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Old August 28th, 2011, 09:02 AM   #281
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NS is becoming more business oriented, a smart card create more opportunities to extract more money from passenger.
One of the most efficient railways when it comes to extracting money from passengers is the SBB... Don't you think that this is the model to copy then?

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As I always wrote, I think infrastructure is something for governments to take care directly or indirectly, and that includes rail. What I can't cope with are operations of vehicles done by government entities or monopolies auctioned in blocks to private operators with few commercial freedom to set prices, routes etc. In essence, I want to kill the idea of a network of trains that must be coordinated, and leave the idea of a network of tracks, modern, high-speed, state-of-the-art signaled, that any private party can use. Like air or road or water transport.
There are big differences between the air, the road and the rail networks that make it impossible to operate the rail network exactly like those other networks.
In rail operation Capital is a very large factor of production, much larger than it is for road or rail transport. When the government provides this capital is has a duty (to the taxpayers) to make sure it is used wisely. That means making sure it is efficient. If the government builds an expensive tunnel that can only be used by 5 trains per hour because they neglected to take the way the rest of the network is operated in to account when designing and planning in the result is a waste of a lot of taxpayer money.
There is a reason why the S in "PIGS" doesn't stand for Switzerland...

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I want to bring competition, for the sake of competition and choice, even if it degrades service level, for ideological reasons (I'm against state-sponsored monopolies).
Before you start to promote something because of "ideology" i'd sugest you get better aquainted with ideology in question first. And before applying it to a sector get to know that sector a bit better too.

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As a technology, modern trains are quite cool. As a monopoly-based system, it is a curse, a cancer on the economic freedoms that need to be dismantled.
A railway line that has a monopoly on a particular line in fact doesn't have a monopoly at all. Saying that NS should not have a monopoly on Amsterdam - Den Haag is like saying that Ford shouldn't have a monopoly on building the Focus...

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In that sense of infrastructure, not vehicles, Pro-Rail TRACK network is abysmal: it uses ATB, an outdated system that can't cope with speeds faster than 140 km/h. The should deploy ERTMS-2 in 5 years throughout the network, which could easily allow speed-up of trains as many grade-crossings have been already removed and alignments, well, it is most a flat country here with straightened tracks, so, signaling allowing, not many track improvements would be required to put many lines running at 220 km/h.
You still need to learn a lot about railways. Installing ETCS (which is planned btw) will not speed trains up a lot. Nor is that in fact needed in such a small country. What ETCS will achieve is shorter train intervals. NS wants to run it's network like a metro, which is for such a small and densely populated country a good concept.
You can't just speed up an existing line just by swapping out the signalling. Have you considered what is involved in increasing the center distance between two tracks? And then we haven't started about upgrading the overhead to 25Kv.

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You can buy e-tickets in the future, I suppose, but you will have to load them in you OV Chipkaart. The smart card is already the medium of carrying of many discount plans, student free transport passes, senior concessions etc. So, once the interface is dealt with, the card will be the universal carry of all rail products.
And how do I load an e-ticket on the chipcard?

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The bottom line is: I see passengers as costumers, as money pits to be dug out of their wallets and pay more if possible.
Make sure you tell that at your next job interview. :-)
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Old August 28th, 2011, 05:40 PM   #282
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If ETCS is really planned, first NS will need to have trains that can run on ETCS. I can just imagine ProRail finally installing ETCS, after which no trains can run on those tracks :P

Same goes for 25kV.... you'll need trains that can run on both 25kV and 1500V, and as of now, i don't think they have any (not counting Thalys, Fyra and ICE trains).
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Old August 29th, 2011, 10:52 AM   #283
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If ETCS is really planned, first NS will need to have trains that can run on ETCS. I can just imagine ProRail finally installing ETCS, after which no trains can run on those tracks :P
Usually ETCS is installed in phases, in a way that allows existing stock to keep running on the network. An example is how the SBB is doing it: They are replacing the physical layer of their existing TPS with one that uses ETCS hardware, but keeps the existing "software". Once the whole network and all rolling stock has the new hardware they will roll out the new software, and have the whole network running on ETCS. But that will not happen for a few years...

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Same goes for 25kV.... you'll need trains that can run on both 25kV and 1500V, and as of now, i don't think they have any (not counting Thalys, Fyra and ICE trains).
The latest generation of trains NS bought are prepared for running under 25kV. All that is needed is adding some equipment, for which the place has already been reserved.
Anyway, making rolling stock that is capable of running both under AC and DC is rather straightforward nowadays, so much that when NMBS ordere new locomotives from Siemens they had to specifically request that the 15Kv AC capabilities be removed... By default both Bombardier and Siemens now build locomotives that can accept any common overhead supply in Europe.
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Old August 29th, 2011, 12:10 PM   #284
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The VIRM and the SLT sets are all prepared for 25 kV, all older trains aren´t.

