Japan. The thinner the ice is every year the easier it is to take the Northern Sea Route along the coast of Siberia or the Northwest Passage across the coasts of Alaska and Canada. If the ice keeps declining at current rates they will be able to sail across the center of the ocean instead of along the coasts saving even more time and fuel in the process after 2017.

Once the cargo reaches a sea/lake port however the most efficient shipping method becomes rail on a tons moved per mile/kilometer distance. The east coast still has some pretty decent rail facilities and both Ohio and Michigan have some serious rail capacity that was built up when manufacturing was the keystone employer in this area. Cleveland and Detroit are major rail hubs, and Toledo is basically where the rails from the east turn north to Detroit. Its also clear to me living nearby that two local shortline railroads have big plans for the future. One was bought out by Pioneer Rail corporation who renamed it the Napoleon, Defiance and Western and it is undergoing major upgrades to handle more traffic. The other, Toledo, Lake Erie and Western signed a ten year lease with Midwest rail and has also been undergoing major track improvements. Rail is making a major comeback in this region of the country, how are things on the rails in Texas?
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Re: Transporting Goods by Train

Unread postby dinopello » Tue 11 Jun 2013, 15:00:51

Tanada wrote:
dinopello wrote:Inland ports seem to make a lot of sense for transshipping from the ocean port by rail and then to truck.



I guess I don't see a significant difference between an inland port and a regular intermodal transhipment facility.


Yes, functionally very similar. We call them inland ports here because they were built specifically to link to the major coastal ports and get goods in and out of the coastal ports (located in congested cities) as efficiently as possible. The Virginia Inland Port also is U.S. Customs-designated port of entry so all that stuff can be taken care of.
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Re: Crude train derails, explodes, devastates Quebec town

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Thu 18 Jul 2013, 04:56:00

Seems like the most appropriate place for an update of hydrocarbon rail transport. From RigZone:

"The total amount of crude oil and refined products being transported by rail is close to 356,000 carloads during the first half of 2013, up 48 percent from the same period last year.

U.S. weekly car loadings of crude oil and petroleum products averaged nearly 13,700 rail tankers during the January to June 2013 period. With one rail carload holding about 700 barrels, the amount of crude oil and petroleum products shipped by rail was equal to 1.37 million barrels per day during the first half of 2013, up from 927,000 barrels per day during the first six months of last year. Crude oil accounted for about half of the 2013 daily volumes."

So projecting thru the end of the year approximately 250 million bbls of crude oil will be shipped by rail during 2013. Or over $20 billion of oil shipped by trains. With that amount of revenue involved it doesn't appear the lack of pipeline additions will hold back development plans in any US or Canadian plays.
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Re: Transporting Goods by Train

Unread postby Tanada » Thu 18 Jul 2013, 08:38:07

ROCKMAN wrote:Seems like the most appropriate place for an update of hydrocarbon rail transport. From RigZone:

"The total amount of crude oil and refined products being transported by rail is close to 356,000 carloads during the first half of 2013, up 48 percent from the same period last year.

U.S. weekly car loadings of crude oil and petroleum products averaged nearly 13,700 rail tankers during the January to June 2013 period. With one rail carload holding about 700 barrels, the amount of crude oil and petroleum products shipped by rail was equal to 1.37 million barrels per day during the first half of 2013, up from 927,000 barrels per day during the first six months of last year. Crude oil accounted for about half of the 2013 daily volumes."

So projecting thru the end of the year approximately 250 million bbls of crude oil will be shipped by rail during 2013. Or over $20 billion of oil shipped by trains. With that amount of revenue involved it doesn't appear the lack of pipeline additions will hold back development plans in any US or Canadian plays.


