Channel Tunnel Loading Guage

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HSTEd

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How big is it?

The locomotives are some 4.2m tall, which puts them into the normal continental category as far as gauging concerns go, but the shuttles themselves are rather taller.

Does anyone know what the actual maximum clearance above the railhead is in the tunnel?
And how wide trains can be at that height?


EDIT: I have discovered that the contact wire is 5.87m above the railhead, so what would the maximum height of rolling stock be?

It would appear to use conventional contact wire equipment, would there any be gain in overhead room by converting it to use a Furrer and Frey rail type overhead contact system and how long would the tunnel have to be closed to make the changeover if you wanted to?
 
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jopsuk

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I've looked and looked and can't find any data as to the actual dimensions of the Shuttle stock- obviously it is huge, having two full height decks without using a "well" on the car rakes.
 

HSTEd

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The Channel Tunnel has a loading gauge of GB+ (4.10 by 5.60 m) according to wikipedia :D
But Wikipedia also says that the Chunnel Shuttle stock is out of gauge on French and British railways beyond the figure of eight it runs in service.
And it says that HS1 is built to GB+ anyway.

And the wires seem to be a lot higher above the locomotive in pictures of the Shuttle trains than they do in say a picture of a TGV>
 

sprinterguy

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Most of the Shuttle rolling stock is 5.575 metres high. The HGV carriers are a wee bit taller; 5.595 metres. So the 5.6 metre loading gauge height is correct.
 

HSTEd

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what does the GB+ loading gauge look like? How wide is the top of the 5.6m "envelope"?

Additionally, could any additional vertical clearance be gained by replacing the conventional wire in the tunnel with a contact rail like those manufactured by Furrer and Frey or would the shape of the tunnel prevent this?
 

HSTEd

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Can't vouch for the currency, but this shows the various UIC G? gauges on the same drawing.

http://www.btinternet.com/~joyce.whitchurch/gauges/summary.gif
If only it had been built as GC... that gauge is huge.

EDIT: THat diagram appears to show rather less than 5.6m height for GB+ gauge, as do various diagrams I have found on the NR website which have a scale that is all wrong based on stated widths for that height.

It can't be the GB gauge because if it was there would be the potentail for double stack container trains with the shorter kinds of containers which we have not seen anywhere in Europe that is supposed to support GB+ gauge.

Information I have shows a height of 4.6m max for GC even. so we have some sort of monster gauge.
 
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HSTEd

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If the tunnel had been built to GC, the shuttles wouldn't fit. GC ARL is 4650, as the drawing shows. Effectively the tunnel has its own structure gauge.
Yeah, so what is the loading gauge of the Channel Tunnel since it is massively in excess of GB+?

Is it defined anywhere?
 

LE Greys

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According to Channel Tunnel Trains by Peter Semmens and Yves Machefert-Tassin, the Shuttle wagons are entirely "captive" to the Chunnel system and maintained on-site at the Calais end of the route, with a smaller servicing point at the Folkestone end. Freight shuttle wagons were designed around the biggest lorry they could possibly carry, a 44-ton artic, and are 20,000 X 4,088 X 5,595 mm. They literally cannot be any smaller, or else a lorry would need to go in a well wagon, which would make loading take a long time. The tunnel itself was then effectively designed around the shuttle. Similar story for single-deck passenger shuttles, which were designed around a large coach (not sure if a double-decker can fit though). I believe that the only taller rail vehicles anywhere are American "autoracks" for car carrying - four high.
 

HSTEd

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According to Channel Tunnel Trains by Peter Semmens and Yves Machefert-Tassin, the Shuttle wagons are entirely "captive" to the Chunnel system and maintained on-site at the Calais end of the route, with a smaller servicing point at the Folkestone end. Freight shuttle wagons were designed around the biggest lorry they could possibly carry, a 44-ton artic, and are 20,000 X 4,088 X 5,595 mm. They literally cannot be any smaller, or else a lorry would need to go in a well wagon, which would make loading take a long time. The tunnel itself was then effectively designed around the shuttle. Similar story for single-deck passenger shuttles, which were designed around a large coach (not sure if a double-decker can fit though). I believe that the only taller rail vehicles anywhere are American "autoracks" for car carrying - four high.
Is the loading gauge effectively a rectangle then?
I ask because I was pondering if you could squeeze doublestack containers through the tunnel.

