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Old August 3rd, 2015, 10:06 PM   #3281
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It's funny how these things go. Most people living far away who know anything at all about the subject associate Basques with Spain. Very few are aware that they live also in France...
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Old August 4th, 2015, 12:23 AM   #3282
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Certainly not the French, the Belgians, most Swiss and I'd say the Canadians. And the Irish, that's certain.
The Brits do too, I guess (actually the nowadays French side of the Basque Country used to be English in the Middle Ages, and the Basque have always had a soft spot for the UK -see their flag!).

As for the rest, I don't know.

On a more on-topic side, a TGV leaving Irun station:

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Old August 4th, 2015, 05:18 PM   #3283
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 437.001 View Post
Not exactly the same way.



The campaign against the HSL actually started on the Spanish side of the Basque Country, and it was led mostly by the supporters of ETA.
There were even bomb attacks by ETA against the works (I don't remember well, but I seem to remember that it even involved someone being murdered).
I don't want to get into politics here, but such a generalisation is staggering, very erroneous and quite offensive to be honest. People of different backgrounds were against the HSL and for a variety of reasons. Some for environmental causes, others because it didn't fit their socioeconomic point of view, others because they saw it as part of the HSL-frenzy that Spain was into at the time. ETA happened to be against it (for their own political reasons) and of course, people who supported ETA were also against the project, but it certainly was NOT that all people against the HSL were ETA supporters. To even imply that is outrageous and shows a complete lack of understanding and, above all, respect to many groups of people who had nothing to do with the terrorists, yet you're displaying them as being equal on an internatinal forum to people who know little about the issue and might get a completely wrong impression of it.

The mainstreams reasons against the HSL were, mainly:

1. The traditional railway network in the Basque Country was (and still is) falling apart, yet they decided to spend a derisory amount of money on a huge, very expensive project, that at the end will only benefit a very selective amount of people.

2. The construction involved creating a great amount of tunnels and viaducts. This tunnels go through the Basque mountains and many other well protected natural areas, putting them at risk. There have already been slides and problems in towns near the constuction sites. The water table is also at risk.

3. The Basque Y will be literally isolated, who knows for how many years, as construction for the Valladolid-Burgos-Vitoria line has not started (and probably will not start within the next decade) and France has ditched the idea of an HSL line to the border. The expected travel time between the Basque cities does not at all compensate the price you have to pay for the ticket (and the price we've all been paying in order to build the whole thing).

4. You only benefit from it if you happen to live in the metropolitan areas. The Basque population is very disperse and most mid-to-large cities will not have stations or benefit in any way from it. An investment on the commuter-rail network of the region (Euskotren, Renfe and Feve) would have had a much bigger impact on the territorial integration of the region. There isn't even a regular railway line between Bilbao and Vitoria: we could've started there.

5. Finally, this is a project of the times of the Spanish bubble. If it were to be planned today, I am sure it would not be done. It is just one of the dozens of megalomaniac projects that have been built in this country.
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Old August 4th, 2015, 06:34 PM   #3284
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For sure it's a more difficult and expensive development than the other lines (built or in process) Tunnels and viaducts are close to the 75% of the line, where natural spaces and towns are everywhere.

I must desagree with you in this:

Quote:
3. The Basque Y will be literally isolated, who knows for how many years, as construction for the Valladolid-Burgos-Vitoria line has not started (and probably will not start within the next decade) and France has ditched the idea of an HSL line to the border. The expected travel time between the Basque cities does not at all compensate the price you have to pay for the ticket (and the price we've all been paying in order to build the whole thing).

4. You only benefit from it if you happen to live in the metropolitan areas. The Basque population is very disperse and most mid-to-large cities will not have stations or benefit in any way from it. An investment on the commuter-rail network of the region (Euskotren, Renfe and Feve) would have had a much bigger impact on the territorial integration of the region. There isn't even a regular railway line between Bilbao and Vitoria: we could've started there.

5. Finally, this is a project of the times of the Spanish bubble. If it were to be planned today, I am sure it would not be done. It is just one of the dozens of megalomaniac projects that have been built in this country.
+ The point 3 tells us something about isolation. I guess you take into account that the conections must be always HSL. Examples like the Galician or Extremadura lines or the cases of Salamanca and Asturias should make you change of opinion.
It's just a new path, it doesn't matter if the lines beyond are Iberian or international gauge, HSL or standard, it will be perfectly solved like in the cases I have already mentioned.

+The point 4. About the dispersion of the basque population:
Metropolitan area of Bilbao_ 1.000.000 i. (1 HSL station, commuter, subway, tram)
Metropolitan area of Vitoria_ 300.000 i (1 HSL station, tram)
Metropolitan area of San Sebastian/Irun_ 500.000 i (3 HSL stations, commuter)

Main three corners of the line: 1.800.000 i (Basque country has 2.2 million) = 400.000 people out of the metropolitan areas. The 18% of the population out of these new railway.

But this 18% is actually less, because towns like Beasain, Legazpi, Zumarraga, Ormaiztegi, Legorreta or Tolosa and an enviroment of around 90.000 i will get conected by train through the new intermodal station Ezkio-Itsaso
Euskotren and the highways work as this 'integration' of the many small human stablishments. It would be hard to reach every single town with a new fast line.
+/- 82% of the basques on this line sounds very extense, don't you think so?
There should be always a displacements hierarchy, local, regional and intercity
For sure I agree in making better the commuter lines.

