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Old September 6th, 2014, 10:59 AM   #2001
Sunfuns
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Swiss train system is obviously very good, anyone who has lived in Switzerland for any length of time will agree with this. That doesn't mean however that it's so perfect that it can't be improved further. That includes making some key routes faster, increasing capacity here and there, improving connections to neighbouring countries (should be one of priorities for Basel area where I live) and so on.

In addition to good scheduling and efficient operations there is perhaps a more important historical reason why trains have a higher share of passengers here than elsewhere in Europe. Switzerland didn't start building railways super early, but when it was started a very dense network was built before cars emerged as a viable mass transportation option. Some other countries had that too, but proceeded to close large number of those lines in 50-ties and 60-ties (low point of railway popularity). Switzerland never did. Just look at all the lines we have here. More than half would never ever be built today.
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Old September 6th, 2014, 11:03 AM   #2002
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Another feature that helps a lot is a nationwide feeder bus system (PostBus). My commute to work for example is 20 min by train plus 5 min by bus. If the bus didn't exist maybe I'd cycle or maybe I'd drive instead…
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Old September 6th, 2014, 11:20 AM   #2003
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Originally Posted by Sunfuns View Post
Swiss train system is obviously very good, anyone who has lived in Switzerland for any length of time will agree with this. That doesn't mean however that it's so perfect that it can't be improved further. That includes making some key routes faster, increasing capacity here and there, improving connections to neighbouring countries (should be one of priorities for Basel area where I live) and so on.
Of course it can be improved. And it is continuously being improved. However resources are limited, and when the government spends the peoples' money it should do so wisely.

But capacity is more important then speed. The speed of the system as a whole is already such that it can compete with the car in large parts of the country. Reducing Bern - Basel by a few minutes might not get that many more passengers on that route. But increasing tph from 2 to 4 certainly will.
Building a new line from Bern to Lausanne therefore shouldn't carry as high a priority as improving Geneve - Lausanne, and Basel - Olten (I'm on that route daily...)



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Some other countries had that too, but proceeded to close large number of those lines in 50-ties and 60-ties (low point of railway popularity). Switzerland never did. Just look at all the lines we have here. More than half would never ever be built today.
One of the reasons why Switzerland still has most of it's railways operational is that it never entered WW II. In Germany for example a lot of the WW II damage to the network was just never repaired...
Another reason is geography. This forces transportation patterns to be linear.
If you live in a mountain valley there are only two directions you can travel in efficiently anyway, regardless of your chosen mode. So the advantages of private transport are diminished.
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Old September 6th, 2014, 11:21 AM   #2004
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Originally Posted by Sunfuns View Post
Another feature that helps a lot is a nationwide feeder bus system (PostBus). My commute to work for example is 20 min by train plus 5 min by bus. If the bus didn't exist maybe I'd cycle or maybe I'd drive instead…
And especially that it functions as one system. I assume you just have one pass, that covers all modes, and that it hardly leaves your wallet...
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Old September 6th, 2014, 01:08 PM   #2005
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Of course it can be improved. And it is continuously being improved. However resources are limited, and when the government spends the peoples' money it should do so wisely.

But capacity is more important then speed. The speed of the system as a whole is already such that it can compete with the car in large parts of the country. Reducing Bern - Basel by a few minutes might not get that many more passengers on that route. But increasing tph from 2 to 4 certainly will.
Building a new line from Bern to Lausanne therefore shouldn't carry as high a priority as improving Geneve - Lausanne, and Basel - Olten (I'm on that route daily...)
I think most people here will agree that a faster Bern-Lausanne line would be cool to have but not really something the government should spend billions on. My dreaming of an entirely new Basel-Zurich line was a bit more realistic, but still not from a reality land. In my opinion increases in speed and capacity should go hand in hand for the most heavily used sections of the railway. There are three sections currently where a new line (preferably 200-250 km/h all the way) would be economically warranted: Geneva-Lausanne (1st priority), Zurich-Olten (to join Olten-Bern 200 km/h line) and Olten-Basel. Capacity would be doubled and speeds increased at the same time!

