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  #31  
Old 4 Oct 2011
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Assuming you can get your car up and down the railway embankments, would you be allowed to cross the bridge in a slow car? A little bike can get across very quickly and if a "freight train a comin' " also get out of the way pdq.

Can a car fit across the Vitim Bridge?

Chris
Chris, watch the video answer to all your questions.

A spotter and a 2 way radio will go a long way to keeping eyes peeled. Freight trains tend to travel quite slow (by comparison) so its not as dangerous as it could otherwise be.

Either way, we will give it a try, see what happens. I think I need to pick up some waders on the way though!

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  #32  
Old 4 Oct 2011
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Assuming you can get your car up and down the railway embankments, would you be allowed to cross the bridge in a slow car? A little bike can get across very quickly and if a "freight train a comin' " also get out of the way pdq.

Can a car fit across the Vitim Bridge?

Chris
Railway bridges are definitely going to be a bigger risk for a car than for a bike. But it does get done. The 2 Polish 4WDs did the western BAM in 2009.

As for cars crossing the vitim, yes they can.... its a bit less clearance, but possible. Its even possible in trucks ... see this video:

http://youtu.be/AHtzBt-fOAM
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  #33  
Old 4 Oct 2011
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Just watched the video at campusadventureteam's Channel - YouTube Good fun...

Any idea where on about 9 minutes to 12 minutes(ish) the car ended on the truck and the truck got stuck is? Looked like fun. Are there any bits on the western BAM where you might need to truck a bike?

Vitim River 2011 on Vimeo Nice in warm and dry weather and no wind, but...

Definitely need to get a HD helmetcam.

Chris
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  #34  
Old 4 Oct 2011
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Correct - back to Tomtor

Yes, there was no way I was going to miss the road to Tomtor having gone all that way so we drove round to Susuman west to Tomtor and then back to Susuman!

Quote:
Originally Posted by motoreiter View Post
I think Walter rode it with Sherri Jo and Tony (the year before), but Tony or Walter would need to confirm. Not sure about Dan and Ed, although Walter did mention a couple of Brits that could not cross at Kyubeme, but that rode to Tomtor from the eastern end of the road, maybe it was them.

I think there were also some other groups/individuals that did it in 2010 and 2009, but Walter would be the best to ask.

In Yakustk I met an Aussie 4x4 couple that did the OSR in their truck, I am trying to find a link to their site, they showed some some pretty cool video showing road conditions.

I have not spoken with the Russians in detail, but apparently they only had problems with the water level at the beginning and the end (they hired a truck to get across at Kyubeme), but also that it should not be done alone, or maybe even in a pair (there were five of them), because of the sheer number of water crossings and bogs where you could get stuck. I should also mention that these guys are pretty hard core, and that it took them I think 4-5 days to do the OSR, including a maintainance day in Tomtor.
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  #35  
Old 4 Oct 2011
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Originally Posted by chris View Post
Any idea where on about 9 minutes to 12 minutes(ish) the car ended on the truck and the truck got stuck is?

Are there any bits on the western BAM where you might need to truck a bike?
I've not looked at it recently but from memory of seeing it some time ago I think it was the river Kuanda - a little east of the Vitim Bridge. We crossed the river on the rail bridge after very lengthy (and expensive) negotiations with the guard and the boss for the area.

No need for trucks if you negotiate and get permission at manned rail bridges. The guards appeared to be more signalmen than full security men. Unmanned ones we just went across.
On the BAM east half many are are guarded my armed military which make them "No-No s" unless you are on a train. So we always had to find a way - sometimes on the back of a truck, but they are rare things. Sometimes we went for 2 days without seeing a single vehicle or person other than the nearby trains.
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  #36  
Old 4 Oct 2011
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Originally Posted by Griffdowg View Post
T

Im mostly concerned with the bridges but more so the flow of the rivers. Depth isn't usually the problem, rate of flow is! I dont have much experience of fast flowing rivers so that TBH is what scares me most.
I dont think the rivers will be a problem for you on the western BAM in a 4WD. On the bigger rivers, the track just leads to the railway bridge

But I think you may be underestimating the railway bridges. Freight trains thunder along there at 50 mph and can come from any direction at any time. The railway is rarely straight and the trains will not have time to stop once they see you. Some of the railway bridges are up to 400 yards long and you wont be able to get out of first gear crossing them. Even for a 150 yard bridge that might take 2 minutes to cross including getting on and off the tracks, You will need to send spotters with 2 ways at least 2 miles either side of the bridge to guarantee you had time to cross.

