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Old February 23rd, 2010, 12:29 AM   #281
thun
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@ Hans: So you basically see the point it makes sense that German ICEs call at the historic Hauptbahnhöfe and not on the open field like the TGV can? Well, if you could come up with an idea how to explain the desperate need to build bypasses for all medium cities for some few ICE Sprinter (like you say) to tyx payers and environmentalists, why don't you share it with us.
I never said that the ICE Sprinter isn't a good idea, but the lines where it really works are probably quite limited as most German travellers don't share the same destination (like Paris in France or Madrid in Barcelona) but change more often trains. That's why Germany has a dense network and not some loose spider's net like France or Spain.

Trying to plan the Wendlingen-Ulm line for more than 250km/h now would cuase delays of several years or even decades because the whole permission process would start again. And that for a line that is desperately needed.
Another thing is that it will be used for freight trains, too (as the current line is way too steep for heavier trains), so 300km/h maybe wouldn't be possible anyway?
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 08:16 AM   #282
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@ Hans: So you basically see the point it makes sense that German ICEs call at the historic Hauptbahnhöfe and not on the open field like the TGV can? Well, if you could come up with an idea how to explain the desperate need to build bypasses for all medium cities for some few ICE Sprinter (like you say) to tyx payers and environmentalists, why don't you share it with us.
I think there is a basic issue of philosophy here. If ICE/TGV lines are seen as an improvement of an existing railway network then, indeed, there may be little reason for any of this. However, this is not how TGV was sold to the French populace. It was sold as a replacement for the domestic air traffic. The fact that these "rail planes" could, and did, continue onto the legacy railway line was at the time seen as something absolutely secondary. It still is.

Which is why there were few words of protest when, for example, the first LGV from Paris to Lyon was optimised to bypass Dijon at a distance of about 40 km. It deprived Dijon the privilege of being situated on the country's main railway line, but, hey, the plane between Paris and Lyon does not make an intermediate landing in Dijon, so why should the TGV?

It is also whey the TGVs Paris-Marseille that stop in Avignon and Aix en Provence did not originally allow on-passengers from these towns to Marseille. The stop was for people to get out only. This has since changed, but as you need a prior seat reservation to travel on TGVs effectively they are not used for local traffic of less than 100 km. - Tell you the truth, the first time I took the ICE Paris Est-Frankfurt I was surprised to see people get in at Mannheim in order to travel to FFM. This kind of transport, I thought, was surely for the local - not the international - trains?

So then, if the German government had followed a TGV concept, they would have started with a few, long, fast lines connecting Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt and Stuttgart. During this process they would have told citizens in all agglomerations of less than 1 million people to "die Klappe halten", because this investment was not for them. In this Bahnkonzept it makes 100% sense to bypass most of the historic Hauptbahnhöfe in the country. If ICEs are used to transport people from Kaiserslautern to Mannheim then it makes none. But, then again...

...the trust of my argument is that only people travelling more than 200 km without changing trains should be allowed on ICE/TGV trains. Only thus can you avoid a pollution of the highspeed concept.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 08:50 AM   #283
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...the trust of my argument is that only people travelling more than 200 km without changing trains should be allowed on ICE/TGV trains. Only thus can you avoid a pollution of the highspeed concept.
But thus you also keep those trains from making money...
Most people travelling on the trains in Germany don't travel 200 kph. If you take the line Basel - Mannheim for example, you 'll see that most people who travel on that line only travel a few stops.
The SNCF would run on such a line a train pair Basel - Köln, and one train pair Basel - Mannheim and one trainpair Basel - Frankfurt... etc..
DB in stead runs an hourly service that stops at all major places, offering more frequent service between more city pairs than SNCF would. Such a service has a higher value to the customer.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 08:54 AM   #284
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...most people in France don't need to change trains. Statistics show that a majority of medium to long-distance trips made by French people in France have Paris as either their starting or end point.
That's a chicken-and-egg problem. Since traveling by train in France is only convenient if it is to or from Paris, mostly only people traveling to or from Paris will take the train. The others drive.

Anyway, we will see a "takfahrplan" being implemented in France too. RFF is going to impose one on SNCF...
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 08:56 AM   #285
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All trains call at Frankfurt(M)Flughafen. There is no way and no need to skip this station.
And it makes good sense to stop there. This way the train can pick up airline passengers, thus reducing the need for short haul flights.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 09:01 AM   #286
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I based my comment on the following document, posted by Deutsche Bahn: http://www.deutschebahn.com/site/sha...in__neckar.pdf.

