Delivering a crane by train

I’ve seen many interesting pieces of Russian heavy machinery, but this is a new one – a crawler crane that can be moved by rail.

The crane arrives at the Tyosovo Railway Museum in Novgorod Oblast on the back of a railway flat wagon. The end ramps are then lowered, allowing the crane to drive down to the ground and through the railway yard, where the crane is used to lift narrow gauge diesel locomotive TU2-155 off a road truck and onto the rails.

The crane itself is a Сокол 80M – which translated to “Falcon”.

The “Сокол-80” crane is designed as a mobile vehicle of large carrying capacity for railway emergencies, and it can also be used to move heavy loads in off-road conditions and in hard-to-reach areas.

Produced by OJSC Sokol in the city of Samara (formerly the Kuibyshev Mechanical Plant No. 1). The boom and pivot units are the same design as the Сокол-80 railway crane.

And here is the Сокол 80.01 railway crane variant.

Universal railway crane “Сокол 80.01” has a lifting capacity of 80 tons for the laying of РШР track panels and turnouts without the removal of the contact wire, and the construction of bridges. The boom and pivot units are the same design as the Сокол-80M tracked crane.

Seen at work in a similarly snow covered railway yard.

Further reading

Lego fan ‘Superkoala’ built a working model of a Сокол-80M crane using Lego Technic.

You can read more about the model as well as the prototype at SuperK’s Technic Center and the Eurobricks forum.

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‘Do Re Mi’ music as the train powers out of the station

It’s normal for electric locomotives to make some kind of ‘buzzing’ noise as their accelerate, due to the way that power is applied to their traction motors. But the Siemens EuroSprinter family of electric locomotives make an unexpected sound – a ‘Do Re Mi’ musical scale as they power away from the station.

Pacing ÖBB 1216 class electric locomotive 1216 005

You can listen to it yourself in this video of a ÖBB Class 1116 ‘Taurus’ locomotive departing Zürich HBF on a Railjet service.

And the freight version of the EuroSprinter also playing a similar tune.

Over on Reddit user ‘alltheacro’ explains the phenomenon.

The source is due to the variable frequency drive. You can’t apply full power to the motors suddenly because it would damage components, and the wheels would spin as well, causing damage to the wheels and track. So the power is switched on and off very quickly at different ratios (duty cycle) and different points on the motor’s rotation. Because there are hundreds of amps at high voltages involved, the magnetic fields are strong and anything carrying current – cables, the coils in the motors, etc), and other metal components near them, vibrate. There is also traction control on each individual bogie (ie set of wheels.) If one starts to slip, the train’s control system throttles it back, but the others can keep going. So we get a chorus of different musical notes.

But that isn’t all the train can do:

The same locomotive has an operator’s panel with Easter eggs for amusing sound effects, playing MIDI files, and a music keyboard mode

Those engineers at Siemens must have a lot of time on their hands. 😛

And another Easter egg

Turns out the Deutsche Bahn ICE3 train can play the German national anthem when placed into service mode.

You will definitely not find that anywhere else: Listen to how the power converters of the ICE3 hum the German national anthem !!! Note: In planning mode, this is not possible, but only with special Siemens software!

Which sounds like:

Further reading

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Transporting railway track by train

You can transport many things by train – but what about the railway tracks themselves?


Photo by Falk2, via Wikimedia Commons

Used to deliver pre-assembled pointwork or crossovers directly to the work site, the tilt mechanism ensures that the bulky sections of track won’t strike platforms, lineside signals, or trains on parallel tracks.

The German name for these wagons is “Weichentransportwagen” – in English they’re called “transport wagons” or “switch tilters“.

Swiss firm Matisa is one manufacturer.

And German firm Kirow is another.

With their wagons making an impressive sight as they roll past.

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Rerailing a tram with a front end loader

Derailed trams aren’t an uncommon occurrence, but using a front end loader to get it back onto the tracks is – an activity captured by Вечерний Краснотурьинск in the Russian city of Krasnoturinsk.

They provide the backstory here (via Google Translate):

Today, March 13, at noon a small incident occurred. On Popov Street, in the area between Furmanov and Chapaev streets, the tram went off the rails.

