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Old March 18th, 2011, 08:03 PM   #161
Coccodrillo
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The ETR 610 can finally run faster on the Gotthard railway: until now they were able to run and to tilt there, but only at normal speed, so the tilting mechanism was not fully disfruted. However, this will not change a lot to passengers: Cisalpino trains (now rebranded as EuroCity) were, are and will ever be late, the average being 6 trains with a delay of 15-20 minutes out of 16 daily runs.
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Old March 18th, 2011, 08:34 PM   #162
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I find it strange for country like Switzerland that those trains ( EC née Cisalpino ) are almost always late. Each time I look into SBB web timetable - there will be some kind of information regarding punctuality of those trains. If you could give me some background why is that? Who's fault is that? Bad planning, people, technical stuff? Is there anything that can be done about it?
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Old March 18th, 2011, 09:37 PM   #163
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The main problem is the Milan-Zürich line. The timetable is too tight, and in Milan (or Zürich) it only has 20 minutes before having to go back to the other city. Italians are usually slow to reverse the direction of travel of a train (even if they are EMU as in this case), so if a train arrives in Milan 15 minutes late, it doesn't leave before 10-15 minutes instead of 5, getting stuck behind other suburban or good trains, arriving in Zürich around 20 minutes late, and so on until the evening.

In 2009 there was a clear example: the same train left Milan at 9.10 (as CIS 14), went to Zürich (arrival 12.51), went back to Milan as CIS 19 (departure 13.09), and finally turned back again to Zürich as CIS 22. The latter used to arrive nearly everyday 30 to 40 minutes late in Zürich.

Another problem is that the ETR 470 are extremely unreliable, the record being 6 trains broken down out of 9 at the end of 2009, now (March 2011) there are some broken train waiting repair and others undergoing heaving overhauls. I don't know how many are the trains in working order, but considering that to mantain the current schedule 4 trains are needed each day and that 4 out of 14 daily trips are made with replacement vehicles, I suppose there are no more than 4 ETR 470 in working order.

So the cause of the delays is a mix of the two: even if the ETR 470 were more reliable, some delays would still occur. In theory, if a train arrives late in Milan/Zürich (like the CIS 14 in the example above, Zürich arrival 12.51) there should be a train in reserve ready to replace the delayed one (in this case, for the 13.09 departure). In practice, however, this replacement train is most of the times unavailable (because being used elsewhere) or broken down...
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Old March 18th, 2011, 11:59 PM   #164
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Thank you for that explanaiton. Seems kinda like paradox of plenty. Maybe adjusting the schedule would help a bit? And what about ETR 610? Do they serve that particular route? I've heard and read about ETR 470 how unreliable they are, you just confirmed it... They should admit that this project as a whole is a failure and should start from the beginning, with new schedule, new ( and more ) trains, etc. Opening Gotthard Base Tunnel should ease the situation, though.
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Old March 19th, 2011, 12:41 AM   #165
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Modifying the timetable by a few minutes would mean changing all suburban trains from Bellinzona to Milano and branch lines, which would be a great work, already done in Decemebr 2008 (when all these lines received a new timetable). Yet, in a few years when the Gotthard Base Tunnel (and then the Ceneri) will open the timetable of Milan region will, probably, change again. So I think they don't want to plan a completely new timetable, it would take time and last for a few years. I suppose (I hope) they want to keep the existing timetable while planning a realistic timetable for 2016-2019.

The ETR 610 today are used only on a single Basel-Lucerne-Milan-Venice round trip (trains EC 153 and EC 158), they use the same cadenced path like the others but don't tilt. They have a separate shift, so as the 610 don't run on Milan-Zürich trains where the 470 are used, and viceversa.

I see an interim measure for that: adding exactly 30 minutes to existing journey times. From Milan there is a time slot every 30 minutes (departure at .10 and .40, arrival .20 and .50) which is not in conflict with other trains. Doing this would help the stability of the timetable and reducing delays (for all trains: for each delayed EC-CIS, there is at least a delayed suburban train), but would mean declaring that the existing timetable is a failure, and Swiss (mainly) are too proud to say such things (using the 470 as scapegoat is easier).

