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Old February 22nd, 2011, 09:36 PM   #121
pietje01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silly_Walks View Post
There are many problems with Thalys... they should be ashamed about this, but they are not.
What would you expect from a company which is mostly a joint-venture of the Belgian and French state railways.
That means to me that passengers are considered annoying and the main reason of everything that goes wrong.
Let's have a strike
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Old February 23rd, 2011, 02:35 PM   #122
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Instead of relying on what the newspapers say (that usually have hardly any knowledge of trains anyway), we could also look at what exactly happened as they saw it in Brussels:

Roughly translated from http://hgbtf.net/viewtopic.php?p=143101#p143101 (post by gysev):
Quote:
- Thalys 9358 lost all traction on the HSL between Schiphol en Rotterdam, driver wasn't able to fix the problem;
- In the Netherlands no attempts were made at towing away the stranded train (do they actually have locomotives to help in such situations, like our 55 TVM?) and the next Thalys 9362 was designated for towing. Then the stupid decision was made to let the train drive through to Rotterdam and return from there to couple with the stranded 9358. The passengers had to stay on board even though they could've easily taken the Benelux train with which they'd be able to get the last Thalys in Brussels.
- After the coupling - due to the nature of the defects - a maximum speed of 160 km/h was set, which obviously didn't do any good to the travel time. Therefore the train was refused by RFF (France): it would arrive well after 1h during the night in Paris and there were urgent maintenance works foreseen.
- Brussels-South station wasn't informed that the train wasn't allowed to continue until 22h (!). Until that time, Thalys said they were looking for a driver to use the classic lines to get to Paris. Try to find a hotel room for 370 passengers in such a short time. It's impossible, even more so because after 22h there's only one person of B-Mobility on duty, who also has to take care train connections, taxi bills, organisation of shunting and so on.
When I look at that, it seems to me that it's a sad combination of things going wrong. A failing train just at the time that maintenance works are going to be performed in France and bad communication between the parties.

There's no need to bash the Belgian rail company for this. Sure, they probably could've done better, but they're most certainly not the only ones that made mistakes here and as such don't deserve to be blamed for everything.

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Old February 24th, 2011, 03:49 AM   #123
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Thalys didn't live up to it's customers expectations. Hotel rooms should have been available, Thalys could have been perfectly aware that train wasn't going anywhere anymore, they have their contacts with SNCF, too, they knew works were scheduled.
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Old February 24th, 2011, 01:23 PM   #124
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The reason why I wanted to mention this incident here is because I believe this is not a singular incident, but rather the shape of things to come in a Europe with liberalized railways. When a probelm arises, the infrastructure company (here French Rail) will say, "it is not our problem whether the passengers get home or not, we only take care of the infrastructure." The national rail company (here the Belgian one) will say, "this is not our problem, we are not running this train and have to much on our hands with our own trains." Finally the operating company, in this case Thalys, has too lean a structure, no engines for hauling damaged trains and no reserve train engineers, to deal with a problem efficiently on its own. In the age of singular national rail companies, this incident would not have taken on these absurd dimensions.
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Old February 24th, 2011, 01:45 PM   #125
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I think Turkey and all his inhabitants can be very happy if they ever get a transportation system as good the one in countries like France and Belgium...
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Old February 24th, 2011, 03:03 PM   #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baron Hirsch View Post
In the age of singular national rail companies, this incident would not have taken on these absurd dimensions.
I disagree. Just look at how well the old national rail companies care about their passengers when they know there's no penalty for bad performance. SNCB and SNCF are despised by their passengers but those have nowhere to go except to a car, on an already overcrowded national road network.

In the Netherlands, NS feels the pressure on them because their concession is at stake and the competition is keen on taking over national rail services - Arriva and Veolia have already expressed their interest.

In the UK, passenger satisfaction is considered during the lifetime of a concession, and it also determines whether or not a given concession is extended or re-tendered. Serco and Abellio have been given a 2 year extension of their Northern Rail concession because they score so well on passenger satisfaction.

