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Old April 27th, 2010, 10:09 AM   #661
mozatellac
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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Indeed, they should start selling full-window-view seats for a premium, like emergency exit row seats on airplanes Possibilities to extract extra money from passengers are endless.
Despite everything rail fans can say, more than 80% of the seats are full-window-view in rail cars where blind seats exist (the exact opposite of the few emergency exit seats on planes). So, if you were to do that, you would actually rather discount the blind seats than sell the better ones at a premium.

Back to the initial topic, I guess at least 5 daily trains Amsterdam - Schiphol - Rotterdam - Bruxelles - London and 5 Köln - Bruxelles - London could be created and get a fair modal share, assuming the chunnel safety requirements are somewhat loosened to allow for shorter, traditional HSR EMU (such as AGV or Velaro). On adjacent routes, it could make sense to create services towards CDG and south of France:
- Amsterdam - Schiphol - Bruxelles - CDG Airport - Lyon
- London - Lille - CDG Airport (may be difficult to continue to Lyon due to non-Schengen border controls, difficult to do in the crowded Part-Dieu station)

CDG is an interesting location: 3h from Amsterdam, 2h from London, and an extensive long-haul network. It might eventually make sense for Air France to run trains on CDG-London as a feeder service to its hub, given the high landing fees and frequent delays in Heathrow at peak time. Schiphol is however a bit too far from London (3h30?) to do the same for KLM.
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Old April 27th, 2010, 10:16 AM   #662
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The logical route for Paris - Berlin is via Brussels and Köln. Currently Paris - Köln takes 3h15. I don't expect it to become a lot faster in the near future, as almost all projects along that route are now finished, or nearly finished.
Would you know which projects are still under way on this line? Haven't read much about it.
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Old April 27th, 2010, 01:05 PM   #663
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Originally Posted by mozatellac View Post
Despite everything rail fans can say, more than 80% of the seats are full-window-view in rail cars where blind seats exist (the exact opposite of the few emergency exit seats on planes). So, if you were to do that, you would actually rather discount the blind seats than sell the better ones at a premium.

Back to the initial topic, I guess at least 5 daily trains Amsterdam - Schiphol - Rotterdam - Bruxelles - London and 5 Köln - Bruxelles - London could be created and get a fair modal share, assuming the chunnel safety requirements are somewhat loosened to allow for shorter, traditional HSR EMU (such as AGV or Velaro). On adjacent routes, it could make sense to create services towards CDG and south of France:
- Amsterdam - Schiphol - Bruxelles - CDG Airport - Lyon
- London - Lille - CDG Airport (may be difficult to continue to Lyon due to non-Schengen border controls, difficult to do in the crowded Part-Dieu station)

CDG is an interesting location: 3h from Amsterdam, 2h from London, and an extensive long-haul network. It might eventually make sense for Air France to run trains on CDG-London as a feeder service to its hub, given the high landing fees and frequent delays in Heathrow at peak time. Schiphol is however a bit too far from London (3h30?) to do the same for KLM.
I am quite sure on two things:

DB Rail have been given permission to operate through the Channel Tunnel without the original 'train needs to split in half' restrictions applying.

This is the best I could find with a quick search, but there was a lot more around at the time, article looks like a Beeb one rehashed: http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5018915,00.html


Secondly, on your CDG idea. I am pretty sure that Air France/KLM are intending to operate trains to both Paris Nord and CDG within a couple of years. The CDG ones would have flight numbers on AF and would act as connecting flights.

http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/...ds-925578.html

Eurostar themselves could very easily serve CDG by stopping their Disney train there. But they wouldn't really have a reason to.

In terms of other options, such as the summer Avignon, a SW France railhead might be a good idea - with local transport, close motorway and car rental facilities. Maybe at Bordeaux, or a new out of town parkway station in that region.
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Old April 27th, 2010, 04:48 PM   #664
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Modern trains, particularly HSR, don't allow for "sightseeing". Most lines have noise barriers, artificial tunnels, etc. So a lack of window just by your seat is not the end of the world. Indeed, they should start selling full-window-view seats for a premium, like emergency exit row seats on airplanes Possibilities to extract extra money from passengers are endless.
Some people may feel blind seats claustrophobic. I'm between them. So I don't choose blind seats even on the line I use every week and even if this line is a boring plain I know by heart.