+The point 5. It seems that the work is not necesary, while it is.
The way it has been designed is, in my opinion, quiete appropriate.
However, I agree with you in that everything could be better done. Conections with the standard line could have helped to reach this 18% of the population in a direct way.
But I am afraid that the design of the way to avoid this settlements and too long tunnels gives a too high line to be conected to the low standard railway.
It's rather technical.
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Old August 5th, 2015, 01:50 AM   #3285
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metred View Post
I don't want to get into politics here, but [...]
... but you did. And so did I, to a degree.

I only answered (roughly, yes) some other forumer asking a slightly off-topic question.
I told my version, now you've told yours.
I just won't answer your statements, it wouldn't do, and it's just not the thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Metred View Post
The mainstreams reasons against the HSL were, mainly:

1. The traditional railway network in the Basque Country was (and still is) falling apart, yet they decided to spend a derisory amount of money on a huge, very expensive project, that at the end will only benefit a very selective amount of people.
So... the network "that's falling apart", hence having a low to very low patronage in long-distance routes, is the one to be developed?

Can you tell us in which way? And how much would it cost, and how much cost-effective would that be in the long term, compared to the Basque Y?

I won't deny that the Basque Y is expensive, it really is, but you know, these are the kind of things you build only once. And once built, you use them.

Once built, travel times in long-distance routes from Bilbao or San Sebastian to other cities such as Logroño, Pamplona, Zaragoza, Valladolid, Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia et al, not to talk about inner Basque routes such as Bilbao-San Sebastian, Bilbao-Vitoria or San Sebastian-Vitoria will be dramatically cut.

Railway will be competitive then, now it just isn't. To the point that some current long-distance routes to the Basque Country are kept just out of political correctness, and that, even after the creation of the Alvia services.

So... which will be the selected minority to use the Basque Y? The same selected minority that now does use the network that has those horrendous travel times? Or will it be used by many more passengers that now just use buses and cars?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Metred View Post
2. The construction involved creating a great amount of tunnels and viaducts. This tunnels go through the Basque mountains and many other well protected natural areas, putting them at risk. There have already been slides and problems in towns near the constuction sites. The water table is also at risk.
Well... I don't recall any such incident in the Basque Country.
I do recall another incident, but further West, not in the Basque Country.
But maybe I'm misinformed...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Metred View Post
3. The Basque Y will be literally isolated, who knows for how many years, as construction for the Valladolid-Burgos-Vitoria line has not started (and probably will not start within the next decade) and France has ditched the idea of an HSL line to the border. The expected travel time between the Basque cities does not at all compensate the price you have to pay for the ticket (and the price we've all been paying in order to build the whole thing).
So you think the line will be isolated. Moreover, literally isolated...
I though Alvia trains could overcome that. In fact, they do overcome that.

Not to talk about the fact that travel times will be slashed in such a way that sometimes makes me wonder wether some people assimilate the change to come. People living in such rail-forsaken regions have historically had such a bad railway service that most have totally turned their backs from railway, were it not for the nostalgic/photographic side of it. Hence, I suspect many of them do not assimilate how drastic the change will be.

And this, even without the Burgos-Vitoria HSL or the connection with the French side (which is irrelevant in the end, as it is just an extra).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Metred View Post
4. You only benefit from it if you happen to live in the metropolitan areas. The Basque population is very disperse and most mid-to-large cities will not have stations or benefit in any way from it. An investment on the commuter-rail network of the region (Euskotren, Renfe and Feve) would have had a much bigger impact on the territorial integration of the region. There isn't even a regular railway line between Bilbao and Vitoria: we could've started there.
Come now, the population in the Basque Country is very disperse...
So, Greater Bilbao is very disperse, even though it has almost half the population of the Basque Country, another large chunk of it living near San Sebastian.

Moreover, authorities (Basque Gov & Central Gov) are not investing/have not invested in commuter rail... really?
Metred, do I really have to put links to prove you wrong? Please...

And finally, there is no classic railway line between Bilbao and Vitoria, never was...
...maybe that's one of the key ingredients to understand that it's being finally built, but to modern standards, and that, were it built in old standards, it would just be a snail-paced, tunnel-filled, dizzily bendy, cost-ineffective oversubsidized nightmare?

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Originally Posted by Metred View Post
5. Finally, this is a project of the times of the Spanish bubble. If it were to be planned today, I am sure it would not be done. It is just one of the dozens of megalomaniac projects that have been built in this country.
Some other lines are being planned now.

The Spanish Bubble, was actually not down to railways.
It was a private housing thing, NEVER a railway one. They just happened to coexist in time.

It's not our (or your) fault if the North has that geography, or if when the classic railway network was built more than a century ago, the North was treated just so badly by the planners. In many ways, some of these new lines are a way to make up for past mistakes.

And what's more, many of the ones who complain the most now will turn to become its fiercest partisans... once it opens, that is.
It's happened elsewhere, it always does.
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Old August 5th, 2015, 11:52 AM   #3286
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 437.001 View Post
So... the network "that's falling apart", hence having a low to very low patronage in long-distance routes, is the one to be developed?

Can you tell us in which way? And how much would it cost, and how much cost-effective would that be in the long term, compared to the Basque Y?
There isn't even a Bilbao-Vitoria railway line, for God's sake. You talk about effectiveness. We'll have a brand new HSL connecting Vitoria with Bilbao, but what about the people living between those cities (who are not even connected)? People from places like Amurrio, Urduña? Are they going to be stuck with their 19th-century line? Because they will certainly not benefit from the HSL line. We could have started fixing (rectifying and setting up double tracks) that line before anything else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 437.001 View Post
I won't deny that the Basque Y is expensive, it really is, but you know, these are the kind of things you build only once. And once built, you use them.

