Title: US double-stack rail technology and infrastructure: corollaries for China

Authors: Yu Meng, Debbie A. Niemeier

Addresses: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA

Abstract: This paper describes the current state of double-stacking in the US and begins a discussion of the corollaries that might be useful for understanding the double-stack network implementation issues currently confronted by China. The paper includes a synopsis of the advantages of double-stacking in the US; a presentation of the types of domestic double-stack infrastructure constraints and a discussion of several important developing international trends, focusing specifically on the issues associated with adoption and implementation of double-stack trains in China. In this paper, we compare the basic conditions of the Chinese double-stack railway infrastructure (i.e., clearance restrictions along bridges, tunnels and overpasses and the limitation of the maximum weight per axle) to those of the US. We show that the Chinese face many of the same constraints that the US has faced before it is facing now (such as clearance constraints, marketing difficulty and terminal efficiency). However, the story of the adoption of double-stack transportation in China will probably turn out to be somewhat different than that of the US. Only non-electrified rail routes are really suitable for double-stack transportation in China, since the removal of clearance constraints due to the electrification is prohibitive. Moreover, the Chinese weight per axle restriction requires a new double-stack car design with less car weight. However, we suggest that, even with these constraints, adoption in China can be easier than that experienced in the US, since the Chinese can learn from the US in terms of technology and management.

Keywords: double-stack; clearance; China; rail technology; rail infrastructure.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSTM.2000.001575

International Journal of Services Technology and Management, 2000 Vol.1 No.2/3, pp.224-235

Available online: 04 Jul 2003 *

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