AP: Transport Geography Notes on Rail, Road and Airways

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Transport Geography and Graph Theory


Highways in Germany, called Autobahns.

  • Some other European countries like Belgium, France, Italy and Britain have also constructed major highway networks known by various names like Auto routes (France) , Autos trade (Italy) and Motorways (England) . -Road network in USA are known as Highways.
  • Tourism has been facilitated by the construction of good, long distance roads in many countries e. g. in South America Pan American highway, and the Brasilia Belem road connects the south to the Amazon.

Rail Transport

  • The first ever public railway was started between Stockton and Darlington in northern England in 1825.
  • Gauges are used in rail construction according to the topography, the alignment of the track and the speed of the travel.
  • On level ground surfaces Broad Gauge (1.51. 7 m) is used e. g. Trans Siberian Railway.
  • Narrow Gauge (1 m) is mainly used in hilly areas where there are many sharp curves to deal with e. g. in SE Asia and many parts of Africa.
  • The Standard Gauge (1.4 m) is adopted over the greater part of the globe because it is the most efficient for all purposes.
  • The fastest and the heaviest trains of the world are all found on the Standard Gauge e. g. in the USA, Canada, China, Middle East and most of Europe.
  • Trans Siberian Railway which runs from St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad) and Moscow in the west to Vladivostok in the east is the most important railway in Asia. The Trans Siberian Railway has its connections with Odessa in Ukraine, Baku in Caucasus, Tashkent in Uzbekistan, Ulan Bator in Mongolia, Shenyang in Manchuria and Beijing in China.
  • ln Japan the Railway network is very good but still railways are not financially prosperous, because commuter trains are only used in rush hours and run empty during much of the day.
  • In Thailand due to lack of high standard road network the railways are an efficient form of passenger transport, whereas in Malaysia, where conditions of roads are good, taxies, buses and Lorries provide cheaper and much faster transport and more direct communications have greatly reduced the profits of railways.
  • The only Trans continental railway in South America is one which links Buenos Aires (Argentina) with Valparaiso (Chile) through the Uspallata Pass across the Andes.
  • Australian Trans Continental Railway from Freemantle (near Perth) to Sydney, passing through Kargoorlie, Adelaide, Melbourne and Canberra
  • The Canadian Pacific Railway runs from Vancouver (British Columbia) to St. John՚s (New Brunswick) on the Atlantic coast.
  • The Canada National Railway runs from Vancouver to Halifax in Nova Scotia.
  • Benguela railway which runs through Angola to the Katanga Zambia copper belt and the Tanzara railway from Zambia copper belt to the sea at Dare- salaam are important railway routes in Africa.
  • The densest railway network in Africa is in South Africa because of the mining of gold, copper and diamonds.
  • In Europe the greatest railway densities are found in the industrial regions of the Western Europe. Belgium has the greatest railway density in Europe.
  • In North America the greatest railway density is found in the east central USA and southern Canada, south of the great Lakes, and on the Atlantic sea board where most of the main cities are linked by rails.

Water Transport

  • Water transport has its edge over other modes of transport on two fronts. First, that it uses existing routes e. g. rivers, seas, and needs no special tracks except in the case of canals and secondly that it is the cheapest form of transport for large, bulky goods.

Inland Waterways

  • Inland waters are basically of three types, namely rivers, rivers which have been modified or canalised, and specially constructed canals.
  • Rivers like Ob, Yenisey, Lena, Mackenzie have their courses through empty and inhospitable lands into the frozen Arctic Ocean due to which these rivers despite of their great length and volume have little economic significance.
  • Rivers in Japan, Indonesia, Korea, Philippines and New Zealand are of little navigational value because of the narrowness of the countries or smallness of the island.

The Paraguay River which is an important route way for. Landlocked Paraguay is very difficult to navigate because of much silting and frequent shifting of channel՚s position.

  • The importance of canals in inland waterways can be noticed in regions of northern Europe, where together with modified rivers they form a very extensive network linking all the major industrial areas and providing a cheap form of transport for raw materials such as ores, coal and grains.
  • Some important canals: France Canal , Burgandy Canal, Marne and Rhine Canal, and Rhone and Rhine Canal. Germany Mittelland Canal, Kiel Canal (between Baltic Sea and the North Sea) , Dortmund Ems Canal, Ludwig Canal. The Netherlands Albert Canal, North America Soo Canal (between Lake Superior and Lake Huron) , Welland Canal (between Lake Erie and Ontario) , Erie Canal and Houston ship Canal.

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