Once built, travel times in long-distance routes from Bilbao or San Sebastian to other cities such as Logroño, Pamplona, Zaragoza, Valladolid, Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia et al, not to talk about inner Basque routes such as Bilbao-San Sebastian, Bilbao-Vitoria or San Sebastian-Vitoria will be dramatically cut.

Railway will be competitive then, now it just isn't. To the point that some current long-distance routes to the Basque Country are kept just out of political correctness, and that, even after the creation of the Alvia services.
The travel times between the Basque cities will be cut but not significantly so. According to the newest estimates, the travel time between Bilbao and Vitoria will be 53 minutes (you can currently go by bus in 50 minutes for 8€), when at the beginning it was said that the HSL would be this magical solution that would link both cities in 28 minutes (the Basque Y website still states this). Bilbao-Donostia is know 55 minutes (from 38 minutes before) and Vitoria-Donostia 53 minutes (from 34 minutes before). Yes, they are better than the times the traditional railway has, but they are not competitive at all for inter-city services. Especially if you bear in mind that buses tickets are much cheaper, they get to the destination almost as fast and you have one each hour (each 15 minutes for the Bilbao-Vitoria line!). Will there be a HS train every hour linking each capital? I somehow don't think so, given that the tracks will be shared with freight services in the top of it all.

The long-distance services might actually improve, but again, will it be that significant? The current Alvia line between Madrid and Bilbao takes 5 hours between both cities. ALSA takes you in 5h30min. How much will the time travel be cut in short-term (that is, before the whole line between Madrid and Bilbao is ready of HS services)? I'd say one hour, tops. The cheapest price for Alvia currently is 49,70€. ALSA is 31,27€.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 437.001 View Post
So... which will be the selected minority to use the Basque Y? The same selected minority that now does use the network that has those horrendous travel times? Or will it be used by many more passengers that now just use buses and cars?
Whether or not people move from the bus services to the HSL, the thing is people not living in one of the three cities will not benefit at all. That's the problem. Yes, we don't need the Bilbao-Madrid train stopping at every town (that'd be ridiculous), but the Bilbao-Vitoria or the Vitoria-Donostia line are only useful for those living in those cities. The people in between will be stuck without options. That's not integrating the territory, that's the opposite. The towns and villages will still be out of the "modern infrastructure" loop and will keep losing population and services.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 437.001 View Post
Well... I don't recall any such incident in the Basque Country.
I do recall another incident, but further West, not in the Basque Country.
But maybe I'm misinformed...
It's happened.

http://www.eitb.eus/es/noticias/soci...ocavon-anoeta/

http://www.elcorreo.com/alava/socied...310195906.html

Huge holes in the middle of the mountains, land sliding, people being put at risk.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 437.001 View Post
Not to talk about the fact that travel times will be slashed in such a way that sometimes makes me wonder wether some people assimilate the change to come. People living in such rail-forsaken regions have historically had such a bad railway service that most have totally turned their backs from railway, were it not for the nostalgic/photographic side of it. Hence, I suspect many of them do not assimilate how drastic the change will be.
What is to be a "rail-forsaken" region? Not being connected with Madrid? Most of the movements in the Basque Country are within the autonomous community. The Basque-managed Euskotren moves a big amount of people yearly, while Cercanías Renfe is falling apart. We need investments in commuter-rail. A better connection with Spain could have been accomplished by the means of improving the pre-existing Iberian-gauge lines.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 437.001 View Post
And this, even without the Burgos-Vitoria HSL or the connection with the French side (which is irrelevant in the end, as it is just an extra).
Oh, now it is just an extra. Curious, given that the Basque Y was sold to everyone as the connection of the Basque Country [and Atlantic Spain] to Europe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 437.001 View Post
The Spanish Bubble, was actually not down to railways.
It was a private housing thing, NEVER a railway one. They just happened to coexist in time.
Are you denying the obvious over-investment on HSL that has taken place in the last two decades? We were building more HSL than any other country in Europe, heck, the world apart from China. Nowadays, who uses the HSL line to Toledo? And to Cuenca? Right, nobody.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 437.001 View Post
It's not our (or your) fault if the North has that geography, or if when the classic railway network was built more than a century ago, the North was treated just so badly by the planners. In many ways, some of these new lines are a way to make up for past mistakes.

And what's more, many of the ones who complain the most now will turn to become its fiercest partisans... once it opens, that is.
It's happened elsewhere, it always does.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not against railway services and networks. Just that the Basque Y, the way it has been planned, is, in my opinion, a complete waste of money, resources and opportunities. It could've been much, much better.

And it's not that the north was treated poorly by planners. It's that everything that wasn't Madrid was treated poorly. And still is. This is not about connecting the Basque capitals and integrating the Basque territory. In the end, this is about connecting Madrid with Europe via the Basque Country (the "Atlantic corridor"). We are not fools.
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Old August 5th, 2015, 01:02 PM   #3287
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There are people who prefers to pay a little more and travel by train because of their services....or just stand up and walk for a while in a long journey.

Think in connections to Barcelona and Valence too. Will have more passengers
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Old August 5th, 2015, 02:29 PM   #3288
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Every time somebody mentions the inexistent Toledo - Cuenca HSL, God kills a kitten.

Please, inform yourself about the current situation of high speed rail in these two cities before writing this kind of statements.

