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Old March 26th, 2008, 02:31 PM   #261
earthJoker
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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?
I think it depends. I mean if you just forgot your passport probably you will be sent back with the next train (if possible). If you have a criminal inention, you might get arrested. Actually I don't know but I know someone in the business I will ask him (well I try).

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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?
Well the Cisalpino from Bern is somehow comparable, it goes throught the Lötschberg Base Tunnel (34,6 km) and the Simplon tunnel (20km), the border is in the Middle of the Simplontunnel.
The safety regulations on the trains are not nearly as strict. I went with a normal InterCity train throught the Lötschberg Base Tunnel. The train has to have ETCS Level 2.
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Old April 16th, 2008, 05:46 PM   #262
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I just came across this article here. A little outdated, but 2010 will probably see a lot of change in cross-border rail services.. Is there a thread on that?


May 3, 2007
Airline prepares to challenge Eurostar
Carl Mortished

Air France is considering launching a rival service to Eurostar on the London-to-Paris high-speed route as Europe’s national railways prepare to embrace the chill wind of competition.

From 2010, foreign train operators will be entitled to operate international services within Europe and the French airline has signalled already that it may seek to recoup some of the traffic lost through the Channel Tunnel.

Eurostar secured a boost from last summer’s terrorist scare at British airports, with ticket sales up by a fifth and business passengers up by a quarter. A significant portion of the lost traffic is sticking to rail and Air France hopes to hit back by using high-speed trains to funnel British-bound passengers to and from the TGV station at Charles de Gaulle Airport.

More uncertain is the future behaviour of rival national rail companies as investment in high-speed rail track connects more European cities. SNCF, which has a stake in Eurostar, is developing TGV Est, the network to Strasbourg and across the German border, with Deutsche Bahn.

Rhealys, a joint venture co-owned by SNCF and Deutsche Bahn, is coordinating marketing on the new routes between Paris and Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Munich.

Deutsche Bahn has had to buy French signalling equipment for the TGV Est corridor so that the locomotives can communicate with the track.

The two companies do have the option to go it alone. Competitors on the French network may, however, struggle with the close relationship between Reseau Ferre de France, which owns the French track network, and SNCF.

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/to...cle1739207.ece

Last edited by Steve87; April 16th, 2008 at 05:47 PM. Reason: Added link
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Old April 28th, 2008, 05:28 PM   #263
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Why are European train companies being privatised?

does anyone know why?

I myself don't think it's a good idea, because the European transport market will become even more fragmented and complicated than it is now. The European Union should better take the initiative for some kind of united train company for the entire continent. (kind of like Amtrak in the US, but way better )
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Old April 28th, 2008, 06:00 PM   #264
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Interesting question, actually.

An important factor in European rail privatisation is probably the European Commission's mandate to create the EU Single Market.

Then there is the global trend to privatise state assets, as before telecom companies, property assets, energy companies etc.

I am sure that most people would agree that in the UK rail privatisation has not been that much of a success (although I am not sure how British Rail performed prior to that), and Switzerland, France and Spain seem to be relatively well off with state-owned railway companies.
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Old April 28th, 2008, 06:00 PM   #265
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I dunno, I was way against privatisation in the UK, but 10 years later it's not so bad. In fact, since Railtrack were killed off it's getting better and better.
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Old April 28th, 2008, 06:02 PM   #266
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I dunno, I was way against privatisation in the UK, but 10 years later it's not so bad. In fact, since Railtrack were killed off it's getting better and better.
What is Railtrack?
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Old April 28th, 2008, 10:42 PM   #267
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Railtrack was the company that took over the operation of the railway infrastructure like tracks, signalling etc. They had shareholders and had absolutely no competition as there wasn't an alternative for the market - the train operating companies could only run on Railtrack's tracks. Add to that Railtrack was run by a bunch of morons they slowly ran all the infrastructure into the ground for 5 years. There were a few high profile crashes related to tracks falling apart so Railtrack then finally decided to start repairing everything, only it then found out it had poured all of it's money down the toilet already and wanted hand outs from the government. So the government renationalised them, and the country's rail infrastructure is now run by National Rail, a not-for-profit company that reinvests all profits back into the infrastructure.
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Old April 28th, 2008, 11:57 PM   #268
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I can't really comment on the financial situation of European Railways, but my advice is: don't go down the British Road! We did, and so did New Zealand, and it did bugger-all good for either of us.