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One of the reasons why Switzerland still has most of it's railways operational is that it never entered WW II. In Germany for example a lot of the WW II damage to the network was just never repaired...
Right, but that's not all of it. A huge number of functioning lines were closed in UK in the 60-ties.
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Old September 6th, 2014, 01:14 PM   #2006
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And especially that it functions as one system. I assume you just have one pass, that covers all modes, and that it hardly leaves your wallet...
Exactly and it's even cheap by Swiss standards (730 chf/year). My French co-workers driving in from France pay 3-4 times as much in gas alone.
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Old September 6th, 2014, 09:48 PM   #2007
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... Olten-Basel. Capacity would be doubled and speeds increased at the same time!
One idee I've seen suggested is to build a new, fully underground freight line from Basel to connect with the Gotthard railway just south of Brugg. The thinking is that underground freight only line could be build cheaper, as you'd only have to dig one bore, and wouldn't need so many safety systems. And it would get a lot of freight away from population centres...
Remove freight from the existing Basel - Olten and Basel - Brugg lines and you free up a lot of capacity for more and faster passenger trains.
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Old September 6th, 2014, 10:30 PM   #2008
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One idee I've seen suggested is to build a new, fully underground freight line from Basel to connect with the Gotthard railway just south of Brugg. The thinking is that underground freight only line could be build cheaper, as you'd only have to dig one bore, and wouldn't need so many safety systems. And it would get a lot of freight away from population centres...
Remove freight from the existing Basel - Olten and Basel - Brugg lines and you free up a lot of capacity for more and faster passenger trains.
That would be one long tunnel and I'm not sure about safety systems being easier. Imagine a crash of a train in a tunnel full with liquid chlorine.

By the way do you know what is the dominant route within Switzerland for freight going from Germany to Italy via Gotthard route? There are several alternatives...
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Old September 7th, 2014, 07:54 PM   #2009
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Originally Posted by Sunfuns View Post
That would be one long tunnel and I'm not sure about safety systems being easier. Imagine a crash of a train in a tunnel full with liquid chlorine.

By the way do you know what is the dominant route within Switzerland for freight going from Germany to Italy via Gotthard route? There are several alternatives...
According to that map, the Basel-Chiasso rail route is by far the most used to go from Germany to Italy, and vice versa. Basel is also the point of access for the much less used Lötschberg route.
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Old September 7th, 2014, 08:23 PM   #2010
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According to that map, the Basel-Chiasso rail route is by far the most used to go from Germany to Italy, and vice versa. Basel is also the point of access for the much less used Lötschberg route.
Thanks for the map. I knew that Basel-Chiasso route is dominant. What I didn't know for sure, but suspected is that majority of that freight ends up on Basel-Brugg-Zurich stretch instead of Basel-Olten-Luzern route favoured by passenger trains or Basel-Aarau-Zurich (fastest Basel-Zurich option).
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Old September 7th, 2014, 10:01 PM   #2011
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Originally Posted by rower2000 View Post
Also because it's right across the language border. Most of the traffic in the triangle Bern-Basel-Zürich is in fact commuter and work-related traffic. An Swiss commuter profiles, in general, tend to stay within their own language region. Thus, work and commuter traffic between Bern and Zürich is much higher than between Bern and Lausanne.
Your vision is very self-absorbed. You’re right if you consider your own experience as a commuter as absolute. But you probably know that a day lasts 24 hours, and a week 7 days including week-ends. Switzerland also counts approx. 8 million inhabitants and welcomes thousands of tourists through the year. So, different passenger categories display different types of behaviours when they use a train, forever without ever crossing.

In my 3 years experience as a commuter from Geneva to Bern (fridays after work), the trains were full to capacity (commuters, tourists and militaries) along the entire journey. The same on my travel back to Geneva on sundays by 6 p.m. (commuters, tourists and au-pair), which contradicts the statement that the Bern-Lausanne doesn’t help (as a part of national high-speed transverse line).

