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Old December 13th, 2013, 09:50 PM   #2201
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But do we really want this "sub-market" to choose for train travel? Aiming for this market by the airlines has made air travel a very unpleasant experience lately.
Why? What's wrong with them?
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Old December 15th, 2013, 02:11 AM   #2202
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NEWS

According to some inner Renfe and Sncf sources, from March 31 there are reservations made for the following paths in France (and Switzerland):

-4 paths Perpignan-Paris (Gare de Lyon)
-2 paths Perpignan-Lyon (Part Dieu)
-1 path Perpignan-Geneva (Cornavin)
-2 paths Perpignan-Toulouse (Matabiau)
-2 paths Perpignan-Marseille (St Charles)

It is still not clear that all of these paths will be used. The Geneva paths could be postponed again until the end of the reelectrification Works in the section Bellegarde-Geneva.

The paths to Toulouse and Marseille would be coupled between Perpignan and Barcelona or Madrid. They may include stops at Camp de Tarragona and/or Zaragoza-Delicias (or maybe not, it´s unclear).
The path to Geneva would be identical to a path to Lyon, but adding a stop at Bellegarde and another at Geneva (Cornavin).
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Old December 15th, 2013, 08:35 PM   #2203
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TODAY AT LAST!!!



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Originally Posted by Reivajar View Post
image hosted on flickr

Renfe S100-20, Lyon-Part-Dieu - Barcelona-Sants at Baillargues (with the usual Languedocian 30 minutes delay... )

image hosted on flickr

SNCF TGV Dasye, Barcelona-Sants - Paris-Gare de Lyon at the spectacular Llinars del Vallès viaduct.
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Old December 17th, 2013, 04:21 AM   #2204
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EU triples funding for rail innovation



The European Commission today adopted "Shift2Rail", a new public-private partnership to invest just under €1 billion in research and innovation to get more passengers and freight onto Europe's railways. Rail is amongst the most efficient and climate-friendly forms of transport, but currently it only carries about only 10% of European cargo and 6% of passengers each year.

The European Commission Vice President Siim Kallas responsible for Transport said,

"If we want to get more passengers and freight on Europe's railways, then rail needs provide better services and offer an attractive choice to more customers. For that to happen, rail needs to innovate. This public private partnership is a major breakthrough, it will drive innovation to reduce the costs of rail services, increase capacity and provide more reliable, frequent rail services for customers."

Commissioner for Research Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: "This investment will allow for a major industrial effort, combining public and private funding from throughout the whole rail sector, to develop strategic technologies and solutions that will help to strengthen the competitiveness of European businesses and retain Europe's leadership in the global rail market. This is a perfect demonstration of the leverage effect of the EU budget for growth and jobs."

Shift to Rail

"Shift2Rail" is an ambitious public-private partnership which will manage a 7-year work programme of targeted research and innovation to support the development of better rail services in Europe. It will develop and accelerate the bringing to market of technological breakthroughs.

With "Shift2Rail", the Commission is more than tripling its financing for rail research and innovation to €450 million (2014-2020) compared to €155 for the previous period. This will be matched by €470 from the rail industry. The net gains of this long term collaborative approach will give a very substantial boost to innovation in the rail industry, compared to previous co-funding of individual projects.

Shift2Rail aims to deliver: a reduction, by up to 50%, in the life-cycle cost of railway transport (i.e. costs of building, operating, maintaining and renewing infrastructure and rolling stock); an overall increase in capacity of up to 100%; and an overall increase in reliability of up to 50% in the different rail market segments.

The research and innovation will focus on five key areas:
  • To improve the quality of services , it will focus on developing a new generation of high capacity trains which are cost-efficient and reliable;
  • To increase capacity and get more trains running on the same lines – it will develop better intelligent traffic management and control systems;
  • To provide reliable, high quality, infrastructure, including reducing track noise, cutting costs and developing intelligent maintenance
  • To provide integrated ticketing and journey planners – it will develop innovative IT solutions and services;
  • To allow rail to compete effectively in more markets, it will develop better logistics and inter-modal freight solutions, so rail can connect better with other forms of transport.

