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Old January 8th, 2010, 08:42 PM   #261
siamu maharaj
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I thought all trains in France were TGVs!
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Old January 8th, 2010, 08:56 PM   #262
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Usually where there are high-speed lines there are no more conventional trains. And where there are no TGV, outside a few routes around Paris, there are only 3 or 4 trains a day.

Look at here: http://membres.multimania.fr/cartesferro/index_en.html
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Old January 9th, 2010, 01:07 PM   #263
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hans280 View Post
The conventional railways in France are definitely not so great - with the possible exception of a few "priority lines" like Paris-Orleans-Limoges, etc. IMHO this reflects the fact that they have been starved of investment because of the development of the TGV network. If you look at comparable figures for railway investment relative to the population or GDP across Europe in the last 20-30 years then you get the following picture: two laggards have invested signficantly less than other countries, namely UK and my native Denmark. France is doing.... OK, but is definitely not above the middle group. - And this in the thick of a period where it spent more on HS trains than almost any other country.

Conclusion: the money spent on TGV lines were not "extra" budgetary allocations - they were whisked away from other forms of railway investment. We feel the consequences on many of the legacy lines. To some extent this is a deliberate policy. France is much more willing than most European nations to let parts of the country where the economic basis is crumbling depopulate, and governments make the point inter alia by turning of the tap of public funding for infrastructure. (In this respect I think France ressembles the US more than, say, Germany...) But we also feel it in the Parisian region that normally enjoys an automatically high priority in French policy. The suburban RER system that was developed to great acclaim in the 30 years following WW2 is beginning to crack badly. The reason is, again, that having put in place a good system that was fully operational around the early 1980s the authorities rested on their laurels and failed to undertake meaningful maintenance and follow-up investments.
I have to agree.

I have not found the regional train services in France to be anything to write home about. The TGV is excellent, and my mouth wets with jealousy. But whilst the UK failed to invest in an TGV network, it did invest in regional trains, track and infrastructure. A frequent and reliable timetable. The UK can boast more kilometres of train network running at 161kph+ than any other EU nation... despite having a smaller network in total - and despite having a majority diesel run network.

There is a clear gap between France TGV Gold Standard vs. The Rest.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 01:13 PM   #264
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The quality of the regional network depends on... the region ! TER (regional network) in Lorraine or in Rhône-Alpes are quite good with very frequent and modern trains.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 02:27 PM   #265
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I think what we can see in France is also very similar for all these countries with 'world class' rail networks. I nice pretty HSR setup but then all the rest goes unseen!
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Old January 14th, 2010, 01:15 AM   #266
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On my three week trip to France last year and my first overseas trip I might add, I caught a variety of trains to various places. In the South, I caught a train (two deck) from Nice to Monaco and back and had the option of travelling all the way to Italy but most in the group voted against it. I also travelled from Lille Gare de Flandres to a village called Le Quesnoy using another two deck train. After the stay there, I caught another train to Douai where I then caught another train to Paris. All the trains except the train to Paris was two decks and the train to Paris used one of the older Alstom locos I think.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 01:23 PM   #267
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If the timetable is announced with enough advance, and is then followed without delays, why should varying departuring times be a problem? Nobody has timetable books anymore, and it should be easy to check departure times on-line, on your smartphone etc. on a daily basis.
Symmetric, regular interval schedules are quite convenient. Both for the operator and the traveller.

The traveller doesn't have to memorize or consult timetables. I know that I just have to leave the office at a x:15 or x:45 (with X being any hour) to make it home with the least amount of fuss, regardless of whether it's morning or afternoon, whether it's Tuesday or Wednesday. It makes spur of the moment decisions to go somewhere a lot easier. it makes planning also easier. All long distance trains arrive and depart from the main railway stations in Switzerland at more or less the same times. So I know that anyone visiting me in the office will probably want to leave at x:15 or x:45 too...

It is also convenient for the operator. Symetric, fixed interval schedules mean also that trains will always cross at the same places and times. That means you can easily optimize your infrastructure to your timetable. Suppose you have a single track railway, and want to run 15 minute headways both way. Just construct the timetable as if your line was double track. Look where the timetable causes trains in opposing directions to meet. Build passing loops at these places, and you're done. In the region of Lausanne there is a commuter light railway that runs a train every 5 minutes in both directions on single track.

