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Old January 24th, 2008, 09:47 PM   #241
iampuking
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prestonian View Post
and they innovate much more quickly than a rigid state monopoly would.
Really...? If it weren't for BR there'd be no such thing as tilting trains...
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Old January 25th, 2008, 02:36 AM   #242
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The privatisation of the railways in Britain was a complete DISASTER. In the short term all it achieved was a distribution of wealth from the state to the pockets of already mega rich companies (Banks, multinationals etc.) and friends of the demon (Thatcher and co.) to begin to cream profits off an essential national service that cannot run without state aid.

I find this completely ridiculous! Companies make profits from areas which are actually loss making.

At least the tracks are now pretty much completely nationalised.

What should have happened is maintenance given to Network Rail, rolling stock government owned and British rail kept as one, with other companies invited to invest in new services (IE. Virgin and their high speed proposals).

There is nothing good to come about from privatisation apart from the following, which is debatable:

Nowadays privatisation appears to have led to greater price variations. IE. you can get a lower min price now but a higher price on the day. This is great if you know when you are going and where. If you dont then you get completely stung. or course this system has its upsides and downsides but overall I think it just reduces our flexibility to travel when we want. Just one small example of us being restricted in our movements due to money contraints which would not happen if prices were averaged out to be 'fairer'.
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Old January 25th, 2008, 06:01 PM   #243
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This is the part of the danish rail network where a private company operates, and its working well.

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Old March 15th, 2008, 02:25 PM   #244
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Competition for Eurostar on High Speed One/Eurotunnel?

I found this article really quite interesting. Wondering if there will ever be alternative operators on the High Speed One/Eurotunnel link given safety regulations, high cost of using the tracks and the time lost in passport controls and security with Britain not being part of the Schengen area.
Any thoughts?


Who is going to use the new high speed line?
Rail 579, November 23 2007

In the run up to the opening of High Speed One, there was a flurry of interest about Deutsche Bahn planning to run a service from Berlin to London via the Channel Tunnel. The idea first appeared in The Times on November 1st and was picked up on various radio and TV stations.

Unfortunately, there was little substance to the story. I talked to Deutsche Bahn that day and they were adamant that there were no such plans, and gave a number of good reasons. First, it is questionable whether a five hour train ride would be competitive with air travel. Generally, three hours is reckoned to be the maximum, though possibly four hours on a train may remain attractive compared with flying in these days when Evian water has supposedly become a potentially lethal weapon on an aeroplane (although not yet on Eurostar fortunately).

Then, there is a host of administrative and practical hurdles to overcome. The first is getting approval for the German high speed ICE trains to go through the Channel Tunnel. At the moment, the safety authorities are still stuck with this ridiculous notion that trains have to be long enough (almost) to be able always to stop near enough an emergency exit. Moreover, the default safety procedure in the event of a fire is for passengers to be evacuated into half the train, leaving the burning half behind to be uncoupled, and then for the half train to escape into the open.

A madder and more insane scenario could not be imagined given that the best way to escape would be into the safety tunnel between the two running tunnels, kept at a slightly higher pressure in order to keep out smoke. Nevertheless, at the moment all staff are trained for such an eventually and a 10 or 12 coach ICE train would not be allowed to travel through the Tunnel by the Safety Authority unless it could be split in half, or unless the ridiculous rules were changed.

Then there is the issue of security. Because Britain is not part of the Schengen agreement, trains going to the UK would have to be stabled at secure platforms surrounded by fencing and remain there for the duration of their stay. Not surprisingly there are not many stations with such spare capacity, and with sufficient room to deal with international travellers in the way that the British government demands including space for immigration officials, security searches and waiting rooms, made necessary by the ridiculous half hour checking-in arrangement. What a contrast with the Thalys train on which I travelled recently from Cologne to Brussels when I got on the train two minutes before departure and it was impossible to detect that one was travelling internationally apart from the multilingual announcements. Why we continue to think that the Eurostar trains are a more likely terrorist target than the international trains of our European neighbours is one of those pieces of security bunkum which increasingly plague our lives and, in this case, make it virtually impossible to create a viable international train service since of course ultimately all this is about money.

Deutsche Bahn would probably never be able to sustain a business case for trains between London and Berlin, or even Frankfurt or Cologne. Running a train over the High Speed One tracks costs about £2,000 (though the precise arrangements have not yet been worked out in terms of whether this will be assessed per passenger, per train or by the amount of time spent on the tracks), a passage through Eurotunnel would cost around the same, and then there are all the other expenses, too, such as the charges for the rest of the track, the staff and the rolling stock, making it very unlikely that a service could wash its face yet alone return a rate on any capital invested.