Until the opening of the new Gotthard tunnel and the deliver of new trains (which are planned, but not ordered yet), I think nothing will happen and that this line will continue to have the record of being the most unreliable of Europe.
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Old March 20th, 2011, 02:55 AM   #166
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I took those ECs a few times over the last months and never had any problems. Always on the Lötschberg line, though.
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Old March 21st, 2011, 01:41 PM   #167
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coccodrillo View Post

Until the opening of the new Gotthard tunnel and the deliver of new trains (which are planned, but not ordered yet), I think nothing will happen and that this line will continue to have the record of being the most unreliable of Europe.
I'd say that among Western European international train services of some scale and size the Benelux trains face a worse situation than the ex-Cisalpino services between IT and CH.

They often cancel trains and delays are common. The situation bears some similarities like heavily used railway and unreliable stock. However, here they adopt a different solution: they refuse to let Benelux trains disrupt national services and delay them again and again until there is a path free. Last months it have become rather common for Benelux trains to be shortened at Rotterdam.

In any case, the railways north of Milano are problematic, they have decent amount of freight traffic (blame the Swiss for that), so up to a certain point the Swiss are to blame that they force freight onto rails by refusing to allow more traffic on their tunnels, and such measures leave the Italians constrained in their ability to deal with minor disruptions.
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Old March 21st, 2011, 04:01 PM   #168
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In any case, the railways north of Milano are problematic, they have decent amount of freight traffic (blame the Swiss for that), so up to a certain point the Swiss are to blame that they force freight onto rails by refusing to allow more traffic on their tunnels, and such measures leave the Italians constrained in their ability to deal with minor disruptions.
so the Swiss are to blame for promoting the more efficient rail transport to move goods with their origins in Germany and destination Italy? Given that those interested in the goods are the italians themselves, don't you think they are the ones to blame for not adapting capacity to demand?
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Old March 21st, 2011, 04:34 PM   #169
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so the Swiss are to blame for promoting the more efficient rail transport to move goods with their origins in Germany and destination Italy? Given that those interested in the goods are the italians themselves, don't you think they are the ones to blame for not adapting capacity to demand?
Sure, I agree with you, but the Swiss pushed legislation to restrict truck traffic over the Alps and held the rest of EU hostage. They should have given Italy and Germany like 40 years, not 4, to adapt.
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Old March 21st, 2011, 05:59 PM   #170
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In any case, the railways north of Milano are problematic, they have decent amount of freight traffic (blame the Swiss for that), so up to a certain point the Swiss are to blame that they force freight onto rails by refusing to allow more traffic on their tunnels, and such measures leave the Italians constrained in their ability to deal with minor disruptions.
This is basically not true. The main line Como - Milano has a regional train per hour, and a long distance train every two hours with a few extra trains during peak hours. Plenty of capacity there.
The Gotthard route has two long distance trains (sometimes even more) and two regional trains per hour along part of its length, and more freight than Como - Milano. And trains run mostly on time on that route...
(Not all Gotthard freigths enter Italy via Chiasso...)
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Old March 21st, 2011, 06:02 PM   #171
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Sure, I agree with you, but the Swiss pushed legislation to restrict truck traffic over the Alps and held the rest of EU hostage. They should have given Italy and Germany like 40 years, not 4, to adapt.
Restrictions on truck traffic across the alps through Switzerland are now actually less than they were in the past. Get your facts straight please.
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Old March 21st, 2011, 07:49 PM   #172
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Well, I'm afraid Italy wouldn't manage to adapt its infrastructure even within 40 years. They often need a good kick in the ass here.
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Old March 21st, 2011, 08:42 PM   #173
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I took those ECs a few times over the last months and never had any problems. Always on the Lötschberg line, though.
The Simplon-Lötschberg line uses (on both branches, Basel and Geneva) the ETR 610, which are more reliable than the ETR 470, and more realistic timetables.