At this moment, the tram was driven by a driver Natalia Chudinova, who has been working for almost 24 years.

“I was not scared, it was a normal working situation,” says Natalia. “This has happened more than once before. Today there were no passengers. The tram just went to run-in after repairs.”

The tram went off the rails at once due to two factors – it is ice and dirt formed on the rails and in the track between the rails. As Nataliya says, in cold weather, a lot of snow accumulates on the tracks too, but it can be successfully pushed through with tram wheels. The situation with ice is more complicated: there are no rails under it and it is not always forced through. This is what happened today.

An emergency recovery team arrived at the scene quickly. The tram was brought back on the road with the help of an excavator and the work of five people. After the vehicle was returned on the way, workers began to clear the rails in order to avoid another derailment.

That’s some quick thinking.

How about a crane

This blog post shows how from the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv rerails their trams – a truck mounted crane is used to pick up one end of the tram, and lower it back onto the tracks.

Or just a big truck and steel plates

Here we see a derailed tram in Melbourne, Australia.

Z3.229 skewed across the tracks on Elizabeth Street, just north of La Trobe Street

Steel plates are put beneath the derailed wheels.

Getting out the steel rerailing ramps beneath the derailed bogie

Then the tramway recovery truck is coupled up to the derailed tram via a towbar.

Attaching the towbar between recovery vehicle R10 and tram Z3.229

Then pulls the tram forwards.

Recovery vehicle R10 ready to pull tram Z3.229 back onto the rails

As the steel ramps direct the wheels back towards the rails.

Pulling the tram forwards, the ramps directing the wheels back towards the rails

Until the tram is back on the tracks.

Dropping the pantograph of Z3.229

The only evidence left behind – gouge marks in the asphalt.

Gouge marks in the asphalt from the derailed bogie

Further reading

More on the Krasnoturinsk tramway network by Yury Maller.

And a housekeeping announcement

I’ve just launched my page on Patreon! In case you’re wondering, Patreon is a simple way for you to contribute to this blog every month, and you get a sneak peek at what’s coming up in return!

Head over to https://www.patreon.com/wongm to find out more.

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Why did the train stop to close the bridge?

On Facebook I recently came across a video of a train coming to a halt, so that a man could swing a piece of track into place before it could then proceed. So what is the story behind it?

The original poster didn’t have any idea – it was a Facebook Page called “Emmanuella Mark Angel Comedy Video (fk Comedy)” that stole the video from YouTube.

The comments from other Facebook users didn’t help either:

Waste of precious time, why cant they automate the whole thing

This so called track bridge doesn’t make sense. They could have fixed a gates on either side of the road.

What is the point? Why don’t they just leave it in position?

But some people were switched on:

The train crosses a canal on the turntable bridge then crosses the road. They close the canal then close the road

Too funny all these people here acting like we Dutchies are still stuck in medieval times …jumping to conclusions based on one video without bothering to investigate what this really is (a museum line).

Veendam it is

With those leads and plenty of digging around on Wikipedia, I found the Stadskanaal–Zuidbroek railway:

The Stadskanaal–Zuidbroek railway is a railway line in the Netherlands running from Stadskanaal to Zuidbroek, passing through Veendam. The line was opened in 1910 and closed in 1953. The Veendam-Zuidbroek part of the line was reopened in 2011 by STAR and used as a museum line, run with mostly steam trains.

The operator – Stichting Stadskanaal Rail:

The Stichting Stadskanaal Rail, known as Museum Railway STAR, was established on 26 June 1992 with the aim of maintaining the historic Veendam – Stadskanaal – Musselkanaal railway line and operating a tourist railway on this route.

And the train – a Nederlandse Spoorwegen DM 90, nicknamed ‘Buffel’.

The NS Class 3400 was a series of diesel multiple unit built by Duewag, Talbot and SIG between 1996 and 1998. The class is referred to as DM’90 meaning diesel rolling stock (Diesel Materieel in Dutch) of the 1990s or Buffel, which means Buffalo. Class 3400 were the last DMUs in service with NS, the older DE3 (“Plan U”) and DH1/2 (“Wadloper”) series having been replaced by the diesel electric Stadler GTW which are still in use with other operators in the Netherlands. Since January 2018, all units are now stored out of service and most have been sold to Romania.

