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Old December 28th, 2011, 08:31 PM   #1161
Baron Hirsch
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Originally Posted by chornedsnorkack View Post
Merely because Germany is defined as a bigger region than Switzerland.
What nonsense! We are still living in a time of nation states, so people are mainly mobile within the border of the nation states. You would prefer that all Lower Saxonians just move around Lower Saxony? Nice idea, but this is Germany, people work in Bavaria, go home for the weekend to Mecklenburg, then set out again. Face it, the total S-Bahn idea might work in Switzerland and the Netherlands, but you cannot import this into a country where traveling 600 km is a reality for commuters countr-wide. Some German agglomerations have great public transport systems, but just expanding them indefinitely does neither combat Germans' love for big gasoline guzzling cars nor their urge to jump into an airplane for distances which would not get a Frenchman/-woman int such an uncomfortable vehicle anymore.
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Old December 29th, 2011, 07:16 AM   #1162
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@ k: the Lyon bypass is not useless. Just type Paris - Marseille into HAFAS, then check their intermediate stops and you will see that not one of those TGVs stops in Lyon.
I also see that there are not that many of them...


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And that is why Parisians make it to Marseille in 3 hrs 5 mins while Berliners, instad of being in Brennero in the same time (which is the equivalent distance) only make it to Saalfeld and in the future Nuremberg in the same time (Brennero takes 9.5 hrs).
I won't deny that the French railway system serves Parisians very well. That it servers Parisians better than the German railway system serves Berliners.
However, whereas in France only Paris matters, it is not so that in Germany only Berlin matters.

I'd suggest you just take all the cities of more than 100000 inhabitants in France, and look up travel times (and frequencies) between them, and do the same for Germany. In France you often have to do with only one useable connection per day between two places that aren't Paris. Not so in Germany.

The big Problem in France is that because the system isn't integrated well you lose a lot of time at the ends. For example: The TGVs from Geneva to the Mediterranean all call at Avignon TGV. If (like me in one case) you are travelling to some small village near Avignon you lose about half of the time you gained on Valence - Avignon again during the transfer to Avignon Ville, and waiting for the infrequent local train.
The trains are faster, but except for Parisians the travel isn't that much faster.

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You really fail to see the potential a system as sketched by Rohne would have. The problem is this would take serious money and that is something Germany does not invest into rail infrastructure.
Oh the system can be a lot better. That doesn't mean however that it should. How much would a bankrupt Germany be able to invest in to rail infrastructure? I think Germany is right in keeping the purse strings tight.
See what happend to Greece. Invested a lot in rail infrastructure. Now it doesn't have money to run trains over it...

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Having said that, I still tend to defend the present Berlin - Munich HSL route. Granted, a direct line could have passed through the Leipzig city tunnel, thus saving time over the usual reversal and backing out the same direction from Leipzig Hbf.
I don't think that Berlin - München trains will call at Leipzig (and reverse there). Dresden - Leipzig - Erfurt (Frankfurt or München) trains will.
Anyway, it's a minor inconvenience, as long distance trains stop for 3 or 4 minutes at major terminals anyway, and 4 minutes is about what you need to reverse a modern train.
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Old December 29th, 2011, 07:23 AM   #1163
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At 3h for Berlin-Munich and if the trains were on time (so I'd only need to schedule 40min at beginning and end) I just might be convinced to take the train. And as other countries demonstrate, I'm not alone.
If you need to schedule a 40 minute buffer at the beginning the system is a failure. In a good system you never spend more than 15 minutes in transit through a station.