The Swiss railways have perfected the art of timetable making. They basically work out one hour, and repeat it throughout the day, every day. Based on the desired timetable decisions are made about what infrastructure to build. Travel times between major hubs are optimized so that trains arrive and depart the major hubs in all directions at the same time, making for short transfers. The system is very succesfull, no-one travels by train as often as the Swiss do.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 01:25 PM   #268
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The quality of the regional network depends on... the region ! TER (regional network) in Lorraine or in Rhône-Alpes are quite good with very frequent and modern trains.
And one of the reasons TER in Lorrain and Rhône Alpes is good (although it could be a lot better) is the proximity of Switzerland. SNCF is afraid that if they don't perform well here the regions might contract the network out to the SBB.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 02:15 PM   #269
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No link between Switzerland and the performance of trains in Rhône-Alpes or Lorraine. SNCF is just an operator, so it has no influence on infrastructures.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 02:28 PM   #270
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Well, there is no specific reason by which "symetric" rail schedules should be constructed around a period of 60min and not, say, 40, 70, 82 min. Trenitalia got rid of most of its 60-min interval schedules some time ago, and people adapted accordingly.

In our modern lives, we have iPhones full of apps, websites, SMS route info... there is just no need to stick to a system envised in the early 20th Century.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 03:12 PM   #271
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No link between Switzerland and the performance of trains in Rhône-Alpes or Lorraine. SNCF is just an operator, so it has no influence on infrastructures.
Well, SBB trains already run in the Alsace, and in Rhône Alpes. Not many, that is true. But it is quite interesting to not that trains out from Genève Eaux - Vives towards the Rhône Alpes region run in nice half-hourly intervals, something you don't see a lot in France..
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Old January 14th, 2010, 03:22 PM   #272
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Well, there is no specific reason by which "symetric" rail schedules should be constructed around a period of 60min and not, say, 40, 70, 82 min. Trenitalia got rid of most of its 60-min interval schedules some time ago, and people adapted accordingly.
By riding the trains less probably... Personally I wouldn't consider commuting to work on anything that runs less than twice an hour (and my commute is 138 km, one way). I would take a car in this case.

Quote:
In our modern lives, we have iPhones full of apps, websites, SMS route info... there is just no need to stick to a system envised in the early 20th Century.
There is a good reason to schedule all services around the same interval. And then the logical choice is to us 60 minutes. A allows you to know instantly when you're train back will be the moment you get off.
Not everybody has an iPhone. I do, and I still prefer Swiss schedules. The advantage of interval schedules is flexibility. I know that, regardless of where I intend to go to, I just have to be at the main station here either at xx:00 or xx:30. This makes life easy for me, but also for bus operators running buses to the main station. They just schedule their buses so that they arrive a bit before the hour (or half hour) and leave a bit after. Its great for people organizing a course or an event too.

The fact that trains not only run at hourly intervals in Switzerland, but also in Germany and Belgium means that I can leave at 7 am and be at my parents place 8 hours later at 3pm. Or levat a 9 am and be there at 5pm. And so on. Travel time is the same regardless of when I leave. It are things like that that have prompted me to get rid of my car five years ago.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 03:43 PM   #273
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Originally Posted by K_ View Post
Well, SBB trains already run in the Alsace, and in Rhône Alpes. Not many, that is true. But it is quite interesting to not that trains out from Genève Eaux - Vives towards the Rhône Alpes region run in nice half-hourly intervals, something you don't see a lot in France..
You can't compare a densely populated with many "big" cities country like Switzerland and France. And a 30 min period is not that rare in France. In Rhône-Alpes, many have a 20 min or a 15 min period.

Last edited by thib8500; January 14th, 2010 at 04:57 PM. Reason: typo
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Old January 14th, 2010, 04:56 PM   #274
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Regional trains are progressively being organised on hourly (half-hourly, etc.) slots. See this example from Aquitaine:
http://www.bordeaux-info.com/2008/07...e-se-renforce/
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Old January 15th, 2010, 11:16 PM   #275
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I have taken normal SNCF intercity trains before (Paris-Perpignan I think). And honestly, I was disappointed. The last time I travelled that way was in 2006. It was refurbished, and done quite well, but the trains themselves where very backward. I think travelling on the WCML on a 390 or on the ECML on a 225 is much better.
that would be the equivalent of travelling in a SNCF TGV ...


the equivalent of using a corail train in the UKwould be using a class 15x or 17x or something like that.
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Old January 16th, 2010, 01:24 PM   #276
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Originally Posted by Frogged View Post
Regional trains are progressively being organised on hourly (half-hourly, etc.) slots. See this example from Aquitaine:
http://www.bordeaux-info.com/2008/07...e-se-renforce/
I know they're doing that, but often it is done imperfectly, with still many exceptions to the patterns, holes in the schedules, suboptimal connections etc.
And first the long distance network should be done on a interval schedule, so dat the regional trains can be planned around them. That doesn't mean that all long distance trains must become hourly. France's population denstity is quite low in some areay, so two hourls for the Corail to Paris might be suficient. But by making it an exact two hours between trains planning the rest of the regional network becomes a lot easier.

