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Old November 30th, 2010, 03:26 AM   #1141
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Originally Posted by 33Hz View Post

The question of passports is not going to go away, but one could ask why it has to be done on leaving countries in the Schengen area? It has been suggested that St Pancras is designed for passport checks upon arrival as well as departure. This seems a far more sensible approach and is - after all - the way it is done with air travel.
Your logic is sound, but it applies only to UK-bound traffic. For instance: as UK is not part of Schengen area, any flight leaving UK for a continental Europe country will arrive in the "international" area, and passengers will be subject to passport control. So if air traffic-like passport controls were to be in place, Netherlands would have to set up passport controls in Rotterdam (or wherever else). I think they could reserve one of new Rotterdam Centraal's platforms only for international traffic and screen everybody (x-ray). They could also to the "screening" in Breda and then terminate UK-services in Breda, from where passengers would board domestic trains to other destinations in Netherlands.
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Old November 30th, 2010, 08:39 AM   #1142
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The x-ray machines are supposedly there to check for bombs. Yet, for what?
These checks are completely without purpose. And they even increase the risk to the public. If a terrorist wants to do maximum damage he only has to set of the bomb in the queue for the security checkpoint. We check for bombs at airport too, but don't have any plan what to do if we find one there either.
So all the X-Ray-ing of luggage really does is cause a lot of false alarms, leading to unneeded terminal evacuations and a lot of passengers being delayed.
Which shows that the terrorists actually don't have to do anything at all anymore. We're happily destroying our society without needing their assistance.

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They offer no value - yet if they must be used, the Spanish have managed to show how it can be done on any platform with a portable machine.
But the Spanish have a very different idea on how to operate a railway than the Dutch or the Germans have. I don't think it would be possible to graft Spanish practices on the German rialway's operations, nor would that be a good idea.
How are you going to scan the luggage of a few hundred of passengers in just two minutes?
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Old November 30th, 2010, 08:46 AM   #1143
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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
I think they could reserve one of new Rotterdam Centraal's platforms only for international traffic and screen everybody (x-ray).
And that is probably not going to happen.

Why force Prorail/NS/DB to spend a lot of money screening of a seperate platform, making it unavailable to other trains (not as if they have platforms to spare) all for something that is, for all purposes, a wast of time and resources for everyone involved...
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Old November 30th, 2010, 08:53 AM   #1144
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Your logic is sound, but it applies only to UK-bound traffic. For instance: as UK is not part of Schengen area, any flight leaving UK for a continental Europe country will arrive in the "international" area, and passengers will be subject to passport control.
I'm saying check outbound passengers getting on the train and incoming passengers getting off the train on the UK side. Then no other country needs to make special arrangements in their stations.

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But the Spanish have a very different idea on how to operate a railway than the Dutch or the Germans have. I don't think it would be possible to graft Spanish practices on the German rialway's operations, nor would that be a good idea.
How are you going to scan the luggage of a few hundred of passengers in just two minutes?
I've twice seen the Spanish screen all the passengers getting on an AVE train in under 5 minutes, once was on a normal platform - they rolled out a machine on wheels and put some of those retractable rope barriers up to guide everyone through it. So my point is, it doesn't require dedicated platforms etc - but I still don't agree that it is necessary at all.
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Old November 30th, 2010, 12:19 PM   #1145
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I've twice seen the Spanish screen all the passengers getting on an AVE train in under 5 minutes, once was on a normal platform - they rolled out a machine on wheels and put some of those retractable rope barriers up to guide everyone through it. So my point is, it doesn't require dedicated platforms etc - but I still don't agree that it is necessary at all.
Pure security theater then. We'll see. I'm still hoping for a return of sanity.
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Old November 30th, 2010, 04:12 PM   #1146
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The British make such a fuss about this, 15 years ago passport checks were the norm in all of central Europe and it was usually done very pragmatic.

In some trains border guards would just check inside the trains, in other stations everyone would queue and the whole procedure took just a few seconds per person.

Today with this moronic security mania, every passport number must be entered in some machine, etc. It's just ridiculous.
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Old December 1st, 2010, 03:20 AM   #1147
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The British make such a fuss about this, 15 years ago passport checks were the norm in all of central Europe and it was usually done very pragmatic.

