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Old April 25th, 2015, 12:46 AM   #581
Surel
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Thanx 4 those maps on CD. I remember the train Prague-Brno was diverted via H. Brod for a while and has now returned to its route via C. Trebova. It seemed to me that the overall traveling time of of the EuroCity Berlin-Budapest had remained the same. Is the speed increase the RailJet now boasts (Prague-Vienna) due to better state of rails west of C. Trebova or simply because of the Austrian section?
Berlin-Dresden will be upgraded to first 160 kmh, later 200 with some sections remaining slower, no 230 kmh. Nonetheless, this is supposed to reduce traveling times to as little as 70 minutes sometime in the next decade (last problematic part is within Belrin city limits, where NIMBY protests have stopped any works or final planning from happening. DB has surrendered to the NIMBY demands for a tunnel to reduce noise in a southern suburb, but this makes additional planning necessary.
I remember that DB refused to let RailJets operate on the Berlin-Decin section supposedly because the rails were too bad. At the same time, they tried to start a new service on that line with one of CD's private rivals, but had to give up for lack of rolling stock. Now CD will modernize some of its old EuroCitys and operate them on that line. What a shame how competition hinders better services in transborder operations...
I don't know what kind of speed increase they talk about. The RailJets on their own can't offer any speed increase over the normal trains. I guess that any improvement, if there is any, is solely due to the newly opened Wien main station. And I guess that the "improvement" is just having the same travel times as 10 years ago, before the works on the Wien station started.

DB netz did no want there first Pendolinos, they said they are too small. Then they did not want there RailJets, they said, the capacity of the line is too low. The DB did not want to operate them jointly in 10 years framework, which would allow long term financing... etc etc.

I thought Berlin - Dresden was improved to 200+, it's flat land there, isn't it? Maybe it has to do with hub operation, i.e. half hour operation and more speed increase would not be beneficial. But this then leaves of course space for future HSR 300+ km/h line.
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Old April 25th, 2015, 01:04 AM   #582
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b) Because it is much more important for the intra country connections. So it makes lot of sense to invest the money there first....
These are all valid points. But once the HSL between Nürnberg and Berlin is finished, the fastest connection is supposedly 2:30. From Vienna to Nürnberg it is 4:42 and that won't change dramatically. So we are speaking of maybe 7:30, if timetables are well adjusted and there is a good connection (I doubt there will be a direct train). Compare this with the current connection via the Czech Republic which manages to do it in 9:03, without high speed. Withou only partial and much more modest investments and upgrade plans it would be probably possible to reach a travel time of close to 7:30 via Prague as well.

Honestly, a night train which takes 10 h or so makes a lot more sense than a high speed train which uses most of its higher speed just to compensate for the much larger distance. Sadly however this seems to be a minority opinion which not enough people seem to share.
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Old April 25th, 2015, 01:32 AM   #583
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Night trains are great. But HSR doesn't render night trains useless, just look at China, it makes more sleeper service possible, especially on the long distance, utilizing the rails at night. With a real 300 km/h HSR, 4 hour Berlin - Wien would be possible (even 3 hour service in fact) to compete with planes. And you still could keep the night service.

Btw, talking about night trains. It is really a pity that the City Night line Praha - Amsterdam is discontinued. The train ends now in Köln.

Last edited by Surel; April 25th, 2015 at 01:19 PM. Reason: gr, 3 hour
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Old April 25th, 2015, 01:42 AM   #584
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Night trains are crap from the past, I'm glad every operator is cutting down in this relic and some eliminated it altogether.
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Old April 25th, 2015, 04:42 AM   #585
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Night trains are crap from the past, I'm glad every operator is cutting down in this relic and some eliminated it altogether.
Same goes for you, but we still let you hang around here
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Old April 25th, 2015, 01:36 PM   #586
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Honestly, a night train which takes 10 h or so makes a lot more sense than a high speed train which uses most of its higher speed just to compensate for the much larger distance. Sadly however this seems to be a minority opinion which not enough people seem to share.
That's because the majority of people would happily fly instead with rail times 6h+
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Old April 25th, 2015, 02:37 PM   #587
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I'll grant you that flying is very competitive, but I personally prefer night trains if you have attractive options. For Vienna-Berlin for example I would rather prefer the night train over flying.

