Trains … ferroequinology the study of those rolling stock wagons or in old parlance ‘iron horses’ … raised its head in two ways … the incredible new silk route across China, Russia, Europe which now has a terminus in east London, at the Barking depot, Essex.
The Trans-Siberian railway forms a key component of the Silk Road Economic Belt with its incredible coverage:
- 70% of the world’s population
- 75% of its energy resources
- 70% of the Gross Domestic Product in the world
Then there are these inland harbours … but methinks this post will be about the ferroequinology aspect and one inland port that of Duisburg, Germany.
|An example of an earlier 'old' silk route|
I was staggered to read that a Chinese cargo train which had set out from Yiwu, famous as a commodities centre, south-west of Shanghai, arrived in London 16 - 18 days later, in about half the usual ship consignment time, and at half the estimated airfreight cost.
The average container ship can hold up to 19,224 twenty-foot containers on a large cargo vessel … but this train with 200 containers cannot match up, yet saves time, tends not to have delays, and costs less. 34 of the wagons, with 68 containers, were destined for London.
|Spanish Tapas - ham, chorizo, wine, cheeses,|
olive oil dip ...
The wagons from different countries will not go back empty … from Madrid will go hams, chorizo, olive oil, cheeses, wine and from Germany and Belgium beer … Poland has speciality foods too …
|Container Ship sparkling in the sun in a|
shipping lane in the English Channel
Ships will still be used for larger and heavier goods – so the high seas will still be traversed. ‘Our’ train brought in socks, garments, bags and suitcases, or similar items – return products will be of local origin …
There seem to be various routes being tested … this train travelled 7,500 miles, through seven countries, had to unload and re-load where the varying rail gauges on Russian lines didn’t match.
|Some basic facts provided by This Is Money|
|Different rail gauges used across the world:|
the blue is the standard gauge
The UK’s containers were unloaded in Duisburg, before being transferred for the last leg under the Channel and into Barking, East London. Duisburg has reinvented itself as an inland container port … the world’s largest inland harbour … see link to Railway Gazette
|This is an American train - but they are|
experimenting with trains 3.5 miles long?!
… and provides the specially approved cargo container wagons, for the last part of the rail trip via the Channel Tunnel … so we can get our consignment of household products into the UK.
|Sculpture of a ferro equine:|
c/o Thoro Edge Equine
A silk, or sock, route reinvented … I certainly hadn’t thought we would be importing goods via a rail network – we are an island after all – or so I believed! …
Extraordinary world we live in … there are 39 routes linking 16 Chinese cities to 12 European ones, including Hamburg and Madrid, as well as London.
|J M W Turner's 1844 painting: |
"Rain, Steam and Speed"
Ferroequinology is a winner … just the thought of this journey bemuses me … what would JMW Turner, the artist with his “Rain, Steam and Speed – the Great Western Railway”(1844), have thought of it … and it was only 8 years ago that container ships were being moth-balled in deep water ports due to the global economic crisis …
|This print shows the Rainhill Trials of 1829|
Here’s to the new silk route … and these silk routes will be spun and spun … which could lead to a number of global shortages … if most of our commodities are off to China … as we recently had with chocolate … it is an interesting world at the moment.
A ferroequinologist's delight ... trains from here to China!
Please see my earlier post on the Get Up and Push Railroad - where the term ferroequinology came to light ...
The return trip back to China ... set off 10 April 2017 ... see here: Freight train begins first journey from UK to China - it'll be there in about 2 weeks ...
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