Perhaps if the price of oil doubled or trebled again in the next couple of years, then the economics may weigh in favour of the railway but the high cost of operation appear insuperable otherwise, since it involves permanently tying up platform space at heavily used stations and allocating four or five ICE trainsets as well as having to train staff and sort out the difficult issues surrounding use of the tunnel.

These various administrative and security requirements do not apply solely to Deutsche Bahn but will present a serious barrier to anyone seeking to run trains on High Speed One. The most likely initial destination for Eurostar trains is Amsterdam since London – Schiphol is one of the busiest international air routes in the world, but insiders despair at the prospects of finding anywhere in Amsterdam to stable trains under the conditions required by the British government.

. At the moment, the tracks are being scandalously underused. There are about 30 Eurostar trains per day in each direction while there is the capacity to run 20 trains for, say, 16 hours per day. In other words, the liner is less than 10 per cent full at the moment. (As a comparison, TGV Est which opened in June started with 50 daily services straight away.) The Kent domestic trains, due to start in December 2009, have been allocated eight services per hour, but surely those paths will only be filled in the peak. Freight trains, despite the construction of loops on the line, are nowhere on the horizon. Two paths an hour are laughingly being retained for open access operators such as Deutsche Bahn.

Trains operating directly between north of London and the continent, as originally promised to MPs who were reluctant to support the Channel Tunnel Act 1987 would suffer from the same security constraints. They would not be allowed to act as domestic services, picking up and dropping off passengers en route since this would be deemed a security risk and therefore their potential viability is wrecked.

In a rational world where environmental considerations were paramount, maximising the use of a major piece of infrastructure, built at taxpayers expense, which offers a greener way of connecting the UK with Europe would be exploited to the full. In fact, while we are all celebrating High Speed One as a magnificent achievement, which it undoubtedly is, it is clear that it is already a financial basket case that makes the Eurotunnel itself look like an economic success story.

Given all this how will any new services, beyond a few extra Eurostar trains for which plenty of spare sets are available, ever make use of this wonderful new asset? How long will it take to get 10 trains per hour let alone 20? All the options for increased usage have already either been scrapped – such as sleeper trains - or are being made wholly impractical by these difficulties.

The real problem is not that there are a lot of obstacles – there always are in any major project – but, rather, that there is no one charged with responsibility to solve them and to get the process of attracting more usage started. As I mentioned a few months ago (Rail 566), Guillaume Pepy, the chairman of Eurostar, told me that trying to get the senior civil servants on the intergovernmental Channel Tunnel Safety Authority, would just be too difficult.

Eurostar is quite happy to stick to the business it knows, as it is under no great pressure to expand its routes. Richard Brown, Eurostar’s boss assures me that new routes will be examined by a committee early in 2008 but the very fact that it is not until after the tunnel has opened that this work is starting suggests the idea is only being considered in the most lukewarm way. Ministers have more too much else on their plate and no private sector organisation – or even a major foreign railway – could really push for such a scheme without strong governmental support.

British Rail dreamt up most of the ideas that make up today’s Eurostar service. God knows, it made some mistakes such as building sleeper trains that were expected to run on ludicrous routes such as Plymouth to Paris or Cardiff to Stuttgart in very expensive hotel trains, now been sold off to Canada, and requiring every Eurostar train to be 18 coaches long – except those for regional services which have never been used. But without BR to bat for the railway, we would never have got the service we have today and there is no rail organisation that is able to play that role. The idea that the Department for Transport’s civil servants will press the case for extra trains on High Speed One is simply laughable. It would be extra work and hassle they can do without.

Don’t get me wrong. We have a fantastic new piece of kit, and a station that cannot be bettered anywhere in the world. The achievement should be celebrated and the railway deserves great praise. However, if taxpayers are to get the benefit of the £5.8bn they have invested (actually it is a lot more, including another £1bn for the trains given to Eurostar but paid for by the taxpayer, and at least as much again on track improvements paid for by British Rail), then the line needs a champion who is going to battle for greater use. If the private sector is going to take over the line, which is the subject of speculation in the City, then the government must ensure that under the deal the aim will be to maximise usage rather than revenue.