The establishment of a rail joint undertaking – a public-private partnership called Shift2Rail – will enable the pooling of public and private resources to focus on research activities critical to delivering the Single European Railway Area and to supporting the competitiveness of the rail sector as a whole, creating jobs and boosting exports. The project will involve virtually all of Europe’s rail industry suppliers, including innovative small and medium enterprises, to accelerate the development of new technologies and bring them to the market. It will also involve rail operators and infrastructure managers in order to ensure that research activities are aligned to market needs. To date, rail equipment manufacturers Alstom, Ansaldo STS, Bombardier, Siemens, Thales and CAF, as well as infrastructure managers Trafikverket and Network Rail, have already confirmed that they will each make a contribution of at least €30 million to the Shift2Rail initiative (total €270 million).

Background

Europe is facing major challenges in terms of rising congestion, increasing traffic demand and the need to build sustainable transport connections to fuel economic growth.

Yet, despite positive developments in some markets, rail is stagnating or declining in many EU Member States. The modal share of passenger rail in intra-EU transport has on average remained more or less constant since 2000, at around 6%, whereas the modal share of rail freight has decreased from 11.5% to 10.2%.

Faced with this reality, the European Commission has responded on three fronts:

1. With a major package of measures to restructure the rail market in Europe (4th railway package) LINK 4th rail IP

2. Tripling investment in European infrastructure from the current 8 billion to 26 billion 2014-2020. Over 80% of this will be spent to rail. LINK TEN-T/CEF (New EU infrastructure policy)

3. Tripling of investment in rail research and innovation, notably under the new Shift to Rail programme.
http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-1250_en.htm
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Old December 17th, 2013, 12:36 PM   #2205
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While they might have good intentions, I think they are proposing the wrong fix for the problem.

You'd need entire new rail networks + breakthrough (personal rapid transit?) last-mile solution to see a major shift on passenger traffic from road to rail.

As for freight, there could me more rail freight, at expense of passenger trains, though.
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Old December 17th, 2013, 02:32 PM   #2206
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Europe's night trains hit the buffers

The demise of the Paris-Madrid overnight service is a symptom of a wider malaise, says Brian Melican

Europe's night trains hit the buffers
Cross-border overnight services are in decline throughout Europe, owing to EU-imposed access fees and competition from airlines Photo: ALAMY

By Brian Melican

12:15PM GMT 13 Dec 2013

Some may think that the first through train between Madrid and Paris, inaugurated in 1969 using ground-breaking Talgo train technology to switch between standard and Iberian gauges, deserves a classier send-off. Aside from anything else, it was a diplomatic masterpiece, given the strained relationship between left-leaning France and Franco’s fascist Spain. Yet t oday the last direct train between the two capitals will set off from Paris Austerlitz at 19:45, rolling into Madrid Chamartín at a little past 9am tomorrow , without so much as an official announcement. This is how the Talgo ends: not with a proud press release, but with whimpered confirmation three days before its last journey.

For fans of the units’ en-suite sleeper cabins and nifty gauge-swapping axles, it is a familiar story: the night trains linking Zurich and Milan with Barcelona disappeared earlier this year; now it’s the turn of the trains from Paris to Barcelona and Madrid. SNCF stresses that this is by no means the end of rail services southwards: in fact, as of this weekend, Paris will be little more than six hours away from Barcelona by rail.

Yet for those of us who enjoyed both the genteel and practical sides of travelling overnight, the new high-speed services using French TGVs and Spanish AVEs, while numerous, are little consolation: rather than spending eight of the 11 hours it took the Talgo to get from Paris to Barcelona asleep and having a full day in both cities, we’ll be awake for most of the daytime journey, wishing we were already there.

There is an inexorable logic to the disappearance of night trains. The y are costly to run (instead of 80 seats, a sleeper carriage offers only 30 beds); they are limited to one trip every 24 hours; and numerous staff need to be paid for long, unsocial shifts (the Talgos even had a very talented on-board chef).

Low-cost airlines have taken a chunk out of the market, too. Add to this prohibitive access fees for international services in Europe, and the future looks dark, as Mark Smith, who runs the award-winning rail website Seat61.com, explains: “The EU tried to create a market for cross-border services, but by setting access fees artificially high it killed off a whole range of trains – especially sleepers, whose costs make them vulnerable.”

Smith cites the Berlin-Kiev Kashtan sleeper, defunct since 2010, and “Europe’s most exotic train”, the Berlin-to-Siberia service, also to be withdrawn this Saturday: “The Sibirjak ran once weekly. Now it’s gone and there’s no more revenue from it: it’s a lose-lose situation.”

It would seem that the safest night trains are domestic ones such as the spectacular Milan-Palermo sleeper, for example, or the booming London-Penzance and Scotland services, which benefit from national subsidies and immunity from the political conflicts that pose perhaps the greatest challenge of all to cross-border trains.

