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Just to add a meta-comment; there is widespread rail transport in snowy and cold places for nearly a hundred years now, so any related problems are hardly hitherto unnoticed, not to mention critical.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Dec 4th, 2010 at 06:59:13 PM EST
Most of the problems are related to snow on the tracks, not the electricity supply. You could use steam instead of electricity, but the snow would still be there...

by asdf on Sat Dec 4th, 2010 at 11:46:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, but sending out a snowplow and switching on an electric switch heater can be less fuss than repairing catenary in a snowstorm. Assuming the electric heating installation programme wasn't held up by "cost-saving" and the number of snowplows wasn't reduced by the same...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Dec 5th, 2010 at 05:02:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IT's probably a factor too that when a train gets stopped by a frozen switch, it's still easy to evacuate passengers to a station building nearby, as opposed to a train broken down on the open line; hence the more numerious switch failures earn less news space.

Winter chaos in train traffic - Stockholm News

One train stopped for several hours in Östegötland yesterday while the 700-800 passengers where without food or electricity. The toilet tanks onboard are also reported to have been full. The stop was due to an electric wire that had been torn down. The passengers were later evacuated to another train which later was affected by a failure in a security system and the passengers had to evacuate once again. Shortly after, another train hit an ice bloc (!) on the rail and broke. At other places trains stopped due to frozen switches.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Dec 5th, 2010 at 05:13:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Like this:

by asdf on Sun Dec 5th, 2010 at 10:00:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
there is widespread rail transport

electric rail transport.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Dec 5th, 2010 at 04:59:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yay, Malmbanan on the first pic! The busiest piece of railroad in Sweden, far north of the arctic circle, with the most powerful locomotives in the world. Sometimes people joke that it works so well because it's not run by the state railroad, but by the mining company LKAB...

For the last 15 years Swedish infrastrucuture has been under attack from neoliberalism, and the accumulated lack of maintenance is becoming clearer for every passing year: last winter the rail system was in shambles, and this year it's close to collapse. There have been considerable issues with the power grid as well this year. Granted that this winter and the last were the snowiest and coldest for decades.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sun Dec 5th, 2010 at 09:19:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For the last 15 years Swedish infrastrucuture has been under attack from neoliberalism, and the accumulated lack of maintenance is becoming clearer for every passing year: last winter the rail system was in shambles, and this year it's close to collapse

Allow me to snigger: you have no idea what's close to collapse :-) Here, cost-saving on maintenance is much more 'advanced', and we get the cold weather catenary ruptures (not one, but a couple in a row) already in autumn. So you still have a lot of neolib destruction ahead of you :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Dec 5th, 2010 at 02:02:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, just wait until you get to USA (#1) style maintenance and operating practices! Even though things have improved markedly from the dark days of the 1970's-80's when even cars parked in yards would derail, we still have a long, long way to go to approach European levels of service quality.
by Jace on Mon Dec 6th, 2010 at 03:26:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One of my favorite railways; the Malmbanan was so comfortable with catenary and snow that they used one of the very few overhead powered rotary snowplows.
by Jace on Mon Dec 6th, 2010 at 04:33:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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