Which eventually led me to the original video on YouTube.

Last Ride of NS DM 90 passes a railway bridge in Veendam.

The farewell ride stops in front of the swing bridge (honking a lot) and the train stops so that the swing bridge can be closed and the HBKI level crossing can be switched on, after which he whistles off to Veendam museum station where a short stop took place.

Date: 10/14/2017

Media attention too

Local television station RTV1 covered the trip to Stadskanaal.

Via Google Translate:

Exactly at 8 minutes past three, he arrives at a quiet pace on Saturday afternoon, October 14, at the Musselkanaal station: the DM ’90 diesel train, better known by its nickname “Buffalo”. The train was first used by the Dutch Railways in the mid-90s. However, due to electrification of the track, it was used less and less. Currently, the train set only commutes from Zwolle to Enschede and to Kampen, the so-called “Kamperlijntje”. But since this line has now been electrified, we will say goodbye to the “Buffalo” at the end of this year.

As a farewell ride, the train made an extra long ride on 14 October for train lovers from Zwolle to Stadskanaal and back. After first stopping at the STAR in Stadskanaal, the station of Musselkanaal also received a visit from the “Buffalo” at three o’clock on Saturday afternoon. And just like on a number of other platforms, train enthusiasts were able to take extensive photos of the train here.

It is not yet clear what will happen to the “Buffalo”, but it is clear that the end of this year will be over for the diesel train.

Report: Boelo Lutgert

As did broadcaster RTV Noord:

More than two hundred train enthusiasts want to make the best shot, so there is a strong call to the people in the way.

Train hobbyists Mart van der Wijk and Enrico Schreurs have been following the train route all day by car to take pictures. For Schreurs, Stadskanaal was the best photo opportunity of the day. “The train sets have never been there before and it is a recognisable point for me,” says the train hobbyist.

Finding the bridge

Following the railway via the eye in the sky that is Google Maps, I found the bridge in question.

And Google Street View provided a better look at the canal that lead to the swing bridge being provided.

From this angle the need for a swing bridge is obvious – with only a metre of clearance between the waterline and the rails, it would be impossible for a boat to pass under without it!

Footnote

Turns out there are plenty of other manually operated swing bridges on the Stadskanaal–Zuidbroek railway – this is just one.

And the copyright infringement never ends

I’ve just come across the same video on Facebook a second time, but stolen by a different page – ‘OMG Videos’. Their useless caption:

This isn’t what i thought

Welcome to the cesspit that is Facebook.

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How do trains change to daylight savings time?

Timekeeping is something that railways take seriously – but what happens to trains when the clocks changes from ‘normal’ time to daylight savings, and an hour is either lost or gained?

Our departure from Bucharest: 205 minutes late and counting...

Germany

Deutsche Bahn cancel trains due to run in the ‘missing’ hour, while overnight trains just keep on running.

ICE 3 train arrives into Würzburg Hbf

From Spiegel Online, via Google Translate.

Time change at the train

Daylight saving time starts on the night of Sunday. A railway spokesman explains how the 12,000 station clocks are changed – and why suburban trains are cancelled.

Spiegel Online: Would Deutsche Bahn like to abolish the time change?

Stauß: We have arranged ourselves well with that. They have been around for many years – it’s been routine for us for a long time. The total of 12,000 station clocks are already centrally controlled, and the conversion works flawlessly.

Spiegel Online: But trains do not get a problem when the night is suddenly one hour shorter than on Saturday?

Stauß: For the trains that drive this night, we have to take that into account in the timetable. This works well, and the costs are limited.

Spiegel Online: Do not the trains have any delay?

Stauß: The impact on customers is very low because there are hardly any passenger trains in the middle of the night. The night trains usually have longer stays anyway, so-called travel times buffers that they use that night. Some commuter trains are also missing. The S-Bahn, for example, scheduled to start at 2.15 clock, just does not drive, because the hour at night, yes, does not exist.

