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Old April 13th, 2012, 01:59 PM   #681
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Originally Posted by K_ View Post
Remember that the basic time interval is not an emergent property of a network. It's not something you discover. It's something you design in to your network. The timetable determines where you need switches, signals and fly overs in your network, and where you don't. So efficient network infrastructure planning starts with the timetable.
Obviously, there are certain interval that work better when optimizing costs and speed, given the geography, location and construction costs of the network between its major nods.

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Can you give me a good argument against using 60 minutes?
You keep repeating that it does not matter, and that you could use other intervals. However the fact that you _can_ use other intervals doesn't mean you should. I can give you a very good one against 53: That is a prime, and primes are very inconvenient. You can't easily divide them in subintervals.
Geez, we are not on the timetable-based safety anymore! So what 53m cannot be divided into minutes? Signaling systems of trains have smaller than 0.1s precision!

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When I studied engineering one of the things my instructors told me was that if you could use a certain value, a certain dimension in a design freely, than you should use a round number. "One Hour" is such a round number. So is "Two Hours", which is the basis RFF uses. So when you start designing a timetable, using an hour is logical. It is efficient. It is aesthetic. And it is a good way of maximizing both the value for the customer and the company simultaneously.
How pandering to a pre-personal computers, pre-digital information everywhere, pre-LCD displays era philosophies creates value for costumers? Since when it is "aesthetic" to chose a round number when computers (which will process everything on railways) treat 14:30:00 or 11:27:34.22 as a mere collection of zeros and ones anyway?

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But we know you don't like that...
I came from a finance background where we are taught "psychological meaningless parameters" are detrimental to the efficiency of markets if they are widely watched after, like someone thinking oil prices going from $92 to $98 as a much less serious price hike than from $99 to $101 just because a third digit was added... So the more we "de-landmark" systems that operate in a continuum, the better. "Non-round" timetables train costumers to always check their devices because they are harder to memorize, which facilitates frequent changes on the timetable.


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That is also one of the reasons why punctuality is more important than speed.
Nobody is arguing against the value of punctuality. More speed is not something you have to balance against less punctuality by design. It might affect only the ability to serve intermediate destinations.
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Old April 13th, 2012, 02:11 PM   #682
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One way of turning a loss making international train in to a profit making international train is to integrate it in the domestic train system. A Frankfurt - Interlaken train is also used by people travelling Basel - Interlaken or Bern - Interlaken.
That only works however if the international train can be integrated in the local pattern.
Thalys trains are completely segregated from the national networks (they are forbidden to carry domestic traffic in each country served), yet they are the most successful joint-venture of international passenger transport in the railway business.

This "integration" you talk about meant any international train going through Switzerland is "slowed down", essentially killing, for instance, the possibility of a fast Frankfurt-Milano train service calling only in Basel and maybe Lugano (but not carrying passengers between both).

As a result, long trips like Paris-Marseilles or Amsterdam-Paris are very competitive in terms of time by rail, whereas Zürich-Köln, for instance (a shorter distance than both I cited) is not.

That results in aberrations like a Berlin-Interlaken train that takes 9:24 to complete the journey and outrageous 22 intermediate stops, including 2 stops in Interlaken (absurd, it's a small-ish town after all), 2 in Basel, and also unnecessary stops in places like Hildesheim, Olten and Offenburg.

Such a train should stop only in Hannover, maybe Fulda (for connections), Frankfurt, Manheim, Basel and Interlaken. And that is it. It would them probably shove off at least 1h30 from total travel time.
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Old April 13th, 2012, 02:18 PM   #683
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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Geez, we are not on the timetable-based safety anymore! So what 53m cannot be divided into minutes? Signaling systems of trains have smaller than 0.1s precision!

How pandering to a pre-personal computers, pre-digital information everywhere, pre-LCD displays era philosophies creates value for costumers? Since when it is "aesthetic" to chose a round number when computers (which will process everything on railways) treat 14:30:00 or 11:27:34.22 as a mere collection of zeros and ones anyway?
But you know that there is a difference between integers and floating point variables, and also that you can't represent all fractions as floating points?

If you really would use such stupid numbers, you would have a system where you have rounding errors (which you always have using computers) that accumulate. Not really what you want.

This is engineering and not finance. And the best advice for engineering is KISS: Keep it simple stupid. Or more nicely to quite Einstein: Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

Don't add any complexity that isn't inherent to the system.
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Old April 13th, 2012, 02:23 PM   #684
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Don't add any complexity that isn't inherent to the system.
Complexity forces advancements on design (in the case of time computing, it forces more powerful computer to deal with more precise floating variables ).
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Old April 13th, 2012, 02:43 PM   #685
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But complexity rarely creates customer value. Certainly not on public transport.