Regarding the Basque Y, the main problem in my opinion is the high cost of urban accesses. The line was planned in a time when there were more public funds available and the resources obtained by selling the land of the current stations for real estate could pay new underground stations. Nonetheless, these times have gone by and now the State cannot manage to build these fancy stations. Therefore the old ones must be used, as well as the classic lines connecting them with the interurban section of the Basque Y. That means that speed will be lower in the HSL stretches approaching stations, and that these stretches will be shared with freight and commuter rail.

I also think it's a pity that no Bilbao - Vitoria classic line existed, and that medium-sized towns like Llodio or Amurrio will lose their chance to get a direct connection with Vitoria. But in the current times it makes more sense to build just one comprehensive project covering at the same time the three Basque capitals and Long-Distance rail than just small by-passes or short lines which would also be very expensive but would only serve a particular connection.

But in general terms I believe that the Basque Y is a good project that will greatly improve rail services within the Basque Country and long-distance service between the Basque Country and the rest of Spain as well as Southern France.
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Old August 5th, 2015, 06:47 PM   #3289
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There isn't even a Bilbao-Vitoria railway line, for God's sake. [...]
Well, I guess I'll answer later. I'm going out now... but I'll be back.
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Old August 5th, 2015, 11:50 PM   #3290
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Ok, I'm back.

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There isn't even a Bilbao-Vitoria railway line, for God's sake. You talk about effectiveness. We'll have a brand new HSL connecting Vitoria with Bilbao, but what about the people living between those cities (who are not even connected)? People from places like Amurrio, Urduña? Are they going to be stuck with their 19th-century line? Because they will certainly not benefit from the HSL line. We could have started fixing (rectifying and setting up double tracks) that line before anything else.
A HSL can't stop every 5 minutes.

You claim that a Bilbao-Vitoria line doesn't exist right when they are building one.
I fail to remember when the construction of a Bilbao-Vitoria line was claimed by anybody in the Basque Country before the construction of the HSL started (I mean, anybody with an influence, and/or any collective that was big enough). And it's not like there hasn't been time to build it at all.

Again, it's geography. Any new classic line connecting Orduña to Vitoria:

a) would have to use the current, bendy line between Orduña and Bilbao.

b) would involve massive tunnelling between Orduña and Vitoria.

c) would have too long a travel time anyway.

d) Amurrio and Llodio lean (that is, commute) towards Bilbao, not Vitoria. The fact that they don't belong to Biscay doesn't change anything.

e) even if Amurrio and Llodio have a reasonable size, Bilbao is the fifth urban area in Spain, and has horrible long-distance (and mid-distance) rail connections with everywhere else in Spain, including the rest of the Basque Country. It is the worst city of its size in Spain in rail connectivity. It has two daily trains for Madrid via Valladolid, plus two daily trains for Barcelona via Logroño-Zaragoza, plus some (decent) commuter rail, plus some snail-paced regional narrow-gauge services, and that's all. Every other big Spanish city has far better railway connections.
As a matter of fact, it is VERY difficult indeed to find another European city of that size as ill-connected by rail as Bilbao is, actually I can't remember another one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Metred View Post
The travel times between the Basque cities will be cut but not significantly so. According to the newest estimates, the travel time between Bilbao and Vitoria will be 53 minutes (you can currently go by bus in 50 minutes for 8€), when at the beginning it was said that the HSL would be this magical solution that would link both cities in 28 minutes (the Basque Y website still states this). Bilbao-Donostia is know 55 minutes (from 38 minutes before) and Vitoria-Donostia 53 minutes (from 34 minutes before). Yes, they are better than the times the traditional railway has, but they are not competitive at all for inter-city services. Especially if you bear in mind that buses tickets are much cheaper, they get to the destination almost as fast and you have one each hour (each 15 minutes for the Bilbao-Vitoria line!). Will there be a HS train every hour linking each capital? I somehow don't think so, given that the tracks will be shared with freight services in the top of it all.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Metred View Post
The long-distance services might actually improve, but again, will it be that significant? The current Alvia line between Madrid and Bilbao takes 5 hours between both cities. ALSA takes you in 5h30min. How much will the time travel be cut in short-term (that is, before the whole line between Madrid and Bilbao is ready of HS services)? I'd say one hour, tops. The cheapest price for Alvia currently is 49,70€. ALSA is 31,27€.
More than one hour. The travel time from Madrid to Bilbao once the Basque Y and the Venta de Baños to Burgos HSL are open will be under 4 hours.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Metred View Post
Whether or not people move from the bus services to the HSL, the thing is people not living in one of the three cities will not benefit at all. That's the problem. Yes, we don't need the Bilbao-Madrid train stopping at every town (that'd be ridiculous), but the Bilbao-Vitoria or the Vitoria-Donostia line are only useful for those living in those cities. The people in between will be stuck without options. That's not integrating the territory, that's the opposite. The towns and villages will still be out of the "modern infrastructure" loop and will keep losing population and services.
Ezkio-Itsaso station, anybody?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Metred View Post
What is to be a "rail-forsaken" region? Not being connected with Madrid? Most of the movements in the Basque Country are within the autonomous community. The Basque-managed Euskotren moves a big amount of people yearly, while Cercanías Renfe is falling apart. We need investments in commuter-rail. A better connection with Spain could have been accomplished by the means of improving the pre-existing Iberian-gauge lines.
No it couldn't. On the other hand, is it me or you completely forget that Vitoria is already rather well connected to Madrid, and the curious fact that Vitoria has more trains (and generates loads more passengers) for both Madrid and Barcelona and pretty much elsewhere in the country than Bilbao does, even though it is a much smaller city than Bilbao?