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However, here they adopt a different solution: they refuse to let Benelux trains disrupt national services and delay them again and again until there is a path free. Last months it have become rather common for Benelux trains to be shortened at Rotterdam.
Cisalpino/ETR trains are part of both national networks, and actually around half of the traffic (sometimes more, sometiems less, depending on the trains) is domestic.

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Sure, I agree with you, but the Swiss pushed legislation to restrict truck traffic over the Alps and held the rest of EU hostage. They should have given Italy and Germany like 40 years, not 4, to adapt.
There is no more restriction to truck transit traffic, waiting time and tolls on tunnels are comparable than the Italy-France tunnels (and even less, regarding tolls, 200 € Basel-Chiasso, 270 € the Fréjus tunnel alone, without A43+A32). The famous 650.000 truck limit is still only a dream.

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This is basically not true. The main line Como - Milano has a regional train per hour, and a long distance train every two hours with a few extra trains during peak hours. Plenty of capacity there.
There is a regional train (S11) Chiasso-Como-Seregno every 60 minutes (every 30 at peaks, that is around 6-9 and 16-19), from there every 15 minutes (S9+S11, 15-15-30 pattern off peak).
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Old March 21st, 2011, 08:52 PM   #174
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There is a regional train (S11) Chiasso-Como-Seregno every 60 minutes (every 30 at peaks, that is around 6-9 and 16-19), from there every 15 minutes (S9+S11, 15-15-30 pattern off peak).
What route do most freight trains take? Do they go via Seregno - Monza, or do some of them use Lentate - Seveso?
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Old March 21st, 2011, 09:22 PM   #175
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Of those crossing the Alps, I would say 30% Luino-Gallarate/Novara/somewhere south and east, 50% Chiasso-Milano-somewhere south and west, 20% elsewhere (swiss internal traffic, transhipment on road before the border, Chiasso-Como-Lecco railway, industries between the border and Milano. Camnago Lentate-Seveso-Milano line is only used by passengers.

http://www.bueker.net/trainspotting/...ilano-area.gif
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Old March 22nd, 2011, 11:58 AM   #176
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The main problem is the Milan-Zürich line. The timetable is too tight, and in Milan (or Zürich) it only has 20 minutes before having to go back to the other city. Italians are usually slow to reverse the direction of travel of a train (even if they are EMU as in this case), so if a train arrives in Milan 15 minutes late, it doesn't leave before 10-15 minutes instead of 5, getting stuck behind other suburban or good trains, arriving in Zürich around 20 minutes late, and so on until the evening.
SBB has even a spare set evailable in case the incoming train is really late. However Trenitalia, even though it has more spare sets does not use them, and prefers them to sit in the yard where they are vandalised.
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Old March 22nd, 2011, 12:01 PM   #177
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Thatm ap I know. Do you know of a better map? One that also shows siding, yards, how the junctions are laid out?
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Old March 22nd, 2011, 02:24 PM   #178
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Sure, I agree with you, but the Swiss pushed legislation to restrict truck traffic over the Alps and held the rest of EU hostage. They should have given Italy and Germany like 40 years, not 4, to adapt.
Err no, the EU and the Swiss held the truck drivers hostage. The EU weren't passive partners in the entire thing you know. As K said, get your facts straight.
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Old March 22nd, 2011, 03:56 PM   #179
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SBB has even a spare set evailable in case the incoming train is really late. However Trenitalia, even though it has more spare sets does not use them, and prefers them to sit in the yard where they are vandalised.
As since weeks two round trips (trains 15-18-22-23) are made using traditional coaches or with transhipment in Chiasso, and not with the ETR 470, I would say that at least 5 of them are broken down or waiting for repair.

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Thatm ap I know. Do you know of a better map? One that also shows siding, yards, how the junctions are laid out?
No I don't, beside these books: http://www.schweers-wall.de/
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Old March 22nd, 2011, 07:42 PM   #180
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No I don't, beside these books: http://www.schweers-wall.de/
I have their Swiss and German atlasses. Thanks for pointing out that they now also offer Italy (and Austria).
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