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If you could create underwater tunnels for rail travel...

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Ivo

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Thurso/Wick to the Orkney Islands... to support that proposed container port in the Scapa Flow Anchorage.

There is actually something in this. There have been plans to build an Orkney tunnel, costed at £100M, to replace the ferry which requires a subsidy of something like £12M p.a. to run. Considering the longer-term cost savings, and the safety factor of not having to traverse the Pentland Firth, the idea of digging such an apparently remote tunnel isn't qutie as farfetched as it could be.
 
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LE Greys

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There is actually something in this. There have been plans to build an Orkney tunnel, costed at £100M, to replace the ferry which requires a subsidy of something like £12M p.a. to run. Considering the longer-term cost savings, and the safety factor of not having to traverse the Pentland Firth, the idea of digging such an apparently remote tunnel isn't qutie as farfetched as it could be.

There is also talk of using the Pentland Firth as a major power generator, harnessing the strong currents that pass through it. This will necessitate power lines anyway. How a tunnel could link up to that I am not sure.

Any line would have to cross Orkney to reach Kirkwall (the natural terminus). It would probably be used by thousands of tourists in the summer, but winter traffic would be harder to deal with. It might be worth building the line anyway, at 2ft gauge for now, but with room to widen it to standard gauge later on. I'm sure it could turn a profit over the summer, enough to subsidise winter running.
 

Sir_Clagalot

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I though Sodor was connected to Barrow via a bridge? Certainly a couple of the books I still have from when I was younger seem to suggest it!!! (My kids are now well into Thomas, though its the CGI stuff now...)
 

LE Greys

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It is; the waterway's only about half a mile wide.

(In real life Sodor is just the Norse name for the Isle of Man.)

Therefore, I propose an Arlesburgh-Douglas link, with the line to Peel coming back into use as a standard-gauge railway. While a Peel-Manchester service will be worked by regular DMU stock (branded 'Super-Daisy' perhaps) 'local traction' can continue to operate in the summer.

The IoMR might undergo a rebranding as 'The Medium-Sized Railway'. :D
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Morecambe to Barrow

Link

On a more serious note, those 'Seaflow' turbines are colossally expensive and do not generate anything like the power they could, partly because of asymmetrical forces on the blades (the lecturer who told me this wondered why they look like air-powered turbines rather than ships' propellers). Vertical-axis turbines are cheaper to build and tend to be more efficient, provided there is something to anchor them to.
 

sbt

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On a slight tangent to this - does anyone know what the factors are determining whether you build a bridge or a tunnel?

Well the obvious one is shipping. Imagine a bridge across the English Channel. With the amount of shipping it wouldn't be long before something crashed into it in fog or rough weather. Remember what happened to the Severn Railway Bridge. That was effectively destroyed by a small barge.

Also

Weather conditions - for example an Channel Bridge would have probably been closed yesterday.
Transport system - long tunnels are possible for, but not usually used for, road traffic.
Geological conditions - some rocks favour tunnels, others bridges. The Severn Tunnel is a classic example of problematic geological conditions for a tunnel
Hydrology - see above, but bridges, or the works associated with them can also alter river and tidal flows.

BTW, it wasn't just one 'small' Barge that brought down the Severn Rail Bridge. There were two, Arkendale H was just shy of 133ft long and Wastdale H just short of 132 ft. 351 tons of Petrol and 296 tons of Black Oil were also involved. They were less 'barges' and more small Coastal Tankers - Arkendale H had started her trip from Swansea, the main reason they are described as 'Barges' is that they had both been converted from large unpowered barges.

What finished the bridge was the capsized BP Explorer (all hands were lost when she rolled over in Counts Channel on 16th Feb 1961) which, drifting, hit the bridge and brought another span down.

So, three 'not so small' Barges.

http://www.severntales.co.uk/severn-bridge-disaster.html
 
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Gwenllian2001

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Also

Weather conditions - for example an Channel Bridge would have probably been closed yesterday.

