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That’s the Silk Road Train leaving the station today on its maiden voyage from Britain straight to China pulling thirty containers of British goods. Bit of a misnomer, as this is actually the return trip, but w/e.

That’s 7,500 miles in 18 days. I make that 416 miles a day, for an average of 17 miles an hour. It does stop several places and switch engines, but I don’t think it takes on additional cargo. China already has similar rail services with a dozen other countries along the way.

It’s China’s idea. This is cheaper than moving goods by air and faster than container ships. I’m not sure it will work out — something about the logistics of trains never seems to be economical — but I think it’s neat that they’re trying.

One of the things going to China is whisky. We know someone whose son is a whisky dealer in Hong Kong. They can’t get enough of the stuff. The good stuff, too.

Age of wonders, y’all.


Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: April 10, 2017, 8:39 pm

So where’s the steam? Call that a train?!

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: April 10, 2017, 9:24 pm

Truck load carriers (gypsy truck drivers – irregular route) offer a similar service, door to door, pick up freight where it is, take it directly to where it’s going.

Back in olden times when cartage was highly regulated and all union, local drivers (city drivers) would pick up freight and take it to the ‘terminal’. all the trucks would be unloaded, and reloaded over night (good paying union jobs). Freight going out of town went on the long haul routes and taken to the next terminal, or regional terminal where everything was unloaded, sorted according to destination, and reloaded. This might happen several times before the product reached its destination. This was in the days of Less Than Truck Load (LTL).

Then the trucking industry got deregulated, and the truck load carriers (non union) put the LTL carriers out of business. Lot of good paying union jobs disappeared. Freight rates fell to near starvation levels, and the customers got speedy service and cheap freight rates.

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: April 10, 2017, 9:24 pm

Was Hercule Poirot drinking port in the dining car when the murder(ers) killed Ewen Dungle McDingle, discredited heir to the Glen Glasbey whiskey fortune?

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: April 10, 2017, 9:56 pm

If you break down you’re really in the middle of nowhere. I knew some people who were going on a “silk road tour” It was some pbs connected trip and the trip leader as Ted Rall. What a mess! This was in August 2000 and I told these people it was too dangerous. Most people abandoned in mid trip it was so bad. There were men with guns every where. Tho they ultimately didnt do it, they though it would be cool to visit Afghanistan under the Taliban. That is how nuts these people were.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: April 11, 2017, 2:27 am

Stoaty—you need to see if you can find this movie for Uncle Badger: The Long Summer of George Adams. It’s a charming, bittersweet story about a railroad steam locomotive expert who knows steam is on the way out. It was a TV movie in the early 80s.

Perhaps I mentioned previously that Jim Garner was my one and only Hollywood crush. Anyway, Badger will appreciate this movie.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 11, 2017, 7:19 am

Ric Fan — holy crap, Ted Rall! What an unpleasant piece of work. Many years ago, a friend of mine got into an ugly email slap-fight with him. Good on him for answering his emails, I guess…but to get into a prolonged argument with a stranger over nothin’…

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: April 11, 2017, 3:46 pm

Ted Rall is always fighting and suing people. Worse cartoonist, evah! Really nasty person.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: April 11, 2017, 7:03 pm

Rall is especially irksome because he has a very effective in-your-face way of making his points, and his points all suck.

Although I must grudgingly admit he did some good work many years ago for Reason magazine.

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