Joe Hendren

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

OEs in the future

With the price of oil continuing to climb, it could well become too expensive to travel to Europe for the big OE.

At least by plane.

Thus I was interested in this story in the Jakata Post about the proposed Trans-Asian Railway (TAR). A train ride all the way from Singapore to Glasgow! Less jet fuel burned into the atmosphere would have environmental benefits, and there would be more interesting scenery than clouds on the way.

"Covering a distance of almost 81,000 kilometers in 26 countries, the line would consist of a northern corridor connecting Europe and the Korean Peninsula through China and Kazakhstan, and a southern corridor linking Thailand with Turkey through countries like Myanmar and India."

For many Kiwis and Aussies, Singapore is a regular halfway point on the long haul flight to London. So could we see environmentally conscious Kiwis and Aussies flying to Singapore to get the train?

In reality I suspect it would be something people might do once in their lives. As for myself, I have always wanted to travel the Trans-Siberian, so taking the train from Singapore seems like a natural extension.

Update: Unfortunately the Jakata Post website does not seem to understand the concept of permalinks and why they are a good idea. I have fixed the link - but I don't know how long it will stay current.

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At 11:05 am, Blogger Rich said...

Can't you do that already? I guess the only missing part would be a train link from Thailand into China, then you're on your way!

At 11:18 pm, Blogger Joe Hendren said...

Apparently there is also a gap between Bandar Lampung and the nearest port on the Malay Peninsula.

While you could well be right that it is nearly possible to do the trip now, the state of some of the tracks and the difference in gauges between countries could make for a slow trip - so I would imagine that is what they are working on improving.

And the lines going from the Mid East to Europe and Asia would allow more oil to be transported by rail - this is of far less danger to the environment than the supertankers.

At 11:23 am, Blogger Rich said...

Yes, I think the planned railway will run through Sumatra, Burma and then India, Pakistan and Iran - rather than up through China and across the Trans-Siberian.

I found some details on how to do the trip today, BTW:
- there is a (very comfortable) through rail service from Singapore to Bangkok.
- details on how to make it by train, bus and tri-shaw from Bangkok-Saigon are given here
- You can get trains from Saigon to Beijing and then pick up the Trans-Siberian to Moscow
- The Russian-European network will then swiftly take you all the way to SE England, where things go back to third-world for the last 50km or so into London.

Good point on oil, though an extended pipeline might be even better!

At 1:18 am, Blogger Joe Hendren said...

Cool - sounds like you have it all mapped out. When do you want to go? :)

Yeah the trains in SE England are like going back to the third world - something about lack of investment following privatisation perhaps?


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