Cercanías Renfe is not falling apart. Trains are just as well patronized as Euskotren's.
The stations could be better kept, that's true. And it's not like either Euskotren or Renfe have neglected investments in Bilbao in the last 30 years (well, or until crisis arrived, but that doesn't exactly touch just the Basque Country, does it?).
When you compare Bilbao to Barcelona, Valencia or Alicante, these three clearly have a worse case of lack of investment than Bilbao does.

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Originally Posted by Metred View Post
Oh, now it is just an extra. Curious, given that the Basque Y was sold to everyone as the connection of the Basque Country [and Atlantic Spain] to Europe.
The connection to France through the Basque Country is an extra.
It would always be an extra even if it was advertised by the journalists and politicians as a sort of all-cure.

But that doesn't diminish in any way the far greater importance of the connnections between the Basque Country and the rest of Spain, and between the three Basque capitals themselves, even though journalists and politicians seem to be quite forgetful about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Metred View Post
Are you denying the obvious over-investment on HSL that has taken place in the last two decades? We were building more HSL than any other country in Europe, heck, the world apart from China.
On one hand, I can't deny that some things were done over-the-top. But in most cases, the deed is done, and there's no way back... and trains are not empty.

On the other hand, do you realise about the chronic bad state of the Spanish classic network, and how ill-designed it is? And do you realise that Spain is the second most mountainous country in Europe?

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Originally Posted by Metred View Post
Nowadays, who uses the HSL line to Toledo? And to Cuenca? Right, nobody.
If you followed the railway threads in the Spanish forum, which you don't, you'd be able to know that the Toledo HSL is rather well patronized, to the point that sometimes it gets not so easy to find a ticket.

There is no such "HSL to Cuenca" (meaning "terminating at Cuenca").
Cuenca is just an intermediate station on the Madrid to Valencia/Alicante HSL (and in the future Murcia and Almeria too). It is not the busiest HSR station in Spain, yet it isn't the least busy either, far from that.

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Originally Posted by Metred View Post
Don't get me wrong, I'm not against railway services and networks. Just that the Basque Y, the way it has been planned, is, in my opinion, a complete waste of money, resources and opportunities. It could've been much, much better.
Again, and for the umpteenth time, with that geography?
Then please explain to us how you'd improve the rail travel times between Bilbao and Vitoria and between San Sebastian and Vitoria without massive investment.
We're all eager to read such explanations, which will have to be cohesive and coherent, of course.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Metred View Post
And it's not that the north was treated poorly by planners. It's that everything that wasn't Madrid was treated poorly. And still is.
Is it just me, or it seems that to you, the fact that Madrid has a bigger number of rail connections doesn't have anything to do with geography, or the fact that it's the capital of Spain, or the fact that it's Spain's biggest urban area?

Besides, the Madrid rail network is not trouble-free, in case you didn't know...

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Originally Posted by Metred View Post
This is not about connecting the Basque capitals and integrating the Basque territory. In the end, this is about connecting Madrid with Europe via the Basque Country (the "Atlantic corridor"). We are not fools.
Connecting Madrid to "Europe"? Do you mean the whole of Europe?
May I ask about the travel time that such a thing would involve?

I thought that would merely involve a rail connection from Madrid to Bordeaux, and to a lesser degree, Poitiers, Tours and Paris.
Can you imagine any other European cities that could be reached by train from Madrid in a day via the Basque Country?
Besides, Madrid is now connected to France via Barcelona. And the AVE gets only as far as Montpellier and Marseille, not exactly close to Paris. The travel time from Madrid to Marseille is long enough.

Madrid's biggest asset is not its international railway connections, but its international airport (of all of the Euroean big cities, only Lisbon is within HSR distance from Madrid, yet the Madrid-Lisbon project gets all the stick a line can possibly get).

On the other hand, were it not for the nimby-ism in the Basque Country, Bilbao could be better connected to Bordeaux, Poitiers, Tours and Paris.
But you know, that would benefit mainly and mostly Bilbao, as San Sebastian already has Hendaye station (and uses it very much indeed, so they aren't in such a big hurry). Vitoria would greatly benefit from that too, but it's a mid-size town.

So yes, international HSR connections are an extra for the Basque Country.
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Old August 6th, 2015, 12:53 AM   #3291
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HSL to Toledo?

Easy to explain... Trains take general Seville line and there is a 25 km or so branch to Toledo.
Madrid-Toledo trains as HS commuters. Considering the size of Toledo, there is a cool number of daily trains.

It was opened in 2005
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Old August 6th, 2015, 06:58 PM   #3292
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Just let me point out why the issue of HSL to Toledo, Cuenca and Albacete is an absurdly recurrent topic among those contrary to the big spending in HSR Spain has been undertaking in the recent decades.

HSL Madrid - Toledo opened in 2005 as a branch off Madrid - Seville HSL. Since its opening, the line has been a success, as the journey between Madrid and Toledo is now done in about 30 minutes and there is a lot of demand, both from people who live in Toledo and work in Madrid and from tourists doing day trips to Toledo from Madrid. Part of the success comes from the fares applied to the current high speed services, Avant instead of AVE (cheaper, because it's practically a commuter service, not a long-distance one).

In 2010, HSL Madrid - Valencia opened, with a branch from near Cuenca to Albacete (which in 2013 was extended to Alicante). There are no Avant services on this line, just long-distance trains (AVE or Alvia). The line has also been a success (for Spanish standards, of course), and especially Cuenca has improved its rail connections not only by dramatically reducing travel times (the classic line serving the city is not the main Madrid - Valencia line, but a secondary one not electrified and in bad state), but also increasing the number of destinations, now having direct trains to Albacete and Alicante (and also to Ciudad Real, Córdoba and Seville), besides Madrid and Valencia.