I can vouch from personal experience that subject to terrain, you often cant see or hear them coming around bends until they are 200 odd yards away.

2 of the railway bridges on the western BAM that have signalmen that can help you cross (once you have paid the toll) and ensure you have a train free crossing, are the Kuanda River and the Olyokma River.

Its definitely feasible in a car as the Polish guys showed, but there is a fair bit more risk involved in crossing the BAM railway bridges in a car that I dont see present in the Senegal video. The trains are huge and will not be able to stop for you. If you have a mechanical issue or you put a wheel astray on the bridge when crossing such that it jams or falls off the sleeper platform then the best case scenario is probably that the car gets smashed to pieces.

Other people to contact would be Vaino Laisaar ... who has an Estonian TV show called Motors24 ... I believe they went this summer with 3 4WDs at least as far as Chara ... maybe further. Not too many railway bridges before CHara ... but more after there. Pics below





They look like they made a lot of effort re filming.
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  #37  
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I've not looked at it recently but from memory of seeing it some time ago I think it was the river Kuanda - a little east of the Vitim Bridge. We crossed the river on the rail bridge after very lengthy (and expensive) negotiations with the guard and the boss for the area.

No need for trucks if you negotiate and get permission at manned rail bridges. The guards appeared to be more signalmen than full security men. Unmanned ones we just went across.
On the BAM east half many are are guarded my armed military which make them "No-No s" unless you are on a train. So we always had to find a way - sometimes on the back of a truck, but they are rare things. Sometimes we went for 2 days without seeing a single vehicle or person other than the nearby trains.
Yes the polish car on the truck that got stuck was at the Kuanda river. I cant remember if the Poles were denied permission to use the railway bridge that day or if they just wanted to try an alternative ... but it ended up taking them all day to cross the Kuanda.

And Chris, I can confirm there is no need for trucks on the Western BAM. All our truck action was on the Eastern BAM
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  #38  
Old 4 Oct 2011
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But I think you may be underestimating the railway bridges.
I can vouch from personal experience that subject to terrain, you often cant see or hear them coming around bends until they are 200 odd yards away.

2 of the railway bridges on the western BAM that have signalmen that can help you cross (once you have paid the toll) and ensure you have a train free crossing, are the Kuanda River and the Olyokma River.

Its definitely feasible in a car as the Polish guys showed, but there is a fair bit more risk involved in crossing the BAM railway bridges in a car that I dont see present in the Senegal video. Trains will not be able to stop for you. If you have a mechanical issue or you put a wheel astray on the bridge when crossing such that it jams or falls off the sleeper platform then the best case scenario is probably that the car gets smashed to pieces.
Sorry if it came across as such. I meant as a physical obstacle for a 4wd over logistically.

The crossing in Senegal was twice as long as the video. I had to concerntrate as a spotter/passenger so stopped filming. its the only way to cross within approx 500km.

As a company we do a fair bit of railway work here in the UK, at night with the high speed passenger trains. I would not rely on sound at all. Spotters will be the only way along with carefull planning and a dynamic risk assemssment. Less trains at night? an option worth exploring.

Thanks for the info Walter

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  #39  
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Originally Posted by Griffdowg View Post
. Less trains at night? an option worth exploring.


G
I wouldnt think so ... Its a 4300 km long railway ... probably a 3-4 days to cover the whole length. So I dont think there will be any bias re daytime / nighttime. They will be running round the clock, even the passenger trains.

I think for a car, on the railway bridges, there will always be a degree of gut wrenching and sphincter tightening when you are on the bridge ... simply cause there is no escape. No where to run to. With the bike you always know you can throw yourself and the bike against the side railing and you will be OK. With a car, you need a different level of courage

I know if it were me driving across one of the bigger rail bridges there, I would be doing it with all passengers out, and the drivers door open.

Bon chance!

(and take lots of video)
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  #40  
Old 5 Oct 2011
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I wouldnt think so ... Its a 4300 km long railway ... probably a 3-4 days to cover the whole length. So I dont think there will be any bias re daytime / nighttime. They will be running round the clock, even the passenger trains.