State-run railroads have their benefits, but that is mostly to keep people job-occupied. Just look at how many staff SNCB has, then look at how many staff NS has. It's competition that forces companies to innovate and focus on passenger experience and satisfaction.
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Old February 24th, 2011, 09:29 PM   #127
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baron Hirsch View Post
The reason why I wanted to mention this incident here is because I believe this is not a singular incident, but rather the shape of things to come in a Europe with liberalized railways. When a probelm arises, the infrastructure company (here French Rail) will say, "it is not our problem whether the passengers get home or not, we only take care of the infrastructure." The national rail company (here the Belgian one) will say, "this is not our problem, we are not running this train and have to much on our hands with our own trains." Finally the operating company, in this case Thalys, has too lean a structure, no engines for hauling damaged trains and no reserve train engineers, to deal with a problem efficiently on its own. In the age of singular national rail companies, this incident would not have taken on these absurd dimensions.
I think you're completely wrong, the problem has nothing to do with the (partial)liberisation of the raliways, such things also happened earlier.
It is however popular in union circles to blame the liberisation for everything that goes wrong.
The problem is just that for passengers operations the NMBS and SNCF are still the same as decades ago, only in the freight operations they are having difficulties because of their attitude.
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Old February 25th, 2011, 12:24 AM   #128
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Any plans for reforms of SNCF and SNCB?
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Old February 25th, 2011, 10:26 PM   #129
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The only way to get SNCB to drastically reform is when they actually can go bankrupt. They enjoy bankrupcy protection, which is why the unions can demand whatever they like - and get their way - without any negative impact on the company's future. SNCB in its current form exists since 2005 and has never made profit, always losses between 50 million and 200 million euros if it's not more.

When SNCB loses this protection, they'll have to heavily reorganize and get rid of a boatload of redundant staff, or face bankrupcy. It's the only way to change SNCB.
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Old February 26th, 2011, 03:17 AM   #130
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Since some time, SNCB can go bankrupt, at least on paper. The legal framework that protected SNCB from bankruptcy has been changed under European pressure.
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Old July 12th, 2011, 02:17 AM   #131
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The Desiro ML trains are almost ready to enter service. NMBS/SNCB has ordered 305 of these.

image hosted on flickr

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5737296738/
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Old July 20th, 2011, 01:47 AM   #132
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The new locs (Siemens HLE 18) are entering service too (2 years delay due to problems at Siemens)

From now on, 8 new locs will be delivered every month (total 120).

image hosted on flickr

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3337786976/

image hosted on flickr

http://www.flickr.com/photos/maarten...en/5902741058/
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Old July 20th, 2011, 08:38 AM   #133
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Will they be used on Benelux trains until Fyra comes to Belgium?
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Old July 20th, 2011, 01:58 PM   #134
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I believe they don't have clearence in the Netherlands yet
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Old July 20th, 2011, 01:59 PM   #135
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No, at first they will be used on the Oostende - Eupen route. Then they will be replacing the HLE 13 and HLE 27 on passenger services, this means that they will be reaching Luxembourg or Lille but not to the Netherlands (not even Maastricht because the IC Brussel - Maastricht will be discontinued very soon. And I guess that the NMBS and NS are hoping that the Fyra will come into service before all te HLE 18s are delivered.

But who knows what happens when the delay of the Fyra trains takes even longer.....
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Old August 29th, 2011, 01:32 PM   #136
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New train station in Mechelen:

Video of the model:


Some renders:




Some short history:
1835 - In Belgium a railway was opened on May 5 between Brussels and Mechelen. It was the first railway in continental Europe.





They demolished this station in 1958 to build a new one, this one:



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Old August 29th, 2011, 03:14 PM   #137
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Both the new and old ones are nothing special. The second (from 1958) needs maintenance, though.
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Old August 29th, 2011, 07:33 PM   #138
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Here are some pictures from a nearby railway line under construction. It's located in the median of the E19/A1 motorway and goes from Mechelen to Schaarbeek. This means it can (and most likely will) be used for a faster connection between Brussels and Antwerp. The line allows for a speed of 160km/h at the moment, but I was told that most parts of it are designed for 200km/h.



Half-way along the track, there are tunnels that allow for a connection to the Brussels Airport station:






Tons of other pictures and a whole discussion about it (in Dutch/French) can be found here: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=974710

Greetings,
Glodenox
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Old August 30th, 2011, 01:51 PM   #139
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Both the new and old ones are nothing special. The second (from 1958) needs maintenance, though.
Presumably cos even the old one seems to be missing tarmac, gridlock and toll booths?

...
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Old August 30th, 2011, 02:06 PM   #140
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glodenox View Post
Here are some pictures from a nearby railway line under construction. It's located in the median of the E19/A1 motorway and goes from Mechelen to Schaarbeek. This means it can (and most likely will) be used for a faster connection between Brussels and Antwerp. The line allows for a speed of 160km/h at the moment, but I was told that most parts of it are designed for 200km/h
Not entirely true...

This is the Diabolo project which allows trains from Brussels to travel to Mechelen via Zaventem airport. Lijn 25 will be upgraded to 160 km'h anyway so there is no benefit to use the Diabolo other then serve Brussels airport. Rumour has it that Fyra will use this line and serve both Schiphol and Brussels airport while Thalys will use the upgraded Lijn 25.
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