(Look at the Cadiz - Sevilla timetable and the Sevilla - Madrid timetable and see what a potential RENFE is ignoring there...)
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Old December 29th, 2011, 10:37 AM   #1164
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1) You must put the departures on the TGV Mediterranée into persepctive. These are TGV Duplex in double traction, their capacity is huge, much more than ICN operating Berlin-Leipzig-Munich. I found one hourly departure to Marseille, but 8 departures per hour to Lyon, continuing to Grenoble, Avginon, Nice, Besancon, St. Etienn, Geneva, Figueras (all or mostly Duplex). None of these trains stop at all stations, but a select number of imtermediate stations. (mornings 6.45 to 7.45)
By contrast you have one hourly departure from Berlin to Leipzig and Munich by ICN, with the odd private Interconnex competing on the run down to Leipzig. I do not think this amounts to a considerable share of the considerable traffic between the two cities. Capacity and what is on offer is on another planet from the TGV Mediterranee.
2) Naturally you are right about French interregional and regional service. This is the realm where France could learn from other countries. But Germany has its blind spots too. Try getting to the far end of Germany from Konstanz, Trier, Zwickau, and you will find rather stone age traveling times.
3) Sometimes you can waste money more by investing too little rather than too much. Take Cologne - Düren, speeding up to 250 for all of 39 km, to then slow down again and crawl towards Aachen. There is no significant gain in overall traveling time or attractivity to the route. The isolated routes of HSR in Germany must be patched together to a genuine system, only then will these investments make a genuine impact on the long distance travel market. As far as investments goes, I am surprised. Upping the rail infratructure investments from 4 to say 10 billion Euros and postponing a few useless Autobahn and airport runway extensions to compensate would not ruin Germany, it would secure DB and future private or foreign competitors agenuine share of the cake of the travel market. Your favorite example, Switzerland, is one of the highest per capita investors in Europe in rail infrastructure, and that is one of the reasons why they have the busiest rail system in Western Europe. Right now they are building a third (!) tunnel variation to connect the Basel-Zürich line through downtown Zürich to Oerlikon. The German pennypinchers ("Do not invest into large rail infrastrucure, just my local S-Bahn") would have a heartattack if they knew.
4) Finally, to my knowledge Berlin-Erfurt-Munich trains will to my knowledge stop alternatingly in Halle or Leipzig, with Halle offering a slight time advantage but Leipzig the more important destination of the two.
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Old December 29th, 2011, 06:43 PM   #1165
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1) You must put the departures on the TGV Mediterranée into persepctive. These are TGV Duplex in double traction, their capacity is huge, much more than ICN operating Berlin-Leipzig-Munich. I found one hourly departure to Marseille, but 8 departures per hour to Lyon, continuing to Grenoble, Avginon, Nice, Besancon, St. Etienn, Geneva, Figueras (all or mostly Duplex). None of these trains stop at all stations, but a select number of imtermediate stations. (mornings 6.45 to 7.45)
The LGV Med serves Paris. And it serves Paris very well. Other places are not so well served. There is only one daily train between Lyon st. Exupery and Valence TGV, even though they are on the same high speed line...
The whole French TGV network basically operates to bring people to and from Paris. That's what having the capital in the same place for a couple of centuries does...
Germany is very different.

I sometimes have to travel from Switzerland to Belgium, and have the choice of going via France, or via Germany. The fastest way is by TGV, via Paris. By ICE via Köln is about an hour slower. However, traveling through Germany avoids having to change terminals in Paris, and the schedule gives me more options, so it is easier to plan my travel so that I leave comfortably after breakfast and still arrive before diner. And the food on the German trains is better too...


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Your favorite example, Switzerland, is one of the highest per capita investors in Europe in rail infrastructure, and that is one of the reasons why they have the busiest rail system in Western Europe. Right now they are building a third (!) tunnel variation to connect the Basel-Zürich line through downtown Zürich to Oerlikon. The German pennypinchers ("Do not invest into large rail infrastrucure, just my local S-Bahn") would have a heartattack if they knew.
But what the Swiss do is think very hard firstly about what infrastructure will bring before they built it. The timetable for the trains that will run through that tunnel is already known. Infrastructure development is driven by the desired timetable. The motto is "as fast as needed" not "as fast as possible". And it is succesful.
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Old December 29th, 2011, 07:51 PM   #1166
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When I visited Freiburg this autumn, I decided to visit Konstanz for a daytrip but I had to bury the idea since the fastest option would've taken 2,5h for that journey one-way (with 2 transfers) and I had no intention of spendig 5 hours in a Regionalbahn... Yet these are not very small towns, with populations 225,000 and 85,000 respectively. The distance between them is 105km as the crow flies, around 50% more by rail. I'm not sure whether this happens a lot in Germany or is it a special occasion.
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Old December 30th, 2011, 08:01 AM   #1167
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The most direct line is via a small local line that runs trough the Black Forest mountains, and with all it twists and turns and slow speed doesn't make it the fastest route. The fastest route is a detour via Basel and Singen.

The big line through the Schwarzwald starts in Offenburg, north of Freiburg. From there there are a couple of direct IC trains to Konstanz, but that's also a 2,5 hour trip. It's not much faster then the local trains.