BTW, it wasn't just one 'small' Barge that brought down the Severn Rail Bridge. There were two, Arkendale H was just shy of 133ft long and Wastdale H just short of 132 ft. 351 tons of Petrol and 296 tons of Black Oil were also involved. They were less 'barges' and more small Coastal Tankers - Arkendale H had started her trip from Swansea, the main reason they are described as 'Barges' is that they had both been converted from large unpowered barges.

What finished the bridge was the capsized BP Explorer (all hands were lost when she rolled over in Counts Channel on 16th Feb 1961) which, drifting, hit the bridge and brought another span down.

So, three 'not so small' Barges.

http://www.severntales.co.uk/severn-bridge-disaster.html

Agreed. My original post was meant to refer to the BP Explorer. My intention was to illustrate how a smallish vessel could cause so much damage. I left it to the common sense of the reader to work out how much more potential risk there would from fully loaded container ships to any such structure in the English Channel.
 

Sir_Clagalot

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The second Tyne Tunnel Road crossing has been built using the tube method as well, though it involved dredging a large trench in the river bed, and even then it still sticks up above the river bed and IIRC has had rock 'armour' placed over it
 

LE Greys

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The second Tyne Tunnel Road crossing has been built using the tube method as well, though it involved dredging a large trench in the river bed, and even then it still sticks up above the river bed and IIRC has had rock 'armour' placed over it

That's only really possible with a flat sea/river bed and a shallow slope at either end (unless you use bored tunnels for the approaches). The Bosphorus Tunnel uses something similar. It was proposed for the Channel a few times, but I think the seabed turned out not to be flat enough.
 

The 375 King

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Right, let's pretend we can bring in more Chunnel-esque services by using underwater tunnels to connect two towns. The thing is that you can't have anything much longer than the Chunnel for infrastructure reasons of course.

I would:
Fleetwood to Barrow tunnel to allow for Preston-Kirkham & Wesham-Poulton le Fylde-Thornton-Fleetwood-Barrow-in-Furness-Askham-Ravenglass for Eskdale and Whitehaven possibly up to Carlisle?
Russia to America '4-mile' underwater tunnel which is reportedly 27 miles shorter than the Chunnel. This would mark new cross-continent services and would allow for services such as Moscow/St. Petersburg-Anchorage or even further south to major stations in due time. Of course fact books are wrong as usual so 81 kilometeres, err...can be done if all the legal stuff is sorted :p
Feel free to propose and comment on your own ideas.



Ponders End - Atlantis via Edmonton Green and Walford.
 

Holly

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Under the Darién Gap, to link both ends of the Pan American Highway.

It is presently impossible to build a road because of the lawlessness of the swamp/jungle/mountain area. A rolling road would replace ferries.

The problem is that not enough is known about the geology to do a feasibility study.
 

LE Greys

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Is there not, a tunnel/bridge linking Copenhagen to Malmo? Are there any weather related problems in operating that bridge?

Any other ideas for a tunnel/brdge?

The Øresund Bridge, which incorporates a double-track railway beneath the road deck and links to an immersed-tube tunnel at one end. I originally found out about it because it's appeared in Wallander several times, so I did a bit of research. Considering it crosses the entire Sound, and might have to cope with ship collisions, ice or storms, it's an impressive structure that makes me wonder if a Channel bridge might not have been possible.
 

junglejames

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Harwich - Rotterdam would revolutionise the freight industry. It's the best part of 150 miles though, so dont hold your breath.

Stranraer to Northern Ireland would work too.

Disagree on both Im afraid. Would a tunnel under the North Sea revolutionise the freight industry? Unless of course you are suggesting a Shuttle service under the tunnel as well? If not, I expect most freight that wants to go via the railways, is already going via the Channel Tunnel.
If you are suggesting a Shuttle Service, I plant it in the same park as the North Channel, for reasons why it wouldnt work.
Open a railway tunnel and Shuttle service under the North Sea or North Channel, and you kill off the ferry service. Neither has the amount of traffic to warrant both tunnel and ferry, unlike the English Channel. Close the tunnel for whatever reason for a prolonged period (another fire), and how does traffic flow? It doesnt. Very rare, admittedly, but still a loss of flexibility.

