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Old March 1st, 2015, 04:56 PM   #2601
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Infrastructure projects in Switzerland are almost always on time and on budget...when works start. However, the decision to build can easily take decades. A small foot bridge was built and inaugurated quickly a few months ago near my home, after having approved by a municipal referendum...23 years ago. The Gotthard base tunnel will be inaugurated 25 years after having been approved by voters, and 55 years after the first study about it.
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Old March 1st, 2015, 08:24 PM   #2602
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Quote:
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But why Austria and Switzerland - both also democratic and federal countries with the usual bureaucracy and potential NIMBYism - manage to finish their projects on time?
I was referring to mega projects worldwide.
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Old March 2nd, 2015, 04:10 AM   #2603
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But why Austria and Switzerland - both also democratic and federal countries with the usual bureaucracy and potential NIMBYism - manage to finish their projects on time?
I think it's all about funding/capita. But railways aren't the only neglected children, roads fare little better.

The need for more infrastructure and big projects is there all the same but you have to make due with a lot less funding. So I assume it is only natural that the german cost estimates are initially far lower (and less realistic) than the austrian and swiss ones to get approval for projects. A lack of funding and completely unrealistic cost planning of course also means lots of delay.


That's my theory anyway
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Old March 2nd, 2015, 10:25 AM   #2604
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Something that is problematic in Germany, in the sense of cost increases, is the way money is spread out as much as possible to build several projects at slower pace. This increases overhead costs over time.
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Old March 2nd, 2015, 07:47 PM   #2605
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Something that is problematic in Germany, in the sense of cost increases, is the way money is spread out as much as possible to build several projects at slower pace. This increases overhead costs over time.
Agreed. In addition, during that long construction phase, a lot of money has already been spent without generating any use. Getting one project done quickly before starting the next one would fix this: Partial spending would result in partial use.
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Old March 2nd, 2015, 08:16 PM   #2606
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Disagree. The project mentioned (Geltendorf-Memmingen) is at least five years behind the international contract (2020 instead of 2015). Switzerland and Austria have completed their sections already.

Stuttgart 21 is three years behind schedule (the schedule that was made AFTER the popular vote, so not delayed by protests).

The construction of Ebensfeld-Erfurt has begun 19 (!) years ago but will not see trains for two more years.

Stuttgart-Zurich was contractually agreed ("Vertrag von Lugano") to be tilt train enabled and partially double tracked. The Swiss side has finished their part, nothing has happened in Germany.

4-tracking of Mannheim-Basel was contractually agreed to be finished when the Swiss Gotthard base tunnel is done. The tunnel will be in service next year, one year ahead of schedule, while the 4-tracking is still decades away.
You seem to fall victim to the headline dates made by political PR. None of these timelines are real as the abysmal funding commitment of the very same political class proves time and again.
The real deadlines are only the ones which are announced in the tendering process. They are more or less definite and contractors have an economic interest to met these targets which they do in most cases.
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Old March 4th, 2015, 11:21 AM   #2607
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Originally Posted by alphorn View Post
Agreed. In addition, during that long construction phase, a lot of money has already been spent without generating any use. Getting one project done quickly before starting the next one would fix this: Partial spending would result in partial use.
But this will obviously work a lot better in small countries like e.g. Switzerland than in Europe's most popoulous country. It's an ideal that cannot be achieved in Germany where you have to cater for the demands of a lot more people and regions. When comparing the bigger countries, German infrastructure geography is an impediment in that regard compared to centralised layouts like in France (but does create benefits nevertheless).
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Old March 4th, 2015, 05:54 PM   #2608
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I do believe going slow adds to costs considerably and is a major problem of German infrastructure development. Take Berlin Hauptbahnhof: decided by parliament in 1992, opening planned for 2000-2002. Opening took place in 2006, but only by shelving several parts of the plan, some permanently, others temporarily. Especially connecting new rail lines to it: Subway was connected only in 2009 (due to the Berlin Senate temporarily suspending funding) and remains a 3-station-stub to this day, the next 4 stations not to be completed before 2020, construction of the western 2 stations suspended indefinitely.
Tram services opened just this past December, the line will only be fully functionable by this summer, although it is a mere 3.5 km extension.
Most funny is the northern S-Bahn extension: construction has begun and some parts of a viaduct are already visible, but only once construction finally began (the only new stop being cut to save money) did the companies claim that the already existing parts from before 2006 did not fit their expectations and one would have to invest a good deal more money and time to change them. Characteristically the ministry of transport immediately threatened to stop its financing all together....
Just for the record, southern S-Bahn extension also suspended indefinitely.
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Old March 4th, 2015, 09:34 PM   #2609
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Quote:
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But this will obviously work a lot better in small countries like e.g. Switzerland than in Europe's most popoulous country. It's an ideal that cannot be achieved in Germany where you have to cater for the demands of a lot more people and regions. When comparing the bigger countries, German infrastructure geography is an impediment in that regard compared to centralised layouts like in France (but does create benefits nevertheless).
I'm not saying build just one project at a time, but more like build 20 rail projects lasting 2 years each, then repeat it 4 times, instead of building 80 rail projects all taking 8 years each.
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Old March 6th, 2015, 04:10 PM   #2610
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I don't think that this would be faster, though. The main impediment is a planning phase which lasts way to long (compared with other countries) due to German planning law and a lack of funds (which exists basically everywhere else, too).

