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Canadian Railroads > coquihalla highway, 401 highway, 402 highway


Date: 08/26/23 08:22
coquihalla highway, 401 highway, 402 highway
Author: leon

Please don't yell,

Good morning my neighbors to the north.   

I hope the resident sasquatches have not been camera shy and hiding from the railroad right of way
too much or placing boulders between the rails again.

With all the bad snow days on the Coquihalla, Highways 401 and 402, I am wondering out 
loud if the Canadian Pacific, Canadian National and the provincial governments of British Columbia
and Ontario have given any thought to installing a standard gauge rack railway near these  three highways   
and use RORO flat cars for the massive loads that would normally be on these highways?

It would reduce the truck traffic and the problems they create with careless speeding drivers, truck drivers 
without snow chains or instachains mounted on these trucks and being unprepared in general for the rigors
of the British Columbian winters as well as the snow and wind coming from Lake Huron.

It would certainly seem like a viable solution for a number of reasons the largest being the prevention
of blocking these highways due to speeding, the wrecks from speeding and careless drivers creating 
havoc in general.     

The snow plows would have an easier time of taking care of these highways in the winter as well as there 
being a great deal less local heavy truck traffic on these three highways.

  

 



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/26/23 15:29 by leon.



Date: 08/26/23 17:23
Re: coquihalla highway, 401 highway, 402 highway
Author: sarailfan

The Coquihalla Pass chased off the CPR 20 years before the highway was built. The highway was largely a political exercise in that the premier wanted a quicker trip from Victoria to his vacation properties in the Kelowna area. It was also an engineering showcase, but upgrades to the existing routes would probably have been money better spent.

The logistics of loading that volume of truck traffic on and off in the time frames required is also completely impractical.

Posted from Android

Darren Boes
Lethbridge, AB
Southern Alberta Railfan



Date: 08/27/23 07:57
Re: coquihalla highway, 401 highway, 402 highway
Author: leon

Dear Mr. Boes,

The reason I bring this up is simply because of the channel tunnel and there use of roll on, roll off rail cars for the truck traffic.

I have no idea how much traffic they handle now as the ferry companies lowered thier frieght rates but even a dedicated standard
or broad guage line would be of great advantage to the provinces of British Columbia and Ontario to reduce heavy truck traffic,
truck crashes with hazardous cargos and general vehicular mayhem with drivers that do not follow speed limits or use snow tires
and also reduce wear on the roads by reducing the destruction of guide rails, damage to bridges from crash damage and truck fires.

Having a dedicated single track rack railway with 165 pound rail, sliding switches/turn outs operated remotely to allow the RO/RO trains to pass each
other on sidings would allow for faster transits at 25 miles per hour on the mountain sections and faster speeds on the lower gradient sections.      

 



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/27/23 08:00 by leon.



Date: 08/27/23 18:29
Re: coquihalla highway, 401 highway, 402 highway
Author: sarailfan

I don't know the truck volumes in the Toronto area, but the Coquihalla sees over 200 trucks per hour, especially in daylight. The highway follows a different route than the original CPR in the upper parts of the pass; the railroad right of way no longer exists in several areas due to erosion. On a 2.2% plus grade 25 mph is a pipe dream, 10 to 15 is more realistic. Again, the logistics of getting that many trucks on and off a train in a time-competitive manner isn't happening.

Posted from Android

Darren Boes
Lethbridge, AB
Southern Alberta Railfan



Date: 08/28/23 05:50
Re: coquihalla highway, 401 highway, 402 highway
Author: leon

If one was to use the IORE Bombardier TRAXX electric locomotives in pairs which are used on steeper grades than the Coquihalla
from what I remember it would be worth considering as they could use their dynamic braking to the highest advantage 
and return electricity to the 6,000 volt caternary single conductor feeder line.    



Date: 08/28/23 08:26
Re: coquihalla highway, 401 highway, 402 highway
Author: railsmith

leon Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> If one was to use the IORE Bombardier TRAXX
> electric locomotives in pairs which are used on
> steeper grades than the Coquihalla
> from what I remember it would be worth considering
> as they could use their dynamic braking to the
> highest advantage 
> and return electricity to the 6,000 volt caternary
> single conductor feeder line.    

The Coquihalla railway route doesn't exist anymore -- it has been obliterated by Mother Nature and highway and pipeline coinstruction. The route of the highway over the summit involves far steeper grades than any freight-hauling railway.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/28/23 08:27 by railsmith.



Date: 08/28/23 12:01
Re: coquihalla highway, 401 highway, 402 highway
Author: leon

I understand that but a rack railway can operate at a very steep gradient with 2 or more locomotives.