I repeat that in two nearly identical trains, the ETR 600 and ETR 610, the first has a lot of blind seats and the other don't (or has very few of them). But they have the same capacity. So the ETR 600 is simply designed in a stupid way.
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Old April 27th, 2010, 05:38 PM   #665
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Would you know which projects are still under way on this line? Haven't read much about it.
Well there is still the new tunnel at the Belgian - German border. As long as that one isn't finished the line is single track from Aachen to the beginning of HSL4 in Belgium. Once that is finished a few further minutes can be cut of travel times on Brussel - Köln.
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Old April 27th, 2010, 05:56 PM   #666
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Do not forget that there is a still a short gap between Aachen and Düren (halfway towards Köln) that is scheduled to be accelerated some day. But this will also not have much of an effect on overall times, on this route we basically have the maximum we can get.
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Old April 27th, 2010, 06:18 PM   #667
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If you would have a direct train with a stop in Paris (Nord or Est) you could cut the travel by almost 2 hours alone by not have to change trains in Paris. I would use this line.
This would certainly be a "nice to have", but it would not cut two hours. Currently the Eurostart requires a check in half an hour before departure, and walking from Paris Est to Paris Nord only takes 10 minutes. So you usually plan an hour for the total transfer in the direction Zürich - London, and 20 minutes the other way.
As long as the UK insist on pre boarding checks a Eurostar departure from Zürich is however out of the question.
What would be possible is having Eurostars leave from Basel. Reserving a track a Basel SNCF for an Eurostar is possible. However at the moment the most useful additional TGV service out of Zürich would be a Zürich - Basel - Strasbourg - CDG - Lille-Europe service, timed so that a good connection with Eurostar exists in Lille.
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Old April 27th, 2010, 07:30 PM   #668
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Originally Posted by mozatellac View Post
Back to the initial topic, I guess at least 5 daily trains Amsterdam - Schiphol - Rotterdam - Bruxelles - London and 5 Köln - Bruxelles - London could be created and get a fair modal share, assuming the chunnel safety requirements are somewhat loosened to allow for shorter, traditional HSR EMU (such as AGV or Velaro). On adjacent routes, it could make sense to create services towards CDG and south of France:
- Amsterdam - Schiphol - Bruxelles - CDG Airport - Lyon
- London - Lille - CDG Airport (may be difficult to continue to Lyon due to non-Schengen border controls, difficult to do in the crowded Part-Dieu station
So basically, just let Eurostar trains London - Brussels continue towards Amsterdam/Köln, make the TGV Brussel - France Amsterdam - France and increase the number of Eurostar services London - French Alps (and maybe reroute some of them to Marseille/Nice/Perpignan.
Now surely there must be a reason why they haven't done this yet.
Low demand and no profitability anyone?
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Old April 27th, 2010, 07:56 PM   #669
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This would certainly be a "nice to have", but it would not cut two hours. Currently the Eurostart requires a check in half an hour before departure, and walking from Paris Est to Paris Nord only takes 10 minutes. So you usually plan an hour for the total transfer in the direction Zürich - London, and 20 minutes the other way.
I used the online timetables from the www.sbb.ch site. I also checked the oebb.at and both have a 1h30 transit in Paris.
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Old April 28th, 2010, 06:03 AM   #670
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So basically, just let Eurostar trains London - Brussels continue towards Amsterdam/Köln, make the TGV Brussel - France Amsterdam - France and increase the number of Eurostar services London - French Alps (and maybe reroute some of them to Marseille/Nice/Perpignan.
Now surely there must be a reason why they haven't done this yet.
Low demand and no profitability anyone?
I think it's mostly because of the high capacity of the Eurostar trainsets, which requires high-demand ODs. Second are the costly security checkpoints for passengers towards the UK, which represent a sensible operating cost. Without these two points, there would probably be as much service from London to Southern France as from Bruxelles to Southern France (for the comparison, London has 6 times more population than Bruxelles, but is 50 minutes farther away from France, has very efficient airlines, and trackage fees in the chunnel are quite important).
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Old April 28th, 2010, 12:36 PM   #671
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I used the online timetables from the www.sbb.ch site. I also checked the oebb.at and both have a 1h30 transit in Paris.
SBB plans 70 minutes from Paris Est to Paris Nord Eurostar (but only 20 minutes to Paris Nord)
DB however only calculates 55 min from Paris Est to Paris Nord Eurostar, and 35 minutes the other way, which is enough. I'll actually be arriving at Paris Nord at an Eurostar at 13:50 and expect to take the TGV to Basel at 14:24, That's 34 minutes to change trains, but I've walked the way from Nord to Est already a few times, and each time did it in 8 minutes.