And if that is true you can fit double stack 8ft containers but not much more using well wagons.

EDIT:

Turns out if the loading gauge is a rectangle then it can support two 8'6" containers on a well wagon, which is easily enough to justify double stack service assuming there was some sort of infrastructure on both ends.
Pity its not much taller though....
 
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Bald Rick

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But there isn't a market for containers from Coquelles to Folkestone. In fact there isn't much of a container market across the channel at all, it's mostly swap bodies and reefers.
 

HSTEd

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But there isn't a market for containers from Coquelles to Folkestone. In fact there isn't much of a container market across the channel at all, it's mostly swap bodies and reefers.
Yeah, but I was wondering if there was any enormous technical reason why double stack couldn't be done, rather than there is simply no reason to do it.

So if such a market was to develop at some point it would be possible to do it if the infrastructure was put in place at both ends, there would be no need to bore a new channel tunnel or anything.
 

swt_passenger

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You might have to bear in mind that 8' 6" containers are obsolescent though.

The rationale for W10 clearance being accelerated is that 8' 6" is on its way out, and as the containers are scrapped they won't be replaced with like for like. So as 9' 6" becomes the de facto standard, you'll need a couple of feet more overall height...
 

HSTEd

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You might have to bear in mind that 8' 6" containers are obsolescent though.

The rationale for W10 clearance being accelerated is that 8' 6" is on its way out, and as the containers are scrapped they won't be replaced with like for like. So as 9' 6" becomes the de facto standard, you'll need a couple of feet more overall height...
Unfortunately even if they were literally rubbing against the rails two hi-cube containers would not fit through the tunnel....
And even switching to a conductor rail would probably not solve the problem.

Oh well :(
 

HSTEd

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On a very peripherally related note, where does the majority of container traffic from British ports (like Felixstowe and the soon to be built Thames Gateway port) actually go?
Is it somewhere near Birmingham/Manchester?

I read a Parliamentary report seriously suggesting GB+ gauge clearing of the WCML.
 

Bald Rick

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About 70% of the railborne traffic out of Felixstowe & Soton goes to the container terminals around Daventry / Birmingham / Manchester / Leeds for the logistics centres there. Incidentally, much of it then ends up coming back south in the lorries of Stobart / Tescos et al. The rest goes to a variety of destinations e.g London, Bristol, Scotland, or a few inter terminal routes, e.g. there is a daily Felixstowe - Tilbury and Felixstowe - Grain.

The Thames gateway port is an interesting one. It is being built with the country's largest warehousing / distribution park on site. So some of the boxes that currently go to say, Daventry, for unloading in the logistics park there, will come off the ships, staight into the logistics park on site and into the back of a lorry for final distribution to shops in the South East. The main issue for Thames gateway for the shipping lines is that the channel that had to be dredged for the big ships means that anything coming inbound has to almost sail past Felixstowe's front door to get to Thamesport.
 
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LE Greys

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About 70% of the railborne traffic out of Felixstowe & Soton goes to the container terminals around Daventry / Birmingham / Manchester / Leeds for the logistics centres there. Incidentally, much of it then ends up coming back south in the lorries of Stobart / Tescos et al. The rest goes to a variety of destinations e.g London, Bristol, Scotland, or a few inter terminal routes, e.g. there is a daily Felixstowe - Tilbury and Felixstowe - Grain.

The Thames gateway port is an interesting one. It is being built with the country's largest warehousing / distribution park on site. So some of the boxes that currently go to say, Daventry, for unloading in the logistics park there, will come off the ships, staight into the logistics park on site and into the back of a lorry for final distribution to shops in the South East. The main issue for Thames gateway for the shipping lines is that the channel that had to be dredged for the big ships means that anything coming inbound has to almost sail past Felixstowe's front door to get to Thamesport.
Seems like a bit of a silly situation if stuff goes up north only to come straight back down south, which might have been rectified if LIFE had got off the ground (whatever happened to it?). Seems as though Thamesport will do something about sorting it out, though.
 
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