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Old December 18th, 2012, 02:48 PM   #1541
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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Even the Italians are building the Passante in Bologna, allowing through trains at reasonable speeds.
100-110 km/h The aim of that tunnel is to add capacity and make the HS network indipendent from other traffic.

There will still be non-stop Milan-Rome services, but they'll be just a minority.

It is a good example of what K_ is trying to explain about the German network: there is enough demand for Milan-Rome non-stop services, but not enough for a non-stop line; so you still have to build a less direct line through other towns and slow down considerably in towns bypass, trying to lose as less as possible travel time.

Which is exactly what the Germans are building, the only difference being the space they can use for connecting existing stations without going underground (and not always: Lepizig). And probably the fact they have the guts to keep much higher speeds while running through stations.

And, just as the Germans use to do, the advantage of Bologna bypass (for HS services) is not about max speed you can keep, but being connected straight with the HSLs without loss of time
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Old December 18th, 2012, 03:44 PM   #1542
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The main difference is that there are no large centres of population in between Paris and Lyon, so building a line that only serves the endpoints is practical. Again look at a map of population densities in Europe and see how different France and Spain are from Germany.
In France when a HSL is opened it often means a reduction in service (and an increase in travel times) for the cities that are on the old line the new one replaces. Wether that is acceptable depends on the population of these places. In Germany there are a lot of people living in between the main urban areas, much more so than in France. That means that you often cannot justify service reduction on the old corridors. The demand for traffic between the endpoints is might however not always sufficient to fill trains on both the old and the new corridors at high service levels.
The necessity of a HSL does not emerge by the towns it by-passes, but the cities it does connect. There are more conurbations in Germany than in France which are also bigger in total which would make a core of high speed lines even more viable.

Whether services on the by-passed line are cut depends solely on the towns themself. Once they are by-passed they have to fill the trains themself and can no longer hold the travellers between the big cities hostage for their services.

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Take again Basel - Mannheim: A new direct line from Basel to Mannheim is only justifiable if there is a market for a non stop train every hour between those cities. (If there was a market for such a train it would already exist)
And if it were build, DB would not be able to reduce the number of Basel - Freiburg - Offenburg - Karlsruhe - Mannheim trains, as these places are important enough to warrant at least an hourly service.
All those trains would cost money. Would they make money also? I don't know.
And then there is the need for increased freight capacity. I don't think that the Basel - Mannheim corridor generates enough passenger and freight traffic to justify having two freight tracks, two 250kph tracks through the existing towns, and a separate 300+kph line.
Mannheim-Basel is a rather bad examples on this matter as it is lies on the fringe of the country. It is barely justifiable to speed up services on this line anyway.
On the core lines, however, it would make perfectly sense to provide the possibility of skipping the intermediate stops. This way the distance from Hamburg to Frankfurt/M could be travelled in 2,5 h as it is possible in every other developed country. Just not in Germany where parochial thinking prevails.
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Old December 18th, 2012, 04:29 PM   #1543
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IIRC, Magdeburg authorities were absolutely mad when the city was made "less important" by stopping being an almost obligatory stop for trains between Berlin and Hannover. I think many places want to inflate their importance by requiring everyone else to stop at their stations.

Netherlands suffers from this problem as well.

An analogy I make is like a city starts opposing a highway bypass (but not the rest of the highway) because drivers will stop slowing down and stopping for shopping in the overpriced stores along the main square of that town.
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Old December 18th, 2012, 04:45 PM   #1544
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It is a good example of what K_ is trying to explain about the German network: there is enough demand for Milan-Rome non-stop services, but not enough for a non-stop line; so you still have to build a less direct line through other towns and slow down considerably in towns bypass, trying to lose as less as possible travel time.
Milano and Roma are connected by a chain of three HSLs. The high-speed journey between the two most important cities of Italy is only interrupted by the passage of two cities which themself are rather big and decently important. Consequently non-stop service connect Milano and Roma in less than three hours. This is pretty much the opposite of what we've got in Germany.
Here we have compulsory speed drops in rather unremarkable towns such as Göttingen, Kassel or Fulda. Erfurt will soon join this bunch of obstructions. Neither do we have a sensible planned network. While the five HSLs in Italy form one backbone in the core of the country, HSLs in Germany are spread loosely over the country.
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Old December 18th, 2012, 04:49 PM   #1545
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And Germany is the only country where they put a speed limit on a high-speed flat-out rail line because of concerns with noise affecting some stupid birds in a natural reserve.

this remembers me of early 18th Century history, when the Prussians collected a lot of tolls on waterways and horse roads and were adamantly against early development of railways because it would shift the balance of power within Germanic areas.
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Old December 18th, 2012, 04:54 PM   #1546
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IIRC, Magdeburg authorities were absolutely mad when the city was made "less important" by stopping being an almost obligatory stop for trains between Berlin and Hannover. I think many places want to inflate their importance by requiring everyone else to stop at their stations.
Yeah, according to the French railway press it was a nasty surprise for SNCF when they were told that the new highspeed service Paris-Frankfurt was to have "Pflichthalt" in Kaiserslautern. It wouldn't happen in France. It wouldn't happen in Spain either.