Spiegel Online: And what about freight trains?

Stauß: In fact, they drive a lot at night, but here too the time change is unproblematic. On the one hand because of the time buffers in the timetables, on the other hand, because a possible later arrival of the goods at the customer on a non-working Sunday is usually not as serious as on a working day.

France

The same thing happens for French rail operator SNCF (via Google Translate).

At the start of summer time, the night Intercités roll and try to recover a few minutes on their schedule to get closer to the theoretical time but will arrive late at the arrival station.

At the end of winter time, the Intercités at night stop at a station between 2 and 3 am and arrive at the scheduled time at their destination station.

Netherlands

Dutch railfan website Treinenweb explains how Nederlandse Spoorwegen deals with the change.

The railways and the summer and winter time

In the night of last Saturday on Sunday, summer time started again and we were allowed to move the clock one hour forward. A pressing question that we regularly hear is: How do the night trains run during these time differences in summer and winter? And what does the station clock do? We have sorted it out ….

Summer time

As soon as daylight saving time starts and the clock moves forward by an hour, the train will be canceled from 2:04 AM as an example, because after 1:59 AM the clock will automatically advance to 3:00 AM. In this case nothing special changes to the train number.

Winter time

In the night when the summer time goes to winter time, there is therefore an extra hour, and so two trains run at the same time, but then at the moment that the summer time passes to the winter time. An extra train is then simply inserted. This then departs at 2.04 a.m. and in the new time difference an hour later also at 2:04 a.m.

Russia

But for the Trans Siberian things get really complicated.

ЧС2Т class electric locomotive ЧС2Т 954 ready to lead our train out of Saint Petersburg

As explained by The Man in Seat 61:

Russian trains used to run to Moscow time whilst in Russia, even if local time was 7 hours ahead of Moscow. However, but RZD Russian Railways ended this century-old practice from August 2018 and now use local time in all their timetables and booking systems.

Fun with time zones…

Russia made Daylight Saving Time (DST) permanent in 2011 making Moscow GMT+4 all year round but in 2014 they changed their minds and abolished it altogether, so Moscow is now GMT+3 all year round. So China is now permanently 5 hours ahead of Moscow as they too have no DST. Mongolia was also permanently 5 hours ahead of Moscow and on the same time as Beijing, until the Mongolians changed their minds and reintroduced DST in March 2015 making them GMT+8 (Moscow +5, Beijing+0) in winter but GMT+9 (Moscow+6, Beijing+1) in summer. But in 2017 they’ve changed their minds again and have once more abolished DST so Mongolia is now GMT+8 or Moscow time +5 all year round.

Until someone changes their mind again, of course.

Clear as mud?

Simpler times ahead?

The European Union is set to abandon daylight saving time in 2021 – with Feargus O’Sullivan from CityLab explaining why:

After years of discussion, members of the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in March 2019 to abolish the practice of turning the clocks forward and back by one hour each spring and autumn.

While this is a significant pronouncement for a parliament that doesn’t get much coverage, the real force behind the decision lies elsewhere—not just in Europe’s national governments, but specifically in their transportation ministers.

In a largely borderless union where many airports, some major railway stations, and even a few public transit systems serve more than one country, the potential for transit chaos from mismatching clocks is substantial.

“It would make no sense if Germany or Hungary and Italy and Austria had different time systems,” said Austrian Transport Minister Norbert Hofer to newspaper Die Welt.

And elsewhere in the world

In America Amtrak trains do the same ‘wait an hour’ trick when daylight savings time ends.

Fall and spring time changes

Amtrak operates according to prevailing local time, either standard time or daylight saving time. At the spring time change (second Sunday in March), Amtrak trains travelling overnight will become one hour late and will attempt to make up the time. At the fall time change (first Sunday in November), Amtrak trains travelling overnight will normally hold at the next station after the time change then depart on time. Arizona does not observe daylight saving time. Please observe footnotes in schedules for trains serving Arizona to determine your departure or arrival time.

While in Australia interstate rail operator NSW TrainLink just keeps running their trains on NSW time when they cross the border into Queensland, a state that doesn’t observe daylight savings time.