The blue over yellow MRS narrow guage electric rack railway that enters Sao Paulo, Brazil
employing Stadler ES44? center cab rack drive locomotives have been doing this for many
years bringing iron ore to the to the port and climbing back up the mountain with the empty
ore jennies and other frieght cars with 2 rack locomotives with one acting as head end
locomotive and the helper increasing braking power on the descent and as a helper on the
ascent up the grade to the flat land at the top above the port.     



Date: 08/28/23 18:09
Re: coquihalla highway, 401 highway, 402 highway
Author: sarailfan

It's approximately 2 hours from Hope to Merritt with a loaded super B. How would you propose to load, secure (tie down), and unload even 100 trucks an hour, and have them rolling at the other end within that time? Not to mention that the driver will stay with his rig, so now transportation costs have to cover the truck, driver's time, train equipment and rail operators' time instead of just truck and driver. Utterly unfeasible, as much as every railfan would like to see rail return to the Coquihalla (which will never happen as mentioned above).

Posted from Android

Darren Boes
Lethbridge, AB
Southern Alberta Railfan



Date: 08/29/23 07:27
Re: coquihalla highway, 401 highway, 402 highway
Author: leon

These same operations occurr with the channel tunnel and the cross channel ferries every day and the only time the
ferries stop transporting frieght and passengers is in extrremely bad sea conditions.  

The channel tunnel operates around the clock every day with electric locomotives and is unaffected by weather.

With the amount of bad weather, wrecks, use of all season tires and careless drivers trying to drive like its mid august in
Monaco from November to May every year on these roads it would seem like a viable option as the truck drivers
typically wait in a passenger cabin or in thier trucks during the channel crossings.  
I am unware as to whether the highway department there even uses instachains for their snow plows as they also become stuck.   

I guess I look at it this way if one was to examine and total up the amount of time taken up by the following:

1. bad weather creating white out conditions 
2. fog 
3. car crashes 
4. truck crashes with non hazardous and hazardous cargos and the traffic blockages because of the wreck(s)
5. truck crashes involving B train trucks with no hazardous and hazardous cargos
a. this would include flat bed trailers with and without B train loads
6. crashes caused by speeding automobiles and the traffic blockages because of the wreck(s)
7. tailgating causing car crashes 
8. tailgating causing truck crashes
9. automobiles driving too fast for conditions
10. straight trucks driving too fast for conditions 
11. tractor trailers driving too fast for conditions
12. tractor trailers with B train carriers driving too fast for conditions 
13. traffic stalled on these highways in both lanes causing backed up traffic that results in chain reaction crashes  
14. The total amount of hours required to tow stranded trucks of all sizes to safe areas to continue thier transport of materials
15. The total amount of hours required to clear wrecks and allow traffic to proceed 

It is all in the accounting as it does add up. 
 



Date: 08/29/23 23:33
Re: coquihalla highway, 401 highway, 402 highway
Author: BoostedFridge

I think you have been watching too much 'Highway Thru Hell' Leon.



Date: 08/30/23 01:06
Re: coquihalla highway, 401 highway, 402 highway
Author: LKeithR

I don't know what your angle is, Leon but I can tell you that this idea will never happen, not in a
million years.

There are two viable rail routes between Vancouver and Kamloops and the CN/CP
directional running arrangement seems to be working quite well.  Having to transload
cargo twice in either direction just to reduce traffic on a short section of the Coquihalla
Highway just isn't practical.

A better solution is to get more traffic on the rails at Vancouver and originating points east
of Kamloops.  I'm sure there is capacity for more traffic on both CN and CP through the
canyons and, if the traffic were to grow, improvements could be made to increase that even
further.  If, and only if, the rail routes through the canyons become so congested that they
can't handle all the traffic would your idea have any chance of happening.  Even then, I'd
be willing to bet that governments, shippers and truckers would opt for greater highway
capacity over the Coquihalla way before they would consider some form of cog railway.

Keith Robertson
Langley, BC



Date: 08/31/23 11:39
Re: coquihalla highway, 401 highway, 402 highway
Author: greasemonkey

Hi Leon,  I think you may have been led to believe the Coquihalla is far worse than it really is.  

There really isn't a need to provide a service as you suggest and the costs and delay for that service would likely be far in excess of what a normal trip over the highway entails.

It's a neat idea, but in this case, simply not needed, nor feasible.

The cost of setting something like this up would likely be into the Billions of dollars.  The cost of using the service would be far in excess of the cost of fuel, wages and other costs to make the trip conventionally.  It would also take a fair amount of time to load, and unload the trucks from the railcars.  In fact, I would speculate the load time alone would be longer than the drive itself over the pass.  Then you have the transit time, which would likely be longer, the unload time which would also be longer, and the inevitable mishaps which would have the whole system grind to a halt, stranding every truck on board until it is resolved.

While it is a neat idea, I just don't see it working the way you think it might.

Brian



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