At the same time of the HSL opening in December 2010, simply for political reasons new AVE services Toledo - Madrid - Cuenca - Albacete were introduced (besides Madrid - Valencia and Madrid - Albacete, most of them calling at Cuenca). I'm saying political reasons because Toledo is the regional capital of Castilla-La Mancha, a vast region covering 5 provinces (Guadalajara, Toledo, Ciudad Real, Cuenca and Albacete), and some politicians thought the city deserved to be connected by rail to other cities of its same region (besides Madrid, the only city to which Toledo is currently connected by rail). In addition, there were regional elections scheduled for May 2011, and Castilla-La Mancha was clearly a battlefield between Spain's' main political parties (PP and PSOE).

Coming back to these new services, it's important to mention that they had to reverse in Madrid-Atocha station, and therefore for practical purposes they were just a Toledo - Madrid service and a Madrid - Cuenca - Albacete service using the same train. But with no Avant fares (cheaper than AVE) between Toledo and Madrid. You can imagine almost nobody used this service between Toledo and Madrid having a frequent one with similar travel times and much cheaper. Moreover, almost no one used the train to do the complete journey between Toledo and Cuenca or Albacete, as there is not a high demand between these two cities and Toledo, and the service even had to go to Madrid first. On average, 10 people per train did the whole journey, while a majority of passengers used it just between Madrid and Albacete.

So after a few months this service was discontinued or converted into a regular AVE service between Madrid and Albacete (I don't exactly remember now). The main problem comes now: the press and the media started publishing articles saying that a high speed line had closed because only 10 people used each train. Out of confusion or lack of knowledge (or deliberate will to confuse), lots of journalists in newspapers, radio and TV started talking about a line closure that had never happened, instead of a mere discontinuation of a service.

This news came in a moment of widespread outrage due to spending cuts in health and education and when some people had started complaining about the costs of our high speed network. Moreover, people in Spain who don't know a lot about railways sometimes use the term "line" for both services and infrastructure, due to a lack of knowledge or the vocabulary usually employed by journalists on TV. Hence, people contrary to HSR found ammunition to fight against the overspending of the government, and part of the public opinion supported this argument.

If the press had correctly informed of what happened, that is to say, the discontinuation of a single politically-motivated service instead of the apparent closure of a brand new High Speed Line, all this fuss and outrage about High Speed Rail in Toledo, Cuenca and Albacete would have never taken place.
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Old August 6th, 2015, 07:39 PM   #3293
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arctic_carlos View Post
At the same time of the HSL opening in December 2010, simply for political reasons new AVE services Toledo - Madrid - Cuenca - Albacete were introduced (besides Madrid - Valencia and Madrid - Albacete, most of them calling at Cuenca). I'm saying political reasons because Toledo is the regional capital of Castilla-La Mancha, a vast region covering 5 provinces (Guadalajara, Toledo, Ciudad Real, Cuenca and Albacete), and some politicians thought the city deserved to be connected by rail to other cities of its same region (besides Madrid, the only city to which Toledo is currently connected by rail). In addition, there were regional elections scheduled for May 2011, and Castilla-La Mancha was clearly a battlefield between Spain's' main political parties (PP and PSOE).

Coming back to these new services, it's important to mention that they had to reverse in Madrid-Atocha station, and therefore for practical purposes they were just a Toledo - Madrid service and a Madrid - Cuenca - Albacete service using the same train. But with no Avant fares (cheaper than AVE) between Toledo and Madrid. You can imagine almost nobody used this service between Toledo and Madrid having a frequent one with similar travel times and much cheaper. Moreover, almost no one used the train to do the complete journey between Toledo and Cuenca or Albacete, as there is not a high demand between these two cities and Toledo, and the service even had to go to Madrid first. On average, 10 people per train did the whole journey, while a majority of passengers used it just between Madrid and Albacete.
And between Madrid and Cuenca, and between Cuenca and Albacete (the latter was a totally new route that had never existed in the past, and it's turned out to become successful, lots of students take it between both cities).

Quote:
Originally Posted by arctic_carlos View Post
So after a few months this service was discontinued or converted into a regular AVE service between Madrid and Albacete (I don't exactly remember now).
Yes, you're right, the services were transformed into Madrid-Cuenca-Albacete ones, the service between Madrid and Toledo was discontinued.
Later on, these trains were obviously extended to Villena and Alicante, and now they have an even better patronage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arctic_carlos View Post
The main problem comes now: the press and the media started publishing articles saying that a high speed line had closed because only 10 people used each train. Out of confusion or lack of knowledge (or deliberate will to confuse), lots of journalists in newspapers, radio and TV started talking about a line closure that had never happened, instead of a mere discontinuation of a service.
The coverage the press made of this case was particularly nasty. They lied about it, and still do.
The Barcelona-based press in particular was obnoxious with that.

As a result, nowadays thousands of Spaniards do believe that such a HSL really existed and that it was actually closed, when it never existed in the first place.

On the other hand, in hindsight, perhaps the lack of reaction by Renfe and the Ministry at the time was even worse, because they didn't bother putting advertisements on the press correcting such foul lies, in hindsight I think that this lack of reaction helped quite a bit to increasing the urban legend that a Spanish HSL had been closed and dismantled. And in fact, these lies even crossed the Pyrenees, some foreign newspapers also published articles about it (or merely mentioned it), but they didn't bother checking wether the things they were publishing were actually true at all or not.

