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Published by membersonly, 2018-04-15 14:33:52

1248p

9th January 2016

Supplement to e-BLN 1248 BLN Pictorial 9 January 2016

Welcome to the first BLN Pictorial of 2016, and a very happy and peaceful new year to all our members, their families and friends. In this edition we set off
abroad again, for the very simple reason that its subject is virtually unknown in the UK mainland, at least since 1892, although for a time the Port Authority
in Derry had a mixed gauge system (3' and 5'3") connecting the city's four stations. Our member Geoff Blyth has compiled an intriguing selection of facts
and photos relating to mixed gauge railways in general, and to gauge changing locations in particular. Once again, our thanks go both to Geoff for all the
effort he has put into this issue, and to all those members who have contributed photos to this and earlier BLN Pictorials, and hopefully to future ones too.

MIXED GAUGE AND GAUGE CHANGERS

We are all familiar with narrow gauge lines in this country and railway historians will remember Brunel’s 7' 0¼" broad gauge and the problems that caused.
A contemporary sketch (left, from the 'Illustrated London
News' of 1849) highlights the chaos that prevailed at
Gloucester where the 4' 8½" gauge Bristol & Gloucester
(later part of the Midland Railway) met the 7' 0¼" gauge
Great Western Railway. In 1854, following the takeover
by the Midland, 4' 8½" gauge was extended to Bristol,
resulting in mixed gauge between Gloucester and Bristol.

Gloucester was in effect the front line of what became
known as 'The Battle of the Gauges' - a long and hard
fought contest, though stopping short of physical conflict,
which was eventually resolved in favour of the narrower
4'8½". This resulted in the conversion of all the GWR's
broad gauge lines to what was now standard gauge,
ending in 1892 when on Friday 20 May the last broad
gauge train left Penzance.

However, this was a somewhat minor inconvenience in comparison with the situation which exists in Europe today. There are three major gauges in use
in Europe:
· 'Standard' or 'UIC' gauge: 1435 mm / 4' 8½"; used in the majority of countries [UIC: Union Internationale des Chemins de Fer / International Union of

Railways]
· 'Iberian' gauge: 1668 mm / 5' 6"; used in Spain and Portugal
· 'Russian' gauge: 1520 mm / 5' 0"; used in countries of the former Russian Empire and Soviet Union - Finland (1524 mm), Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania,

Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova and in other countries which do not have borders with European countries

A few examples exist of lines of one gauge penetrating quite some way into a country which uses a different gauge and of such a line 'corridoring'
through another country.

It is quite common for mixed gauge track to extend across international borders and for exchange of different types of traffic to take place at the border
station in each country. Traffic can be exchanged between lines of different gauge in a number of ways:
· Offloading mineral traffic from one wagon into another, either by means of a mechanical grab or by discharge from a higher level into a wagon at a

lower level
· Transfer of containers by crane
· Complete replacement of bogies of one gauge by those of the other gauge. This is used for both wagons and passenger coaches
· Gauge changers, which force the gauge adjustment in the wheels.

At locations where there is significant freight traffic, the transfer area can occupy quite a large area of land.
Next page :
This installation at Cerbère on the Mediterranean border between France and Spain appears to have required some excavation of the hillside. The scale
of the operation is very apparent in this panoramic view - broad gauge Spain is to the left, with standard gauge France to the right.
(By contributor Falk2 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons)

However, this was a somewhat minor nconvenience in comparison with the situation which exists in Europe today. There are three major gauges in use
in Europe:
· "Standard" or "UIC" gauge: 1435 mm / 4' 8½"; used in the majority of countries [UIC: Union Internationale des Chemins de Fer / International Union

of Railways]
· "Iberian" gauge: 1668 mm / 5' 6"; used in Spain and Portugal
· "Russian" gauge: 1520 mm / 5'; used in countries of the former Russian Empire and Soviet Union - Finland (1524 mm), Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania,
Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova and in other countries which do not have borders with European countries.

A few examples exist of lines of one gauge penetrating quite some way into a country which uses a different gauge and of such a line 'corridoring'
through another country.

It is quite common for mixed gauge track to extend across international borders and for exchange of different types of traffic to take place at the border
station in each country. Traffic can be exchanged between lines of different gauge in a number of ways:
· Offloading mineral traffic from one wagon into another, either by means of a mechanical grab or by discharge from a higher level into a wagon at a

lower level
· Transfer of containers by crane
· Complete replacement of bogies of one gauge by those of the other gauge. This is used for both wagons and passenger coaches
· Gauge changers, which force the gauge adjustment in the wheels.

