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Old July 27th, 2013, 01:18 AM   #1261
Coccodrillo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by earthJoker View Post
He said the best, not the fastest.
Considering door to door times, not station to station, is also quite fast.

Beside the easy examples of Bern-Zürich, that requires 1h00 by train and 1h20/1h30 by car, or Zürich-Lugano (2h20 car/2h40 train, in the future 1h50 by train), there are much more self-explaining door to door examples.

Usually car-dependant like to say that only station to station trips with fast IC or HS trains win over the car*, so let's take other examples.

Kehrsatz (Bern)-Zürich Tiefenbrunnen, 1h41 by car and 1h54 by train
Geneva-Langnau, 2h11 by car and 2h19 by train
Delémont-Spiez, 1h34 by car and 1h42 by train

Sure some trips by car are faster:
Riehen BL-Murten FR, 1h21 vs 2h07

And there are desperate cases where car is much faster: Bignasco TI-Sonvico TI, 1h30 vs 2h50, but even there the public option is usable, it is offered every hour and could take 20 minutes less if the connections were tighter. Such a trip by public transport in Italy or Spain would take the whole day.

Then there are special cases like Genève-Lugano (3h45 via the Mont Blanc tunnel which has not a parallel railway, 5h30 by train via the Gotthard) or Brig-Bern (1h05 by train, 2h10 by car), but they cannot be considered as example as one infrastructure there is much better than the other.

*I suppose Suburbanist is among those people, but curiously he also likes to propose "improvements" that would increase door to door travel times by public transport with some ticketing complications that together would make train travel unattractive - despite a theoretical 10 minute saving on the fastest section...
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Old July 27th, 2013, 07:02 AM   #1262
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coccodrillo View Post
*I suppose Suburbanist is among those people, but curiously he also likes to propose "improvements" that would increase door to door travel times by public transport with some ticketing complications that together would make train travel unattractive - despite a theoretical 10 minute saving on the fastest section...
Are you referring to my idea of adopting RFID cards (like the Netherlands has adopted) and putting fare gates on major stations to create "passenger-only" areas? That wouldn't increase total travel time, provided the physical adaptation s for creating transfer tunnels/concourses and, where necessary, extra are for gate processing was done.

In any case, Ticino is the cantone that suffers most with rail isolation from the rest of Switzerland. I keep thinking whether they could build a much faster Locarno-Domodossola railway so that people can travel from Ticino to Valais via Italy + Sempione tunnel.

There is also the case for a Geneve-Bern high-speed rail.
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Old July 27th, 2013, 07:43 AM   #1263
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Also Switzerland could pay out shitloads of money (like Germany does) to help bail out other EU members like Greece.
Switzerland is actually contributing to bailing out Greece. Switzerland is actually a net contributor to the EU.

If Switzerland were to join the EU not that much would change for Switzerland. A lot would change fr the EU however. It would almost come to a standstill...
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Old July 27th, 2013, 08:11 AM   #1264
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coccodrillo View Post

Considering door to door times, not station to station, is also quite fast.

Beside the easy examples of Bern-Zürich, that requires 1h00 by train and 1h20/1h30 by car, or Zürich-Lugano (2h20 car/2h40 train, in the future 1h50 by train), there are much more self-explaining door to door examples..
People often forget that there are actually two Switzerlands.

There is the industrialized, urbanized central area, which basically runs from Geneva to Romanshorn. In this area the railways function as a urban mass transit system, and they are the mountains, where the railways and buses mostly serve the purpose of transporting tourists in and out.
In the central area the trains actually run quite fast, and on average are faster then in The Netherlands, regardless of what Suburbanist claims. In the mountains they are slower, but still user friendly and reliable. Tourists are usually not tat in a hurry.
In both roles the system perform very well, and it is the envy of many. The market share of public transport in Switzerland is growing, and will grow further as the "public transit generation" grows up.
One reason of the success of Swiss public transit is that the Swiss understand the importance of psychology in transport planning. Time is relative. Reliability and punctuality are more important then speed. A service that takes 40 minutes and runs every half hour is subjectively perceived as faster then one that runs every two hours, but only takes 25 minutes.
People enjoy being on a train more then at a station.

I'm typing this as I'm on my way from Bern to Adelboden. This involves taking two trains ad one bus, with transfers of under 10 minutes each time. And that on one ticket. It's slower then a car, but if I'd go to Adelboden by car I wouldn't be able to walk to Lenk and return from there. Not having a car is so convenient I keep finding out every day.
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Old July 27th, 2013, 08:14 AM   #1265
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There is also the case for a Geneve-Bern high-speed rail.
There is a case, however there are other investments that have a stronger case... It's not because something looks sexy on paper it should be done...
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Old July 27th, 2013, 10:54 AM   #1266
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For geographical and historical reasons Ticino is less well connected to the rest of the country than other cantons. Connections to central and northern areas are good and will be excellent once the Gotthard base tunnel is open, but there are no connections competitive with driving to Graubunden or Geneva/Lausanne area. Potential traffic is minimal, however, and costs of building something very high so I don't see it changing any time soon.

