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Old February 21st, 2009, 07:38 PM   #1
iloveshinkansen
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MISC | Comparison of European and Japanese Platforms

Most Japan's look standard and always as high as the train's door while in Europe (even TGV) always lower than the train's door.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 08:05 PM   #2
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History

In Europe in earlier days post carts had to be transported over the tracks as well as passengers walked over the tracks. Therefore the platforms had to be low for the connection to the overpass.

See this picture from a railway station in Germany, where you see the overpass in front of the station building.
image hosted on flickr


There are even railways using both systems at the same time. New Jersey Transit has cars which can stop on low level platforms as well as high level platform. Depending on the kind of stop, the driver opens either the low level doors or the high level doors.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 08:32 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iloveshinkansen View Post
Most Japan's look standard and always as high as the train's door while in Europe (even TGV) always lower than the train's door.
That's not right, there is no european rule for the height of platforms, we have many different platform types all over Europe.
Example: In the UK all and in Russia most platforms on the mainlines are as high as the trains' floor.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 10:59 PM   #4
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Why? There's no standard for platform heights in Europe. Therefore, train and platform often don't have the same height (also, because of lots of different MU and wagon types, even from several countries).
There ar sone exceptions, e.g. on the German S-Bahn system lots of platforms have the same height of the trains. But that's only possible because they are used only for S-Bahn services and in general, only one type of train is used.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 11:12 PM   #5
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Ok, lets be constructive: What do you propose for standard unified level of doors from track in Europe?
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 01:36 AM   #6
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lets start with the obvious: over 30 countries!?!, that have (had, and still do) not much in common, not even the gauge is the same everywhere...

not even within individual countries is the rail infrastructure uniform


lets pick switzerland:
- at least 4 different gauges that i know of
- at least 3 different electrification voltage that i know of
- security systems from 50 years variety
- station platforms are between 0-100 years old

but this is why we like the swiss
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 03:28 AM   #7
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Yep, even in more or less each country there's different "rules" (if they're even rules).

Another example is here in Belgium: 3 different heights for platforms, but most of the time they're just a rough way to put them in groups: a low platform, a platform at door-height and one in between. I think all high-speed train stations have door-height platforms though (but it wouldn't surprise if there's an exception somewhere).

My answer to why there's such a difference: history. While it was possible to plan most platforms in Japan at a certain moment, in Europe it just expanded and got too expensive and impractical to change it around everywhere.

Most likely all these stations will require a decent overhaul within 50 years or so and by then - perhaps - there'll be rules in each country to get all the platforms alike. But basically they could just refuse to do that seeing there's no pressing issue when having lower platforms. Whether you take the stairs to get on the platform or to get into the train only affects efficiency (loading - unloading) according to me.

Greetings,
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 11:10 AM   #8
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I think there is some chicken-first or egg-first issue there.
Because the platform is low, trains were designed to accommodate that. Which means, we can't build level platform because trains are not designed that way.

I think it is a legacy of the times when people used to ride trains from the ground in 19th century.
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 01:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thun View Post
Why? There's no standard for platform heights in Europe.
There are some.

250 mm above the top of the rail in Italy (old platforms)
550 mm the standard for new platforms in Italy (also in Europe, eg Switzerland)
760 mm some platforms in Germany
914 mm in the UK
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 02:10 PM   #10
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55cm is the standard in central Europe for main lines. Only some S-Bahn systems have higher platforms. Many old stations have platforms below 55cm but are upgraded now.
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 02:39 PM   #11
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Current German at-grade standards:
  • 960mm (high-floor) is only used in S-Bahn networks where ET420 or ET423 trains are used, and that height precludes that track from being used by other trains (clearance limits).
  • 760mm (mid-floor) is used in all other S-Bahn and a good number of electrified mixed S-Bahn/regional networks.
  • 560mm (low-floor) is used everywhere else.
In networks where no vehicles with at-grade entry are used (i.e. stairs are used), it's usually 560mm in new-built platforms, hence why its more prevalent than 760mm.
The difference of 20cm between the three standards is fully intentional, as this is the legal maximum allowed for at-grade doors to open to a lower platform (hence a 960mm ET420 can stop at a 760mm platform, a 760mm ET425.2 can stop at a 560mm platform).

Older standards still found are:
- 160mm (used with old stops only mostly)
- 320/360mm (used with old stations mostly, relatively prevalent)
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 04:01 PM   #12
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Examples for different platforms in Europe:

Velaro E in Spain:

[IMG]http://i36.************/30280sg.jpg[/IMG]

Velaro RUS in Russia:



ICE3 in Germany:

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Old February 22nd, 2009, 05:26 PM   #13
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The European Union Commission issued a TSI (Technical Specifications for Interoperability) on May 30, 2002, that provides four standard platform heights for passenger steps on high-speed rail, presumably measured from the top of the rail. These standards are 550 mm and 760 mm for most Member States, with 915 mm for the UK, and 840 mm for the Netherlands. (wikipedia)
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 06:20 PM   #14
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Ok, then it seems that 760 mm is the clear best compromise. Anybody can step 20cm up or down... And it allows everybody to adapt with time...
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 09:05 PM   #15
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550mm is the most widely used standard in Europe.
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 09:56 PM   #16
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This thread shows why people think the EU will never work...
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 11:27 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Micrav View Post
Ok, then it seems that 760 mm is the clear best compromise. Anybody can step 20cm up or down... And it allows everybody to adapt with time...
550 mm is better when constructing double decker coaches and having almoast no step down into lower deck from platform. Wheelchairs need no lift.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 01:33 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iampuking View Post
This thread shows why people think the EU will never work...
Yes, because these guidelines they issue for train platform heights are a priority for the EU
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 02:52 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iampuking View Post
This thread shows why people think the EU will never work...
come back after, say, 2011, when the low-cost international trains will appear
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 02:42 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gramercy View Post
come back after, say, 2011, when the low-cost international trains will appear
We have low cost fares already.
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