What happened here was that, on the election of a Conservative Government, they would follow in Maggie Thatcher's footsteps. After fixing up the non-essential infrastructure (painting station buildings and fixing up platform lighting) they sold off the system to private operators. After the British model, there was a multitude of operators, but they all in fact were funded by the Government by in-confidence agreements, not open to public scrutiny. The Government kept on paying the bills, and the private companies only "operated" the services under licences, the details of which have yet to be revealed.

When one of the major contractors- National Express- walked away from three of its contracts, they were let go: admittedly by that time the Government had changed again. All three of the regional rail operators backed out; so did one of the metropolitan railway operators, and one of the tramway operators. Yes, that's five contracts, and three were ...

The simple fact is, it was a very bad model for an area like this in the first place. Ultimately the delivery of services fell back on the Government. The public expects services, and they hold the Government accountable for that. It's interesting to note that in certain other areas here where the Government has sold off public instrumentalities (aviation, telecommunications), there's now concern because the "private" companies are being taken over by foreign interests: in particular, the state-run equivalents in Singapore. As for the power industry, which was a state-owned asset also sold off by the former Government here, my right-wing acquaintances (one of whom insisted that the only legitimate arms of Government were the Army and the Police!) now lament that merchant-banks are going to screw us every time we turn on the tap: because we're going to need to buy power to distill water.

That's what you get when you sell essential assets off ... to organizations which are only motivated by profit, and have no obligation to provide essential services.

And take it from me, by the time whoever bought your national assets has decided it wasn't such a good idea, he'll have walked away with a very handsome separation payment; the Government will have changed, and the people that advocated this in the first place will be whingeing ... about anything and everything.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 01:02 AM   #269
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Difficult question. In fact, the EU wants to break all the monopols by state-owned companies as they did in the nineties with the electricity suppliers, parcel services or telecommunication providers. Mail services are currently getting private opponents (at least in Germany) and railways do have them since the nineties as well. Deutsche Bahn was transformed from a state structure (run like an administration office) to private economy standards, but the federal state still holds the majority.
But they get more and more opponents. Mostly on freight services run by numerous rail companies, but also on passenger services. Here, it works like this: The Bundesland orders a regional transport service and pays for it, the company that offers the best package gets the deal. On most lines it's still DB that runs the trains, but on several lines there also (or exclusively) private companies operating regional trains.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 02:27 AM   #270
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Networks are natural monopolies as it is very inefficient to construct several competing networks in parallel. The rail tracks should therefore stay in the hand of the government because the government is at least elected in contrast to a private monopoly. The trains running on the tracks should be privatized. Timeslots on the tracks should be auctioned to to private companies every year.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 05:14 AM   #271
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Funny, because I think that the privatization model would work better than our current status quo. It's not even like Amtrak controls a large part of the rail network...a lot of the rail lines are owned by the freighters and they have higher priority on plenty of them too.

I like Amtrak, but unless the government pays more attention to it, it's better off privatized.

Wouldn't want to see the UK example work here though.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 10:40 AM   #272
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The UK privatisation package was awful. A new government and a considerable amount of time has allowed a workable system to develop, and now I would advocate keeping privatisation in the UK, if only for some stability. The current system is working, trains are getting better overall, and the infrastructure is getting imporved albeit slowly. The Department for Transport keeps a tight hold on what services the franchises have to run, as in minimum service levels, which basically accounts for nearly all the services most operators actually provide. They keep tight control over what rolling stock the train companies can lease from the roscos (the owners of the trains). They keep a tight grip on everything. However, it seems to be working now better than state-owned railways did in the last BR days.

The main examples of positives are the way in which the various stakeholders get a fair say in infrastructure developments etc. The freight operators are paying for a service from National Rail, and cannot be sidelined when Network Rail is planning on remodelling junction etc as they could get sued if they impact freight performance. In the old days it was easier for BR's management to 'fix' a junction on the cheap for the benefit of the express trains, and leave the freight trains impacted with delays due to lack of consideration for their movements.