Turns out they weren't...
Quite telling of how journalism is going to the dogs, since a HSL is not exactly a small thing you can hide behind a curtain to pretend it never existed.
They simply didn't bother checking, the fat lazy bastards. They chose to believe their own lies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arctic_carlos View Post
This news came in a moment of widespread outrage due to spending cuts in health and education and when some people had started complaining about the costs of our high speed network. Moreover, people in Spain who don't know a lot about railways sometimes use the term "line" for both services and infrastructure, due to a lack of knowledge or the vocabulary usually employed by journalists on TV. Hence, people contrary to HSR found ammunition to fight against the overspending of the government, and part of the public opinion supported this argument.

If the press had correctly informed of what happened, that is to say, the discontinuation of a single politically-motivated service instead of the apparent closure of a brand new High Speed Line, all this fuss and outrage about High Speed Rail in Toledo, Cuenca and Albacete would have never taken place.
That said, this happened shortly before Renfe started improving the fare system.

Had they survived a little longer, now we would have an Alicante-Toledo service, calling at Villena, Albacete, Cuenca, and Madrid-Atocha, which would probably be fared as Avant between Madrid and Toledo (and as a matter of fact, such services were created during the Year of El Greco in Toledo, with lots of exhibitions dedicated to the famous Greek painter, who lived in Toledo for a long time).
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Old August 6th, 2015, 10:08 PM   #3294
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Moreover...there were three daily trains Toledo-Albacete. I do know that were replaced by two more Avant Toledo-Madrid but not sure about Madrid-Albacete

In addition it didn't worth comparing prices and time from Toledo to Albacete by bus or by train. Due to going to Madrid and turning back, it wasn't so fast compared with a straight direct bus
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Old August 6th, 2015, 11:18 PM   #3295
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Judgment at AVE Toledo-Albacete AKA The legend of the ghost AVE

If anyone is encouraged to translate, here is a lot of information (with sources) on the different points of view, including my own.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gusiluz View Post
Nada más lejos de mi intención que comenzar la típica discusión: Ave Si, siempre / Ave No, nunca, que casi nunca admite matices; en absoluto. Ni defender que unos políticos sean menos horrorosos que los de enfrente; ¡ faltaría más !. Ni tampoco justificar a Renfe; al contrario.
Lo que quiero es señalar la, desde mi punto de vista, pésima gestión política, y la nefasta comunicación de hechos desde los poderes (el 1º y el 4º) hacia los ciudadanos, cuando se supone que ahora deberíamos estar mejor informados que nunca. Y es que una cosa es tener mucha información y otra muy distinta estar bien informados.

Acusaciones:
Unánimes, con un mensaje claro y sencillo, fácil de entender:

El País: “Renfe elimina el AVE Toledo-Albacete porque solo lleva nueve pasajeros"
El Mundo: “El AVE directo Toledo-Cuenca-Albacete tenía únicamente 9 viajeros al día
Público: “Anulado el AVE Toledo-Albacete por tener 9 viajeros
elconfidencial: “La línea suprimida costó al Estado 18.000 euros diarios”. Resalto: “El propio Urkijo aseguró que se eliminaba la línea de alta velocidad porque...”
blog.conectaingenieros.es: “La línea de AVE Toledo-Cuenca-Albacete, ya suprimida, clamaba al cielo
Cospedal: “deben dar explicaciones sobre la supresión de la línea de AVE regional que conectaba Toledo-Albacete y Cuenca. Se han invertido cerca de 4.000 M € en esa infraestructura, si no más, y desde luego desde Fomento deben dar una explicación”.
Uno de los hashtags más utilizado entonces pedía: “¿qué se puede hacer con los 3.500 M € que costó la línea de AVE que une Toledo, Cuenca y Albacete?”.
Incluso webs ferroviarias:
Vivireltren: “Billetes de AVE a 1.150 € con dinero público”. Resalto: “Tras una inversión superior a los 3.700 M € para llevar el AVE a Albacete, el enlace directo con Toledo movió únicamente a 2.796 pasajeros en sus 6 meses primeros meses (sic) de actividad”. Las cuentas que hacen son: 18.000 entre 9+7.
(Lo "mejor" son los comentarios de los lectores).

Hechos:
El 19/12/2010 Renfe instauró 3 servicios diarios por sentido entre Toledo y Albacete, vía Madrid, mediante trenes AVE S-112.
El 28/06/2011 el director general de Viajeros, Enrique Urkijo, anuncia cambios a partir del 1 de julio: “Renfe optimizará la oferta de trenes entre Toledo y Albacete para ajustarla a la demanda existente en el corredor. Así, se sustituirán los servicios AVE por dos nuevas conexiones Avant, con tarifas más económicas para los viajeros”.
Así, los 3 AVEs Toledo-Albacete (S-112) se sustituyeron por 2 Avant Toledo-Madrid (S-104) y 2 AVEs Madrid-Albacete (S-112).

Antecedentes:
El gobierno de Castilla-La Mancha se propuso “articular” (¡ qué cosas !) la Comunidad mediante un servicio de AV entre capitales aprovechando la apertura de la LAV Madrid-Albacete... (y la proximidad de las elecciones, añado). Cuando se lanzó el globo-sonda de realizarlo mediante trenes Avant la oposición empezó a hablar de “AVEs de segunda”, así que el gobierno se arrugó y puso AVEs “de primera”.