Anyway, think of the opening scene in Dürrenmatt's "Der Besuch der alten Dame". The townfolks stand on stage listening to a passing train. Then the mayor says with a doomsday voice "the trains don't stop in our town anymore". Apparently in the psyche of an average German provincial town it is a nightmare scenario to become "abgehängt".
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Old December 18th, 2012, 09:56 PM   #1547
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Milano and Roma are connected by a chain of three HSLs. The high-speed journey between the two most important cities of Italy is only interrupted by the passage of two cities which themself are rather big and decently important. Consequently non-stop service connect Milano and Roma in less than three hours. This is pretty much the opposite of what we've got in Germany.
Problem is: You're ignoring (or not knowing) that the Italian network differs significantly from the German one: In Italy, basically all long-distance travel of considerable length for real HSR is North-South and viceversa and limited to a few lines (basically only three: The two on the East and West coast and the corridor Bologna-Firenze-Rome). You don't have such a concentration in Germany so you have to have more stops/hubs to connect your network, hence push up customer value, passenger numbers and ultimately revenues. On the contrary, in Italy in terms of economics it's way easier to upgrate the most important corridor (Milan-Rome) and speed it up more significantly as you create customer value for most of your customers (other than in Germany).

Those arguments were exchanged numerous times in this thread, though.
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Old December 19th, 2012, 12:50 AM   #1548
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And you're ignoring the fact that Germany could have done exactly the same. Simply concentrate on one or two corridors and spend the available resource there to create a continuous high-speed network rather than this piecemeal approach which is nothing short of a botch-up.
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Old December 19th, 2012, 01:22 AM   #1549
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Here we have compulsory speed drops in rather unremarkable towns such as Göttingen, Kassel or Fulda. Erfurt will soon join this bunch of obstructions.
Would it have been possible to build a pure-HSL with no connection to the existing network?
In terms of infrastructure, yes, sure; but it would have been a segregated HS network (as the Italian one), useless in terms of non-HS traffic.

What is appreciable of Hannover - Wuerzburg is the optimal integration with existing lines.
On a slightly different scale we may compare it with the Florence - Rome new line (built 1970s-90s), non-stop between the two cities but with many connections to minor cities. The model you like is probably similar to that one, I suppose.
Consider that cities along that line are way smaller than those German cities you cited. The bigger is Arezzo with 100k inhab., the others are 7-20k. All summed up they don't reach Göttingen

We're having a similar debate in North-Eastern Italy, about Milan - Venice line. ABS or NBS? Problem is NE Italy is made of many small/medium sized towns, lots of urban sprawl, but no big cities (not even Venice itself). I'm on the ABS side, in this case.
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Old December 19th, 2012, 06:27 AM   #1550
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While I also see the Basel-Mannheim design as fairly good by German standards, your argumentation, K, is defintiely off. If the demand on the Western fringe of Germany was really so low as you describe, then Bonn, Koblenz, and Mainz would only see a couple of local trains now that you can bypass these cities at 300 kmh on the Cologne-Frankfurt hight-speed line.
That is not what I am describing. I'm am talking about the demand on the route from Basel to Mannheim.
ICEs originating in Basel are often run as double sets, but these leave Basel rather empty. It's in the in between stations that most people get on, in Freiburg, Baden, Offenburg and Karlsruhe. So you can't skip these stations if you want to fill the train.
I know that the Rhine Valley line North of Mannheim is teaming with traffic. However South of Karlsruhe (and I take this line quite regularly) the trains are a lot emptier...
The big need there is for more freight capacity.
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Old December 19th, 2012, 06:29 AM   #1551
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And you're ignoring the fact that Germany could have done exactly the same. Simply concentrate on one or two corridors and spend the available resource there to create a continuous high-speed network rather than this piecemeal approach which is nothing short of a botch-up.
Your job is now to find two corridors that cover a large enough proportion of the German population so that the investment you propose is justified...
So: Which two corridors?
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Old December 19th, 2012, 06:36 AM   #1552
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Yeah, according to the French railway press it was a nasty surprise for SNCF when they were told that the new highspeed service Paris-Frankfurt was to have "Pflichthalt" in Kaiserslautern. It wouldn't happen in France. It wouldn't happen in Spain either.
But then Germany isn't France, or Spain... Again, look at a map showing population density.
(BTW. Kaiserslautern is about as big as Avignon...)
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Old December 19th, 2012, 06:52 AM   #1553
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Milano and Roma are connected by a chain of three HSLs. The high-speed journey between the two most important cities of Italy is only interrupted by the passage of two cities which themself are rather big and decently important. Consequently non-stop service connect Milano and Roma in less than three hours. This is pretty much the opposite of what we've got in Germany.
Sure. If you go by "build first, and look which of our partners in the EU we can beg for money later" you can build a lot of infrastructure. Again, in Germany that doesn't work.
And in Italy quite a bit of the gains you make on the high speed lines are lost again the moment you want to be somewhere else than near the main railway terminal. Just look at Milano, where most urban railway lines don't even come in Centrale.