Sure it would be great if some of the existing routes could be sped up a bit. Basel-Geneva via Delemont would be my pick for abnormally slow service. However currently the biggest issue is insufficient capacity on the most popular routes (Zurich-Bern and Geneva-Lausanne) so further investment there makes most sense.

As for strengths it's not only that most routes have half hourly service, but also that it runs from early morning to very late at night every day. In some countries and on some routes the last service runs at 9 pm or even earlier on holidays and if you are for some reason late you are stuck. Almost happened for us earlier this year in South Italy...
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Old July 27th, 2013, 11:37 AM   #1267
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Are you referring to my idea of adopting RFID cards (like the Netherlands has adopted) and putting fare gates on major stations to create "passenger-only" areas? That wouldn't increase total travel time, provided the physical adaptation s for creating transfer tunnels/concourses and, where necessary, extra are for gate processing was done.
What you are saying is basically what is planned, but I was referring to idiot things (given the situation of Switzerland) like mandatory reservation or competition within the market. They wouldn't never work, trips like Bern-Zürich are not much more than urban transport.

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There is a case, however there are other investments that have a stronger case... It's not because something looks sexy on paper it should be done...
As it has been said before, most people leaving Geneva by road or rail end their trip before Bern, so an HSL would either attract few passengers if no-stop, or not give high saving times if with intermediate stations. This doesn't mean that nothing will be done in the far (~2040/2060) future, however.

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Originally Posted by Sunfuns View Post
For geographical and historical reasons Ticino is less well connected to the rest of the country than other cantons. Connections to central and northern areas are good and will be excellent once the Gotthard base tunnel is open, but there are no connections competitive with driving to Graubunden or Geneva/Lausanne area. Potential traffic is minimal, however, and costs of building something very high so I don't see it changing any time soon.
In the 70s-80s many different alternatives were evaluated for AlpTransit, most not following existing railways or main roads, quite a few even proposing completely new routes. One was Ziegelbrücke GL-Trun GR-Biasca TI, others considered the Splügen pass with a branch to Bellinzona and one to Colico-Lecco (Italy), another was Lugano-Locarno-Meiringen-Bern/Luzern.

The latter, called Gotthard West/Gottardo Ovest, would have speed up a lot connections from Ticino to Bern and as side effect Romandie, while still giving good travel times from Ticino to Luzern and Zürich. I liked that option more than the tunnels under construction now, a disadvantage being less time savings to Pfäffikon SZ and St. Gallen.

An alternative would be the construction of a chord in Gallarate linking the Mendrisio-Varese and Simplon lines, and the introduction of direct Lugano-Simplon-Lausanne-Geneva trains, but this is not even planned.
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Old July 27th, 2013, 11:49 AM   #1268
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
In any case, Ticino is the cantone that suffers most with rail isolation from the rest of Switzerland. I keep thinking whether they could build a much faster Locarno-Domodossola railway so that people can travel from Ticino to Valais via Italy + Sempione tunnel.
The Centovalli route is not really an option for a faster track. To much height difference on both sides. A new track along the right shore of the Laggo Maggiore would be great indeed, but most of the track would be on Italian clay. I am not really sure if Switzerland should invest in such a project.
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Old July 27th, 2013, 12:04 PM   #1269
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As I said, a chord here would already give quite some benefits for an acceptable cost: https://maps.google.ch/maps?q=Gallar...talia&t=m&z=15