In some trains border guards would just check inside the trains, in other stations everyone would queue and the whole procedure took just a few seconds per person.

Today with this moronic security mania, every passport number must be entered in some machine, etc. It's just ridiculous.
With biometric passports, introduced worldwide at pressure from US, paper itself is less important than the chip. It could be, of course, read easily with a handheld, but then you need this handheld to store all information about people banned from entering UK (99% due to previous immigration violation, not terror-watch lists or alike). I don't know if it is feasible to have real-time updated handhelds capable of providing all this info to Border Force on the fly.
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Old December 1st, 2010, 11:45 AM   #1148
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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
With biometric passports, introduced worldwide at pressure from US, paper itself is less important than the chip. It could be, of course, read easily with a handheld, but then you need this handheld to store all information about people banned from entering UK (99% due to previous immigration violation, not terror-watch lists or alike). I don't know if it is feasible to have real-time updated handhelds capable of providing all this info to Border Force on the fly.
Ever heard about wireless networks?
The handheld just has to have a secure, wireless network connection to read everything from a central database.
how much data is in the chip that needs to be validated?
a couple of megs?
Easily transferred in less than a second, with or without a wire.
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Old December 1st, 2010, 01:53 PM   #1149
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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
With biometric passports, introduced worldwide at pressure from US, paper itself is less important than the chip. It could be, of course, read easily with a handheld, but then you need this handheld to store all information about people banned from entering UK (99% due to previous immigration violation, not terror-watch lists or alike). I don't know if it is feasible to have real-time updated handhelds capable of providing all this info to Border Force on the fly.
Not only is this possible. It already exists. This is how passengers on trains entering the EU from outside of the EU are checked.
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Old December 1st, 2010, 01:54 PM   #1150
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how much data is in the chip that needs to be validated?
a couple of megs?
We're so used to megabytes nowadays that we don't realise how much that really is. A name plus a passport number is not more than a few tens of bytes. You could even use SMS traffic to communicate with the portable terminals.

Last edited by K_; December 2nd, 2010 at 11:15 AM.
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Old December 1st, 2010, 02:58 PM   #1151
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Yes I know, but the thing I don't know is, is how much data there is on such an electronic passport.
I guess that it also contains a digital picture which is more likely in the kilobytes.
I don't know the size of other data on the passport, but even when it is in the megabytes it doesn't matter if it's a "fixed station" or a wireless handheld device that does the trick, the technology is already existing, they just have to start using it (or even better, the UK could join the Shengen area and ditch the checks altogether).
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Old December 1st, 2010, 03:05 PM   #1152
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Yes I know, but the thing I don't know is, is how much data there is on such an electronic passport.
I guess that it also contains a digital picture which is more likely in the kilobytes.
I don't know the size of other data on the passport, but even when it is in the megabytes it doesn't matter if it's a "fixed station" or a wireless handheld device that does the trick, the technology is already existing, they just have to start using it (or even better, the UK could join the Shengen area and ditch the checks altogether).
Biometric passports have a digitalized photo and, since 2009, digitalized fingerprint, plus regular data like name, birthplace and DOB, nationality, parents' names, sex, validity, post of issue etc.

I don't think UK should join Schengen. Indeed, I think it was a mistake to extend Schengen beyond Western Europe. We should still have controls in German, Austrian and Italian borders (Greece should be excluded from Schengen). EU borders are too porous now that we lost that tight control we could have in favor of a sprawling border that reaches Moldova, Turkey, Belarus etc.
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Old December 2nd, 2010, 01:28 AM   #1153
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Old December 2nd, 2010, 07:41 PM   #1154
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I don't think UK should join Schengen. Indeed, I think it was a mistake to extend Schengen beyond Western Europe. We should still have controls in German, Austrian and Italian borders (Greece should be excluded from Schengen). EU borders are too porous now that we lost that tight control we could have in favor of a sprawling border that reaches Moldova, Turkey, Belarus etc.
The UK should join. Heck, it's an island! The only "land connection" is a tunnel to France. I means what is there to lose? On airports and harbours there would be border controls anyways.

Plus Schengen allows passport checks on international trains! So what would be the problem for Britain?

I think we should have never allowed Switzerland to join Schengen.