Southbound XPT outside Menangle passes through the countryside

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Moscow’s deepest metro station at Park Pobedy

The Moscow Metro is known for deep stations, but Парк Победы (Park Pobedy) is the winner – at 73 metres underground it is the deepest station in the city, and third deepest in the world by mean depth.

Type 81-740.1/741.1 "Rusich" train arrives into Парк Победы

Underground there are two separate island platforms.

Northern platform for outbound trains

With mirrored colour schemes.

Enameled panel by Zurab Tsereteli depicting the Patriotic War of 1812

Linked by a staircase over the central set of tracks.

Interchange walkways between the two station halls

Intended to provide cross platform interchange to passengers, at the time of my visit one half of each island platform was blocked off.

Unused platform blocked off from the public

But these tracks are now in use, following the extension of the Kalininsko–Solntsevskaya line in 31 January 2014.

And the escalators

As you might expect for a deep station.

Blast doors at the transitions between station hall and escalator adit

It’s a long escalator ride to the top.

Climbing out of the station on the 126 metre long escalator

But that isn’t all – once you reach the top, a second much smaller escalator takes you the final leg to the ticket gates.

One set of escalators done, with a much shorter set still to go

So how many steps are there?

Each step is numbered, and I spotted step #687 on my visit.

687 steps in this escalator!

But Wikipedia gives a different figure.

It also contains the longest escalators in Europe, each one is 126 metres (413 ft) long and has 740 steps.

I’m confused!

And more debate

The Wikipedia talk page for Park Pobedy opens up another can of worms:

Please, read, what I wrote in Russian Wikipedia. I found a mistake, which is coping from one newspaper to another. We don’t know, who and how counted the depth as 84 meters, but it’s completely incorrect information.

I found 3 reliable sources, which showed that the main escalator is shorter than 65 meters (one is the sources says it’s 63,4 meters, and it looks like a correct information). Then I found reliable source with information about a small escalator and an elevator. Everybody can use his own eyes and even a ruler to check the information (there are stairs near from the escalator and elevator). If you add the dimensions up, you will get 63.4 + 3.6 + 4.98 = 71.98 meters. It’s a real depth of the platform of the station near the exit.

The rail head is 1.1 meters below the platform (it’s a standard), the surface above the station is almost flat, so the real depth of the station (depth of real head on the center of the station) is about 73 meters.

With Russian language Wikipedia giving the following:

Official sources quote different depth for the station: 74 meters, 80 meters, 84 meters, 90 meters. However the sum of the heights of the platform, the slopes of the escalators and the staircases of the lobby does not match these figures.

According to the data published by the metro escalator service, the height of the main escalator is 63.4 meters, and the height of the small escalator in the lobby is 3.6 meters. The turnstile vestibule is connected to the surface by a staircase and an elevator with a height of 4.94 meters. The height of the passenger platform from the level of rail heads is 1.1 meters.

Thus, the depth of the station is 73 meters, as detailed on the Moscow City Planning Policy Department website.

Sorted?

And another escalator titbit

Something I noticed at Park Pobedy was the long stretch of horizontal steps before the escalator commenced the descent.

Long lead in to the longest escalators in Europe

Kone Escalators explains the purpose of these flat steps:

Horizontal (level) steps are required at each landing of an escalator to enable passengers to safely board and disembark the moving step band. They allow passengers to steady themselves and position their feet correctly on the steps before reaching the transition curve into the inclined section. When disembarking, horizontal steps allow passengers to safely step off the moving step before their feet touch the combs

As well as the minimum number of flat steps needed:

The minimum number of horizontal steps at each landing under EN 115-1 is two, for vertical rises up to 6000 mm and step speed below 0.5 m/s.

For greater rises and step band speeds up to 0.65 m/s, three horizontal steps (1200 mm) at each landing are required.

Escalators with a step band speed in excess of 0.65 m/s require a minimum of four horizontal steps (1600 mm) at each landing.