A fast line Locarno-Domodossola is obviously out of question. Only such chord might be affordable, and again, it is not for tomorrow.
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Old July 27th, 2013, 12:51 PM   #1270
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If Italy manages to finish their part of the Mendrisio-Varese line.
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Old July 27th, 2013, 01:55 PM   #1271
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Has there been a plan to straighten and double track Basel-Delemont-Biel route? A lot could be gained there with some modest tunnelling. The route could then also be used for fast trains from Germany to Geneva or Lausanne.
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Old July 27th, 2013, 02:11 PM   #1272
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Quote:
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Has there been a plan to straighten and double track Basel-Delemont-Biel route? A lot could be gained there with some modest tunnelling. The route could then also be used for fast trains from Germany to Geneva or Lausanne.
No, at least not before 2025. AFAIK they're even studying diverting trains Basel-Geneva throu Bern. There's even been a huge public outcry in Delémont since the CFF announced they would suspend direct Geneva-Basel services stopping in their city.
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Old July 27th, 2013, 02:15 PM   #1273
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That's too bad. Would also be good for Jura canton, which I believe is still among the least developed places in Switzerland.
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Old July 27th, 2013, 04:47 PM   #1274
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Originally Posted by Coccodrillo View Post
As I said, a chord here would already give quite some benefits for an acceptable cost: https://maps.google.ch/maps?q=Gallar...talia&t=m&z=15
I just looked at the map again. Wouldn't it make more sense to have a train hub at the airport Malpensa? You could have trains to Torino, Milano, Lugano-Zürich, Brig-Geneva and Brig-Bern all connecting at that spot. It would avoid to go over Milano Centrale for all those connections.
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Old July 27th, 2013, 08:16 PM   #1275
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If Italy manages to finish their part of the Mendrisio-Varese line.
They will, that's sure (because of political reasons and the advanced status of works), the question is when. Maybe mid-2015, instead of end 2014.

As for Malpensa Airport, creating a rail hub here is/was an option. Today its railway station is accessible only from the south and Milano Cadorna, but there are plans to connect it also from the north, linking the airport in the directions of Varese-Mendrisio and the Simplon, and to build a link to the Gallarate-Rho Fiera-Milano line.
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Old July 28th, 2013, 11:12 AM   #1276
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Has there been a plan to straighten and double track Basel-Delemont-Biel route? A lot could be gained there with some modest tunnelling. The route could then also be used for fast trains from Germany to Geneva or Lausanne.
I don't think the potential gain for such an upgrade would be that much. And don't forget that the SBB is not primarily interested in speeding up trains. It wants to speed up passengers. And that often involves other things than upgrading lines.
Furthermore the main purpose of the railways in Switzerland is not providing windfall profits for building firms, like in some other countries...
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Old July 28th, 2013, 11:13 AM   #1277
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I just looked at the map again. Wouldn't it make more sense to have a train hub at the airport Malpensa? You could have trains to Torino, Milano, Lugano-Zürich, Brig-Geneva and Brig-Bern all connecting at that spot. It would avoid to go over Milano Centrale for all those connections.
This makes so much sense that I doubt it will happen... Unless the SBB takes charge.
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Old July 28th, 2013, 01:53 PM   #1278
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I don't think the potential gain for such an upgrade would be that much. And don't forget that the SBB is not primarily interested in speeding up trains. It wants to speed up passengers. And that often involves other things than upgrading lines.
You won't get a 80-min Geneve-Zürich train unless you build HSR. Simple as that. No matter how much schedule and operation management you thrown it.

At some point speed of trains is the bottleneck in the way of faster passenger travel time.

This is a problem the Swiss face also in local transportation: Zürich, Bern and Basel lack some serious subway system, relying instead on slow trams that are mixed with traffic running at-grade. No matter how much signal priority you give them, you just can't accelerate a train to 90km/h in the middle of a street the way you can speed up a subway in a tunnel... as a reasult, trips in Zürich, Bern, Basel take a long time to complete.

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This makes so much sense that I doubt it will happen... Unless the SBB takes charge.
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Old July 28th, 2013, 02:06 PM   #1279
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I don't think the potential gain for such an upgrade would be that much. And don't forget that the SBB is not primarily interested in speeding up trains. It wants to speed up passengers. And that often involves other things than upgrading lines.
Furthermore the main purpose of the railways in Switzerland is not providing windfall profits for building firms, like in some other countries...
I know, but sometimes speeding up trains and increasing capacity is the right answer. I use this line occasionally and it feels slower than other main lines in Switzerland. I suspect one could gain 20 min easily just on the Basel-Biel segment (slowest part), but if there was such a project that wouldn't be the only advantage. There would also be increased capacity for Basel S-Bahn, possibility to make another connection to the French network near Montbeliard, relieving the already busy Olten-Bern line. Currently we have an hourly service to Zurich taking a bit less than 1 h. Upgrade of this line would allow direct service to Geneva in a bit less than 2 h.

As for building firms I imagine many are doing exceedingly well on those base tunnel projects
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Old July 28th, 2013, 02:09 PM   #1280
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This is a problem the Swiss face also in local transportation: Zürich, Bern and Basel lack some serious subway system, relying instead on slow trams that are mixed with traffic running at-grade. No matter how much signal priority you give them, you just can't accelerate a train to 90km/h in the middle of a street the way you can speed up a subway in a tunnel... as a reasult, trips in Zürich, Bern, Basel take a long time to complete.
Zurich is a borderline case (wasn't there a metro project in the past?), but Bern and Basel are way too small for heavy subway systems. World experience shows that they don't make sense with less than a million people in the urban area.
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