As for the ETCS, at first it will be installed next to the current ATB. This will happen on the Amsterdam-Utrecht line and on the Hanzeline, Lelystad-Zwolle. This will mean that all the rolling stock will be able to run on these lines, and only the rolling stock with ETCS will use ETCS.

There currently are no further plans to implement ETCS on the entire network. Such a big investment is impossible right now with the current political climate that favors new roads over big railway investments. All the big projects that are under construction right now were all decided by earlier cabinets.
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Old August 29th, 2011, 12:42 PM   #285
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There currently are no further plans to implement ETCS on the entire network. Such a big investment is impossible right now with the current political climate that favors new roads over big railway investments. All the big projects that are under construction right now were all decided by earlier cabinets.
I guess there are plans to implement ECTS on the Utrecht-Arnhem route also, as it is the route used by fast German trains. Track is being improved here and there.

The cancellation of projects like Zuiderzeelijn and High Speed Ost was decided on the previous cabinet AFAIK.

Projects being floated like Breda-Oosterhout-Gorichem-Utrecht railway would depend on provinces chipping money in, but they'd rather improve the road network as it delivers more mobility per euro.
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Old August 29th, 2011, 08:18 PM   #286
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The Zuiderzeelijn and the HSL Oost were axed because of the problems with the HSL Zuid and the Betuweroute, all the political parties where scared to start another big project. It's more the smaller projects, like the doubling of the line to Almere that are being scaled down by this government. In the same category you also see the cuts on the urban transport, that will result in a reduction of connections between the train and the bus.

The current policies for new roads are just political decisions, there no rational decision making behind it based on mobility studies. It's just to keep the voters happy and distract then from all the other spending cuts at all the other departments like education and healthcare.
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Old August 29th, 2011, 09:27 PM   #287
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Originally Posted by Momo1435 View Post
The Zuiderzeelijn and the HSL Oost were axed because of the problems with the HSL Zuid and the Betuweroute, all the political parties where scared to start another big project.
The Betuweroute is exceeding its target. Almost 600 trains/week are using it nowadays, to the point the line to Emmerich (Germany) is almost saturated and can't handle many more trains.
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Old August 30th, 2011, 04:26 AM   #288
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The Betuweroute is exceeding its target. Almost 600 trains/week are using it nowadays, to the point the line to Emmerich (Germany) is almost saturated and can't handle many more trains.
The connection in Germany has been the weak point from the start. Against European agreements, they still haven't upgraded their side of the line.
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Old August 30th, 2011, 07:20 AM   #289
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The Betuweroute is exceeding its target. Almost 600 trains/week are using it nowadays, to the point the line to Emmerich (Germany) is almost saturated and can't handle many more trains.
Well, you tell the public and the politicians, for them the "betuweroute" is still synonym for "too expensive".
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Old August 30th, 2011, 10:44 AM   #290
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The connection in Germany has been the weak point from the start. Against European agreements, they still haven't upgraded their side of the line.
It's the same on the Swiss border, and probably also on the Austrian one.
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Old August 30th, 2011, 05:03 PM   #291
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The connection in Germany has been the weak point from the start. Against European agreements, they still haven't upgraded their side of the line.
From what I understand this is partially due to the slowness of the Dutch governments requesting/negotiating the expansion (it really should have been part of the orginal betuweroute build). On the other hand, the German railway organisation has a relatively small and set amount for rail expansion. To little really, especially with several expensive high speed lines in the planning/building stages (some viaduct parts of the the Nürnberg-Berlin line have already been build and are not likely to see high speed operation for a decade for example).
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Old August 30th, 2011, 07:02 PM   #292
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From what I understand this is partially due to the slowness of the Dutch governments requesting/negotiating the expansion (it really should have been part of the orginal betuweroute build).
The line construction started with agreements in place. It currently ends here, 2km before the Dutch-German border. The political issue behind it is that the line is that DB Schenkler hasn't lived up to its original plans of some mega-hubs to concentrate and funnel traffic there. Earlier plans called for even an intermodal (rail-road-water) major terminal not far from Arnhem.
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Old September 1st, 2011, 01:30 AM   #293
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The VIRM and the SLT sets are all prepared for 25 kV, all older trains aren´t.
I've been told by someone close to NS that the ICMm ('Koploper') trains have been prepared for 25 kV as well with their recent renovation. If that is true, then the only intercities that aren't prepared for 25 kV are the ones with ICRm and 1700 locomotives. But those trains won't last another 10 years anyway. It's yet unknown what will happen to DD-AR when it becomes DDZ. Then it leaves the non-IC trains: the SGMm will probably be retired along with the ICRm, so it just leaves SLT as Mat '64 is already exiting the NS fleet.