At locations where there is significant freight traffic, the transfer area can occupy quite a large area of land.
Next page :
This installation at Cerbère on the Mediterranean border between France and Spain appears to have required some excavation of the hillside. The scale
of the operation is very apparent in this panoramic view - broad gauge Spain is to the left, with standard gauge France to the right.
(By contributor Falk2 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Bogie Exchange

To perform a bogie exchange, a carriage or wagon is lifted by means of jacks, the old bogies removed (usually by being pulled out from under the train by
means of a wire rope), the new bogies pulled into position and the carriage or wagon lowered on to them.

Below : the jacks in the bogie changing area east of Čop (Chop), Ukraine. Below : the jacks at Čop in use for a bogie change on an international
(Wikimedia user Maxim75 (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0- sleeping car train. (Wikimedia user Maxim75 (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA
1.0], via Wikimedia Commons) 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

The disadvantage of bogie changing is that an ample supply of bogies and axles of each gauge is required at each location to accommodate the ebb and
flow of traffic in each direction. The bogies and wagons must have standardised hooks etc. Non-bogie (four-wheeled) wagons cannot be handled.

The following two pages illustrate various aspects of the bogie change process.

Left : A stockpile of bogies at Varna Feribotna (Bulgaria). (both Varna Feribotna photos : Geoff Blyth)

Below : This was taken probably at Grodekovo, near Vladivostok, at the Russia / China border. Chinese
railways use standard gauge. People power seems to be in use for moving the bogie….. power from the
Proletariat! (Wikimedia user Schultz, CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons)

Below : The gauge changing shed at Varna
Feribotna (Bulgaria), where wagons are
equipped with broad gauge bogies in order
to travel on the Russian gauge train ferries
to Illichivsk (near Odessa, Ukraine) and
Kavkaz (Russia; on the eastern side of the
Kerch strait if you really want to know!).

Gauge Changers

These consist of rails to support the carriage and levers and rails to unlock, move, and re-lock the adjustable axles. So far this has been used only for
passenger coaches although the Spanish are in the process of developing variable gauge
wagons.

Variable gauge multiple units, or a train including a variable gauge locomotive (e.g. Talgo
250) and rolling stock, may drive slowly straight through a gauge changer.

Single gauge locomotives must move out of the way whilst the remainder of the train
itself passes through the gauge changer. On the opposite side a new locomotive of the
other gauge will couple to the train.

A train or individual carriage can be pushed halfway across the gauge-changer, uncoupled
and then, once far enough across, coupled to the new locomotive and pulled the rest of
the way. A long length of wire-rope with hooks on the end means that the process can be
asynchronous, with the rope used to bridge across the length of the gauge changer to
couple the arriving cars and receiving locomotive temporarily, albeit without braking
control from the locomotive to the carriages. However, the gauge changer at Hendaye
(on the France / Spain border) used a purpose built dual gauge shunter. On long-distance
trains in Spain the arriving locomotive stops just short of the gauge changer, uncouples
and moves into a short siding out of the way. Gravity or a small auxiliary diesel engine in
the end carriage of the train then moves the train through the gauge changer at a
controlled low speed. The new locomotive is coupled onto the front only after the full
train has finished passing through the changer.

Right : the Hendaye shunter. (Wikimedia user Falk2 (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0],
via Wikimedia Commons)

'Iberian' Gauge

The bulk of the Spanish network is Iberian gauge although the first standard gauge high speed line was opened in 1992 between Madrid and Seville, for
the Expo'92 Seville exhibition, a distance of 472 km / 293 miles. This was a completely isolated line, hundreds of miles from the nearest line of the same
gauge, in France. Construction of high-speed standard gauge lines has continued since then, such that, with over 3,000 km, Spain now has the largest high

-speed network in Europe and second only to China.
Standard gauge reached Barcelona in February 2008 and
was extended to Figueres in 2013, establishing for the
first time through connection with France for passenger
trains without requiring a change of gauge.

The existence of two different gauges on significant parts
of the system means that gauge is a bigger issue in Spain
than anywhere else in Europe. This has led the Spanish to
develop gauge changers. The first such installation went
into service at Portbou (French : Port Bou), on the French
border north of Barcelona, in 1969. Since then, 35 of
various designs have been installed although a number
are no longer in use for various reasons.

A gauge changer designed specifically for freight wagons
with a 25 ton axle-load, and for 'Russian' gauge as well,
has been installed near Albacete to enable freights to
access the new high speed line to Alacant (Alicante).
Authorisation requires 250,000 km of test running and
this is expected to be achieved in 2016. This would
remove the need for the costly creation of mixed gauge
lines, such as that now under way on the 'Mediterranean
Corridor' between Barcelona and the Valencia area.