Ironically, of course, this may well cost yet more taxpayers’ money either to reduce the exorbitant cost of using the line, or to subsidise new users. So be it. There is no point in building a fantastic facility if it is to be something of a white elephant.


http://www.christianwolmar.co.uk/art...rail/579.shtml
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Old March 15th, 2008, 06:30 PM   #245
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This is a useful assessment of the problems associated with developing better railway connections and we all ought to campaigning for

1) acceptance by the UK of the Schegnen treaty thus getting rid of the burdensome platform security

2) a re-assessment of the safety rules in the Channel Tunnel which have already proved to be based on false assumptions

3) a full implimentation by France of liberalization of passenger traffic which would permit open access passenger carriers to cross France and reach the tunnel. (note: it took 14 years open access freight to reach the tunnel)

If all three were to happen, then, maybe, another train company could seriously build a business case to compete with Eurostar. When the Eurostar trains reach 30 years old, soon after 2020, and replacement should begin maybe this will happen.

On a minor note Christian Wolmar should know better than to claim that the tunnel is only ten persent utilized.

Curently the tunnel is used by:

30+ Eurostar trains per day
30+ Truck transporters between Flokstone and Callais
60+ Car and Van transporters between Flokstone and Callais
5+ freight trains per day (and growing rapidly in 2008)

assuming 20 paths for 16 hour that is about 40% capacity utilization
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Last edited by Trainman Dave; March 15th, 2008 at 08:02 PM.
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Old March 16th, 2008, 06:46 PM   #246
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The main problem is certainly the UK not being part of the Schengen treaty. The technical and security details could be overcome more easily. Trains such as ICE have been adapted for many countries all over Europe already and they could be adapted for the channel tunnel too.

I don't believe that Eurostar and DB would compete in open access though. They'd rather find an agreement within the Railteam alliance, I believe.
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Old March 16th, 2008, 09:04 PM   #247
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Trainman Dave:
That section of the text was about High Speed One, not about the Eurotunnel itself.
Those freight and car trains don't use the High Speed One line

It's true though, the safety regulations should be reconsidered. The Eurotunnel is a superb achievement, but if it can't be used to its full potential, there's something wrong.

Greetings,
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Old March 16th, 2008, 09:07 PM   #248
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there's space at St Pancras to move all border control to there, thus Schengen is a red herring - the problems are the draconian security and safety regulations, not the border controls.

The biggest other problem is journey times, but I think that Amsterdam, the Rhine-Ruhr region (Koln?) and possibly Frankfurt are worth looking at (and more as the HSL network develops)

Also worth looking at for open access operations is north of London trains to Paris (perhaps stopping at Lille)
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Old March 16th, 2008, 10:44 PM   #249
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The biggest advantage of railways are that they go:

1. right to the city cores
2. do not require long check-in procedures
3. offer services several times a day, compared to only few flights

hence there is little extra time spendt besides the actual travelling time, unlike with flights.

Any regulation, such as the UK border controls, that unnecessarily extends the amount of 'extra time' makes trains less attractive. People don't mind to stay an hour longer in a train, where they can work with their laptops, enjoy a meal or just a chat with another passenger, if they are spared all the disadvantages of the planes: Long commuting to the airport, long check-in procedures, long check-out procedures.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 01:35 AM   #250
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Found this article:
http://www.railpro.co.uk/issues/pdfs..._interview.pdf

THE RAIL PROFESSIONAL INTERVIEW
RICHARD BROWN
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF EUROSTAR

Safely out of the other side of Eurostar’s move to St Pancras International, Richard Brown talks to Katie Silvester about what the future holds in store for the international operator
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Old March 17th, 2008, 07:21 PM   #251
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glodenox View Post
Trainman Dave:
That section of the text was about High Speed One, not about the Eurotunnel itself.
Those freight and car trains don't use the High Speed One line

It's true though, the safety regulations should be reconsidered. The Eurotunnel is a superb achievement, but if it can't be used to its full potential, there's something wrong.

Greetings,
Glodenox
Appologies, I was focussed on the tunnel when I read the article.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 07:24 PM   #252
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sotonsi View Post
there's space at St Pancras to move all border control to there, thus Schengen is a red herring - the problems are the draconian security and safety regulations, not the border controls.