Other trains are the Spurt and Velios, which are GTWs, so the powerpack can be easily replaced for a 25 kV supporting one. And then there's the Protos on the Valleilijn, of which I'm not sure how it's built.
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Old September 1st, 2011, 09:02 AM   #294
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I've been told by someone close to NS that the ICMm ('Koploper') trains have been prepared for 25 kV as well with their recent renovation. If that is true, then the only intercities that aren't prepared for 25 kV are the ones with ICRm and 1700 locomotives. But those trains won't last another 10 years anyway. It's yet unknown what will happen to DD-AR when it becomes DDZ. Then it leaves the non-IC trains: the SGMm will probably be retired along with the ICRm, so it just leaves SLT as Mat '64 is already exiting the NS fleet.

Other trains are the Spurt and Velios, which are GTWs, so the powerpack can be easily replaced for a 25 kV supporting one. And then there's the Protos on the Valleilijn, of which I'm not sure how it's built.
converting to 25Kv will be done gradually, just as converting to ETCS will be done gradually too.
It will mean that once some lines have been converted the older stock will no longer be able to run on it, but since we are talking about a project that will take decades that is not a problem. Plenty of other lines where these trains can run for the remainder of their life. And even after all the stock has been replaced with multi current versions I doubt the whole network will be converted to 25Kv anyway. It makes sense to just reelectrify those lines where you need the extra power.
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Old September 1st, 2011, 06:19 PM   #295
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(...) I doubt the whole network will be converted to 25Kv anyway. It makes sense to just reelectrify those lines where you need the extra power.
This may seem true on the short term, as it saves money. However, it costs more money on the longer term, because...

- Two seperate energy networks need to be maintained (1,5 kV DC and 25 kV AC)
- Train operators need to keep either their rolling stock seperated, or buy bicurrent rolling stock. This is a big investment as well
- The Betuweroute and HSL-Zuid have shown that the 25 kV AC has negative implications on adjacent tracks, more specifically EMC-related problems with the safety systems (ATB).

Since ATB can't operate under alternating current, the safety system has to be replaced as well. Because of EU regulations, only ERTMS (ETCS) is an option, which is planned anyway. Furthermore, ATB is starting to show its age and the call for a higher density on the network, along with higher maximum speeds, is getting louder.

In my opinion, the best thing to do is go for nationwide 25 kV with ERTMS Level 2. It's the future, anyway. Countries around us are doing research or even full-scale implementations. Denmark is taking the lead, they want to be on nationwide ERTMS Level 2 within 10 years from now.
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Old September 1st, 2011, 06:44 PM   #296
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10 years? OMG, that is a lot of time.

Netherlands shoud embark in a conversion program during 5 years, raising trackage fees to pay for part of it and having ProRail taking debt to finance the rest.
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Old September 1st, 2011, 08:13 PM   #297
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I think 10 years is a reasonable amount of time for the amount of work that has to be done in Denmark. They're dealing with 3.200 km of track that needs work (about half the amount of track in the Netherlands) and they're going to replace systems that sometimes even date back until pre-World War 1.

The Danish programme has started in 2009 and planned completion is in 2021. The total cost of the programme will be € 3,2 billion. This includes track, control centers and vehicle retrofitting. You can find out more in this brochure.

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Netherlands shoud embark in a conversion program during 5 years, raising trackage fees to pay for part of it and having ProRail taking debt to finance the rest.
I agree with you that it's time for action as the current equipment is aging, and ERTMS has matured enough for it to be usable. However, 5 years is too short of a timeframe when offset against the amount of track ProRail maintains: 6500 km. By taking a look at the Danish example, I think finishing by 2025/2030 is a more reasonable timeframe.
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Old September 1st, 2011, 08:14 PM   #298
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Why? There is no need to convert electrification (and partially signalling) system quickly.
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Old September 1st, 2011, 09:45 PM   #299
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Why? There is no need to convert electrification (and partially signalling) system quickly.
There actually _is_ a need to convert the signalling system. A lot of lines in The Netherlands are too crowded according to the current signalling system, and they would be less so under ERTMS.
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Old September 1st, 2011, 10:33 PM   #300
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Why? There is no need to convert electrification (and partially signalling) system quickly.
Dordrecht-Eindhoven, Eindhoven-Utrecht, and Hilversum-Arnhem line are examples of lines that already suffer service degradation due to antiquate signaling. And also speed degradation: trains can't go past 140km/h, though there would be travel time gains if they could (the track bed and alignment is already fit for that).
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