In order to serve cities other than Seville, where the gauge changer is located at Majarabique, on the northern outskirts of the city, variable gauge trains
were developed for domestic services. The map (above) shows routes served by trains equipped with the Talgo system gauge changer; there is another
system developed for trains manufactured by CAF. Blue: Standard gauge lines (1435 mm); Red: Iberian gauge lines (1668 mm). (Wikimedia user
Pechristener [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons)



Previous page : The picture was taken from a westbound train about to enter the gauge changer at Medina del Campo, north-west of Madrid, en route to
the Galicia region in north-west Spain. On the left is the siding holding the standard gauge locomotive, which has uncoupled from the train. Straight ahead is
the standard gauge line into the gauge changer, with the broad gauge locomotive waiting to take the train forward. On the right is a broad gauge line
bypassing the gauge changer. This is unusual and exists because the line east of this point is mixed gauge to enable broad gauge works trains to access an
engineers' depot further east. (Ian Hutton)

Below left : A view of the gauge changing mechanism taken from inside the front carriage. In this instance the train is propelled through the gauge changer
by means of a small auxiliary diesel engine in the front carriage. (Ian Hutton)

Below right : As can be seen from the picture, the difference between gauges is sufficient for three rail track to provide enough room for the flanges
between the unshared rails. (MZC (nick www.Ferropedia.org and tranvia.org) (Archive:MZC
huesca3.jpg in Ferropedia.) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons)



Previous page : A westbound train leaving the gauge changer, now hauled by a broad gauge locomotive. The standard gauge locomotive can be seen on
the right. (From: manu269 - http://www.ferropedia.es/wiki/Archivo:CambiadorMedina_2.jpg)

'Russian' Gauge
On mixed standard and broad ('Russian') gauge track, the difference between gauges is a mere 89 mm / 3.5". A three rail solution would not provide
enough room for flanges between the unshared rails, not to mention the bottom flanges of these rails, so four rails are required.

Left : Four rails can be seen here on
the bridge over the Torne river
between Haparanda (Sweden) and
Tornio (Finland), as seen from
Finland. The bridge is somewhat
wider than a normal single track
bridge because the trains on both
gauges are offset slightly from the
mid-point.

Next page : A UZ (Ukrainian
Railways) unit at Campulung la Tisa
(Romania). The offset can be seen
clearly here, with the Russian
gauge Ukrainian unit running on
the first and third rails from the
left. (Ian Hutton)





A freight-only standard gauge route runs through Ukraine from Čop (Chop) to the Romanian border at Diakove/Halmeu, providing a corridor from
Slovakia and Hungary to Romania. This is shown in the map on the previous page (from the European Railway Atlas, courtesy of Mike Ball), shaded in

yellow. For almost all of the way it is a mixed gauge line.
In 2010 a Hungarian MP organised a special train the 'Carpathia Express' for
Hungarians to visit ethnic Hungarian communities in Ukraine and the
Transylvania region of Romania, making use of this line. A few BLS and IBSE
members succeeded in obtaining places on the train. This was repeated the
following year with an additional visit to Slovakia and a special carriage at
the front of the train reserved for foreign (mainly UK and German)
enthusiasts.
Above left : a carriage side destination board for the Carpathia Express.
(Geoff Blyth). The mysterious 'PU' suffix doesn't indicate the train ending
with a stop to Pick Up, but is the abbreviation for 'Pályaudvar', meaning
'railway station' ('Nyugati' means 'West').

Left : The Carpathia Express at Čop, headed by MÁV (Hungarian Railways)
2761017, one of a batch of 20 M61 class locos built in Sweden by Nydqvist
& Holm AB in the early 1960s, and now in preservation. (Geoff Blyth). It can
be seen that the train is using the nearer of the two pairs of rails (as before,
the first and third from the left).

Next page : The west end of Čop station, looking towards the Slovak
border. In the foreground is the mixed gauge platform road which features
in the previous photo, and to the right is a freight headed by a Czech class
electric loco of either class 181 or 182. (Nigel Eacock)



An overnight stop was made in Ukraine, where participants were given a welcome by the local ethnic Hungarian communities. Our ever observant BLS
fellow members were on hand to record the occasion...

Above : A little local colour is provided by part of the welcoming party. The young ladies are Above : Our members stayed here for the overnight stop
wearing the colours of the Hungarian flag. (Geoff Blyth) at Berehove, Ukraine.