But as for the Eastern countries, I can understand where your sentiment is coming from. On the other hand it also means that some places were united again. Think of Bad Radkersburg and Gornja Radgona (Oberradkersburg). The city was divided in 1919 and now at least the border is gone. Even families where divided then... Especially with the iron curtain. Also the Austrian state of Burgenland was actually a part of Hungary till 1920 and the main cities were Pressburg (Bratislava) and Sopron (Ödenburg). In 1921 it was divided. Now finally the region can grow together again. So there is something good about the extension of Schengen and I certainly agree with admitting Hungary, Slowenia, Slovakia and Czech Republic to it.
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Old December 2nd, 2010, 09:53 PM   #1155
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Being part of Schegen =/= freedom of movement of EU citizens. Now almost all European countries are on Schengen protocol area, but freedom of movement of EU citizens came long before Schengen. I'm not saying Poles should have to apply for visas to come to France, but that there should be, still, Germans controlling the border, allowing Poles, Slovakians and whomever else is from EU to pass, but keeping illegal immigrants crossing from Central Asia overland at bay.
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Old December 12th, 2010, 03:52 PM   #1156
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I hate the way the French behave in this matter:

- First they offer AGV
- They lose against Velaro
- Then suddenly they claim only their 20 y.o. TGV fulfills the safety standards

Oh, wait a minute, why did you offer your AGV then, which according to your very own claim, doesn't fulfill the standards either?
Eurostar directors quit ahead of train deal


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Old December 13th, 2010, 01:17 AM   #1157
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@ Suburbanist: do you have anything to show to backup that the borders are too porous now or is that merely an unsubstantiated claim?
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Old December 13th, 2010, 01:44 AM   #1158
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Originally Posted by rheintram View Post
The UK should join. Heck, it's an island! The only "land connection" is a tunnel to France. I means what is there to lose? On airports and harbours there would be border controls anyways.

Plus Schengen allows passport checks on international trains! So what would be the problem for Britain?
Not if they are done systematically in order to equate to de facto border controls. I was actually almost shocked when after quite a while I was controlled by police on the train once. And even if these controls are made, they are not border controls but ID controls.

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I think we should have never allowed Switzerland to join Schengen.
Maybe they'll kick themselves out soon enough anyway. Giving their record on referendums it looks only as a matter of time.

Quote:
But as for the Eastern countries, I can understand where your sentiment is coming from. On the other hand it also means that some places were united again. Think of Bad Radkersburg and Gornja Radgona (Oberradkersburg). The city was divided in 1919 and now at least the border is gone. Even families where divided then... Especially with the iron curtain. Also the Austrian state of Burgenland was actually a part of Hungary till 1920 and the main cities were Pressburg (Bratislava) and Sopron (Ödenburg). In 1921 it was divided. Now finally the region can grow together again. So there is something good about the extension of Schengen and I certainly agree with admitting Hungary, Slowenia, Slovakia and Czech Republic to it.
You make a very good point here. There are a lot of borders around there and it makes life a lot easier if you don't have to potentially wait hours at every one of them.

I think the Schengen enlargement was reasonable. Also Poland has done a decent job. Or has anyone heard that the Polish Shengen border would be especially leaky? And with Frontex we have a new force which can deliver additional control of the Schengen borders were it should be needed. Interestingly the hot spot currently is the old member state Greece, rather than any of the new ones.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 08:45 AM   #1159
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I think we should have never allowed Switzerland to join Schengen.
Why if I may aks?

The reason Switzerland joined Schengen was a rather pragmatic one. More and more Chinese and Indian tourists are coming to Europe, and having to get both a Swiss and a Schengen Visa is a bit of a hassle, which lead to a lot of these tourists not including Switzerland in their plans. It also made the Artesia night trains off limit to foreign nationals not in possession of a Schengen visa.
So joining Schengen was the logical thing to do. Not that it mattered a lot for border controls, which were mostly non existing anyway.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 10:05 AM   #1160
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@ Suburbanist: do you have anything to show to backup that the borders are too porous now or is that merely an unsubstantiated claim?
Well, if I had time I could research it, but I supposed that it was common knowledge that illegal immigrants keep arriving in Europe, and that the most traveled route (thanks to the relatively good job of Spain and Italy avoiding boat arrivals by sea) is now an overland Asian-Europe route via Greece and Bulgaria.
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