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Proliferation of rail transport on Safehold

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Re: Proliferation of rail transport on Safehold
Post by Weird Harold   » Sun Sep 23, 2018 5:49 pm

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


Cheaper, yes -- even considering you'd need at least two because canals are bi-directional.

More effective? If that were truly the case, I'd expect the Panama Canal to use them instead of the locomotive-mules they do use.
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Re: Proliferation of rail transport on Safehold
Post by WES   » Sun Sep 23, 2018 7:37 pm

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Railroads have replaced canals in the United States. In particular, the James River Canal in Virginia is now the roadbed of CSX's (former C & O Railway) James River Subdivision. Some of the cut stone bridges built by slaves in the first half of the 19th Century support the present roadbed of this major CSX line. Why? The canal followed the James River to the upper Shenandoah Valley and then into the mountains. A railroad over the mountains led to the displacement of the canal traffic and the sale of the right-of-way to the railroad for construction of the James River Line (subdivision).

So railroads will replace the smaller canals rather quickly.
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Re: Proliferation of rail transport on Safehold
Post by Weird Harold   » Sun Sep 23, 2018 8:37 pm

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WES wrote:Railroads have replaced canals in the United States. ...

So railroads will replace the smaller canals rather quickly.


I would qualify that with "most canals." There are still major canals operating in the US -- and world-wide. The St Laurence Seaway comes to mind as a canal system railroads will never replace.

I don't know how 'quickly' railroads will replace smaller canals; they will definitely replace most them eventually. But canals will persist where they make sense -- ie provide capabilities rail can't duplicate.
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Re: Proliferation of rail transport on Safehold
Post by Louis R   » Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:39 am

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Maintaining correct towing geometry is critical to good traffic flow - it's rather difficult to use a canal with a bunch of vessels rammed into the walls, which is all too likely if you get the geometry wrong. For a short haul [essentially, 3 lock lengths] winching can be as effective as mules, although it would get problematic by the time your locks reach Panama scales. For longer hauls, you have to keep the tractor a minimum distance in front of the tow for the entire haul, so you use mules - or an impractical number of winches, of course.

Just considering the various configurations, and all the ways things would be bound to go south [I've spent a fair bit of time watching locking operations on the Trent and Rideau Canals. Kind of fun, actually, if you've never had a chance] made me realise that the optimum solution is neither mules nor winches, but steam-powered tugs.

Weird Harold wrote:
PeterZ wrote:A steam winch is as effective and cheaper than any sort of tracked engine.


Cheaper, yes -- even considering you'd need at least two because canals are bi-directional.

More effective? If that were truly the case, I'd expect the Panama Canal to use them instead of the locomotive-mules they do use.
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Re: Proliferation of rail transport on Safehold
Post by Weird Harold   » Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:29 am

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Louis R wrote:Just considering the various configurations, and all the ways things would be bound to go south [I've spent a fair bit of time watching locking operations on the Trent and Rideau Canals. Kind of fun, actually, if you've never had a chance] made me realise that the optimum solution is neither mules nor winches, but steam-powered tugs.


How do you get around locks that will fit either the tug or a barge but nor both?
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Re: Proliferation of rail transport on Safehold
Post by PeterZ   » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:03 am

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Weird Harold wrote:
Louis R wrote:Just considering the various configurations, and all the ways things would be bound to go south [I've spent a fair bit of time watching locking operations on the Trent and Rideau Canals. Kind of fun, actually, if you've never had a chance] made me realise that the optimum solution is neither mules nor winches, but steam-powered tugs.


How do you get around locks that will fit either the tug or a barge but nor both?

Tugs that push the barge into position to be winched in. Then winch the barge to position on the other side to be hauled through the next leg of the trip.
Ok, thinking it through, a mule or another tug organizing the barges into groups to be towed together would be most effective. I would think that a tug would be cheaper and more flexible than a steam mule and all the track that requires.
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Re: Proliferation of rail transport on Safehold
Post by ErikM   » Mon Sep 24, 2018 5:49 pm

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My thought is that rail and steam traction engines both have their roles to play on Safehold, alongside canals.

Canals are interesting things. They are (on Safehold) often large and with huge capacity. On the other hand they aren't available a lot of the time (frozen over), have huge construction costs and are maintenance heavy to the point that that gets mandated in the Writ. They're also finicky with respect to routing and can only go where there is lots of water. Also, travelling by canal is slow.

Steam hauling, whether by floating tugs or traction engines (mules), can probably help canals a lot by taking over from dragons, allowing longer barge trains to be hauled as a single unit. The short version: you're not using an animal anymore and can haul longer into the early winter (icebreaking tugs anyone?). All barges in a train will need sturdy front and rear fenders and probably a steersman.

Road going traction engines probably have their roles to play in intermediate range heavy hauling, with an engine hauling a tender and up to several cargo wagons. There are many advantages of this over dragon haulage, among them speed, higher payload and probably reliability. The main drawback will probably be the need to introduce a multiple powered axle hauler quickly to spread the vehicle's weight over the road and not destroy it. Another critical item for this (and rail) will be some form of Westinghouse brake. Until that time every wagon will need a brakeman.

Personally I see road traction haulage serving as feeders and distributors to and from intermodal transportation hubs where cargo/passengers would switch to long range transport like rail, canal boat or seagoing ship. In this they could augment and replace dragon haulage, particularly in heavy loads.

Rail will probably have the biggest impact by partly replacing and augmenting canals on routes where canals cannot go due to terrain, lack of water or where canals have been destroyed or become uneconomical. Rail transport offers canal capacity levels, greater speed and potentially a longer transport season at the cost of having to totally rebuild the transport line.