And anyway, France is now doing this. They are still decades behind Switzerland or Germany in this respect.
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Old January 16th, 2010, 01:46 PM   #277
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I've personally travelled on the line from Paris to Limoges (trains run to/from Brive) and didn't find it amazing. It was something called a Corail Teoz which did 160km/h so it was better than comparable Australian services, but that's not saying a lot.
It runs even at 200 km/h between the south of Paris and Vierzon but it's not so amazing.

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The timetable was very confusing to understand with all the local TERs thrown it and confusion about which trains run on what days of the week.
Understanding a SNCF's timetable is considered as a cleaverness test in French University...don't worry, even SNCF's agents are not ableto answer to that kind of question.

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The Austerlitz terminus in Paris was pretty ordinary too I thought. Didn't have the beggars of Gare du Nord but not a very impressive station.
Austerlitz is not the most prestigious train station in Paris...lol
It's a bit outdated and lost all of it prestigious trains (Aquitaine, Etendard, Capitol) when Paris-Bordeaux-Hendaye and Paris-Toulouse were replaced by TGV from Paris Montparnasse. Austerlitz go a great potential for the futur but should be rebuild...

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Does anybody know if there are any plans to upgrade that line at all?
There are two main projects:
- A HSR between Poitiers and Limoges but I think it will be canceled soon (after Regional Elections in march)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGV_Poi...2%80%93Limoges

- a HSR Paris (Austerlitz)- Orly Airport - Orleans - Bourges - Lyon. TGV will run on existing (but upgraded) tracks to finish their journey to Limoges, Clermont Ferrand or St Etienne...I think this project is more interesting.
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Old January 16th, 2010, 02:46 PM   #278
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Austerlitz is not the most prestigious train station in Paris...lol
It's a bit outdated and lost all of it prestigious trains (Aquitaine, Etendard, Capitol) when Paris-Bordeaux-Hendaye and Paris-Toulouse were replaced by TGV from Paris Montparnasse. Austerlitz go a great potential for the futur but should be rebuild...
That's true Austerliz is least prestigious and least busy terminal of Paris (if we include Bercy).
It lost almost everything its prestigious and main intercity line except Paris Orleans Limoges, it lost its suburban traffic with the RER.
A signifant part of the main hall become a car park.

The district around Austerliz is not really attracting, the redevelopment of Paris rive Gauche area could help it but it is not enouth ambicious especially about shopping.
Saint Lazare by exemple is maybe dark (far more than Austerlitz even before the big renovation work), ugly and don't have really important intercity lines but it does have an important suburban traffic, the station is well located in Paris CDB near some of main shopping district.

Anyway Austerlitz has a great potientiel there are big renovation plan, new line proposed to serve this station expecially to help the crowded Gare de Lyon.
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Old January 16th, 2010, 09:50 PM   #279
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That's true Austerliz is least prestigious and least busy terminal of Paris (if we include Bercy).
It lost almost everything its prestigious and main intercity line except Paris Orleans Limoges, it lost its suburban traffic with the RER.
With the exception of Elipsos, the overnight Paris-Madrid/Barcelona service:
http://www.elipsos.com
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Old January 17th, 2010, 10:37 PM   #280
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Well, there is no specific reason by which "symetric" rail schedules should be constructed around a period of 60min and not, say, 40, 70, 82 min. Trenitalia got rid of most of its 60-min interval schedules some time ago, and people adapted accordingly.

In our modern lives, we have iPhones full of apps, websites, SMS route info... there is just no need to stick to a system envised in the early 20th Century.
That's exactly why Italy has 10 times the popolation of Switzerland, but only 3 times the volume of passenger traffic. Swiss federal railways carry daily more or less the same number of trains of Trenitalia (9.000 versus 12.000).

trains*km/inhabitant: 17 CH, 4,7 IT, 6,6 FR
passengers*km: 15 CH, 46 IT, 82 FR
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