Open access is a bonus as well, due to speculative 'open access operators' cities like Hull, Sunderland, Telford, Shrewsbury and Wrexham now have direct services to London, which is a great bonus, especially for trainspotters!

Ultimately I would have preferred BR to have stayed, and for that to have been sorted out, maybe with part privatisation of the train operations, but leaving infrastructure intact. Now we have what we have I wish to keep it, I would not now see the benefit of turning the clock back, what's done is done.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 01:07 PM   #273
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C-Beam View Post
Networks are natural monopolies as it is very inefficient to construct several competing networks in parallel. The rail tracks should therefore stay in the hand of the government because the government is at least elected in contrast to a private monopoly. The trains running on the tracks should be privatized. Timeslots on the tracks should be auctioned to to private companies every year.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 02:04 PM   #274
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Originally Posted by himbaman View Post
does anyone know why?
The privatisations are in preparation for what has been termed "The Third Raiway Package" passed by the EU in 2007. According to the Package all railway operators must grant third-party access to their network no later than in 2010. You can read more here:
http://www.railwaygazette.com/news_v...y_package.html

Privatisation does not follow organically from this, of course, but the separation of a track operating company from the national railway incumbent does: you can't have competition if one of the competitors owns the tracks and decides unilaterally on the access fees levied on the others.

Last edited by priamos; April 29th, 2008 at 05:12 PM.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 02:39 PM   #275
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Thanks for the link priamos! That's what I had in mind when I mentionned liberalisation at EU level.

Personally, I agree with the German model of keeping the network in government hands but letting a partly privatised incumbent rail operator compete with private rail companies.

I read the other day that the German constitution requires the rail infrastructure to be majority owned by the government.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 02:48 PM   #276
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Personally, I agree with the German model of keeping the network in government hands but letting a partly privatised incumbent rail operator compete with private rail companies.
That's the UK system too. Sort of.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 02:56 PM   #277
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I agree with C-Beam, infrastructure should remain public, auction off slots to private train operators. There is a tendency in the UK to blame all the faults of the system on privatisation but they forget that British Rail was also crap and the government had not invested much at all in the network for 20 years prior to privatisation during which time passenger numbers showed a consistent decline.

In the past ten years though, rolling stock has been thoroughly modernised and passenger numbers are up by 40% to record levels. This week, Shrewsbury has recommenced a direct link to London thanks to the open-access principle that privatisation has enabled so it can't be all bad.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 03:10 PM   #278
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Not really Elfabyanos considering that the German government requires the rail companies to respect a management plan including a large collection of goals an objectives. Maybe the UK has reformed the system in the German way, but initially this wasn't the case at all in Britain.

As a matter of fact, when Germany privatized its rail providers, the federal government has only one obsession : to not repeat Britain's mistakes!
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Old April 29th, 2008, 04:30 PM   #279
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That's not how privatisation started out but that's how it is now. The train operating companies are very tightly regulated by central government, they must respect the department for transport's objectives for the franchise (which can be found on the DfT website). The government stipulate how many trains must run on every single route under the franchise, the companies can run more if they like, if they can negotiate the track access and the leasing of the required vehicles, again with the blessing of the ever controlling hand of the Department for Transport. They also must achieve other goals such as reliability and safety or face fines, or, like Connex South Eastern, have their franchise removed.

Last edited by elfabyanos; April 29th, 2008 at 04:34 PM. Reason: I cannot type properly today!!!
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Old April 30th, 2008, 12:20 AM   #280
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In Canada we have two large railway companies who own parallel networks of tracks: CN (Canadian National) and CP (Canadian Pacific). CN was state-owned while CP was private. Hence we had a public and private rail network coexisting.

Both used to run their own passenger services until the 1970s, when they became money-losers and transferred them into Via Rail, a crown corporation created to provide passenger trains.

Via Rail funding was erratic over the 1980s, with governments cutting funds or restoring them whenever they wanted.

But CN was still a state-owned operation and thus was bloated and money-losing. In 1995 the government privatized CN, while Via Rail was left on the back burner.

Since then CN has become more commercially-oriented, though the safety record has deteriorated. Every month there's a big CN train crash and the company is called "Crash National".
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