What the other poster suggested, having a train from Zürich stop at Paris Est and then continue to London isn't practical, an wouldn't save that much time. It's a pity however that SNCF missed the opportunity to run the TGV-EST trains to Paris Nord. They could have gotten rid of Paris Est completely (now that most suburban trains have been converted to RER) and made a bundle developping the site...
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Old April 28th, 2010, 12:39 PM   #672
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Originally Posted by mozatellac View Post
Back to the initial topic, I guess at least 5 daily trains Amsterdam - Schiphol - Rotterdam - Bruxelles - London and 5 Köln - Bruxelles - London could be created and get a fair modal share, assuming the chunnel safety requirements are somewhat loosened to allow for shorter, traditional HSR EMU (such as AGV or Velaro).
The biggest obstacle is however the pre boarding check-in. That is what we need to get rid of first. As long as that exists a direct Amsterdam - London train will never happen.
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Old April 28th, 2010, 09:34 PM   #673
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I think it's mostly because of the high capacity of the Eurostar trainsets, which requires high-demand ODs. Second are the costly security checkpoints for passengers towards the UK, which represent a sensible operating cost. Without these two points, there would probably be as much service from London to Southern France as from Bruxelles to Southern France (for the comparison, London has 6 times more population than Bruxelles, but is 50 minutes farther away from France, has very efficient airlines, and trackage fees in the chunnel are quite important).
1 + 5) The high trackage fees in the Tunnel won't be lowered considering the financial difficulties Eurotunnel has. (Hence, you need large trains to make a profit - or shorter trains with expensive tickets.) I also thought that the Tunnel is quite heavily used and obtaining new slots for high-speed services is very hard.

2) Shengen is the magical answer here. The only other solution would be to do the whole check in St-Pancras, but that has been discussed before.

3) Population is not the most important thing, its demand that counts. Off course, higher populations can have higher demands. (Small side-note, Brussels acts as a gateway for Belgium as a whole, only half of the Thalys trains to Paris make a stop at Antwerp, and a handful others at Liège.) The critical point for cross-channel trains is the Tunnel (due to immigration concerns - no one takes the Eurostar from Brussels to Lille or from London to Ashford). Brussels-Paris is very popular due to the economic ties, just like London-Paris. But to give an example, trains to southern France attracts less business passengers and rely more on tourism. I doubt they can fill enough trains every day to make it worthwhile. (As a matter of fact, almost all trains from Brussels that bypass Paris need to make a time-consuming stop in Lille.) Off course, once immigration isn't an issue any more they (hopefully) can take domestic passengers as well. Off course, the big issue is to fill enough seats when going through the Tunnel. For Amsterdam and Köln this would be less of an issue since you would have more places to stop. You could even take 2 separate trains that drive trough the Tunnel coupled (so they can split in case of an emergency), and uncouple them in Brussels.

4) I don't know what the airfare between London and Nice or Marseille is, but knowing Easyjet and Ryanair prices I doubt any train service will go under their prices. To give an idea Brussels-Lyon is standard ticket price is €109 one-way, Brussels-Marseille is already €137. (And there's no expensive Tunnel) Another thing against these trains would be that their main advantage would be the stops close to the city center. This is not true since a lot of the TGV-stations are on bypasses around the city. Take Lyon, the TGV-station for trains going to the south is actually next to the airport. Once the new TGV-line along the Cote d'Azur will be build, that one will connect Nice Airport with all the main holiday places. For Amsterdam and Rhin-Ruhr destinations, I think there would even be a fiercer competition. Makes me wonder, how many of the passengers flying between London and Amsterdam/Cologne/Düsseldorf are connecting passengers - they would never take the train.

All-in-all a whole wall-of-text to basically say that the problems that train companies would face whenever they try to improve services through the Tunnel are not worth the possible profits - especially not since the liberalization of rail traffic creates a lot of possibilities.
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Old April 29th, 2010, 01:11 AM   #674
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Take Lyon, the TGV-station for trains going to the south is actually next to the airport.
A lot of TGV stop at Lyon Part Dieu instead of the airport station.
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Old April 29th, 2010, 09:25 AM   #675
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4) I don't know what the airfare between London and Nice or Marseille is, but knowing Easyjet and Ryanair prices I doubt any train service will go under their prices.
Don't forget that the world's economy is recovering now, and soon will be growing again, possibly even faster then it did in the last decade. That means oil prices of 200$/barrel and even more in the near future.