Also what about the drivers that use the North Sea crossing to get in their required rest? What about the large numbers of drops (unacompanied freight) that cross the North Sea? Unless, unlike the Channel Tunnel, you intend to offer an unacompanied service? Both of these would be hugely inconvenienced, as they no longer have the option of the ferry service that has just been killed off.

Then of course, there is the possibility the North Sea tunnel could have a detrimental effect on jobs and the Irish Sea. Stena Line make money on the North Sea, but not on the Irish Sea. What if they decide to pull the plug on their whole UK operation because they no longer have any routes making money? OK so Irish Ferries will take up the slack, but you will still see a massive redundancy list. Plus Irish Ferries do wonders for employment in the Phillippines, but less so in the British Isles.

Anyway, all of this is nothing. The biggest reason, is the fact there just isnt the required traffic on either route to warrant the stupendous building costs in the first place. About 4 or 5 sailings a day Harwich to Rotterdam/ Hook Van Holland. Doesnt really compare favourably to the 60/ 70 daily crossings Dover had at its height. OK so you may kill off ferry crossings further up, say from Killingholme. You may attract a bit of extra freight/ passengers that werent there, and you may take some passengers off the airlines (although that will happen anyway with Eurostars new service to Amsterdam), but thats still nothing in comparison to the Channel Tunnel, and even then, you wouldnt attract all the freight from the ferries. A lot of it would just head straight down the motorways to the Channel Tunnel. If the luxury of the Harwich sailings arent there, and tunnels are the only options, a lot will find the Channel Tunnel is quicker. Much better connections, and quicker roads.

The North Channel is probably a slightly better bet, but still not enough traffic. Perhaps enough to keep the tunnel open, and to keep the service running, but never enough to warrant the construction in the first place.

Nope, neither option is that good, and neither will particularly revolutionise transport in the area.
 

LE Greys

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Disagree on both Im afraid. Would a tunnel under the North Sea revolutionise the freight industry? Unless of course you are suggesting a Shuttle service under the tunnel as well? If not, I expect most freight that wants to go via the railways, is already going via the Channel Tunnel.
If you are suggesting a Shuttle Service, I plant it in the same park as the North Channel, for reasons why it wouldnt work.
Open a railway tunnel and Shuttle service under the North Sea or North Channel, and you kill off the ferry service. Neither has the amount of traffic to warrant both tunnel and ferry, unlike the English Channel. Close the tunnel for whatever reason for a prolonged period (another fire), and how does traffic flow? It doesnt. Very rare, admittedly, but still a loss of flexibility.

Also what about the drivers that use the North Sea crossing to get in their required rest? What about the large numbers of drops (unacompanied freight) that cross the North Sea? Unless, unlike the Channel Tunnel, you intend to offer an unacompanied service? Both of these would be hugely inconvenienced, as they no longer have the option of the ferry service that has just been killed off.

Then of course, there is the possibility the North Sea tunnel could have a detrimental effect on jobs and the Irish Sea. Stena Line make money on the North Sea, but not on the Irish Sea. What if they decide to pull the plug on their whole UK operation because they no longer have any routes making money? OK so Irish Ferries will take up the slack, but you will still see a massive redundancy list. Plus Irish Ferries do wonders for employment in the Phillippines, but less so in the British Isles.

Anyway, all of this is nothing. The biggest reason, is the fact there just isnt the required traffic on either route to warrant the stupendous building costs in the first place. About 4 or 5 sailings a day Harwich to Rotterdam/ Hook Van Holland. Doesnt really compare favourably to the 60/ 70 daily crossings Dover had at its height. OK so you may kill off ferry crossings further up, say from Killingholme. You may attract a bit of extra freight/ passengers that werent there, and you may take some passengers off the airlines (although that will happen anyway with Eurostars new service to Amsterdam), but thats still nothing in comparison to the Channel Tunnel, and even then, you wouldnt attract all the freight from the ferries. A lot of it would just head straight down the motorways to the Channel Tunnel. If the luxury of the Harwich sailings arent there, and tunnels are the only options, a lot will find the Channel Tunnel is quicker. Much better connections, and quicker roads.