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Here we have compulsory speed drops in rather unremarkable towns such as Göttingen, Kassel or Fulda.
Kassel is a about the size of Florence... And don't forget that because of the good integration with the rest of the network those stops serve a larger area than just the town.
Germany has a different urban structure. The largest urban area is not a city, but a region, the Ruhr Region. It is impossible to serve a place like that with just a single main station (where would you put it?). The German railway network doesn't just serve points, it has to serve areas.
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Old December 19th, 2012, 07:04 AM   #1554
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This way the distance from Hamburg to Frankfurt/M could be travelled in 2,5 h as it is possible in every other developed country. Just not in Germany where parochial thinking prevails
That's assuming if those developed countries have HSR. Besides, Germany is not the only country with parochial thinking.
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Old December 19th, 2012, 07:07 AM   #1555
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This concept of ultra fast trunk routes would work in Germany even better then in France as Germany has a bigger number of large cities which all would benefit greatly if they were moved closer together.
But the large cities in Germany are already closer together than the large cities in France. France is a much bigger country...
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Old December 19th, 2012, 08:34 AM   #1556
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And Germany is the only country where they put a speed limit on a high-speed flat-out rail line because of concerns with noise affecting some stupid birds in a natural reserve.
JR East designed the E5 and E6 to make less noise at 320 km/h then the old models at 275 km/h. They wouldn't have done that if they didn't have to.

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Old December 19th, 2012, 12:31 PM   #1557
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But then Germany isn't France, or Spain... Again, look at a map showing population density.
(BTW. Kaiserslautern is about as big as Avignon...)
My point precisely! It's only a minority of the TGVs between Paris and Marseilles that stop in Avignon. Which is why the French don't understand the German insistence that every train MUST stop in Kaiserslautern.

The reason for this has IMHO less to do with population density per se than with the German network structure. Kaiserslautern is not a big place (and only a few people usually get off the TGV there), but it could be important for those who need to change trains (e.g. to go to Koblenz? Or Homburg?). As for France.... well don't get me started. The network is so mono-centric (or Paris-centric) that those who get out in Avignon manifestly plan to stay in Avignon.
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Old December 19th, 2012, 01:07 PM   #1558
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My point precisely! It's only a minority of the TGVs between Paris and Marseilles that stop in Avignon. Which is why the French don't understand the German insistence that every train MUST stop in Kaiserslautern.
That TGV that stops in Kaiserslautern also stops in Forbach. The ICEs on that route however don't. I wonder why.
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Old December 19th, 2012, 01:42 PM   #1559
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And you're ignoring the fact that Germany could have done exactly the same. Simply concentrate on one or two corridors and spend the available resource there to create a continuous high-speed network rather than this piecemeal approach which is nothing short of a botch-up.
No they couldn't. At least not if you (=politicians whose bloody job is to do so) want to serve as many citizens as possible.
By speeding up one or two corridors a lot admittedly you would increase customer value for those near that corridor. But for the vast mayority of passengers/citizens, things wouldn't have changed at all as they would then need to take bigger detours without saving time (as they would loose the time they gain on the HSR immediately when getting there and away from it - the net benefit in that case wouldn't be different to the preexisting slower and more direct connection). So speeding up more lines a bit less (or building a real HSL network step by step over a longer time) in fact serves more citizens, increases overall net customer value and ultimately has the bigger economic benefit (something a German should be particularly found of). Sounds a bit complicated but it's really dead simple.

And we didn't even talk about the specific cirumstances of Germany traffic policy related to the reunification. Oh, hang on, we did about 50 times already.
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Old December 19th, 2012, 02:24 PM   #1560
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If you speed up a line enough that it is VERY fast, even connections requiring some back-tracking to the few key high-speed stations are also sped up.

It is the airport logic: people will travel to inconvenient locations if they can greatly gain time after reaching them.

In Italy, it is common that you have a route along the major HSR axis where it is faster for you to backtrack to a major station than follow on the "general direction of travel" with a slower train.

Even highways are a good comparison: a highway where you can drive at 130 km/h is often a better proposition for medium distance driving than following some old rout going through all cities, even if that involves some backtracking to/from the highway itself when your locations are not adjacent to it.
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