With France resolutely refusing to open its network to competition, other national operators such as the Italian Trenitalia and Spanish Renfe are wary of cooperating: “The fact that the demise of Talgo wasn’t the end of direct Franco-Spanish services entirely is surprising. It must have gone right to the top,” Smith suggests. A diplomatic masterpiece, then. Plus ça change…
Source http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/jo...uffers.html?fb

I agree with the article. Who likes taking the TGV for more than three, four hours? A cramped seat in an open saloon with someone's back in front of you, no decent food, ... Five years ago, from Brussels we had TGV's to Bordeaux, Toulouse, Perpignan, Nice, Geneva. All but one "Nice" and a few "Lyon / Marseille" have disapeared since, because nobody likes to take this kind of train for longer than four hours... I wonder if this Paris - Barcelona will be a succes, I doubt it!
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Old December 17th, 2013, 02:46 PM   #2207
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I wonder if this Paris - Barcelona will be a succes, I doubt it!
I can understand the affection for night trains, but day services such as the new Paris-Barcelona service you refer will be extremely popular and I don't think most people will mind at all the many hours spent sitting in a seat while France and Spain flash by their windows.
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Old December 17th, 2013, 03:06 PM   #2208
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I can understand the affection for night trains, but day services such as the new Paris-Barcelona service you refer will be extremely popular
Do you have a crystal ball? If Brussels - France isn't popular and services are getting rarer every year, why would Barcelona - Paris be different? Between Perpi and Avignon the trains don't even have a HSL, on the Brussels route it's 300km/h all the way...
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Old December 17th, 2013, 03:21 PM   #2209
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Virtually now the trip between Madrid and Paris by trains does not exist even if the new high speed services provide new destinations.

Anyway, the question for the nigh train services from Spain would be the cost of a trenhotel, which is closer to a luxury train than a regular and conventional night train. Probably the trenhotel concept should be reformulated.
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Old December 17th, 2013, 03:27 PM   #2210
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Just because you have to make a transfer in Lille or Lyon doesn't mean Belgium has poor access to Southern France destinations

As for night trains, their demise owes much to cheap air travel, faster day-time services (which are much cheaper to provide than sleepers) than with any EU-conspiracy to raise costs. EU didn't mandate any high access fees, it just mandated that fees are homogeneously charged for any train operator for a given track sector on basis of some objective criteria.

Even domestic night trains in countries that used to have lots of them are disappearing. Italy (whose geography favored these things in the past) has less than 15% of night trains once available 25 years ago. What is the point of taking a 8-hour slow journey between Milano Centrale and Roma Termini when a flash high-speed trains do the same as fast as 2h55min? Night trains between Italy and Switzerland also disappeared for good.

New TGV lines make day-time travel in France a much better proposition than nigh-trains. Even more so in Spain...

Beligum has no longer night trains serving the country.

The economics of night trains are challenging:

- seats (which are cheap to provide) are uncomfortable for night-long travelling, but they are cheap. This extreme of the market faces competition from long-distance bus operators which often provide for cheaper travel than night trains' seats

- couchettes involve spending the night close to strangers on a closed compartment, something that has become less popular (as have hotels with shared bathrooms for instance)

- sleepers with en-suite facilities might be comfortable enough for some to play the "replaces a night on a hotel" gimmick, but they use a lot of space, which makes their operation expensive

The major thing EU did that killed many night trains was the liberalization of intra-EU air travel market.
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Old December 17th, 2013, 05:05 PM   #2211
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Just because you have to make a transfer in Lille or Lyon doesn't mean Belgium has poor access to Southern France destinations

As for night trains, their demise owes much to cheap air travel, faster day-time services (which are much cheaper to provide than sleepers) than with any EU-conspiracy to raise costs. EU didn't mandate any high access fees, it just mandated that fees are homogeneously charged for any train operator for a given track sector on basis of some objective criteria.

Even domestic night trains in countries that used to have lots of them are disappearing. Italy (whose geography favored these things in the past) has less than 15% of night trains once available 25 years ago. What is the point of taking a 8-hour slow journey between Milano Centrale and Roma Termini when a flash high-speed trains do the same as fast as 2h55min? Night trains between Italy and Switzerland also disappeared for good.

New TGV lines make day-time travel in France a much better proposition than nigh-trains. Even more so in Spain...

Beligum has no longer night trains serving the country.