Where we will see rail develop initially are probably locations where there is need for a heavy transport line and political support to build rail over canals, not enough water to build a canal or too bad terrain for a canal. Several places have been suggested as rail starting points. Tellesberg-West (wherever) is one location, various other charisian locations centered on Delthak have also been suggested. Western Chisholm, south to the coast, is likely due to the empress' wish to help Cheshyr after the dukes' rebelion. I see rail being mainly a 'line haul' method of transportation, like the canals, except in those few places where there is a very heavy short range transport need, such as in a major mining district.

In some locations I can see road based hauling developing first before giving way to rail. This however would be limited to those locations with the will to develop it but few if any suitable waterways. Sodar and (ironically) northern North Harchong are probably the prime examples.
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Re: Proliferation of rail transport on Safehold
Post by Weird Harold   » Mon Sep 24, 2018 8:29 pm

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PeterZ wrote:
Weird Harold wrote:How do you get around locks that will fit either the tug or a barge but nor both?

Tugs that push the barge into position to be winched in. Then winch the barge to position on the other side to be hauled through the next leg of the trip.

Ok, thinking it through, a mule or another tug organizing the barges into groups to be towed together would be most effective. I would think that a tug would be cheaper and more flexible than a steam mule and all the track that requires.


I think the end result will be a combination of tugs, winches, traction engines, and steam mules -- each jurisdiction with a lock is going to have a different budget and different priorities and politics.

On possible solution to passage through canal locks is a "steam shuttle" -- either a steam piston or bi-direction winch(s) that powers a shuttle that does the actual towing. Something similar to early steam plows:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wc0QNh0P_0k

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyXgz0x-LWc
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Re: Proliferation of rail transport on Safehold
Post by Louis R   » Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:20 am

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if this sounds snarky, forgive me, but i couldn't think of another way to say it:

i'm rather surprised anyone has to ask. the main tow drops the string, goes through, stops just clear of the gates, and waits. lock cycles back. tug meanwhile positions at the back of the string, pushes first barge into lock. before next barge moves too far, first is uncoupled from string and if momentum isn't enough [odds are it will be] is warped into chamber. lock cycles. tow backs, picks up barge and hauls out. lock cycles back. rinse and repeat until the string is through. if need be, run tug into lock to reposition for next barge train.

and yes, you will have the needed ropes on each barge, with experienced longshoremen handling them - you don't leave any vessel bobbing free in a lock chamber with water swirling in or out. the bollards serve for the warping as well as guiding the barge while it's moving under power.

if you were paying attention, you'll have noticed 2 assumptions: that this is a single-flight lock, and there is traffic in only one direction at a time. in a multi-flight lock, you _are_ going to have to warp the barges through the interior gates, and at that point a winch is going to be the way to go, but for a single flight it would be more hindrance than help. simply too much unnecessary cable handling.

if the canal is busy enough that trains often pass at locks, but not busy enough that it's found worth while to build a second chamber and make it bidirectional, you have two options: save time, or save water. the faster passage will actually happen if the later arrival simply waits for the lock to clear, just as they would now. if water conservation is an issue, and you need to have a vessel move on each cycle of the lock whenever possible, then you have to take the time to move each string into position to couple or uncouple its next barge, and then clear so the other string can have its turn. some of that can happen as the lock cycles, but you will still have a delay getting the next barge into the chamber.



PeterZ wrote:
Weird Harold wrote:How do you get around locks that will fit either the tug or a barge but nor both?

Tugs that push the barge into position to be winched in. Then winch the barge to position on the other side to be hauled through the next leg of the trip.
Ok, thinking it through, a mule or another tug organizing the barges into groups to be towed together would be most effective. I would think that a tug would be cheaper and more flexible than a steam mule and all the track that requires.
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Re: Proliferation of rail transport on Safehold
Post by OrlandoNative   » Sat Oct 06, 2018 9:38 pm

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Whitecold wrote:I highly doubt you'll get the tow roads or any existing high roads to kickstart your railroad, there will still be animal town barges for quite a while. Horses coexisted with railroads for quite a while.
And while for speed the routes of the high roads/canals are likely suited, these are unlikely to be the first routes, as you won't get any cargo there. Few perishables are shipped, and for everything else barges are quite sufficient, especially as they can more easily be replaced by steam barges or even refitted, not needing additional infrastructure compared to rail, which needs the railbeds, bridges, tunnels, and large amounts of steel.
The expense will at first be mostly worth it there where there is no competition from canals.
Also, high speed trains need good steel, and lots of it, and efficient steam engines, so for now they will likely only happen with Charisian engineering involved.
So mainland rail projects will at first only have a limited speed advantage vs steam barges, while having a lot higher setup costs, pushing them to seek routes that are not canal connected.
Of course, prestige projects that have strong political support may be financed anyway, or a railway bubble might form, where investors think any rail project will be a gold mine.

That's certainly true; but the paths of the canals and high roads have already - at least to some degree - been graded. Or excavated; as the case may be. A railroad doesn't actually *need* a lot of "right of way"; depending on the width of the cars 10-12 feet might be adequate for single track. Obviously double track would; indeed; double that. I suspect most of the canal banks are reasonably flat for at least that much space; though; if not more. After all, you wouldn't want debris washed or rolling "down slope" into the canals on a regular basis. And space for resting draft animals out of the way...

In many places, constructing totally new grades for railroads would probably entail a lot of blasting; filling; and grading. Much of which is inherently dangerous work. After all, there was a reason why they used cheap Chinese labor when building many of the rail connections in the old West. Of course, maybe they could use the one-time serfs that now comprise the Mighty Host...

:lol:
"Yield to temptation, it may not pass your way again."
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