But... if I'm mistaken, I'm mistaken. I'm also sorry to hear that, according to you, Frankfurt Flughafen is intended as a "Pflichthalt" on this line. I thought - naively perhaps - that it would serve in a capacity similar as St. Exupery on the Paris-Marseille line.
It makes a lot of sense though. The travel time from FFM to Stuttgart is going to be 53 minutes, which means that with hourly trains you can create nice hubs in both FFM and Stuttgart.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 10:54 AM   #287
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I think there is a basic issue of philosophy here.
That's all what I'm trying to say. You'll hardly find two German cities which create that amount of travellers beween each other that you could justify a non-stop 360kph HSL. Germany is not France and neither Spain with one single central rail hub. In the case of Italy it works only because you can quite easily bundle north-south traffic on one single HSL, so it isn't comparable to Germany either.
Therefore, the ICE concept with speeding up traffic between the old hubs is more appropriate because a lot more travellers have an advantage out of it.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 02:03 PM   #288
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That's a chicken-and-egg problem. Since traveling by train in France is only convenient if it is to or from Paris, mostly only people traveling to or from Paris will take the train. The others drive.
Not quite chicken and egg. The studies I saw (more than ten years ago, but still...) included everyday travel by car, bus, train and plane at distances exceeding 300 km inside France. (But excluding holiday travels - where families at least invariably "crowd into the car".) It was this study that showed a majority of travels to or from Paris.

It makes sense, I suppose. Most of these "déplacements" will have been for business or work purposes. Only one fifth of the French population lives in Paris. But one third of the economy lies in Paris. More than half of the "large scale commercial" economy (leaving out farming, tourism, shopping, construction...) lies in Paris. And, the parts of the LSC economy that are not located in Paris depend on at least weekly contacts with business parters who are in Paris for the continuation of their business. It is this situation where half the "people with money" live in Paris and where the other half are in concstant contact with Paris, that has given us the monocentric network that is the LGV lines.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 02:07 PM   #289
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Okay, but in that case, you are signing off international travels to the airlines completely. Granted, national traffic still far surpasses international traffic even in the European Union. But nowadays HSL is a success between London, Paris and Brussels, and possibly soon France and Spain will link up their networks. Are we in Central Europe just to shrug our shoulders and accept that between Paris and Vienna or between Berlin and Venice people will always fly, so we should not even bother to create an attractive railway net between places so far apart?
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 02:10 PM   #290
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Most people travelling on the trains in Germany don't travel 200 kph. If you take the line Basel - Mannheim for example, you 'll see that most people who travel on that line only travel a few stops.
You don't cite me correctly, K. (For starters, who said anything about 200 kph? We were not discussing speed... ) Of course there are more people on local trains than on the big TGV/ICE lines. There are also far more passengers on any one of the Paris Metro's lines every day than on the Eurostar. But it doesn't follow that the Eurostar shall be forced to stop five times in the Parisian suburbs.

My point is, there are high-speed trains and regional trains. Local areas such as the Rheintal that you mention SHOULD be well served with frequent and fast connections. (Why not though REGIONAL highspeed trains? The Brits have started in the south east, the Dutch and the Belgians are beginning. We even have a tad of that in Northern France...) All I'm saying is, there should ALSO be trains running 500 km through the country without having to stop or slow down. Is that thought offensive to you?
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 02:36 PM   #291
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It makes a lot of sense though. The travel time from FFM to Stuttgart is going to be 53 minutes, which means that with hourly trains you can create nice hubs in both FFM and Stuttgart.
Which is a rather bad idea. The bigger and more important hubs are Frankfurt/M and München. A decent travel time would be 2 h which requires Frankfurt/M-Stuttgart to be quicker than 50 min.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 03:19 PM   #292
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That's all what I'm trying to say. You'll hardly find two German cities which create that amount of travellers beween each other that you could justify a non-stop 360kph HSL.
There are seven/eight cities that justify fast services between them. Just because DB doesn't offer such services doesn't mean there is no demand for it.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 06:23 PM   #293
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You don't cite me correctly, K. (For starters, who said anything about 200 kph? We were not discussing speed... ) Of course there are more people on local trains than on the big TGV/ICE lines. There are also far more passengers on any one of the Paris Metro's lines every day than on the Eurostar. But it doesn't follow that the Eurostar shall be forced to stop five times in the Parisian suburbs.
Sorry, my typo. I meant 200km. What I mean is that wone of the great advantages of a train over a plane is that a train can serve a whole lot of destination pairs at once easily, whereas a plane only serves two points.
DB makes advantage of that.


