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Author Topic: As good as a rest ... perhaps more interesting?  (Read 10309 times)
grahame
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« Reply #45 on: October 20, 2022, 20:08:02 »

Writeup on my final day at ... http://grahamellis.uk/blog658.html

40 trains, plus buses, coach, ferry and the Pony of shanks all in 10 days.  At least 3 gauges (broad, standard and metre) and there may have been another one or two.

A couple more random pictures ...



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« Reply #46 on: October 20, 2022, 21:58:16 »

Was that restful?  Or perhaps more ... changeful?
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grahame
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« Reply #47 on: October 22, 2022, 06:58:57 »

Was that restful?  Or perhaps more ... changeful?

It was interesting, mindworking and exhilarating.   I thought it would leave me tired and in need of some recovery time, yet actually I'm still on the go and come back - very temporarily - jumping straight into things.    It was really good to hear Mark [Hopwood] talking at TravelWatch SouthWest yesterday, but a tragedy that the meeting was online and not in person.  So much of the value there is in networking, and there was none  o that and little interaction (and, yes, I HAVE saved a copy of the chat).

Watch, next week, for the next great adventure.  I will try to write about individual issues and things I pick up on and avoid another "my holiday in Iberia" type travelogue.

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« Reply #48 on: December 25, 2022, 10:46:32 »

I don't know where to start - well, I started on the 09:20 from Leon to Gijon, but dropped off at Oviedo and took the local metre gauge to FEVE into Gijon, connection on to Aviles, then to Pravia and finally to San Xoan, arriving there a few minutes after the scheduled 21:41 and just in time to check into my hotel while it was still staffed.

The section from Leon is through wild mountains, a torturous, spectacular and heavily engineered line which, however, takes 2 hours to cover a distance of 140 kms ... and a new line is being worked on to cut that down, with a 25 km base tunnel.   Oviedo, Gijon, and a number of other towns cluster on the middle north coast of Spain and have a thriving little local network of both broad gauge and narrow gauge trains ... with just 2 a day headed west to Ferrol and east to Santander and Bilbao.   

From Pravia, I took the afternoon train at 15:40 all the way to San Xoan - that's in the 'burbs of Ferrol near to a booked hotel. Six hours as we wound along the coastline from a lovely day to pitch black on arrival.  Bays, beaches, towns, estuaries, forests, fields and mountains.  Tunnels, viaducts, sharp bends and bridges, and wayside stations and more significant ones all along the way.

The section from Pravia to Ribadeo takes 3 hours and in that half of the journey, there's not a loop that allows two trains to pass in use - this must be one of the longest single line sections anywhere!   When we got to Ribadeo, the afternoon train headed east was waiting to go ...!   There are a couple of rusted loops that might be serviceable, but they look to me as if they've not been used for years, and many many stations where a single track runs through a site with abandoned platforms to the side.   And there are halts - in some sections of the line, the train stopping for a few seconds in the vain hope of a passenger, and in other parts just passing through where no-one waits.  They make Shippea Hill look busy.

For a line with so few passengers, the standard of upkeep of the track looks amazingly good, and I don't see how the line can make economic sense with just our 2 coach trains picking up a few people here and there.    There were perhaps 30 or 40 people on the train, odd ones getting on and off along the way.   A couple of schoolgirls returning home - perhaps for the weekend - from Pravia to one or another of the remote farm clusters served by its own station.  A dropout with trousers torn so badly it was embarrassing who got off in the middle of nowhere.  A handful of people travelling longer distances.

Even underused single-line backwaters need new signals, it appears. From Railway Gazette:
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Metre-gauge line to be resignalled
23 December 2022

SPAIN: ADIF has awarded Thales a 27-month contract worth €20·8m to supply ASFA Digital ATP (Automatic Train Protection) to replace telephone block working on the 101 km single track, non-electrified Ortigueira – Ribadeo section of the Oviedo – Ferrol metre gauge line along the north coast.
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grahame
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« Reply #49 on: December 25, 2022, 11:26:21 »

SPAIN: ADIF has awarded Thales a 27-month contract worth €20·8m to supply ASFA Digital ATP (Automatic Train Protection) to replace telephone block working on the 101 km single track, non-electrified Ortigueira – Ribadeo section of the Oviedo – Ferrol metre gauge line along the north coast.

Some pictures of the current signalling system:







and an intermediate change of train driver on the 3 hour single track, 2 trains per day section



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« Reply #50 on: December 25, 2022, 19:57:42 »

and an intermediate change of train driver on the 3 hour single track, 2 trains per day section




Literally a "handover".  Cheesy
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« Reply #51 on: February 09, 2023, 15:26:25 »

Even underused single-line backwaters need new signals, it appears. From Railway Gazette:
Quote
Metre-gauge line to be resignalled
23 December 2022
SPAIN: ADIF has awarded Thales a 27-month contract worth €20·8m to supply ASFA Digital ATP (Automatic Train Protection) to replace telephone block working on the 101 km single track, non-electrified Ortigueira – Ribadeo section of the Oviedo – Ferrol metre gauge line along the north coast.

And trains! I'm not sure that these were for use on the lines described by Graham above as almost passenger free zones. But this is one of those embarrassment stories everyone (except, notably, the two managers at Adif and Renfe that got sacked) loves. From surinenglish.com (but more garish versions are available):
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Heads roll over northern Spain's 'trains too big for tunnels' scandal
There will be a delay of "two or three years" in the arrival of 31 new local train units to the Cantabria and Asturias regions, following the catalogue of errors

Spain's Minister of Transport Raquel Sánchez has apologised to the regional presidents of Cantabria and the Asturias for the delay of "two or three years" in the arrival of 31 new local trains to the regions due to an error in the design of the units, which were incompatible with the size of the network's tunnels.

Sánchez did so during her visit to Castro Urdiales as she announced the dismissals of the Renfe employee who led the material management division of train operator Renfe Viajeros when the tender was designed, and infrastructure company Adif’s head of inspection and track technology.

Miguel Ángel Revilla, the president of the Cantabrian regional government, described the catalogue of errors which saw trains ordered which were too big to fit through tunnels and of the incorrect type for the local gauge railways as an "unspeakable botched job".

The Ministry of Transport noted that the public companies Adif and Renfe were unaware of the gauge problems until the CAF company in charge of manufacturing the trains raised the alarm during the design phase.

Both Renfe and Adif said, following the results of the internal audits commissioned by the minister, they will proceed to carry out the recommended organisational adjustments.

Many of the reports (including that one, slightly) misunderstand "gauge". AIUI (as I understand it), the trains were specified by reference to a network statement that included the clearance gauge of the track. However, that was for new track or new works, and not a description of the track and tunnels as they are. So I guess it's one of the pitfalls of the new style of "paper railway" - everything done by reference to specifications and other huge documents, which have to be read and understood to ensure nothing untoward lurks within. In this case the status of this network statement was quite possibly only defined in yet another big document.
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