With research suggesting more flat steps results in fewer falls:

It is believed that the number of flat steps at the upper and lower landings has an effect on the risk of falls. They provide the passenger with time to adjust his/her stance prior to the steps forming. The European escalator standard, EN115, requires two flat steps at each landing (three steps where the rise is more than 6 m). Public service escalators are specified with five steps at the upper landing and four steps at the lower landing.

Which makes me I wonder how many other deep metro stations have similar escalators.

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Kiev or Kyiv – what to call the Ukrainian capital

During my 2012 trip to Europe the only reason I had for visiting Kiev was to visit Chernobyl, but I ended up loving the city so much I was sad to leave it so soon. But one thing I never realised was the politics behind the name of the city, and Ukraine itself.

Looking down Volodymyrsky Passage to St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery

Is the city called Kiev or Kyiv? Adam Taylor explains in this piece at Business Insider:

You see, from almost the very moment we began writing about Ukraine and the EuroMaidan protests, Ukrainians have been politely e-mailing us, asking us to not write Kiev, but to write Kyiv instead. “Here we say ‘Kyiv’ not ‘Kiev,’” Taras Ilkiv, a Ukrainian journalist who recently wrote an article for Business Insider on the protests, explained in an email, “because ‘Kiev’ is the Russian word.” It’s simple: in Ukrainian, the word for the city is Київ, while in Russian, it reads as Киев.

Transliteration is always a bit of a strange thing, but it’s especially complicated in Ukraine, where roughly one sixth of the population is ethnic Russian, speaking Russian, and another sixth are ethnic Ukrainian, but speak Russian too. Given a history of Russian domination, both during the Soviet period and before, it’s understandable that language has become a big issue in the country.

Which leads to another contentious name – why Ukraine isn’t ‘The Ukraine’. Again Adam Taylor explains:

Chances are if you find yourself talking about the ongoing protests in Kyiv, you’ll slip up and refer to the country in which Kyiv is situated as “the Ukraine.”

It’s an understandable mistake, perhaps — until its independence in 1991, when Ukrainian leaders formally asked the world to drop the “the” and just refer to their country as “Ukraine,” “the Ukraine” was commonly used in English. And many people still default to it — but, to be blunt, it’s totally wrong.

But why did we come to refer to Ukraine as “the Ukraine” in the first place? While there are examples of country names that are preceded by “the,” this is usually only done when the country name refers to a group or a type of political organization — for example, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands.

Ukraine does not fit into this group.

It may seem like a minor detail, but many people are angered by the addition of “the” to Ukraine, arguing that it is being used to help sideline Ukrainian statehood.

You learn something every day – and I’ve got a lot of “the Ukraine” references to remove!

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Russian level crossings bite back!

As I travelled across Russia by train there was an interesting feature at every level crossing we passed through – massive steel plates that lifted out of the roadway, preventing cars from driving around the boom gates.

These level crossings bite back!

Some level crossings also had a gatehouse located alongside.

Russian Railways staff give the all clear as we pass a level crossing - Воля, Воро́нежская о́бласть (Volya, Voronezh Oblast)

With a gatekeeper on duty.

All clear from this Russian level crossing gatekeeper in the village of Сенцово (Sentsovo)

Ready to wave ‘all clear’ to the train as it passed by.

Yellow paddle for 'all clear' from the level crossing gatekeeper

But even steel plates aren’t enough of a deterrent to some motorists who want to race across the tracks.

And unfortunately they wont protect you if the level crossing suffers a ‘wrong side’ failure, and doesn’t trigger for an approaching train.

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How the TGV has shrunk France

Here is an interesting find – graphs comparing the reductions in travel time to cities across France, thanks to the introduction of the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) high-speed rail network.

Crossing between a TGV South-East and a steam train near Montereau (in the territory of the municipality of Saint-Germain-Laval) May 24, 1987
Photo by Didier Duforest, via Wikimedia Commons

Travel times in 1957.

And fifty years later in 2007.

The graphs were created by Anne-Aël Durand and Gary Dagorn using data from the SNCF’s Open Data platform, and were published in the Les Décodeurs section of French newspaper Le Monde as “Comment le TGV a rétréci la France” (How the TGV has shrunk France).

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