Theoretically you can cut complexitiy costs with your approach, but it would probably be thwarted by inflation which makes the 3rd and 4th batch of projects more expensive than if you would start them all at once.
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Old March 6th, 2015, 06:47 PM   #2611
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From Railway Gazette:

Quote:
http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/i...framework.html

DB signs first station development framework
06 Mar 2015


DB plans to build 20 stations in Bayern, photo by DB/Uwe Miethe

GERMANY: Deutsche Bahn’s station management business unit DB Station&Service has signed the first of a planned series of framework agreements with the Länder for the development of new stations. Intended to boost ridership on the rail network, these stations would be located in residential and commercial areas and near traffic generators such as universities, shopping centres and hospitals.

The first agreement was signed with Bayern on March 2 and sets out a framework for the construction of 20 stations in locations including Aschaffenburg, Hof and Bad Reichenhall. The €40m cost is to be shared equally between DB and the Land, with DB carrying the risk of construction cost overruns and the Land responsible for the revenue risk. The Land said that while the federal government had overall responsibility for stations, local funding would speed up implementation

...
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Old March 9th, 2015, 07:19 AM   #2612
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Is this an equipment move?

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Old March 9th, 2015, 12:27 PM   #2613
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Probably not. IC trains often serve as replacements when an ICE cannot make its rounds. To replace the ICE in double traction that usually serves this route, you have to put an awful lot of regular coaches together....
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Old March 9th, 2015, 02:37 PM   #2614
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This consist is actually pretty interesting, when you consider that a class 401 power car is basically a disguised class 120 locomotive with a higher top speed. In fact as long as you don't need to exceed 200 km/h this consist may even have better performance characteristics.
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Old March 11th, 2015, 04:52 PM   #2615
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zero Gravity View Post
I think it's all about funding/capita.
It's not really all about funding.

It's about this apparent need to make huge, all-encompassing general plans, which are then approved with everything up to and including building permission. Usually only takes around five years, then temporary solutions are implemented. The problem is that we usually then recalculate capacities based on the temporary solutions, and decide based on that that we don't really need to spend that money in the next two or three decades because we can live with the status quo.
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Old March 16th, 2015, 05:59 PM   #2616
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Eventually!
DB plans to invest 200 mln. Euros for new loos on their inter cities! http://www.sueddeutsche.de/wirtschaf...rden-1.2394573
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Old March 16th, 2015, 07:45 PM   #2617
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This announcement was much ridiculed among German rail nerds. 200 million to be invested in the upkeeping of toilets and to keep the kitchen equipment intact. One comment was "next it will be breaking news when a train comes back from getting washed".
Sadly, DB long distance travel is in a rut. While DB had announced ambitious goals following its post-2008 crisis rebound, it has lost even more of the market since. One major factor is the liberalization of the intercity bus traffic which has expanded rapidly at ruinous prices and has taken away especially price-sensitive customers. DB will have to react and will announce a strategy sometime soon, but so far has only reacted by entering the bus sector itself more forcefully. People are now debating whether the state should subsidize intercity traffic where it is not profitable.
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Old March 16th, 2015, 09:00 PM   #2618
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Well from a business news point of view it makes sense to report a 200 mln investment in any case, doesn't it?

To be fair, it's 200 mln on upgrading the fleet and improve service quality, which makes sense, given new competition from coach operators. DB has to improve services to justify higher prices.
They also want to open some 300 new stations but are looking for financing (new stations have to be negotiated with the Länder). Bavaria and DB already agreed on cofinancing 20 new stops (mostly in rural areas) earlier this month (the pink ones in the map, the orange ones have been approved before but aren't buildt yet).

Source: http://www.br.de/nachrichten/inhalt/...ayern-104.html
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Old March 16th, 2015, 10:21 PM   #2619
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That's map is making me salivate. The subject doesn't interest me much but the map just looks darn good.

Anyway, back to work...
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Old March 19th, 2015, 12:20 PM   #2620
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DB to increase services by 25% until 2030

Good news from Deutsche Bahn: the company reacts to the recent drop in passenger numbers on long-distance trains by going on the offensive. It promises to use newly available trains to expand the present services drastically, albeit in steps over the next 15 years.
- Main ICE routes should see twice-hourly services (at present mostly hourly)
- all towns with 100.000 inhabitants should be reconnected to IC-services at two-hour intervals (many now only served by RE)
- free WiFi on ICE even in 2nd class as of 2016
- BC discount cards available for 3-month periods (besides the regular one year card
- availability of discount prices until train departure (presently one day in advance) and more cheap offers

Even skeptics have been surprised by the ambitiousness of the plan. Only criticism I could utter:
- no word on how night trains would come back into the picture
- the effort to connect more small towns means more stops for IC and ICE trains probably, slowing them down below their present speed
- no attempt to offer more sprinter services on long big city to big city routes
- nothing about expanding international services, not even the long planned route to London

Original press release, stupidly only in German: http://www.deutschebahn.com/de/press...temsPerPage=15
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