My question is, when TAPS doesn't have enough volume to stay in operation will they extend the rail line up the Dalton haul road to Prudhoe Bay and ship by rail? Or will they store it in huge above ground tanks and use tanker ships in the July-October Arctic shipping window? I strongly doubt they will just shrug and walk away.
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Re: Transporting Goods by Train

Unread postby sparky » Thu 18 Jul 2013, 09:57:20

.
The production could become batched , the plant ticking over in winter time
though I can hardly imagine the technical trouble of running at very low rates
or even for a seasonal shut down
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Re: Transporting Goods by Train

Unread postby Subjectivist » Thu 18 Jul 2013, 12:09:02

sparky wrote:.
The production could become batched , the plant ticking over in winter time
though I can hardly imagine the technical trouble of running at very low rates
or even for a seasonal shut down

Wouldn't it make more sense for them to store production between shipments to keep pumping at a steady rate? I thought the key to long term production was to slow down the rate but not shut it down completely. I hear stories about old fields hat could still be producing now that were shut down because the producytion rate was too slow for th big companies to bother with but too fast for small companies to be able to buy because of the capital cost.
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Re: Transporting Goods by Train

Unread postby Plantagenet » Thu 18 Jul 2013, 12:20:22

Tanada wrote:when TAPS doesn't have enough volume to stay in operation will they extend the rail line up the Dalton haul road to Prudhoe Bay and ship by rail? Or will they store it in huge above ground tanks and use tanker ships in the July-October Arctic shipping window? I strongly doubt they will just shrug and walk away.


Rather than letting billions of dollars of TAPS infrastructure go to waste, wouldn't it be simpler just to allow oil development in ANWR and use that oil to bring the TAPS pipeline back up to 2 million barrels a day?

Oh....I forgot. The US doesn't have a longterm energy plan or policy.
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Re: Transporting Goods by Train

Unread postby sparky » Thu 18 Jul 2013, 22:56:40

.
The problem is
1- storage capacity ( it increase the risk of a large spill )
2-temperature , oil come out of the ground quite hot , with a low viscosity
if the pipeline is cold , pumping become very very dificult ,
the oil would have to be completely removed prior to the stoppage ,
then re heated before oil is put back into it
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Re: Transporting Goods by Train

Unread postby sparky » Thu 18 Jul 2013, 22:56:54

.
The problem is
1- storage capacity ( it increase the risk of a large spill )
2-temperature , oil come out of the ground quite hot , with a low viscosity
if the pipeline is cold , pumping become very very dificult ,
the oil would have to be completely removed prior to the stoppage ,
then re heated before oil is put back into it
for small field rail transport is more cost effective ,
for very small field , a tanker truck is collecting from the well heads and bring it to a tank farm
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Re: Transporting Goods by Train

Unread postby Subjectivist » Mon 12 May 2014, 09:53:45

China has once again made a big investment in rail transport. Seems to me having engineers in charge instead of politicians has been a huge benefit go China. In the west we built and subsidize a lot of flashy airports, in the east they have concentrated on what makes the most economic sense, ships and barges where water access exists and rail roads where you have to go by land.

It is to run from Mombasa to Nairobi and will extend eventually via Uganda to Rwanda and South Sudan.

In Kenya, the line is to replace a narrow-gauge track built more than 100 years ago during British colonial rule.

China is to finance 90% of the cost of the first stage, put at $3.8bn, with work carried out by a Chinese firm.

Construction work on the standard gauge line is expected to start in October this year, and the 610 km (380-mile) stretch from the coast to Nairobi is due to be finished in early 2018.

"The costs of moving our people and our goods... across our borders will fall sharply," Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta told a news conference after the signing.

Mr Kenyatta has previously said the new link should cut the cost of sending a tonne of freight one kilometre from 20 US cents to eight, Reuters news agency reported.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

The costs of moving our people and our goods across our borders will fall sharply”

Uhuru Kenyatta
Kenyan President
"This project demonstrates that there is equal co-operation and mutual benefit between China and the East African countries, and the railway is a very important part of transport infrastructure development," said Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang.

A subsidiary of China Communications Construction Co has been named as the main contractor.

According to the terms of the agreement, China's Eximbank is to provide 90% of the cost of the first phase of the line, with Kenya putting up the remaining 10%.

After that stage is complete, it is planned that work on the links to other countries in the region will start.
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Re: Transporting Goods by Train

Unread postby Subjectivist » Mon 12 May 2014, 10:02:05

Aha! I knew that the Peoples Republic of China had been pouring money into African Railroads for a long time, it was one of the first things I thought hinted that Peak Oil is real. Just found this in the Reuters news archive from December, 2005,
China is busy improving one of its 1960s era political gifts to Africa -- the Zambia- Tanzania railway -- which is now proving useful as a conduit for Zambian copper that China uses to make telephone lines, electronics and construction materials.