The economics of night trains are challenging:

- seats (which are cheap to provide) are uncomfortable for night-long travelling, but they are cheap. This extreme of the market faces competition from long-distance bus operators which often provide for cheaper travel than night trains' seats

- couchettes involve spending the night close to strangers on a closed compartment, something that has become less popular (as have hotels with shared bathrooms for instance)

- sleepers with en-suite facilities might be comfortable enough for some to play the "replaces a night on a hotel" gimmick, but they use a lot of space, which makes their operation expensive

The major thing EU did that killed many night trains was the liberalization of intra-EU air travel market.
I am very much in favor of TGV's (I use them weekly), but not over distances that take more then four hours. And you think Lille is a good transfer? Have you ever changed in Lille? The new station is of a dreadful design, and often you have to change stations, from the old to the new, across the giant draughty concrete square or take the cramped mini-metro for one stop. And half of the trains Brussels - Lille are Eurostars, for wich you have to be in the station an hour early and pass customs with personel that doesn't speak any of the Belgian languages. No, I do not think this is a good relation.

In Italy the people who still take the Milano - Roma night trains are the ones who can't afford a Freccia Rossa ticket. For me these night trains can be stopped provided that they cut prices of the high-speed trains. They obviously carry three times as much passangers as a night train and they don't have a third of the staff, so why are they so expensive? I do take the night train when going to Sicily (or to Taranto or Reggio di calabria if I would want to go there). What benefit is a Freccia Rossa for those who work in the north and live in the south? A higher cost and a day lost...

The thing that killed the night trains is the EU, is the split of infrastructure and exploitation and indeed the high costs for the sleepers as well as the liberalisation of the air market. For the latter, local governements subsidize the airports on wich low-cost airlines land and national one's give them tax cuts.

Last edited by tauernexpress; December 17th, 2013 at 05:07 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old December 17th, 2013, 05:48 PM   #2212
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The slipt between infrastructure and operation didn't raise any cost, it just made costs more transparent and prevented cross-subsidization going unnoticed (for instance, it makes governments still spend money subsidizing regional rail transport, but it is done on a transparent manner, with a specific sticker prices, instead of being charged for longer-distance passengers who would have not been able to fly domestically).

I reject the idea that high-speed travel in Italy is expensive. It isn't, if you plan in advance and avoid some peak times you can travel rather cheaply, especially on routes with Italo competition). The low cost night train you mention is a non-air conditioned 2nd class seating service, using rolling stock from the mid-1970s.

The constituencies that are said to be affected by higher prices of last-minute tickets are often those who can plan around in advance like retirees, students going for holidays etc.

Quote:
They obviously carry three times as much passangers as a night train and they don't have a third of the staff, so why are they so expensive?
Because that is what the travel market will pay for them, simple as that. This is also the reason why high-speed train travel between cities with air service is usually less expensive than city pairs without air services (hence, for instance, the fact you can often travel Amsterdam - Paris Nord on a ticket that is just marginally more expensive, and sometimes cheaper, than Amsterdam - Bruxelles Midi).
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Old December 17th, 2013, 06:26 PM   #2213
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I reject the idea that high-speed travel in Italy is expensive. It isn't, if you plan in advance and avoid some peak times you can travel rather cheaply, especially on routes with Italo competition). The low cost night train you mention is a non-air conditioned 2nd class seating service, using rolling stock from the mid-1970s.

The constituencies that are said to be affected by higher prices of last-minute tickets are often those who can plan around in advance like retirees, students going for holidays etc.
I know these trains, thank you. Also, I don't think you can decide for someone else wether or not they can book in advance or not (many parameters influence this: the weather for one, uneforeseen events like accidents, or unforeseen holidays).

The split increased significantly the personel in the offices for one thing and creates many kafka-like situations all over Europe.

Even if you do think the split up of infrastructure from train service is a good thing, I don't understand why international trains can't be subsidised, while local trains can. For one, EU could draw a scheme of minimal services of long-distance trains, like most country's do for the local trains. I don't see why local trains are so different from long-distance one's.

The choice for the EU to take is to have either a railway that is focused on the public service like in the past, with afforable trains and local goods trains that take lorry's off the roads, or an american-style railroad, with only long distance goods trains and subsidised local trains. They have chosen for the latter, as the EU often chooses for the big money.
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Old December 17th, 2013, 07:18 PM   #2214
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The idea or bringing back milk-run cargo trains is economically insane. Transshipment costs and containerization of production make such things extremely unprofitable and money-losing. There is a place and a market for freight trains, and European freight operators are doing fine. That market isn't substitution for fraction-container loads, nor boxcars.