Maybe you shouldn't talk about product design and marketing, if you aren't able to get the idea with your financial background.
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Old April 13th, 2012, 03:25 PM   #686
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This is engineering and not finance. And the best advice for engineering is KISS: Keep it simple stupid. Or more nicely to quite Einstein: Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.
Which is why my instructors told me that if you'r going to pick a number out of a hat, it's best to pick a round one.

Suppose you were to design a new railway system from scratch. What gauge would you pick? 1456,5 mm? or maybe 1500 or 1600 mm ...

Ofcourse, if you were to pick 1600 mm Suburbanist would loudly complain that you've imposed an artificial roundedness on the system...

(BTW, our current railway gauge of 1435 mm probably also arose because Stephenson picked a round number, but that is a different story...)
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Old April 13th, 2012, 03:31 PM   #687
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Complexity forces advancements on design (in the case of time computing, it forces more powerful computer to deal with more precise floating variables ).
Quite the opposite, advancement on design reduces complexity. That's why we have high level programming languages.

And no, since the introduction of double precision floating points (64bit) there was never a change to the precision. Also the problem with with fractions not being re-presentable with floating points doesn't go away with more bits.
Quote:
Some numbers (e.g., 1/3 and 0.1) cannot be represented exactly in binary floating-point no matter what the precision.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floating_point

So if possible use good numbers from the start. Especially when you use computer based numeric!
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Old April 13th, 2012, 03:45 PM   #688
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Thalys trains are completely segregated from the national networks (they are forbidden to carry domestic traffic in each country served), yet they are the most successful joint-venture of international passenger transport in the railway business.
And they run according to a timetable that is based on an two hourly pattern. So what is the point you are trying to make here?

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This "integration" you talk about meant any international train going through Switzerland is "slowed down", essentially killing, for instance, the possibility of a fast Frankfurt-Milano train service calling only in Basel and maybe Lugano (but not carrying passengers between both).
The problem is that a fast Frankfurt - Milano train calling only in Basel and Lugano would never attract enough passengers to be profitable.A train with more stops can serve several markets at the same time.

Another issue is that if you want to get a specialized once daily fast slot on the busy Swiss network ( 90 train km per track km per day on average...) you are going to pay a lot. It's a lot cheaper to cooperate with SBB and run in a domestic hourly IC slot, taking domestic passengers too.

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As a result, long trips like Paris-Marseilles or Amsterdam-Paris are very competitive in terms of time by rail, whereas Zürich-Köln, for instance (a shorter distance than both I cited) is not.
But there are more trains on Zürich - Köln than on Amsterdam - Paris...

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That results in aberrations like a Berlin-Interlaken train that takes 9:24 to complete the journey and outrageous 22 intermediate stops, including 2 stops in Interlaken (absurd, it's a small-ish town after all), 2 in Basel, and also unnecessary stops in places like Hildesheim, Olten and Offenburg.

Such a train should stop only in Hannover, maybe Fulda (for connections), Frankfurt, Manheim, Basel and Interlaken. And that is it. It would them probably shove off at least 1h30 from total travel time.
Sure, it would shave of trip time for the train, but would it save time for the passengers? Reducing the number of stops saves time for some passengers, but would cost time for others..

BTW, dropping one of the stops in Interlaken will not save any time. Which one would you drop anyway...

Anyway, what keeps amazing me is that you at the one hand keep on repeating that railway companies should be run for profit, but once they actually start doing those things that will allow them to actually make a profit you are each time against it.
But then your contradictions are consistent.
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Old April 13th, 2012, 03:53 PM   #689
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Obviously, there are certain interval that work better when optimizing costs and speed, given the geography, location and construction costs of the network between its major nods.
The point is that any interval will work. As you decide on the interval before drawing up expansion plans for your network.
If you would have tried to determine the most efficient interval for the Swiss network in the 60ies you would not have been able to do so. In stead the Swiss just decided to aim for a timetable based on an universal interval, and once you do that 60 minutes makes a lot of sense.

Again, what is there against 60 minutes?

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Nobody is arguing against the value of punctuality. More speed is not something you have to balance against less punctuality by design. It might affect only the ability to serve intermediate destinations.
You obviously don't know a lot about how timetables are designed. You have to balance speed against punctuality. A high punctuality is achieved by building in buffers in the timetable. That means not running trains as fast as possible. I regularly measure the speed trains run at, and notice how for example TGVs are usually run a bit below top speed if they are on time, so that there is a margin for recovering time if for whatever reason they left a station a few minutes late.
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Old April 13th, 2012, 03:54 PM   #690
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Which is why my instructors told me that if you'r going to pick a number out of a hat, it's best to pick a round one.
In case of computers, a round number is x = 2^n.
You will see this all the time, for example a Megabyte is 1024 bytes not 1000.
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Old April 13th, 2012, 05:59 PM   #691
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Quote:
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In case of computers, a round number is x = 2^n.
You will see this all the time, for example a Megabyte is 1024 bytes not 1000.
Round number is a product of small factors, not a power of the base, and megabyte is not 2^20 bytes but 10^6 bytes, you're speaking of mebibytes, and anyway, I'm pretty sure you confused mega with kilo.