The faster travel is a mirage. With waiting, transfer time etc you have to spend at least 3-4h for flying, where you can't really sleep and can't really do anything you'd enjoy either. The night train leaves, well, in the night. So you'll head to the station at night, spend an hour or two talking to fellow passengers or reading stuff, then you'll sleep until one hour before you'll arrive when you get breakfeast and are kept busy in having it and getting your things together again. You arrive at a time which you would arrive as well when you were flying in the morning, propbably standing up at a rather unpleasent early time in order to be on the safe side, ...

If people resent the level of comfort of the train cabin, I can understand why they are choosing the plane, but for me thats good enough for getting my rest. I am more slept out after the train ride than after an early departure and unpleasent flight marathon. Of course, that is my personal opinion and I take it many do not share it.

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Night trains are great. But HSR doesn't render night trains useless, just look at China, it makes more sleeper service possible, especially on the long distance, utilizing the rails at night. With a real 300 km/h HSR, 4 hour Berlin - Wien would be possible (even 3 hour service in fact) to compete with planes. And you still could keep the night service.

Btw, talking about night trains. It is really a pity that the City Night line Praha - Amsterdam is discontinued. The train ends now in Köln.
I happen to agree, but sadly the train operators seem to disagree.
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Old April 25th, 2015, 07:26 PM   #588
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I'll grant you that flying is very competitive, but I personally prefer night trains if you have attractive options. For Vienna-Berlin for example I would rather prefer the night train over flying.

The faster travel is a mirage. With waiting, transfer time etc you have to spend at least 3-4h for flying, where you can't really sleep and can't really do anything you'd enjoy either. The night train leaves, well, in the night. So you'll head to the station at night, spend an hour or two talking to fellow passengers or reading stuff, then you'll sleep until one hour before you'll arrive when you get breakfeast and are kept busy in having it and getting your things together again. You arrive at a time which you would arrive as well when you were flying in the morning, propbably standing up at a rather unpleasent early time in order to be on the safe side, ...

If people resent the level of comfort of the train cabin, I can understand why they are choosing the plane, but for me thats good enough for getting my rest. I am more slept out after the train ride than after an early departure and unpleasent flight marathon. Of course, that is my personal opinion and I take it many do not share it.
I understand your argument, but it's not the opinion most people share. I believe part of it is that people these days are not comfortable sleeping in the same room with complete strangers which would be the case unless your company can exactly fill one compartment.

As for flying it depends, the loss of time is not always so bad. For example for lights from Basel I leave my apartment about 1 h 40 min before the take-off (15 min for the train) even a bit less if I have no baggage. Going back and again assuming no baggage it's about 50-60 min from the moment I get out of the plane. Of course if the train ride is only 3-4 h this still makes no sense, but for 6h or more it's a lot more comfortable to fly. The train itself is more comfortable than the plane, but still it's no fun to sit in the same chair for 7 h no matter how good the chair is. Sitting still time in the plane is short and if it is not then you are going so far that no other transport option has a chance. It will take about 20-21 h door to door for my upcoming trip to Hanoi...
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Old April 25th, 2015, 08:50 PM   #589
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I am aware of that. I don't know whats the problem. I really can't believe that its because people are so decadent they can't manage to sleep in a room with strangers. But maybe you are right. But if that is the problem, there is no problem. You can book double rooms or even single rooms. The double room, with proper and fairly comfortable beds, costs additional 37.50 EUR on top of the price for a regular 2nd class seat, for Vienna-Berlin that is at least.

