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Old September 26th, 2016, 02:02 AM   #3321
Slartibartfas
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To be honest, part of the reason is that the Germans can't spend that much money on infrastructure because they are paying for everybody else's infra...
BS. I won't engage in political discusions here, suffice to say that Germany doesn't contribute more per capita to other countries's infrastructure than eg Austria, nonetheless the ÖBB manages ,in combination with the public hand, to do their job properly.

The reason why the DB is living from a once great network is not because of the fairy tale that Germany could not afford anything else but because some time ago politicians came to the conclusion that privatization is the solution to everything and even if its not fully privatized yet, it surely behaves as shortsighted as a private company.
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Old September 26th, 2016, 02:08 PM   #3322
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From Railway Gazette:

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http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/s...-figueres.html

State takes over Perpignan – Figueres
26 Sep 2016



EUROPE: Infrastructure managers SNCF Réseau and ADIF are to take over the operation of the high speed line between Perpignan in France and Figueres in Spain, after creditors were unable to agree terms for restructuring the €557m debt of its builder and operator TP Ferro.

A 50:50 joint venture of Eiffage of France and ACS of Spain, TP Ferro had entered administration on a voluntary basis in September 2015

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Old September 26th, 2016, 06:39 PM   #3323
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The reason why the DB is living from a once great network is not because of the fairy tale that Germany could not afford anything else but because some time ago politicians came to the conclusion that privatization is the solution to everything and even if its not fully privatized yet, it surely behaves as shortsighted as a private company.
I have the impression that the less a railway network is privatised, the more everything that goes wrong is blamed on privatisation :-)
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Old September 26th, 2016, 06:44 PM   #3324
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Astonishing really. I know the Bataclan murderers drove, can the authorities provide any evidence of how this would have prevented any of the recent terror attacks or mitigate against future ones?
One thing almost all so-called "anti terrorism" measures have in common is that they do not work. They do not work, because they are not required to work. "effective" is never a requirement.

None of the extra security measures that have been taken since 9/11 would have prevented 9/11. (They however have already killed at least 150 people).

There is no way in which this PNR requirement can be implemented. That will not prevent authorities from trying, and claiming that they are doing something for the public's safety.
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Old September 26th, 2016, 07:40 PM   #3325
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To be honest, part of the reason is that the Germans can't spend that much money on infrastructure because they are paying for everybody else's infra...
So Germany is a dirt-poor country?
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Old September 26th, 2016, 09:50 PM   #3326
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So Germany is a dirt-poor country?
It's more like: Spain can afford to go on an infrastructure spending spree, because if it ends up bankrupting the country Germany will bail them out. But who will bail out Germany?
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Old September 26th, 2016, 10:39 PM   #3327
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I have the impression that the less a railway network is privatised, the more everything that goes wrong is blamed on privatisation :-)
Judging by the UK and US, the opposite is true.
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Old September 26th, 2016, 10:59 PM   #3328
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Judging by the UK and US, the opposite is true.
I am not aware of the US privatising passenger rail, rather the contrary... And what concerns the UK: privatisation indeed failed to destroy the railway, as the original proponents of privatisation hoped, so in that respect it indeed failed miserably...
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Old September 27th, 2016, 12:22 AM   #3329
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I was referring to the current complaints against some of the operators running trains in the UK like Southeastern.

In the US, you can look at Conrail, and at the nature of Amtrak and the complaints that it "doesn't turn a profit".
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Old September 27th, 2016, 02:12 AM   #3330
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I have the impression that the less a railway network is privatised, the more everything that goes wrong is blamed on privatisation :-)
It is no secret that when DB tried to open to private investors at the stock exchange that it cut down severely on maintenance to beautify their balance sheets. Luckily they got cold feet but they never returned to sustainable maintenance effort, leave alone honouring international agreements upgrading specific rail corridors.
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Old September 27th, 2016, 02:16 AM   #3331
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I am not aware of the US privatising passenger rail, rather the contrary... And what concerns the UK: privatisation indeed failed to destroy the railway, as the original proponents of privatisation hoped, so in that respect it indeed failed miserably...
The US never really had much of a public passenger rail, nor does it have anything that deserves that name today. Amtrak has very few passanger rail lines which are not a joke. Public agencies are no miracle solution. If the state refuses to invest into a meaningful network, organizations liek Amtrak won't be able to build one. But it is true that the US is for other reasons not the best example. The UK however is a splendid example how privatization of rail infrastructure is a splendid way of ruining passanger rail, causing in the end much higher costs than if it hadn't been privatized in the first place.
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Old September 27th, 2016, 12:02 PM   #3332
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Originally Posted by Slartibartfas View Post
The US never really had much of a public passenger rail, nor does it have anything that deserves that name today. Amtrak has very few passanger rail lines which are not a joke. Public agencies are no miracle solution. If the state refuses to invest into a meaningful network, organizations liek Amtrak won't be able to build one. But it is true that the US is for other reasons not the best example. The UK however is a splendid example how privatization of rail infrastructure is a splendid way of ruining passanger rail, causing in the end much higher costs than if it hadn't been privatized in the first place.
The US did have a quite splendid passenger network until the mid-1950s that was way above European counterparts at the time.

