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Exercise 35 Translate the word combinations.

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  10. A. Read and translate the text.

A vast area; maintenance of track and track facilities; goods yards and depots; multipurpose system; waiting halls; technical service area; facilities for passengers and railway staff; an important branch of railway engineering; bridges, capable of carrying much greater loads; a fallen tree across a stream; the fastest current journey; bridge of the suspension principle; a world-wide fame; a system of steel cables; a method of erecting the bridge; the width and depth of the gap to be bridged; direct railway routes through mountains; the only way through an obstacle; to be studied afresh; the purpose-built rolling stock; to protect against weather conditions.




(1) Railway construction is a vast complex area comprising building of new structures, modernization, refurbishment, maintenance of track and track facilities, etc. The railway structures we are all familiar with include stations, goods yards, depots, as well as tunnels, bridges, viaducts and other structures.

(2) The designing of a station building in a large city is a very complicated job for civil engineers and architects since these buildings are regarded as part of the city’s public centre. A modern passenger station or a terminal is a huge multipurpose system comprising the terminal building with booking and information offices, waiting halls, luggage rooms and facilities for passengers and railway staff; platforms, technical service area (locomotive and car depots, passenger operation yard, etc).

(3) Bridge construction is a very important branch of railway engineering. In many ways, the story of bridge building is the story of civilization and people’s progress. For hundreds of years men have built bridges over fast rivers, deep ditches or rocky canyons. The development of railways demanded stronger bridges capable of carrying much greater loads than ordinary road bridges.

(4) A bridge consists of spans and supports. Modern bridges are of several types. The simplest and the oldest type of bridge is a beam bridge1, its prototype being a fallen tree across a stream. The most interesting types are a suspension bridge2 and an arch bridge3. A simple bridge of the suspension principle was made by early men by means of ropes suspended from rocks or trees on each bank of the river, and is still used in countries such as Tibet. The first modern suspension bridge to carry railway tracks was designed by John Roebling, who gained a worldwide fame as the builder of the Niagara Falls suspension bridge and New York’s Brooklyn Bridge. According to his plan, two large towers on the Brooklyn and Manhattan sides of the river were to be erected, from which a system of steel cables hung, thus holding the bridge. Today engineers know how to do these things and they have special machines. But for that time it was almost unbelievable. The bridge, opened in 1883, fifteen years after it was begun, became one of the wonders of the nineteenth century. It is still today, carrying more traffic than ever before.

(5) A modern bridge probably demands greater skill from a designer and builder than any other civil engineering project. Many things should be taken into consideration, and they may vary widely according to the local conditions, the type and volume of traffic, the width and depth of the gap to be bridged, the nature of the foundations, building materials and the method of erecting the bridge.

(6) Thousands of miles of world railroads are built in tunnels. Tunnels are engineering structures to provide direct automobile or railway routes through mountains or under water. Tunnelling is an extremely costly, difficult and dangerous job but there are places where a tunnel is the only way through obstacles. The Alps may serve as an example. It was only in 1871 that the Alpine pioneer, Mont Cenis tunnel, 8 miles in length, was opened for traffic, which allowed direct railway connection between France and Italy. In an era of manual labour the excavation and construction of the tunnel was a Herculean task.

(7) A significant progress has been made in tunnel boring since that time. New technologies and boring methods made tunnelling a regular thing in railroad engineering. The Alps, for instance, will soon be almost as full of holes as some of the famous cheeses, which this mountain region produces. The new 88km railway tunnel system on major international trans-Alpian routes is to be completed in 2007.

(8) Probably, the greatest engineering project of our century is the Channel Tunnel linking Britain to France and Belgium. The idea of connecting the Isles of Great Britain to mainland Europe is a fantasy that can be dated nearly 200 years back. In 1988 the question of the Channel Tunnel was studied afresh by a group of French and British engineers and the work actually began. The work proceeded very quickly and was successfully completed in about 6 years. Opened to traffic in 1994, Eurotunnel runs under the sea through a layer of dense chalk. Two main tunnels, with a service tunnel4 between them, carry one-way rail traffic. Cars and trucks carried by rail make crossing in 35min, about an hour less than by ferry. The high-speed Channel Tunnel Rail Link required the construction of the London Tunnel and the Thames tunnel in 2004. The fastest current journey to Paris is 2h 15min, 1h 20min to Lille, 1h 51min to Brussels. Onward connections to Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Cologne (Germany) are being considered.

(9) Another challenging project which took five years to realize is the Tibet railway. This is now the world’s highest railway running at altitudes5 of 4050m above the sea level and with its summit at 5072 m. Building a railway at this altitude presented a number of significant engineering problems, not least6 permafrost, freezing temperatures and lack of oxygen7. In some areas bridges up to 11.7 km in length were constructed. The purpose-built rolling stock incorporates a number of innovative features for high-altitude operations, including oxygen delivery systems and fully hermetic trains like airplanes to protect against extreme weather conditions.

(10) Тоday, modern high-speed railway lines need significantly more tunnelling. This is due to the necessity to keep the lines as straight and as flat as possible to make operating with speeds of 300 to 350 km per hour possible. Derived from the Olympic motto ‘Citious - altius - forties’, developments in tunnelling can be described with the words ‘faster - larger - deeper – longer’.

1 beam bridge – балочний міст

2 arch bridge – арочний міст

3 suspension bridge – підвісний міст

4 service tunnel – службовий тунель

5 altitude – висота

6 not least – особливо

7 oxygen – кисень

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