Quote:
My point is, there are high-speed trains and regional trains. Local areas such as the Rheintal that you mention SHOULD be well served with frequent and fast connections. (Why not though REGIONAL highspeed trains? The Brits have started in the south east, the Dutch and the Belgians are beginning. We even have a tad of that in Northern France...) All I'm saying is, there should ALSO be trains running 500 km through the country without having to stop or slow down. Is that thought offensive to you?
The thought of having trains run 500km non stop through the country is not offensive to me. However, on that kind of distances the market usually isn't there to justify a train every hour. And in my opinion a train service that runs less than once an hour is not justifiable.
So having a train every hour with a few well thought out stops is the best solution. Especially if you integrate it well with the other sevices. The SCNF might be faster from TGV station to TGV station than DB is, but the overal system speed is higher in Germany, which means that most people, who do not live near a TGV station, are better served. In France when a TGV line opens the level of service usually drops everywhere nearby, except for a few privliged places.
I'm not interested that much in a train service that is competitive with air. I don't fly anyway. I'm interested in a train service that gets me from my local station to my destination with the least fuss, and the least hanging around in stations.
The best illustration of the value of tight integration is the fact that from Switzerland to Belgium you are often as fast via Germany as via France...
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 06:35 PM   #294
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And in my opinion a train service that runs less than once an hour is not justifiable.
Er... why would that be? This means, just as an example, that the entire train service in the Russian south and east are not "justifiable". I'll grant you that it makes sense to have hourly services between, say, Basel and Zürich (yes, I know, I know... they have had Halbstundentakt for some years now. The Swiss railway lovers couldn't get them arms down...) or Munich and Nürnberg, but are you saying that areas and countries that cannot justify hourly service should have no trains at all?

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I'm not interested that much in a train service that is competitive with air. I don't fly anyway.
That's obviously a key part of our disagreement. I fly far more often than I like. At least 20-25 times a year, and mostly within Europe. Moreover, it's employer paid so I couldn't care less about the costs. I'd sorely like to be able to sit into a train in Paris and travel to Frankfurt, to Amsterdam or to Zurich in less than 3 hours (all of which should be possible - they're all nearer Paris than Marseille). But... I wouldn't take the train from CH to Belgium. I'd fly.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 09:38 PM   #295
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The thought of having trains run 500km non stop through the country is not offensive to me. However, on that kind of distances the market usually isn't there to justify a train every hour. And in my opinion a train service that runs less than once an hour is not justifiable.
Not a single ICE line between Frankfurt/M and Stuttgart or Basel operates an hourly service. I don't get you why these services weren't justified.
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The best illustration of the value of tight integration is the fact that from Switzerland to Belgium you are often as fast via Germany as via France...
Can you prove it? The queries I started return the message that the SNCF is way faster than anything else.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 11:06 PM   #296
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Can you prove it? The queries I started return the message that the SNCF is way faster than anything else.
Good point. I also went on the DB and SNCF travellers sites and it appears that the fastest you can travel between Zurich and Brussels is 6h43. This is obtained by a combination of (1) taking the TGV (!) to Paris-Est; (2) walking from Paris-Est to Paris-Nord; and (3) taking the TGV clone Thalys from Paris-Nord to Brussels.

Geographically, Zurich-Frankfurt-Brussels would seem to make more sense but... there you go, it is slower.
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Old February 24th, 2010, 09:35 AM   #297
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That's obviously a key part of our disagreement. I fly far more often than I like. At least 20-25 times a year, and mostly within Europe. Moreover, it's employer paid so I couldn't care less about the costs. I'd sorely like to be able to sit into a train in Paris and travel to Frankfurt, to Amsterdam or to Zurich in less than 3 hours (all of which should be possible - they're all nearer Paris than Marseille). But... I wouldn't take the train from CH to Belgium. I'd fly.
Business travel is different than leasure travel. My impression is that when on business the middle of the day is important, whereas when I'm visiting friends or relatives it's the evenings that count. When I visit my relatives in Belgium I want to be there before dinner. It just turns out that this means I have to leave at nine weather I fly or take the train. The train is howevertwo to three times cheaper, and the ICE trains through Germany are quite comfortable. Isually spend the whole trip doing stuff on my laptop.
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Old February 24th, 2010, 10:26 AM   #298
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Not a single ICE line between Frankfurt/M and Stuttgart or Basel operates an hourly service. I don't get you why these services weren't justified.
You can board an ICE in Basel at 8:12 and be in Köln exaclty 3:53 minutes later. You can board one at 9:12 and be in Köln exactly 3:53 minutes later. You can board one at 10:13, at 11:12, 12:12, 13:12 and so on. Leave Basel an hour later, and you're in Köln an hour later. That throughout the whole day. That is an hourly service to me. I agree that some of these departures require a change in Mannheim, but that is not a big obstacle. It's by well coordinating services that you make it possible to travel between two destination pairs every hour, with the travel time not being dependent on when you leave. That is convenient for the traveller and saves time.