Railways can have both in private and public operators (I prefer public) but as long investment lags behind other competing transport systems, rail will fail. Lack of investment is the main reason of failure in the US.
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Old September 27th, 2016, 05:17 PM   #3333
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I was referring to the current complaints against some of the operators running trains in the UK like Southeastern.

In the US, you can look at Conrail, and at the nature of Amtrak and the complaints that it "doesn't turn a profit".
Neither of these facts support the argument you were making...
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Old September 27th, 2016, 05:20 PM   #3334
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The US did have a quite splendid passenger network until the mid-1950s that was way above European counterparts at the time.

Railways can have both in private and public operators (I prefer public) but as long investment lags behind other competing transport systems, rail will fail. Lack of investment is the main reason of failure in the US.
And there were quite a few reasons for that. A lot of blame rests with the government in this case. The government for example discouraged investment in rail infrastructure by taxing it...

I think it is good to have private operators, and to benchmark them against each other. Look at Japan for example.
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Old September 27th, 2016, 11:05 PM   #3335
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The US did have a quite splendid passenger network until the mid-1950s that was way above European counterparts at the time.

Railways can have both in private and public operators (I prefer public) but as long investment lags behind other competing transport systems, rail will fail. Lack of investment is the main reason of failure in the US.
Different age, different conditions, at a time when you could still run passanger rail at a profit. We are not living in that age anymore but the necessity for passenger rail persists. The lack of investment is a direct consequence of the incapability of private actors to construct a proper passanger rail network and the unwillingness of the state to do so either.

In Germany there is still good infrastructure but the willingness to maintain and improve it is more than just lacking a bit. Blaming it at some leeching foreigners is a very shady excuse. And yes, radical short sightedness in management decisions is to blame. One can really not see that it is actually a state owned company as this almost looks like typical ruinous shareholder value thinking one knows from private companies which forget that short term gains can come at a very high price in the long run.
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Old September 28th, 2016, 05:05 AM   #3336
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Neither of these facts support the argument you were making...
Southeastern is EXACTLY the privatized operator you support. And Amtrak's organization as a quasi-governmental corporation instead of an outright government agency is what gives its detractors cause for demanding a profit and using that as an excuse to cut funding.
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Old September 28th, 2016, 02:29 PM   #3337
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Southeastern is EXACTLY the privatized operator you support. And Amtrak's organization as a quasi-governmental corporation instead of an outright government agency is what gives its detractors cause for demanding a profit and using that as an excuse to cut funding.
Your argument was that "privatisation made things worse"
1) The fact that there are complaints is not a proof that things are worse. People complain about the trains everywhere. You should see the bad rap the SBB gets.
2) In the US passenger rail was nationalised, which is the opposite of privatisation...

Again, I am just pointing out that you assertion is not supported by the evidence you presented.

in General I see that the experience of getting the private sector involved in the operation of trains has been mostly positive. We can see plenty of examples from Germany where local lines that had been neglected by DB got revived by local authorities together with private operators. In the US we see the same thing happening at the moment.
. I think that the model where local authorities define what services they want, and then contract it out to private companies works quite well.


To get a bit back on topic: There are even a few good examples of cross border lines that have been revitalised this way. There are several examples of that in the Netherlands.
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Old September 28th, 2016, 02:38 PM   #3338
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Originally Posted by Slartibartfas View Post
Different age, different conditions, at a time when you could still run passanger rail at a profit. We are not living in that age anymore but the necessity for passenger rail persists. The lack of investment is a direct consequence of the incapability of private actors to construct a proper passanger rail network and the unwillingness of the state to do so either.
It is a bit more complex than that. You can actually run passenger rail at a profit. We see that in Japan for example. And In the US there is a private company about to start an intercity service in Florida.

What happend in the US was a combination of different factors, and it was not just solely that passenger trains weren't profitable. In fact many were. But Railways were heavily regulated, and could not set their own fares and rates, and as a result even their freight businesses as a whole were not profitable either.
In the 60ies the railways stil ran a lot of rural services that nobody rode anymore. The ICC however forbade them to discontinue them. These services were losing lots of money. The big named trains however were often doing quite well. Santa Fe for example was proud of its Chiefs, and would have preferred to keep running them themselves, but they (as all other RR) were basically strong armed in to handing them over to Amtrak.
The PRR could probably have run the NEC profitably. The states could have subsidised suburban services, the ICC could have permitted discontinuing rural services that were no longer relevant...
There are quite a few things that could have happened differently...
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Old September 28th, 2016, 02:49 PM   #3339
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Japan and private railways is a mixed example.

In Japan you have the big JRs, and of course you have the smaller lines.
Beware that those corporations have actually also real estate in their hands, and can make cities come out of the ground with their railways as only connections.

About your example of the states, I do believe that the regulations have been too harsh, and that you are right, if the market would have left doing its business, we might see more strong corridors and maybe even high speed.
But again, as you said, the private railway operators would have closed lines anyway.

What is beautiful in the states is freight rail, really well developed (although quite slow as trackage is undermaintenanced)
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Old September 28th, 2016, 02:52 PM   #3340
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J
But again, as you said, the private railway operators would have closed lines anyway.
And rightly so. It makes no sense whatsoever to maintain a railway that only sees a few trains a day. That is a waste of resources that are better employed elsewhere.
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