Building two high-speed sections from Geneva to Lausanne, and from Bern to St. Gallen – as several people on that thread would seemingly priviledge – without connecting them would be absolutely counterproductive.

Last edited by quimporte; September 7th, 2014 at 10:13 PM.
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Old September 7th, 2014, 10:14 PM   #2012
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Originally Posted by Sunfuns View Post
Thanks for the map. I knew that Basel-Chiasso route is dominant. What I didn't know for sure, but suspected is that majority of that freight ends up on Basel-Brugg-Zurich stretch instead of Basel-Olten-Luzern route favoured by passenger trains or Basel-Aarau-Zurich (fastest Basel-Zurich option).
Try that one: http://map.geo.admin.ch/?X=183563.61...erverkehr-bahn

You may want to check all the layers. It’s a wonderful website, I tell you.
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Old September 7th, 2014, 11:57 PM   #2013
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Originally Posted by quimporte View Post
According to that map, the Basel-Chiasso rail route is by far the most used to go from Germany to Italy, and vice versa. Basel is also the point of access for the much less used Lötschberg route.
The Gotthard rail tunnel is crossed by about 15 millions net tonnes a year, compared to 10 Mt for the Simplon, so the difference is not that big. After Bellinzona, is roughly 1/3 to Luino and 2/3 to Chiasso.

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Originally Posted by Sunfuns View Post
Thanks for the map. I knew that Basel-Chiasso route is dominant. What I didn't know for sure, but suspected is that majority of that freight ends up on Basel-Brugg-Zurich stretch instead of Basel-Olten-Luzern route favoured by passenger trains or Basel-Aarau-Zurich (fastest Basel-Zurich option).
Gotthard freight mostly run via Frick (Bözbergbahn) and Muri (Südbahn). The route via Luzern require a reversal and is clogged up by passenegr trains, while via Zürich there is not that much space left. The Frick-Muri route is ideal, as skipping big cities it has few passenger trains.

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In my 3 years experience as a commuter from Geneva to Bern (fridays after work), the trains were full to capacity (commuters, tourists and militaries) along the entire journey. The same on my travel back to Geneva on sundays by 6 p.m. (commuters, tourists and au-pair), which contradicts the statement that the Bern-Lausanne doesn’t help (as a part of national high-speed transverse line).
You can't design a transport infrastructure by dimensioning it on the traffic it has during a few hours twice a week.
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Old September 7th, 2014, 11:57 PM   #2014
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(double post)
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Old September 8th, 2014, 01:08 AM   #2015
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Originally Posted by Coccodrillo View Post
The Gotthard rail tunnel is crossed by about 15 millions net tonnes a year, compared to 10 Mt for the Simplon, so the difference is not that big. After Bellinzona, is roughly 1/3 to Luino and 2/3 to Chiasso.
That’s a point of view. If Gotthard tunnel swallows +50% freight than Simplon, I call that a big difference.

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You can't design a transport infrastructure by dimensioning it on the traffic it has during a few hours twice a week.
Oh really? Did you read my message properly? I guess not. Then, you already should have reacted to rower2000 arguments, pretending that his sole experience would justify the sacrifice of the Lausanne-Bern section.

I just expressed an opposite experience that shows that the trains on this section may be full to capacity the same.

Last edited by quimporte; September 8th, 2014 at 01:32 AM.
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Old September 8th, 2014, 07:19 PM   #2016
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That would be one long tunnel and I'm not sure about safety systems being easier. Imagine a crash of a train in a tunnel full with liquid chlorine.
It would be less a problem than a crash with a train full of chlorine in the middle of Brugg...

The security measures implemented in modern tunnels are all geared towards saving the passengers. That is why you have two bores, why you have interconnections, why the interconnections have fire resistant doors, positive air pressure etc...
All to get the people out of harms way as quick as possible
Things change a lot when you can assume that whenever something happens the only people at risk are a small group of able adults that got a safety training.
I've traveled on freight ships, and on passenger ships, and the different way they deal with safety is striking. On a passenger ship they'll have smoke extraction systems, on a freighter they'll just put little boxes with emergency breathing devices everywhere, and train everyone on how to use this.
So for a freight only tunnel you could probably do away with needing two bores. A single, wide bore would be sufficient. You wouldn't need as many evacuation routes. In stead you could require train drivers to receive basic safety training, and equip the locomotives with emergency oxygen for example.