Chinese tourism to Africa is a fast-growing market, while environmentalists blame China's appetite for ivory for a new round of elephant poaching across the continent.

Peter Draper, a trade analyst at South Africa's Institute for International Affairs, said Chinese competition was visible across Africa, particularly in construction projects as Chinese firms win key contracts.

"From a long term perspective, if we engage China the potential for them to become partners increases. If we confront them, we will probably come off second best," he said. (additional reporting by Hannington Osodo in Johannesburg, Karen Iley in Luanda, Shapi Shacinda in Lusaka)
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Re: Transporting Goods by Train

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Mon 12 May 2014, 10:50:58

Sub - Not just rail. A year ago I saw a report that Chinese engineers were working on more than 160 dam projects around the globe. No indication of how many were hydropower or just water resources. But China has been focused on foreign Ag projects for a long time so food sources might have played as much of a role as energy.
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Re: Transporting Goods by Train

Unread postby Keith_McClary » Thu 29 May 2014, 01:38:01

Facebook knows you're a dog.
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Re: Transporting Goods by Train

Unread postby Tanada » Wed 22 Oct 2014, 07:27:43

Tanada wrote:The "Worlds Worst Railroad" video's I put up from youtube earlier is creeping along on track that was laid between 1880 and 1905. Amateurs filming the trains who are knowledgeable hobbyists on the subject state unequivocally that the old track is 80# rail, i.e. eighty pounds per yard length. Given that they do this for fun and the stats are stamped into each piece of rail when it is forged and I presume they have no reason to lie about it I believe it is very old 80# rail :) Most modern freight lines have replaced the old rail like this antique 80# rail with modern heavy duty 130#+ rail, I can remember when they replaced the siding near the home I grew up in to hold heavier cargo without warping back around 1983 in Michigan. Modern 130#+ rail is not just thicker and heavier, the steel itself is also tougher than the steel they were making way back when this line opened its doors in the 1880's.

All that being said the line is still in use 6 days a week on 100 year plus old rails. Do you know any surface streets in the USA that can make the same claim without complete reconstruction every 20 to 40 years? All the Napoleon, Defiance & Western has had done to it is regular replacement of the cross ties and repairs from things like floods. Even a cobble stone street in a city would be hard pressed to match that performance. Since January 2013 the new owners have been replacing ties as quickly as the news ones arrive on the work site because the ones on the system now are all far past replacement age. From what I read online the first phase of the replacement is to replace the ties, that alone is a $740,000.00 project. Next will be Ballast improvements to level the track wherever it needs it. I didn't see any figures for what that will cost. Lastly, because both those have to be done first, will be replacing the existing 80# rail. There is some debate among those interested how soon that will start and if it will be replaced with modern 130#+ rail or salvaged serviceable 80# rail recovered from other job sites where rail has already been replaced. The new owner of the N,D&W is Pioneer Railcorp, in the last decade they have been buying up short line railways like this one and operating and maintaining them. From what I have gathered the N,D&W was by far the worst maintained section they have purchased and requires the most restoration before it can run at moderate speeds.


Just got an update on the railroading group I belong too. That Worlds Worst Railroad I mentioned earlier has been extensively repaired in the last 18 months with a lot of money being invested in new ties and new ballast. When I put the earlier video's up they were averaging 5 mph and had a derailment almost every other day. Now they are up to 10 mph and derailments are down to one every 10 days or so. They have a long way to go, but they have already improved massively from where they were in January 2013 when the new management took over after the line was sold to Pioneer railcorp.

http://youtu.be/Pfp7dabTX3I

The video shows where they transition to the repaired track from the unrepaired section and pick up speed.

Edited to add, this is what the track was like two years ago in October 2012.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrvLK24VlEs
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Re: Transporting Goods by Train

Unread postby Subjectivist » Thu 10 Nov 2016, 21:16:38

Rail traffic here has been lower than average all summer. I suspect the low Diesel price allowed a lot of cargo to go back on semi trucks because they are point to point instead of yard to yard then trans shipment via truck for the final leg of the delivery.
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