No wonder the Chinese are building high speed rail like crazy...
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Old April 30th, 2010, 03:44 AM   #676
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London-Berlin would definitely be a winner.

[…]
Don't think so. Berlin is not very important in Germany, it is the capital, but economically it is a nobody.
Link London to Cologne and Frankfurt and you have a good access to Germany!
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Old April 30th, 2010, 01:47 PM   #677
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Still it is the single biggest city, seat of government, other administration, and academia.
Anyways, we were discussing night trains to Berlin, so I was suggesting a once-daily night-time service. Köln and Frankfurt are by high-speed much closer to London, they are worth a day-time ICE connection, say 4 trains per direction a day. Hopefully in 2012, DB will start that service, as it has announced.
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Old May 1st, 2010, 10:58 AM   #678
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This might effectively turn Brussels into a crossroads of the North-South line between Holland and Paris, and the East-West line between the Ruhrgebiet and London. A bit like Lille is now, only on a larger scale.
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Old May 1st, 2010, 01:48 PM   #679
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Paris-Rome = 1300km = 4h30/5h (300km/h HSR) or 6h30/7h (200km/h night HSR)
London-rome = 1750km = add 1h30/2h to that time above


London-Berlin = 1100km = 3h30/4h (at 300km/h HSR ???) or 5h/6h at slower speeds ...



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Correction:
Eurostar Passenger train = 160
Light Freight Car train = 140
Heavy Freight Lorry train = 120
Freigt = 80/120 dependend on engine and wagon capabilities.
It all cames down to this simply math ... and don't forget that the fast passenger (at 160) and the slow freight (at 80) both eat up a lot of available slots in the tunnel.
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Old May 1st, 2010, 01:55 PM   #680
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The railway from Tokyo to Hiroshima would never have been built just to link those two cities. The Shinkansen owes its success to the simple fact that you can serve most large main metropolitan areas in Japan with one mainline. This because of the geography.
The correct comparison is with a Line like Brussels - Paris - Marseilles where travel speeds are as good as on the Shinkansen.

Germany is geogrhapically very different from Japan or France. Germany is not as centralised as Paris. Berlin is the political capital, but Frankfurt is the economical one. München is an important town, in what is for all practical purpose a different country :-) A lot of industry and population is concentrated in the Rhine valley, which is basically at the edge. So Germany builds it's high speed network as a "mesh", which means that indeed average speeds are lower than in France. However, with France's centralized network the moment you want to go from "somewhere not Paris" to "somewhere else not Paris" travel times become a lot longer, and DB's approach doesn't look bad at all...
There are currently about 8/10 direct flights from Paris to Berlin daily. Most are with A320/321, but Lufthansa uses a Canadair 200, a 50 seater. Al together a bit over 1000 seats are offered daily. It appears that there is not enough demand to justify a dedicated high speed service. Paris and Berlin are in different countries, don't underestimate the effect of that.
It makes a lot more sense for DB to concentrate on getting Germany better connected. Bascially in Germany the aim is to connect everywhere with everywhere every half hour via a route that is not to circuitous. That is a good strategy for Germany.
If at the edges, where the German and the French networks connect this creates opportunities to travel Paris - Berlin by rail in a convenient way then that is a good thing, but it's not something that should have priority.
The logical route for Paris - Berlin is via Brussels and Köln. Currently Paris - Köln takes 3h15. I don't expect it to become a lot faster in the near future, as almost all projects along that route are now finished, or nearly finished. Köln - Berlin takes 4h20. I don't think this will improve a lot in the near future, as a new line Köln - Dortmund - Hannover is not yet even being planned...
KOln is the "linking point" inside germany.

Koln-Berlin = 550km (speeds at 160/200/250 nowadays???)
Koln-Bruxelles-Paris = 500km
Koln-bruxelles-London = 550km

So that would make the distances:
Berlin-Paris = 1050km
Berlin-London = 1100km

But nonetheless you already conect with the ICE network in its main spot ... Koln ... it's the door to both the Ruhr cities , southern cities (like munich , frankfurt and stutgard) and to the northern (berlin , hamburg , hannover) ... and why stop there ... both Vienna and Warsov are just a little further away ????
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