The biggest other problem is journey times, but I think that Amsterdam, the Rhine-Ruhr region (Koln?) and possibly Frankfurt are worth looking at (and more as the HSL network develops)

Also worth looking at for open access operations is north of London trains to Paris (perhaps stopping at Lille)
The problem is not removing them in St Pancras but rather providing them in the European stations which are already over crowded.
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Old March 20th, 2008, 02:55 AM   #253
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trainman Dave View Post
The problem is not removing them in St Pancras but rather providing them in the European stations which are already over crowded.
I think you misunderstand me completely - it's as if you haven't read what I said - your brain added 're' before moved and replaced 'to' with 'from' to end up with the opposite meaning of what I said. I reckon such a brain malfunction means that you did that deliberately to put up a straw man barrier to/problem with running from London to other destinations.

I didn't mention removing St Pancras' border controls (though it would be nice to have none), I talked about moving all (so Paris', Lille's, Brussels') border control to St Pancras, where they have clearly left space in Arrivals for it. There would be no need to provide them in mainland European stations as they will all be in St Pancras.

I'll reiterate this, so that you get the point, St Pancras has space for border control for arriving trains, thus negating the need for any border control facilities in continental stations - existing facilities for border control over the channel can be moved to England and no new ones need be built.

Again (forth time's a charm) - arriving trains would go through English border control at St Pancras, rather than Paris, Lille, Brussels, Amsterdam, Koln, etc. There would be no need for any border control stuff in non-English Stations, hence why Schengen is a red herring.
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Old March 20th, 2008, 11:47 AM   #254
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Here in Switzerland (not Schengen yet) we make the border control within the train, so you can use the travel time for that.
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Old March 20th, 2008, 12:57 PM   #255
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As far as I remember the UK authorities were a bit fussy with the passport controls and insisted that passengers are being checked before they board the train. Given the slow speed of the Eurostar before HS1 that does not surprise me since any illegals who would have made it into the Schengen area could have boarded the Eurostar on the Continent and then jump off the train into the English countryside without having been checked once.

It is interesting though that the Swiss authorities appear to be much more relaxed about this.
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Old March 20th, 2008, 03:16 PM   #256
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The doors are electric, it would be difficult to jump off a Eurostar without smashing a window or hacking in to the computer. If you can do the latter then no need - we need people with skills to fill the skills gap and you're a welcome immigrant!!!
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Old March 20th, 2008, 05:12 PM   #257
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Other non-shengen counties manage fine (croatia - serbia for example, boarder control is done on the train).

I like the move it to St Pancras idea, I can see the potential problems with people arriving without being checked, but couple onboard checking with St Pancras arrivals immigration and that should be sufficent.

The saftey rules on the tunnel are strict, but I don't know enough about comparable rail tunnels to make a call on whether they are too strict.

The services I would love are long distance night trains from St Pancras - have dinner, head for bed and wake up in Barcelona, Rome, Milan, Berlin, Prague? With high speed night stock you could pretty much get anywhere in the EU. London to Bucharest anyone? 8 hours away at 300 kmph.

Europe just got much smaller...
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Old March 22nd, 2008, 02:14 PM   #258
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lasdun View Post
The services I would love are long distance night trains from St Pancras - have dinner, head for bed and wake up in Barcelona, Rome, Milan, Berlin, Prague? With high speed night stock you could pretty much get anywhere in the EU. London to Bucharest anyone? 8 hours away at 300 kmph.

Europe just got much smaller...
http://www.railwatch.org.uk/backtrac...8/rw098p10.pdf

Has this idea progressed at all?
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Old March 24th, 2008, 03:26 PM   #259
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Originally Posted by 33Hz View Post
"Nightstar" cars for international sleeper trains through the Tunnel were built in the early 1990s but never went into service. They then sat in sidings for something like five years and were eventually sold to Canada.
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Old March 24th, 2008, 07:54 PM   #260
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lasdun View Post
Other non-shengen counties manage fine (croatia - serbia for example, boarder control is done on the train).

I like the move it to St Pancras idea, I can see the potential problems with people arriving without being checked, but couple onboard checking with St Pancras arrivals immigration and that should be sufficent.
Yes, and I am also pretty sure that there are on-board passport controls on trains between Switzerland and Schengen countries. Does anyone know what happens to people without valid documentation? Sent back on the next train? Everyone single culprit accompanied by one or two border guards? Can't quite imagine that... Any experiences earthJoker?


Quote:
Originally Posted by lasdun View Post
The saftey rules on the tunnel are strict, but I don't know enough about comparable rail tunnels to make a call on whether they are too strict.
I think the Cisalpino between Switzerland and Italy is actually quite comparable given that it is an international service into a Schengen country (Italy) with major tunnels en route. Does anyone know if similar safety regulations apply here?
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