It might be worth looking in to this.

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By the way do you know what is the dominant route within Switzerland for freight going from Germany to Italy via Gotthard route? There are several alternatives...
To Brugg, and then down to Othmarsingen, Rotkreuz. Othmarsingen is probably one of the best places in Switzerland to go train spotting.
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Old September 8th, 2014, 07:23 PM   #2017
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In my 3 years experience as a commuter from Geneva to Bern (fridays after work), the trains were full to capacity (commuters, tourists and militaries) along the entire journey. The same on my travel back to Geneva on sundays by 6 p.m. (commuters, tourists and au-pair), which contradicts the statement that the Bern-Lausanne doesn’t help (as a part of national high-speed transverse line).
Actually it confirms what I and others have been telling here: Increasing capacity is more important then increasing speed.
If the trains are full this means that they are fast enough. If they're running at capacity we need more trains first.

Quote:
Building two high-speed sections from Geneva to Lausanne, and from Bern to St. Gallen – as several people on that thread would seemingly priviledge – without connecting them would be absolutely counterproductive.
You keep missing the point.
I'm not against a new line from Bern to Lausanne. Nobody is. But again a new line from Geneve to st. Gallen would be:

1) A new line from Geneve to Lausanne
2) A new line from Lausanne to Bern.
3) A new line from Rothrist to Zürich (Bern - Rothrist already exists).
4) A new line from Zürich to Winterthur.
5) A new line from Winterthur to st. Gallen.

Now, I want you to ask the following question: You are allowed to pick one of the above 5 sectors, and we will built it. Which sector do you pick?
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Old September 9th, 2014, 07:33 PM   #2018
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Actually it confirms what I and others have been telling here: Increasing capacity is more important then increasing speed.
If the trains are full this means that they are fast enough. If they're running at capacity we need more trains first.
Your conclusions are quite funny. The fact that YOU decided that capacity is more important than increasing speed doesn’t mean that it is. And if the trains are full to capacity, it just means that the trains are full to capacity, and not that they are fast enough.


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Originally Posted by K_ View Post
You keep missing the point.
blablabla… But YOU got it, of course… You’re so pedantic…


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Originally Posted by K_ View Post
Now, I want you to ask the following question: You are allowed to pick one of the above 5 sectors, and we will built it. Which sector do you pick?
I would take them all. That’s crazy… Why should I a pick only one??? I’m talking about something global, when you’re playing petty politics. It’s an absolute nonsense to partition that national high-speed transverse route.
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Old September 9th, 2014, 07:54 PM   #2019
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Your conclusions are quite funny.
Actually not. If the network is exploited almost at its maximum capacity, and
trains are full, it means that customers are happy enough with the service so
there is no reason to make it any faster. That's the application of the Lean
principle used in the industry : don't overdo things, don't over-deliver. If you
can sell all your capacity with the current service level, why enhance it ?

On the other hand, if trains are full, it might mean that there could be more
capacity sold if it existed. Hence I agree with the conclusion of K : in this
case, capacity is more needed than speed...
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Old September 9th, 2014, 09:06 PM   #2020
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Actually not. If the network is exploited almost at its maximum capacity, and
trains are full, it means that customers are happy enough with the service so
there is no reason to make it any faster. That's the application of the Lean
principle used in the industry : don't overdo things, don't over-deliver. If you
can sell all your capacity with the current service level, why enhance it ?

On the other hand, if trains are full, it might mean that there could be more
capacity sold if it existed. Hence I agree with the conclusion of K : in this
case, capacity is more needed than speed...
You are quite right, but sometimes building new railway line with better speeds may be only incrementally more expansive, than quadriple-tracking the existing one. So its a tricky question - sometimes you can have both for a reasonable price.
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