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Proliferation of rail transport on Safehold

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Re: Proliferation of rail transport on Safehold
Post by phillies   » Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:22 pm

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Kael Posavatz wrote:I just don't see steam non-rail land vehicles really having a chance to take off for general civilian use. Some specialized use (tractors for agriculture), and also luxury and military service? Sure. But for routine general long-haul transport that's an awful lot of infrastructure, and rail/canals are still going to be more efficient when you need a lot of stuff (or particularly heavy stuff) moved.

You didn't really see trucks doing long-haul until there were A) the roads and infrastructure to support it, and B) lots of places that needed the mid-sized loads that direct was more efficient than using rail to take it to a node and then distribute.

The issue I see with actually developing that infrastructure are 1) humanity is still concentrated enough that node-distribution makes sense, and the little places aren't worth the effort even with cargo trucks, 2) Charis is gearing up to round two, after which the whole technology issue becomes moot (save for the fanatics who refuse to accept Langhorne was... misguided but meant well; or Charis could lose, I suppose, with similar consequences). Steam-powered cars had a brief existence because ICE are so much more effecient than external combustion engines.


During the Napoleonic Wars, for some time, steam freight haulers were in use in the UK, notably channel ports to London. They were legislated out of existence by Parliament on petition of horsed carriage freight haulers, not because they were unfair competition, but because they totally destroyed the roads.

Source: Robert S Woodbury's History of Technology classes, MIT, mid-1960s.
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Re: Proliferation of rail transport on Safehold
Post by doug941   » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:03 pm

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phillies wrote:
Kael Posavatz wrote:I just don't see steam non-rail land vehicles really having a chance to take off for general civilian use. Some specialized use (tractors for agriculture), and also luxury and military service? Sure. But for routine general long-haul transport that's an awful lot of infrastructure, and rail/canals are still going to be more efficient when you need a lot of stuff (or particularly heavy stuff) moved.

You didn't really see trucks doing long-haul until there were A) the roads and infrastructure to support it, and B) lots of places that needed the mid-sized loads that direct was more efficient than using rail to take it to a node and then distribute.

The issue I see with actually developing that infrastructure are 1) humanity is still concentrated enough that node-distribution makes sense, and the little places aren't worth the effort even with cargo trucks, 2) Charis is gearing up to round two, after which the whole technology issue becomes moot (save for the fanatics who refuse to accept Langhorne was... misguided but meant well; or Charis could lose, I suppose, with similar consequences). Steam-powered cars had a brief existence because ICE are so much more effecient than external combustion engines.


During the Napoleonic Wars, for some time, steam freight haulers were in use in the UK, notably channel ports to London. They were legislated out of existence by Parliament on petition of horsed carriage freight haulers, not because they were unfair competition, but because they totally destroyed the roads.

Source: Robert S Woodbury's History of Technology classes, MIT, mid-1960s.


There are or will be several areas where steam lorries will be of use. Freight haulage in rough terrain where canals and rail transport can't get through, built up areas such as cities and/or ports, in the Silverlode mine areas transporting supplies, ore and/or overburden, in the expansion of existing canals or digging of new canals etc.

As to the argument of rails being laid next to canals? Small mule engines could tow barges 24 hours a day, less stops to switch out a fueled up engine for one on empty. The freed up dragons then can be given new duties.
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Re: Proliferation of rail transport on Safehold
Post by Weird Harold   » Sat Sep 22, 2018 12:59 am

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Kael Posavatz wrote:You didn't really see trucks doing long-haul until there were A) the roads and infrastructure to support it, ...


But Safehold already has the "roads and infrastructure" that OTL lacked when railroads emerged as king of transport.

Safehold's networks of canals and highroads is a much better starting point than anywhere in the real world started with when steam transport started to spread.

(Roman roads had been basically unmaintained for nearly a thousand years when steam locomotives were invented.)
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Re: Proliferation of rail transport on Safehold
Post by Randomiser   » Sat Sep 22, 2018 11:08 am

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doug941 wrote:
As to the argument of rails being laid next to canals? Small mule engines could tow barges 24 hours a day, less stops to switch out a fueled up engine for one on empty. The freed up dragons then can be given new duties.