Perhaps this should be recommended accommodation
for railtour organisers? (Geoff Blyth)

Above : At Vynohradiv there was the rare occurrence of three trains of different gauge: the standard gauge 'Carpathia Express' crossed a broad gauge UZ
passenger train, whilst on the far left can be seen a 750 mm gauge train to Irshava. There are no public passenger services on the standard gauge line.
(Ian Hutton)

Four rail mixed gauge track can produce elaborate layouts at junctions and stations.
Right : The special train is traversing the west curve of the Korolevo triangle. (Ian
Hutton)

Below left : ... and has just been over this trackwork. (Nigel Eacock)

Below right : The two mixed gauge lines come together at the south end of the
triangle. (Ian Hutton)

Next page : At the eastern end of Vynohradiv, a 'wiggle' is needed for the standard
gauge, left foreground, to avoid a pair of points of the other gauge, just left of the
centre of the picture ... (Nigel Eacock)





Previous page : ... but not as pronounced a 'wiggle' as this one at Batevo! (Ian Hutton)
The majority of through traffic between Russian gauge and standard gauge in Europe is achieved by bogie changing. However, the Polish SUW2000 gauge
changer is used at a few locations: Mockava (Lithuania), Brest (Belarus) and Mostiska (Ukraine). A Spanish Talgo gauge changer has been installed at Brest
(Belarus) with a view to using it with new stock on the Moskva (Moscow) – Berlin sleeping car train.
Two lengthy broad gauge lines penetrate into Poland and Slovakia from Ukraine, a legacy of the Soviet era.
Below : The map shows the broad gauge line in Poland, highlighted in yellow. (Map from the European Railway Atlas, courtesy of Mike Ball)

The Linia Hutnicza Szerokotorowa, LHS (Broad Gauge Steel Line, sometimes known as the 'Steel and Sulphur Line') runs for almost 400 km from the
Polish-Ukrainian border crossing just east of Hrubieszów to Sławków Południowy, near Katowice in SW Poland. It is used only for freight, mainly iron
ore and coal. It is the westernmost part of the broad-gauge network based on the former Soviet Union.
An 88 km broad-gauge line, mostly in eastern Slovakia, runs from Uzhhorod in Ukraine to a steel works west of Košice.

Narrow Gauge
Spain has the largest metre gauge network in Europe, over 1,000 km, mostly in the north. A line stretches approximately 500 miles along the entire north
coast from the border with France to the far north-west. Parts of it are electrified and carry significant commuter traffic and some carries heavy freight,
including minerals, steel and containers. However, there is no through running with the Iberian gauge network; some mineral traffic is transhipped.
Latour-de-Carol in south western France is a rare example of a triple gauge station, with
passenger services on all three gauges: standard gauge from Toulouse, broad gauge from
Barcelona and metre gauge from Villefranche - Vernet-les-Bains (Le Petit Train Jaune / the
little yellow train).
Right : map of the area surrounding Latour-de-Carol. The purple line is metre gauge, green
is standard gauge, brown is Iberian gauge, and the grey lines are existing or proposed high
speed standard gauge lines. (From the European Railway Atlas, courtesy of Mike Ball and
Paul Griffin)

Left : Complex pointwork is required in this view of dual
gauge (standard and metre) track at Volos (Greece). (Iain
Scotchman)

Left : Readers can amuse themselves working out which rails were used for each of the three gauges (standard,
metre and 600 mm) in this remaining fragment of track at Volos (Greece). (Iain Scotchman)

In Switzerland, The GoldenPass Line is a tourist-orientated train which connects Montreux to Lucerne. Though
marketed as a through service, it involves three separate trains served by three companies with panoramic trains:

 MOB: Montreux to Zweisimmen via Gstaad (metre gauge)

 BLS*: Zweisimmen to Interlaken via Spiez (standard gauge); * no, not Branch Line Society but Bern–Lötschberg–
Simplon railway!

 Brünig railway: From Interlaken to Lucerne via the Brünig Pass (metre gauge)

In 2010 the MOB announced plans for a through service with variable gauge coaches in 2015. The press and officials
were invited to a demonstration of the first Panoramic coach fitted with variable gauge bogies to allow this.
However, it is not clear if this service actually started last year. The axle-less bogie was developed by the MOB and
built by Alstom. Apart from changing the gauge, the bogies also adjust the height of the coaches to suit the different
platform heights on the two gauges. This would be the first gauge changer in Switzerland and indeed the first
anywhere between the Spanish and Lithuanian/Ukrainian border
areas. Right : the MOB gauge changer being demonstrated at
Montreux. (Markus Giger (Own work (Foto-Nr. 20100518Y605)) [CC
BY-SA 2.5 ch], via Wikimedia Commons)

Austria and Switzerland are among the few European countries still
carrying noticeable freight traffic on narrow gauge lines. There is
through traffic to the main standard gauge system, which is achieved
by carrying standard gauge wagons on narrow gauge transporter
wagons.

Last page : a narrow gauge transporter wagon carrying a standard
gauge timber wagon at at Le Noirmont in Switzerland.

(with thanks to Colin Churcher, colinchurcher2011-
01.blogspot.com.au and https://www.flickr.com/photos/
colinchurcher/albums/with/72157648786457681)


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