Quote:
Can you prove it? The queries I started return the message that the SNCF is way faster than anything else.
I can prove it. The SNCF might be "way faster" between major TGV stations, but it all changes once you are not travelling between major stations. The other thing is that both Switzerland, Germany and Belgium have trains running to a fixed hourly schedule, so that if one potential route is half an hour faster than the other it doesn't really matter in the end.

the other thing is that my regular trips illustrate quite pointetly how speading up trains can bring absolutely nothing if not coordinated.
It used to be that the trains from Brussel to Köln arrived there at a quarter to the hour, and the train to Basel left from Köln at five minutes to the hour. That gave a nice tight ten minute transfer. Now that the new high speed railway has been opened between Liege and Aachen the trains from Brussel arrive half an hour earlier. But the train to Basel still leaves at its old time. So I now have to spend 40 minutes hanging around Köln Hbf... And my total travel time has not changed. If they would have moved the departure time from Brussels half an hour in stead, then because of better connections my total trip time would have been reduced by an hour. Once the new line from Basel to Karlsuhe is finished they will probably move the Köln - Basel services a bit around too (but they have to keep them anchored at the Swiss timetable at Basel). So that half an hour improvement between Basel and Karlsruhe will probably buy me a full hour saving in travel time.

This is something the SBB knows very well. By optimising the way different services work together you can save a lot of travellers a lot of time, at relatively modest costs.

Now let me give you a very concrete example: I want to get from Spiez to Hasselt. And I want to arrive there before 19:00 (that's when my brother serves dinner :-)

Now let's see what the planner at www.bahn.de gives me:

Via Germany:

Code:
 +-------------------------+--------+--------+----------+----------------+
 | Spiez                   |        |  08:23 | ICE  276 |BR FW           |
 | Frankfurt(Main)Hbf      |  13:08 |  13:29 | ICE   14 |BT              |
 | Liège-Guillemins        |  15:43 |  16:18 | IR  2938 |                |
 | Hasselt                 |  17:16 |        |          |                |
 +-------------------------+--------+--------+----------+----------------+
 | Fahrzeit: 8:53;
Via France:
Code:
 +-------------------------+--------+--------+----------+----------------+
 | Spiez                   |        |  08:23 | ICE  276 |BR FW           |
 | Basel SBB               |  09:55 |  10:02 | TGV 9214 |RP GP BW        |
 | Paris Est               |  13:34 |        | Übergang | 30 Min.        |
 | Paris Nord              |        |  14:25 | THA 9339 |RP GP BW RO KK  |
 | Bruxelles-Midi          |  15:47 |  16:15 | R   8305 |                |
 | Hasselt                 |  17:15 |        |          |                |
 +-------------------------+--------+--------+----------+----------------+
 | Fahrzeit: 8:52;
Via France is exactly one minute faster. Then via Germany. The route Via France also requires me to walk from Paris Est to Paris Nord., which is fine when the weather is good, but not if there's a downpour.
Notive how in both cases I leave on the same train :-)

Now look at the next departure:

Code:
 +-------------------------+--------+--------+----------+----------------+
 | Spiez                   |        |  09:25 | IC   819 |FB UA BR MB HD KK |
 | Bern                    |  09:54 |  10:04 | IC   962 |FB RE UA BR MB HD KK |
 | Basel SBB               |  10:55 |  11:12 | ICE  508 |BT WN FW        |
 | Köln Hbf                |  15:05 |  15:44 | THA 9448 |RP GP BT        |
 | Liège-Guillemins        |  16:47 |  17:18 | IR  2939 |                |
 | Hasselt                 |  18:16 |        |          |                |
 +-------------------------+--------+--------+----------+----------------+
Notice how I have a 40 minutes layover in Köln, and another half hour in Liège. The railways could make this trip faster for me by almost an hour just by better coordinating their schedules. No expensive new lines would be needed for that...