The thing about the German railways that there are enough similar city pairs that have a good connection, but also enough pairs like this one that don't. Konstanz is still a smaller town in Germany, right on the border and is not on a major railway line. This doesn't help to get there quickly by train. The car is by far the quickest option here, with a route of 125km. Although mostly not on the Autobahn it still takes you more then 1,5 hours according to Google Earth Directions.
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Old December 30th, 2011, 10:56 AM   #1168
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Originally Posted by K_ View Post

I sometimes have to travel from Switzerland to Belgium, and have the choice of going via France, or via Germany. The fastest way is by TGV, via Paris. By ICE via Köln is about an hour slower. However, traveling through Germany avoids having to change terminals in Paris, and the schedule gives me more options, so it is easier to plan my travel so that I leave comfortably after breakfast and still arrive before diner. And the food on the German trains is better too...




But what the Swiss do is think very hard firstly about what infrastructure will bring before they built it. The timetable for the trains that will run through that tunnel is already known. Infrastructure development is driven by the desired timetable. The motto is "as fast as needed" not "as fast as possible". And it is succesful.
1. agreed there. Changing stations in Paris, except Nord and Est, is a nightmare. Rush through the endless caverns of RER or metro tunnels, cram onto an overloaded metro with just a little bit of baggage...
And the food in the onboard bistros of TGVs, nothing but plastic. Nor the claustrophobic seats. In all these categories the ICE and the German Hauptbahnhof system rather than directional stations are much preferable.
2. And Swiss planning precision, yes, desirable - seeing that here (Turkey) high-speed train routes announce their schedule about three days before their opening and then change them a couple of times ad hoc afterwards, and the opening of new routes usually depends on the prime minister's spontaneous agenda rather than any planning.

@ rebassapois: As I stated in my post above, the DB network of high speed and fast conventional lines covers many cities, but far from all. Koblenz is one of the cities that fell off the grid. Often it is the decision to promote one route as main corridor that saps off any infrastructure investments or decent services. In this case, DB opted to develop the route Karlsuhe-Freiburg-Basel-Zürich as the main hig speed to semi-high speed route to Switzerland rather than Stuttgart-Konstanz-Zürich, and now the latter is being kept down in order not to compete with the former. Also there is no fast east to west connection in southern Germany (existing or planned) south of Stuttgart - Munich.
However you should have gone. The route through the Black Forest is marvellous, one of the scenic highlights German rail has to offer.
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Old December 30th, 2011, 01:47 PM   #1169
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Also there is no fast east to west connection in southern Germany (existing or planned) south of Stuttgart - Munich.
The line Basel - Schaffhausen is to be electrified by 2016, which will speed it up. This will enable a frequent service with optimal connections in Basel and Schaffhausen. In the more distant future electrifying Singen - Friedrichshafen is planned.
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Old December 30th, 2011, 02:08 PM   #1170
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However you should have gone. The route through the Black Forest is marvellous, one of the scenic highlights German rail has to offer.
I did travel to Titisee so I didn't completely miss the scenery.
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Old January 1st, 2012, 01:55 PM   #1171
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Now you could build paypasses around those hubs, but those bypasses will be expensive, and will never by heavily used.
By-passes will be rather short and therefore less expensive. They may remain lightly trafficked themself but are highly effective additions as they attract more traffic to the overall network and increase the load factor of the existing high-speed section.
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Old January 1st, 2012, 11:26 PM   #1172
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The line Basel - Schaffhausen is to be electrified by 2016, which will speed it up. This will enable a frequent service with optimal connections in Basel and Schaffhausen. In the more distant future electrifying Singen - Friedrichshafen is planned.
The problem with Singen-Friedrichshafen isn't the fact it's not electrified, but the fact that it has so many single track sections. Überlingen station is in a trench and is single track, meaning many trains have to wait at Überlingen Therme (about 500m away) to pass that section. Then the line from Therme to Singen is pretty much all single tracked except for short sections at Radolfzell station. On the other side of Überlingen it's also one tracked all the way to Markdorf where the station has two tracks, but then becomes single tracked again all the way to Friedrichshafen.