The North Channel is probably a slightly better bet, but still not enough traffic. Perhaps enough to keep the tunnel open, and to keep the service running, but never enough to warrant the construction in the first place.

Nope, neither option is that good, and neither will particularly revolutionise transport in the area.

I think he may have been including all the Felixstowe/Immingham container shuttles as well. If Freightliner could run directly into the tunnel, that would cut out a lot of short-sea trips, with containers for the Continent running directly to their destination country (although one would presume that electric locos would work the tunnel before 1,500V locos took over at the Zeebrugge/Rotterdam/wherever end).

Someone who knows the shipping industry better than I will have to tell me how many short-sea container ships arrive from the general direction of France. Getting some of them into the Chunnel, and perhaps developing some new locos for Freightliner, capable of working directly from Fréthun to container terminals in Britain, really would revolutionise the cross-Channel freight market.
 

junglejames

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I think he may have been including all the Felixstowe/Immingham container shuttles as well. If Freightliner could run directly into the tunnel, that would cut out a lot of short-sea trips, with containers for the Continent running directly to their destination country (although one would presume that electric locos would work the tunnel before 1,500V locos took over at the Zeebrugge/Rotterdam/wherever end).
But freight that wants to go by rail alreadfy will be, via the Channel Tunnel. There just isnt the call for both. Also, how many containers currently head between Felistowe and Holland/ Germany on container ships? Id guess most goes by ferry, as it would be a lot quicker.

Someone who knows the shipping industry better than I will have to tell me how many short-sea container ships arrive from the general direction of France. Getting some of them into the Chunnel, and perhaps developing some new locos for Freightliner, capable of working directly from Fréthun to container terminals in Britain, really would revolutionise the cross-Channel freight market.

Class 92s? We already have them, just not with Freightliner. Again, anything that wants to travel via rail already is.
Container ships from France to where? Southampton? No idea, but the actual question should be how many containers are doing that short hop on the container vessel. You may have a few container ships running between Le Havre and Southampton, but the containers onboard may be coming from further afield/ heading further afield. Again, most of the freight doing this short hop will be on the ferries or Shuttle, or already running directly through the tunnel with DB or GBRF.
 

asylumxl

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Ofcourse, if the Class 92s were approved to operate in France, I'm sure it'd reduce costs and make Chunnel freight more attractive.
 

junglejames

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Ofcourse, if the Class 92s were approved to operate in France, I'm sure it'd reduce costs and make Chunnel freight more attractive.

Yep. Unfortunately the French think the cabs are made out of toilet paper, and will collapse at thge first sign of a drop of rain.
Nothing to do with the fact they were built in the UK, of course<D
 

Badger

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How about: Portsmouth-Ryde-Blackgang-St Pierre Eglise-Creances-Jersey-Guernsey.

frenchrail.png
 

12CSVT

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How about: Portsmouth-Ryde-Blackgang-St Pierre Eglise-Creances-Jersey-Guernsey.

frenchrail.png

And the Isle of Wight class 483 units could could run a direct Shanklin to Waterloo service. :lol:
 

giblets

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I've always been intrigued by an Irish Sea tunnel, for the routes, it's a bit of a toss up really.
Scotland - Belfast: 22 miles
Holyhead -Dublin: 55 miles
Pembroke - Roslare: 48 miles

Despite the extra tunnelling distance/ cost, I could see the later two being chosen, mainly in order to reduce the time taken from the major conurbations. The Scotland route would presumably need an awful lot of extra decent (i.e higher speed) rail put in place from the tunnel to the major rail routes, which would increase costs.
The UK Government may prefer the Holyhead route, which would bring great advantages to Northern Ireland (in reduced travel times), as well as Northern England (over the Fishguard route). Though much of the traffic would be freight, also remember Irish Gauge is different, so all new rail would be required up to Dublin/ Belfast.

The Spain- Morocco link would also be a great link, and, as suggested, could be built entirely in Spanish Jurisdiction (but lengthening the distance). However, if the problem with the channel tunnel and migrants is a problem, this route would be a nightmare!)

Russia-Alaska would also be primarily a Freight route, and if I recall from the hypothetical programmes on TV, could be mostly bridge, with a smaller tunnel section to allow ships to pass.