I think for a car, on the railway bridges, there will always be a degree of gut wrenching and sphincter tightening when you are on the bridge ... simply cause there is no escape. No where to run to. With the bike you always know you can throw yourself and the bike against the side railing and you will be OK. With a car, you need a different level of courage

I know if it were me driving across one of the bigger rail bridges there, I would be doing it with all passengers out, and the drivers door open.

Bon chance!

(and take lots of video)
Yes I will send the girlfriend out ~3 miles down the line and on the radio or to within the radio limits. With an estimated speed of 40mph for the train I should be able to work out the warning time needed. Paceing out the bridge I should know how long it takes to cross the bridge to safety +20%

I take it with trains running both ways that there are 2 lines? I should only need to straddle 1 track therefore limiting the need to look both ways, so to speak.

Suck it and see. Yes plenty of video dont worry

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  #41  
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I take it with trains running both ways that there are 2 lines? I should only need to straddle 1 track therefore limiting the need to look both ways, so to speak.
It's single track from somewhere near Sevrobaikalsk. How they regulate it I am not sure. We saw a signal controller who phoned others.
Stations and other stopping points have a 'lay-by' track for passing and overtaking.
There are occasional green and red signal lights which will suggest which way the next train might come from.

There is not enough space between the girder work of the rail bridge structure and the train width for even a bike so you will probably have to straddle both rails.

We tested train width to rail position by sticking sticks in the ground and seeing which ones got knocked over! They slightly overhang the sleepers.

And they seem to run irrespective of day or night. We slept alongside the track (and once under) enough times to know that.
But then, some slept more soundly than others. I was awake a lot, listening to the rats scurrying around!!
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  #42  
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yes both directions on a single track. We made the mistake of thinking that once a train goes (as it is single track) we had a window of opportunity and could go. That was a mistake for several reasons.

(1) sometimes a single train goes in one direction. But sometimes a train goes, you are preparing to ride over the bridge, and 3-4 mins later, a second train comes from the same direction. Sometimes a third 5 mins later again. .... But sometimes not. You cant know how many trains have been "bracketed" in a directional convoy.

(2) passing sidings seem to be spaced about 20 miles apart, but sometimes as little as 10. If you dont know the distance to the next siding in front of you, you dont know how soon after a train has passed that another can come from the opposite direction.
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  #43  
Old 6 Oct 2011
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Here is a link to the blog of Jon, the Aussie I met in Yakutsk. He showed me some pretty good videos of crossing through the bogs on the OSR, hopefully he's posted the videos or at least some stills on his blog:
Travel Blog: Threeinatruck in Russia and Mongolia

I expect that his blog would be particularly interesting to any 4x4 guys looking to go to Vladi/Magadan next year.
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  #44  
Old 6 Oct 2011
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Here is a link to the blog of Jon, the Aussie I met in Yakutsk. He showed me some pretty good videos of crossing through the bogs on the OSR, hopefully he's posted the videos or at least some stills on his blog:
Travel Blog: Threeinatruck in Russia and Mongolia

I expect that his blog would be particularly interesting to any 4x4 guys looking to go to Vladi/Magadan next year.
Hi Tom
Many thanks for that great link.

When we were talking recently you suggested I consider bringing my bike in across a land border into Russia from western Europe and then freighting/train-ing it from Moscow to Irkutsk. Because of my tight timeline (limited summer holidays: “only 6 weeks”) I’m considering spending summer 2012 in eastern Siberia, then parking bike in UB and riding summer 2013 in Mongolia before freighting it home with Landbridge from UB to Germany.

This would solve my problem of stupid ATA carnet requirements to get a vehicle through inbound-customs at UB. (Outbound at UB is no problem and in/out at a Russia/Mongolia land border in easy as well).

Some Dutch friends put their dirtbikes on the train from Moscow to Irkutsk this summer. I’ll have to find out from them how they did it.

Anyone want to share costs of driving my van with 2 bikes (yours and mine) in the back from the UK to Moscow?

Cheers
Chris
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I shipped via truck from Moscow to Irkutsk this summer for about $600. In general it was pretty easy, but I think train would be cheaper so I may look at that next year (or maybe not, because the truck thing was easy enough where I'm not sure I want to try new shipping adventures).
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