You also ignores that before separation of infrastructure and operations it was impossible for companies like DB Schenker to operate efficient services across Europe, as they were constrained by each national state-owned railroad.

You could also never have something like Italo before separation of infrastructure and operations. It would never happen.

American-style 2000m-long freight trains are unlikely to be used in Europe because there is no transcontinental route that justifies its existence. There is just too close of a coastline to make such operations rational in Europe. Freight trains in Europe are the domain of fast-ish mostly electric trains. We also don't have massive mineral extraction that needs to be hauled 3000km away for production facilities.

I think EU is doing the right job: establishing a framework, working to harmonize things that are harmonizable and don't getting into the business of interfering with micromanagement of services. EU alreayd dodged a bullet when some people wanted more detailed regulation of air routes.

International transportation has always been regarded as something less essential. For instance, national governments can subsidize domestic flights (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Portugal, Spain and Italy do that regarding flights to islands), but it is not allowed to set up international subsidization of air routes.

There are often other hurdles for international passenger trains: conductors need to be bi-lingual, signal and safety procedures often change, work regulations differ etc.
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Old December 17th, 2013, 09:03 PM   #2215
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I don't think it's possible to bring back the past, in railways or elsewhere.
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Old December 17th, 2013, 09:07 PM   #2216
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It's true that before liberalisation goods traffic was not efficient, and in most country's it was extremely slow. Something had to be done. But because of the indirect subsidies and lower prices for "isolated cars", railways still had a bigger part in transport then now. All the goods trains that are left are bulk trains of over fifteen cars of wich the composition doesn't change anywere between the terminusses. (This is what I mean by american situation, not that trains are kilometers long)

For passengers, frontiers used to be no burden at all. Since the fees, the number of international trains has plummeted. The worst case is probably Greece, but also the formerly important crossing in Triëste / Opicina no longer sees any train passing. Belgium is another disaster, practically only Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Köln and the three big dutch cities survive as comfortable train journeys. Three years ago, I remember taking the "Palatino" night train Paris - Rome, wich always carried ten to fourteen cars. From one day to another it was striked, forcing al the passangers to the planes, and the private train "thello" that tried to fill in the gap left open by the Palatino never realy took off, partly because the booking was difficult. This is a typical example of how a good train was ruined by pure financial thinking, ignoring completely the public service element of the railways.

Another result of this liberalisation is the complete mess that has become the ticketting system. I still have tickets from begin 2000's, two people return from Ostend to Budapest, including the reservation all on one ticket. It took two minutes to book in the station and I knew that I got the cheapest price (wich wasn't that cheap, but still affordable). For a trip to Austria next month for six persons I had to buy thirty-six (yes) tickets, from different places: in the station they can't book everything anymore, so I had to go also to different websites (voyagessncf.fr can't book in austria, oebb.at can't book in France). They are often tickets that you can't change and you have to have a credit card to buy on the internet (I haven't got any), and even tough you have to change three times each way, trains don't wait for each other.

It is obvious that none of those who have voted these liberalisation packets in the EU are railtravelers. For the past ten years I have done more then 40.000 kms a year per train, and every year it gets worse and worse and worse.
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Old December 17th, 2013, 09:11 PM   #2217
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I don't think it's possible to bring back the past, in railways or elsewhere.
I don't want the past back, it had many many flaws (slow trains mainly, due to lack of investment), but what would be nice is a European state-run passenger company that provides good and affordable train services accross Europe's internal borders, easy to book in each station. In stead of getting rid of the borders, EU has made them for railtravellers.
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Old December 18th, 2013, 12:27 AM   #2218
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I couldn't agree more with you.
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Old December 18th, 2013, 08:29 AM   #2219
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Do you have a crystal ball? If Brussels - France isn't popular and services are getting rarer every year, why would Barcelona - Paris be different? Between Perpi and Avignon the trains don't even have a HSL, on the Brussels route it's 300km/h all the way...
Brussel - France is very popular, and is by no means "getting rarer every year". You are basing your asumptions on incorrect data.

I think the trains will be popular. Don't forget that a train serves more than just its endpoints.
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Old December 18th, 2013, 08:31 AM   #2220
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.. but what would be nice is a European state-run passenger company that provides good and affordable train services accross Europe's internal borders, easy to book in each station.
Oh please save us from an European version of Amtrak.
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