With Vorteilscard, for 2 persons, Vienna-Berlin Euronight, double sleeping room, one way amounts on the 27.4.15 to 224.80 EUR. Proper bed with matrace and linen, personal washing basin, mineral water, newspapers and proper breakfast included. (Apparently there exist also "Deluxe" cabins with personal shower and toilets but I could not find any offer and don't know if there are any availabe and on which routes)

The cheapest, flight at the same day (or the day afterwards) is from Germanwings for 102 EUR (only available at night, so you have to spend the previous evening flying plus pay for accomodation for one more day). That is the only offer at that price range, Air Berlin costs already 199€.


And with the night train, you simply head to the station instead of going to bed at home (departure 22:40), sleep, have breakfeast, and you'll be there at 9 AM, just in time for making full use of the day. Try to do that with the martyrium you can enjoy with flying on a budget airline. So why again should be flying more attractive? If you want to go for the cheap, you take an intercity bus (44€ one way for 2 persons, ~10 h). If you are concerned about making the best use of your time, you take that night train offer.
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Old April 25th, 2015, 08:54 PM   #590
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I understand your argument, but it's not the opinion most people share. I believe part of it is that people these days are not comfortable sleeping in the same room with complete strangers which would be the case unless your company can exactly fill one compartment.

As for flying it depends, the loss of time is not always so bad. For example for lights from Basel I leave my apartment about 1 h 40 min before the take-off (15 min for the train) even a bit less if I have no baggage. Going back and again assuming no baggage it's about 50-60 min from the moment I get out of the plane. Of course if the train ride is only 3-4 h this still makes no sense, but for 6h or more it's a lot more comfortable to fly. The train itself is more comfortable than the plane, but still it's no fun to sit in the same chair for 7 h no matter how good the chair is. Sitting still time in the plane is short and if it is not then you are going so far that no other transport option has a chance. It will take about 20-21 h door to door for my upcoming trip to Hanoi...
Yes, normal train seat looses to the plane on 4+ hours trip.
But overnight sleeper wins for me to the the plane on almost any trip. Flying with plane around Europe will cost you always at least 3 hours (the airport time included). That makes the morning trips not really comfortable, let alone yet having the option of early morning flight is not always available.
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Old April 25th, 2015, 08:58 PM   #591
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Early morning flights are terrible but I usually chose them because you can arrive early. But if there are night trains availabe, I will very much prefer them instead.
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Old April 25th, 2015, 09:09 PM   #592
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Overnight trains are like transtlantic modern cruise trips: a niche, with some number people who really, really like that option for a variety of reasons, but not enough to guarantee profitability of a frequent service or any service in many cases.
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Old April 25th, 2015, 09:20 PM   #593
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Modern Cruise ships are something entirely different. There is no rational reason to take a modern cruise ship, other than touristic qualities and enjoying the journey as such. I think I made a fairly good case why there are rational reasons to take night trains, among other reasons because it can be the most time efficient mode of transportation, also compared to flying.
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Old April 25th, 2015, 09:26 PM   #594
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Modern Cruise ships are something entirely different. There is no rational reason to take a modern cruise ship, other than touristic qualities and enjoying the journey as such. I think I made a fairly good case why there are rational reasons to take night trains, among other reasons because it can be the most time efficient mode of transportation, also compared to flying.
The problem is that your notion of efficiency discounts the fact you spend a night in a moving bed. Most people don't equate a night on a train cabin with a night on a normal bedroom (at home or in a hotel).

It is like saying you can work while eating in front of a computer if you have grease-proof keyboard and mouse. I'm sure some people are indifferent to the circumstances of their eating, most people are not.
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Old April 25th, 2015, 09:35 PM   #595
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The problem is that your notion of efficiency discounts the fact you spend a night in a moving bed.
So what? If you take a sleep cabin, you'll have a proper bed. Some people might have a problem with a moving bed. But is that your last line of defense? I doubt it is an issue for a whole lot of people. The quality of the bed might be, but if you have a sleep cabin it should be no problem for most either. The idea that cruise ships are a fringe market because the beds are moving is ridiculous. They are because they can't compete timewise, night trains can compete as I showed before.