Other possibles: Japan-Korea? Certainly has the population, would make even more sense if North Korea ever got sorted, could be made of two or three tunnels connecting Tsushima Island to the mainland too.
 
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jopsuk

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Holyhead-Dublin would be advantageous for establishing a simple "standard gauge" railhead- a terminal in Dublin (ideally at Connoly) reached by a dedicated line, and a freight transhipment terminal with possible facilities for gauge change trains (ask the Spanish, they're good at these!). Such a project could be the catalyst for gradual gauge conversion of the Irish network- with the Belfast line being a prime candidate to allow fast London-Dublin-Belfast services.
 

Badger

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Would there be any problems with crossing the borders twice with that? A London-Dublin-Belfast train would be leaving the UK and then reentering it again. I imagine there would be costs involved, passport checks needed at both borders, etc.
 

tango234

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I hope this helps.

From the FCO (aimed at UK citizens)

Do I need a passport to travel to the Republic of Ireland?

The Republic of Ireland is classed as being part of the Common Travel Area of the UK so you do not need a passport to enter. Most airlines or ferry services only require satisfactory photographic ID (i.e., your passport, driving licence, etc). We recommended that you take your passport if you have one and that you take care to read any advice the airline or ferry service give you about travelling when you book your tickets.
I don't think there is a full customs check, but then I've never actually gone between the two in either direction.
 

Rhydgaled

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Haverfordwest-Rosslare (Wales-Ireland)
Why? Haverfordwest is several miles inland, it's Fishguard you want for tunneling to the Republic Of Ireland, or perhaps somewhere along the coast between Fishguard and St. Davids.

The Rosslare-Haverfordwest tunnel would be the western end of High Speed 3 (London-Bristol/South Wales) and would allow through trains Between London, Bristol, Cardiff, Swansea, Waterford, Cork & Dublin. It would also form the quickest route for a London-Dublin service, and would probably be significantly funded by the Irish government, given that it would also allow domestic Cork-Dublin HS workings. An upgrade of the A40/Extension of the M4 would allow a Eurotunnel-like operation to work from Haverfordwest or Fishguard.
Why bother going to the expense of providing both road upgrades and a HSR line? Just build a new fast rail link (probably wouldn't need to be more than 125mph west of Cardiff) and put a motorail terminal in the outer regions of Swansea for cars to board. A good start would be upgrading the Swansea district line to passenger standards and building a new fast link between Bridgend and Cardiff (125mph if the acceleration of an EMU could get up that high for long enough to make a difference before slowing to stop at Cardiff/Bridgend), effectivly making the GWML 4-track between Cardiff and Bridgend but with the slow lines making the detour via Pontyclun, Llanharan and Pencoed and the fasts being on a seperate, shorter, straighter and faster, alignment.

If you look at the UK & Ireland as a single high speed railway entity, I think the end result would look something like this

HS2 (east): London-East Midlands-Sheffield-Leeds-Newcastle-Edinburgh-Dundee-Aberdeen

HS2 (west): London-Birmingham-Manchester/Liverpool-Preston-Carlisle-Glasgow/Belfast

HS3: London-Heathrow-Bristol-Cardiff-Swansea/Cork/Dublin

HS4: Cork-Waterford-Dublin-Dublin Airport-Belfast

HS5: Liverpool-Manchester-Leeds

HS6: Bristol-Birmingham

HS7: Glasgow-Dundee
I don't think the UK needs such a big HSR network. My thinking is more like:
  • HS1 - Mainland Europe - London
  • HS2 London - Glasgow via Birmingham and Manchester, with 125mph spurs to Liverpool and Holyhead and from Manchester to Liverpool and Leeds/York and from Glasgow to Edinbrough
  • HS3 London Euston low-level - Heathrow - Bath - Plymouth with 125mph extension to Penzance and a 125mph spur to Bristol, Newport, Cardiff and Swansea with an upgraded Swansea District Line linking through to Fishguard
Your Irish line (HS4) might have some merit though (no idea) and I'd like to see Bristol - Birmingham upgraded to 125 or 140mph, linking up with the HSR lines.
 
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