Anyway, this is definitely not a priority section for double tracking or electrification. I'd like to see improvements on the connections from Schaffhausen to Friedrichshafen though. Would be nice to have a direct train. Oh and direct train from Zurich Airport to Schaffhausen (eliminate the need to change in Winterthur)
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Old January 3rd, 2012, 04:37 PM   #1173
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The problem with Singen-Friedrichshafen isn't the fact it's not electrified, but the fact that it has so many single track sections. Überlingen station is in a trench and is single track, meaning many trains have to wait at Überlingen Therme (about 500m away) to pass that section.
Running an intensive timetable on a single track line is not really a big challenge. All that is needed is good planning the right infrastructure and timekeeping. Double tracking the tunnel through Überlingen itself is not really an option.
The problem here is outdated signalling. After having stopped in Überlingen the IRE must wait till the RB is stopped in Überlingen Therme, as the signalling and the regulations doesn't permit simultaneous entries by trains from both sides there.
What would be doen here is modernise the signalling and train protection, and build a pedestrian underpass at Ü Therme, so that trains can enter the station from both directions at the same time and the timetable of both the IRE and RB trains can be sped up a bit.
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Old January 3rd, 2012, 04:58 PM   #1174
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The line Basel - Schaffhausen is to be electrified by 2016, which will speed it up. This will enable a frequent service with optimal connections in Basel and Schaffhausen. In the more distant future electrifying Singen - Friedrichshafen is planned.
Although mostly in Germany, that line has the last non-electrified lines in Switzerland, approaching Basel and at the other end approaching Schaffhausen. When that is electrified, Switzerland's rail network will be completely electric.
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Old January 4th, 2012, 08:35 AM   #1175
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Although mostly in Germany, that line has the last non-electrified lines in Switzerland, approaching Basel and at the other end approaching Schaffhausen. When that is electrified, Switzerland's rail network will be completely electric.
Concerning passenger trains, yes. There are a few freight - only lines that are not electrified too.
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Old January 5th, 2012, 09:30 AM   #1176
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Oh and direct train from Zurich Airport to Schaffhausen (eliminate the need to change in Winterthur)
That's planned for 2015...
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Old January 6th, 2012, 08:34 PM   #1177
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But the result of that policy is that DB is too slow to compete with the car for just about anything.
There's an exception to that, and that is regular commuting within urban areas between destinations with limited parking. Or in other words, S-Bahn networks, at least on distances of up to 20 km one-way.

Cars aren't cheaper on such distances either when one takes various offers from the Verkehrsverbünde into account. The public transport ticket i use primarily for my daily commute comes up to about the same price as just the fuel for my car for the same commute.

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About a third of Germany's population is inhabitant of the largest urban areas centering the aforementioned metro areas.
About half of the German population lives within the Blue Banana (40 million in the semi-continuous metro regions of Rhein-Ruhr-Cologne, Rhine-Main, Rhine-Neckar, Stuttgart, Munich) nicely matching what should be DBs primary long-distance high-capacity rail route. By the same logic it's not worth catering to any city outside that pattern with fast rail.

I support that logic btw. In the above sense at least.
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Old January 7th, 2012, 02:29 AM   #1178
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Running an intensive timetable on a single track line is not really a big challenge. All that is needed is good planning the right infrastructure and timekeeping. Double tracking the tunnel through Überlingen itself is not really an option.
The problem here is outdated signalling. After having stopped in Überlingen the IRE must wait till the RB is stopped in Überlingen Therme, as the signalling and the regulations doesn't permit simultaneous entries by trains from both sides there.
What would be doen here is modernise the signalling and train protection, and build a pedestrian underpass at Ü Therme, so that trains can enter the station from both directions at the same time and the timetable of both the IRE and RB trains can be sped up a bit.


You seem to know your Bodensee railway well I think with electrifying and improving signaling would be more than enough to improve service along that route. there doesn't seem to be much more need than that. Obviously I'd love a direct ICE connection between Zurich airport and Überlingen, but that's just selfish, especially when I take that route just two or three times a year.
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Old January 7th, 2012, 12:41 PM   #1179
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About half of the German population lives within the Blue Banana (40 million in the semi-continuous metro regions of Rhein-Ruhr-Cologne, Rhine-Main, Rhine-Neckar, Stuttgart, Munich) nicely matching what should be DBs primary long-distance high-capacity rail route. By the same logic it's not worth catering to any city outside that pattern with fast rail.
Too black and white. The former is the route that should have top priority, but that doesn't mean that there's no need to integrate some others of the country's metro areas (Munich, Hamburg and Berlin don't belong to the Blue Banana) as well.
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Old January 7th, 2012, 04:39 PM   #1180
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that doesn't mean that there's no need to integrate some others of the country's metro areas as well.
Sure. We'd have to put priorities on those though, within this secondary rank. Munich? Easy to integrate, reasonably close, interlocking regional zone anyway. Potential of continuing on towards Vienna. Hamburg? Well, could be worthwhile in the course of attaching Denmark and beyond. Berlin? Lowest priority. Economically vastly underperforming area with next to no people living in the wider area, costly to attach through long distance, no real destinations beyond it in a European network.

The sad reality though is that as far a priorization goes this is just inverted compared to that.
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