Just imagine a schedule like this:

Code:
 +-------------------------+--------+--------+----------+----------------+
 | Spiez                   |        |  09:25 | IC   819 |FB UA BR MB HD KK |
 | Bern                    |  09:54 |  10:04 | IC   962 |FB RE UA BR MB HD KK |
 | Basel SBB               |  10:55 |  11:05 | ICE  508 |BT WN FW        |
 | Köln Hbf                |  14:55 |  15:05 | THA 9448 |RP GP BT        |
 | Liège-Guillemins        |  16:15 |  16:18 | IR  2939 |                |
 | Hasselt                 |  17:16 |        |          |                |
 +-------------------------+--------+--------+----------+----------------+
A whole hour faster, and the only thing needed would be:
- move the ICE from Basel to Köln a bit, and shave a few minutes of the stop in Mannheim.
- move the Thalys half an hour, and shave a minute from the stop in Aachen.
This also leads to Köln becoming a nice hourly hub too. You can let all other major long distance trains arrive there just before the hour and leave after the hour, just like in Basel.
You see what you can achieve without heavy investments?

The differences between the German and the French railways become even clearer when you try to plan and book a trip on their respective websites. It's quite astonishing really that the German website is a better place to plan train trips in France than the SNCF website... And the German onlibne trip planner can plan between two street adresses, taking local transport in to acount too. So can the Dutch online planner, the Swiss one, the Brittish one and even the Belgian one. Where is the equivalent for France?
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Old February 24th, 2010, 10:28 AM   #299
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Good point. I also went on the DB and SNCF travellers sites and it appears that the fastest you can travel between Zurich and Brussels is 6h43. This is obtained by a combination of (1) taking the TGV (!) to Paris-Est; (2) walking from Paris-Est to Paris-Nord; and (3) taking the TGV clone Thalys from Paris-Nord to Brussels.

Geographically, Zurich-Frankfurt-Brussels would seem to make more sense but... there you go, it is slower.
Well, ICE is generally more comfortable and cheaper. However, it depends on where you are coming from, and where you are going to. That Zürich - Brussel is fastest with the TGV is only because there is a direct TGV. If you come from somewhere else in Switzerland the picture changes completely... See my other post.

It's also only recently that SNCF is willing to sell you tickets on a fast routing via Paris, as previously they didn't believe one could get from Paris Est to Paris Nord in half an hour. SBB however allready sold such tickets last year.
Also notice how you can get vrom Zürich to Brussel in 6:45 if you leave at 7:02 or 9:02, and then again at 13:02. Even though there are five departures from Zürich or Basel to Paris only three are usable. What if you can only leave after 10, but still want to be in Brussel before dinner? Then you go via Germany :-)

Last edited by K_; February 24th, 2010 at 10:44 AM.
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Old February 24th, 2010, 12:16 PM   #300
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You can board an ICE in Basel at 8:12 and be in Köln exaclty 3:53 minutes later. You can board one at 9:12 and be in Köln exactly 3:53 minutes later. You can board one at 10:13, at 11:12, 12:12, 13:12 and so on. Leave Basel an hour later, and you're in Köln an hour later. That throughout the whole day. That is an hourly service to me. I agree that some of these departures require a change in Mannheim, but that is not a big obstacle. It's by well coordinating services that you make it possible to travel between two destination pairs every hour, with the travel time not being dependent on when you leave. That is convenient for the traveller and saves time.
This is the combined service of three different lines rather than a single one. That's not exactly what you were saying.

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A whole hour faster, and the only thing needed would be:
- move the ICE from Basel to Köln a bit, and shave a few minutes of the stop in Mannheim.
- move the Thalys half an hour, and shave a minute from the stop in Aachen.
This also leads to Köln becoming a nice hourly hub too. You can let all other major long distance trains arrive there just before the hour and leave after the hour, just like in Basel.
You see what you can achieve without heavy investments?
When you change in Basel and Köln so often you should have noticed that Basel SBB has a lot more platforms and probably less capacity constrains on the approaching rail line. If you want to change this you actually have to invest quite massively. Nothing less than a complete new station would be required. Just to save you an hour.

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Well, ICE is generally more comfortable and cheaper.
DB is well known for its comfort:

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