Bottom line is, for most people this is comfortable and also good enough to have a full nights sleep and arrive refreshed at the destination, making full use of the day. If I take an early flight, can't sleep long because I have to get up in the middle of the night, just to arrive at the same time as with that Vienna Berlin night train, I could not say the same, I would be tired the rest of the day, especially as the whole airport stuff is quite tiresome as well. Granted, that is just me, but I challenge your claim that everyone else feels differently about it, except for some funny fringe people.
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Old April 25th, 2015, 11:42 PM   #596
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The last night train I took was in Georgia few years ago. It was ok, but not exactly comfortable or anywhere close to a hotel room... If I travel for vacation I prefer late flights so I can fly somewhere after work, book in a hotel and start with whatever I want to do in my destination the day after.

I like trains (hence I'm here) and I use them whenever it seems to make sense, but I have no problem flying or renting a car instead either.
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Old April 26th, 2015, 12:20 AM   #597
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Well, certainly a hotel can have a higher level of comfort and I think the main drawback is not having a shower, in most of the offers. But otherwise, you can choose. Do you prefer the whole airport procedure, standing, waiting, checknig etc, then go for it. I personally think it is more comfort sleeping in a train cabin, especially if its a soft bed, than having to go through all of the airport stuff. Of course, the train journey has to make sense and be competitive regarding duration and price. On top of that, you don't have the risk of some airline sending your luggage to Novosibirsk and you can fill it with to the brim with stones and pay no extra charges.
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Old April 26th, 2015, 11:28 AM   #598
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I guess we have to accept one thing the Suburbanist said: the way things are going at the moment, night trains are a niche and most people believe that anything beyond 4 hours is best done flying.
To change that attitude, it would take a lot, perhaps promoting night trains more pro-actively is one thing, but also improving quality (better shock absorbers, sound insulation, more attached private showers, internet, maybe a film program). Mostly though the EU and its member states should give priority to environnment-friendly traveling by for example taxing flights of less than 1000 km prohibitively or banning them all together.
Also night trains should like in China wake up to the HSR age and offer fast overnight links between cities such as London and Barcelona, London and Berlin, Berlin-Paris, where daytime travel times are a turn-off (8 hours or more), but which can be done easily during a good night's sleep.
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Old April 26th, 2015, 11:37 AM   #599
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I guess we have to accept one thing the Suburbanist said: the way things are going at the moment, night trains are a niche and most people believe that anything beyond 4 hours is best done flying.
To change that attitude, it would take a lot, perhaps promoting night trains more pro-actively is one thing, but also improving quality (better shock absorbers, sound insulation, more attached private showers, internet, maybe a film program). Mostly though the EU and its member states should give priority to environnment-friendly traveling by for example taxing flights of less than 1000 km prohibitively or banning them all together.
One problem with this approach is that if you indeed turn night trains in to "rolling hotels", with maybe 20 passengers per carriage, weighing in at 60t each, it quickly stops being an "environment-friendly" way of travelling. Trains consume energy too.

In fact, the most environmentally friendly way to travel long distance in Europe is by bus. So if the aim is to promote the environment busses should be allowed to compete with trains everywhere.

"Banning" air because it manages to successfully compete with rail is not the way to support rail. There are quite a few sub 1000km routes in Europe where air is even the most environmental alternative. (Between the UK and Scandinavia for example...)
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Old April 26th, 2015, 12:08 PM   #600
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The rail has it's role and a significant one and air travel has it as well. No need to try to turn back the clock of history, it rarely works well anyway. Maybe in some more distant future non-tourist night trains will make sense again and if so they will be introduced again. The rail infrastructure itself is still being continuously improved across the continent so it's not like it would be difficult to do. Until then though we need to admit that the service is a niche with a limited appeal.

As for China their air travel market is a lot less efficient than the one in Europe therefore rail is finding it easier to compete than it would here. Of course on certain routes it does and that's great for travellers because the ticket prices are kept reasonable. If I go to Paris I take a train, but there is also an option to fly (Paris Orly). If there wasn't I would probably have to pay more for my train tickets.
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