Also, the idea of fractional train schedules sounds great until you crack your phone screen and the displays at the train station get wonky. Or you're trying to schedule an appointment in city X, and the train schedule is one of a bajillion other things to consider.
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Old April 13th, 2012, 08:18 PM   #692
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Round number is a product of small factors, not a power of the base, and megabyte is not 2^20 bytes but 10^6 bytes, you're speaking of mebibytes, and anyway, I'm pretty sure you confused mega with kilo.
Yes you're right I mean kibibytes. But guess what, that what is used when you by a hard disk with 50 giga bytes it's actually one with 50 gibibyte (GiB) 230

And I disagree a round number is something like 20, 300 or 5000 which is always (m * 10^n) where both m and n are naturals.
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Old April 13th, 2012, 08:29 PM   #693
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The European railway system is based on one thing: connections, connections, connections. The market for a complete Berlin-Interlaken trip is probably quite low, but because you can change en-route everywhere to anywhere, this type of long distance trains are quite profitable. At every stop there are connections to regional railways.
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Old April 13th, 2012, 08:36 PM   #694
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Yes you're right I mean kibibytes. But guess what, that what is used when you by a hard disk with 50 giga bytes it's actually one with 50 gibibyte (GiB) 230
Actually, hard drives are one of the few places where "true" mega/giga bytes are used, which causes a lot of confusion all the time. Memory chips are measured in GiB even if they say GB, which doesn't *really* bother anyone. But that's extremely OT.

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And I disagree a round number is something like 20, 300 or 5000 which is always (m * 10^n) where both m and n are naturals.
That's actually the informal definition, though that's besides the point — here it's obvious that what is meant is a number that has a lot of different small divisors.
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Old April 13th, 2012, 08:45 PM   #695
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The European railway system is based on one thing: connections, connections, connections. The market for a complete Berlin-Interlaken trip is probably quite low, but because you can change en-route everywhere to anywhere, this type of long distance trains are quite profitable. At every stop there are connections to regional railways.
That doesn't mean there isn't direct markets for long-distance non-stop services, such as ICE Sprinter, the Italian AV-Fast, some TGVs in France, the Eurostar services in general etc.

But for long-distance direct connections to be attractive, they need to be very high speed, like the French TGVs. AFAIK, they are the only ones operating train relations whose commercial speed averages above 230km/h.
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Old April 13th, 2012, 09:07 PM   #696
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There are only few lines within Switzerland with such a potential. And it would be necessary to have dedicated lines for those. I am actually in favor of building 2 of those lines, a (Lyon)-Geneva-Laussane-Bern-Zürich-(Munich) and a Basel-Zürich-Lugano-Milano one. With an possibilty to run trains directly between Bern and Basel.
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Old April 13th, 2012, 11:37 PM   #697
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Old April 14th, 2012, 09:34 AM   #698
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Geez, we are not on the timetable-based safety anymore! So what 53m cannot be divided into minutes? Signaling systems of trains have smaller than 0.1s precision!


How pandering to a pre-personal computers, pre-digital information everywhere, pre-LCD displays era philosophies creates value for costumers? Since when it is "aesthetic" to chose a round number when computers (which will process everything on railways) treat 14:30:00 or 11:27:34.22 as a mere collection of zeros and ones anyway?
Not everything. Because no matter whether the customers are looking up the information from personal computer, printed book or public display on wall (whether LCD or paper), the processin goes on, guess where...

as always, the brains of customers.
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So the more we "de-landmark" systems that operate in a continuum, the better. "Non-round" timetables train costumers to always check their devices because they are harder to memorize, which facilitates frequent changes on the timetable.
They also train the customers to consider the alternatives. Like private car.
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Old April 14th, 2012, 10:31 AM   #699
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Not everything. Because no matter whether the customers are looking up the information from personal computer, printed book or public display on wall (whether LCD or paper), the processin goes on, guess where...

as always, the brains of customers.
And people organize their lives around a clock with 24 hours in a day and 60 hours in a minute. I have never been invited to a meeting a 9:37 that is scheduled to last 78 minutes...
No, meetings are always something like "from 9 till 11 AM", and that is why it is convenient that the public transport system conforms to my needs, and not the other way round.
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Old April 14th, 2012, 10:33 AM   #700
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But for long-distance direct connections to be attractive, they need to be very high speed, like the French TGVs. AFAIK, they are the only ones operating train relations whose commercial speed averages above 230km/h.
And that costs a lot of money. Which is why you have to consider wether it is really worth it to try to cater for that market everywhere it possibly exists.

Building 300kph lines through the mountains is very expensive. The Italians know that...
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