Duh, Steam barges could tow unpowered ones 24 hours per day, without the need to lay and maintain tracks using all that expensive steel. :!: Less stops altogether given how much coal the lead barge could carry. You still need a steam engine per barge string, but the track is entirely superfluous.
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Re: Proliferation of rail transport on Safehold
Post by Weird Harold   » Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:46 pm

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Randomiser wrote:Duh, Steam barges could tow unpowered ones 24 hours per day, without the need to lay and maintain tracks using all that expensive steel. :!: Less stops altogether given how much coal the lead barge could carry. You still need a steam engine per barge string, but the track is entirely superfluous.


The argument for rails along canal routes comes down to speed vs bulk. Powered canal boats will be limited to about ten mph by wakes from higher speeds damaging the canal structure. Railroad speeds will start at around three or four times that and increase over time to as much as ten times that. (or faster when electric bullet trains become viable.)

Railroads next to canals have the logistic advantage of canal barges transporting the coal for the railroad and providing easy access to water for the boilers.
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Re: Proliferation of rail transport on Safehold
Post by Randomiser   » Sat Sep 22, 2018 6:13 pm

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Weird Harold wrote:
Randomiser wrote:Duh, Steam barges could tow unpowered ones 24 hours per day, without the need to lay and maintain tracks using all that expensive steel. :!: Less stops altogether given how much coal the lead barge could carry. You still need a steam engine per barge string, but the track is entirely superfluous.


The argument for rails along canal routes comes down to speed vs bulk. Powered canal boats will be limited to about ten mph by wakes from higher speeds damaging the canal structure. Railroad speeds will start at around three or four times that and increase over time to as much as ten times that. (or faster when electric bullet trains become viable.)

Railroads next to canals have the logistic advantage of canal barges transporting the coal for the railroad and providing easy access to water for the boilers.


No arguments with that. But doug941's attempt to justify a railway by using engines to pull barges is the wrong approach both for the barges and the railway. His donkey engines pulling barges would also be limited to 10 mph for the same reasons and so would block up the track for faster trains.
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Re: Proliferation of rail transport on Safehold
Post by Weird Harold   » Sat Sep 22, 2018 8:43 pm

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Randomiser wrote:No arguments with that. But doug941's attempt to justify a railway by using engines to pull barges is the wrong approach both for the barges and the railway. His donkey engines pulling barges would also be limited to 10 mph for the same reasons and so would block up the track for faster trains.


You're assuming a single line railroad. In most places along the canals, both fast trains and locomotive mules should be possible.

FWIW, the Panama Canal uses locomotive mules to manage ships passing through the locks, even though almost everything passing through Panama is self-powered. Safehold canals do have locks and steam tugs or powered barges can't tow barge-trains through locks that will only handle one barge at a time.

Co-located railroads would have to detour around the locks to maintain a manageable gradient, but that's still less surveying and roadbed to dig than just setting off cross-country.
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Re: Proliferation of rail transport on Safehold
Post by PeterZ   » Sat Sep 22, 2018 8:47 pm

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I think the point is why install tracks at all for mules when steam tugs can do the job better.

Weird Harold wrote:
Randomiser wrote:No arguments with that. But doug941's attempt to justify a railway by using engines to pull barges is the wrong approach both for the barges and the railway. His donkey engines pulling barges would also be limited to 10 mph for the same reasons and so would block up the track for faster trains.


You're assuming a single line railroad. In most places along the canals, both fast trains and locomotive mules should be possible.

FWIW, the Panama Canal uses locomotive mules to manage ships passing through the locks, even though almost everything passing through Panama is self-powered. Safehold canals do have locks and steam tugs or powered barges can't tow barge-trains through locks that will only handle one barge at a time.

Co-located railroads would have to detour around the locks to maintain a manageable gradient, but that's still less surveying and roadbed to dig than just setting off cross-country.
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Re: Proliferation of rail transport on Safehold
Post by Weird Harold   » Sat Sep 22, 2018 11:49 pm

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PeterZ wrote:I think the point is why install tracks at all for mules when steam tugs can do the job better.


They can't when it comes to the locks. I can't see anyone considering steam-mules beyond a couple hundred meters either side of a set of locks.
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Re: Proliferation of rail transport on Safehold
Post by PeterZ   » Sun Sep 23, 2018 5:28 pm

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A steam winch is as effective and cheaper than any sort of tracked engine.

Weird Harold wrote:
PeterZ wrote:I think the point is why install tracks at all for mules when steam tugs can do the job better.


They can't when it comes to the locks. I can't see anyone considering steam-mules beyond a couple hundred meters either side of a set of locks.
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