Testimonios:
Los artículos se basaban en la rueda de prensa de Renfe del 28/06/2011, donde se dijo: “Ha dado servicio a 74.595 viajeros, con una tasa de aprovechamiento del 20 % en todo el corredor. Además, de esta cifra, solo 2.796 se han beneficiado de la continuidad del servicio. La gran mayoría de la movilidad (el 97%) se concentra entre Madrid y Toledo y entre Madrid y Albacete. En los seis primeros meses de funcionamiento, el AVE de Toledo ha dado servicio a una media de 9 viajeros diarios hasta Albacete y de 7 hasta Cuenca”.
En los medios se remarca: “9 viajeros diarios con una oferta de 2.190 plazas”. Los 9 viajeros eran por sentido (como todos los datos sobre viajeros y servicios) y, en cambio, contaban las plazas sumando ida y vuelta (363+2 cada tren). Y lo peor: solo contaban a los que hacían todo el trayecto, aunque no hace falta ser “de ciencias” para saber que 74.595 viajeros en 6 meses no son 9 diarios.
Por precisar, según la respuesta parlamentaria del 07/08/2012 sobre viajeros y cobertura de servicios, el corredor Toledo-Albacete tuvo 83.127 viajeros por sentido en los 6 meses que estuvo en funcionamiento durante 2011, y 6.488 en 16 días de 2010, lo que da una media de 464 viajeros diarios sobre una oferta de 1.089.
Los 18.000 € diarios de gasto (en la Intranet ese dato no aparece, quizás fue off the record) entre 464 viajeros por sentido son 19,40 € por billete; quizás los gastos también eran por sentido.
Un aprovechamiento del 20 % (por comparar: es una ocupación del 43 % según los datos que suelen dar en Fomento) es pésimo, pero no fue eso lo que nos contaron. Lo que nos contaron fue que cada tren iba con 3 viajeros (9 entre 3 servicios) y que se “desmanteló la infraestructura” que había costado “3.500/3.700/4.000 M €”.
En un Foro como éste no hace falta señalar que los trenes siguen circulando entre Toledo y La Sagra, entre La Sagra y Atocha, y entre Atocha y Albacete; pero mucha gente, incluso del sector, se lo creyó. Los 4.000 M € son el coste de la LAV Torrejón de Velasco-Valencia junto al ramal a Albacete. Valencia nada tiene que ver, simplemente se inauguró a la vez, pero venía bien para el mensaje que se quería lanzar. Entonces, el ramal a Albacete también servía a los Alvia para Alicante e incluso para Valencia.
La verdad es que lo que se llamó supresión y desmantelamiento fue pasar de 3 servicios a 2.

Consecuencias:
Juzgado y condenado por los medios, el AVE pasó de “símbolo de la modernidad” a "ejemplo de despilfarro". No el de Toledo a Albacete, sino todos, en general. Si alguien dice algo bueno sobre el AVE, solo hay que nombrar ese servicio y se termina la discusión.
A falta del informe pericial, los daños, tanto económicos como de imagen, se pueden calificar de inconmensurables.

Conclusiones personales:
Facilitar la movilidad está muy bien, siempre y cuando se haga en base a estudios y con criterios racionales (y no políticos). Si, además, se cede a la demagogia y se pone material más “vendible” electoralmente, pero mucho menos apto (más caro: 15 € contra 10,60 entre Toledo y Madrid, y además: no podía utilizarse con los bonos Avant, así que los viajeros habituales huían de estos trenes), ya tenemos todos los ingredientes para el fracaso. Pero reconocieron el error y rectificaron, y lo único que consiguieron fue la mofa y la burla, así que no nos puede extrañar que sea dogma político el mantenella e no enmendalla.
Y finalmente, como opinión personal, creo que lo que deberían haber puesto desde el principio era la continuación hasta Albacete de los dos Avant Toledo-Madrid que tuviesen mejor horario entre Madrid y Albacete. En caso de conflicto, mejor ponerlos para los 185 viajeros diarios Madrid-Albacete (en los restantes 6 meses de 2011 hubo 33.800 viajeros en el corredor Ave) que para los 16 viajeros pasantes.

Nota: con lo fácil que es explicar (y entender) lo de los “9 viajeros diarios”, y lo complicado que ha sido hacerlo (e imagino que comprenderlo) con mi versión de los hechos. Está claro que no tengo futuro en el periodismo
Lo que sí que ha sido fácil ha sido obtener los datos para este post: solo me hizo falta una calculadora y leer la rueda de prensa. No he precisado de ningún conocimiento adicional; alguien que no haya visto un tren en su vida podría haber llegado a las mismas conclusiones. Y eso es lo verdaderamente preocupante.
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Old August 7th, 2015, 06:15 PM   #3296
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is there an up-to-date map of the network?
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Old August 8th, 2015, 07:31 PM   #3297
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Since it seems that do not reach English speakers , I will say you have a updated map in the Wikipedia (in Spanish).

It is almost updated unless the Santiago-Vigo (split tracks with bypass in Iberian gauge) was inaugurated on 18/04/2015.

Of all that it is under construction will end only the Seville-Cadiz line (also split tracks with bypass in Iberian gauge) and Valladolid-León (new HSL with standard gauge) this year.
As much as say the ministry, this year will not end anything else, and were not "1000 km of HSL" but: split tracks with bypass, sections of mixed width with third rail, electrification over conventional lines, new non-electrified lines ...
Including Valladolid-León, planned for 2015 and 2016 are 562 km of HSL.

Moreover, the prototype Talgo AVRIL G3 has reached 360 km/h with two cars provided of axes of variable gauge.
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Old August 8th, 2015, 09:47 PM   #3298
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This is by far the best map of Spanish rail network:http://www.geotren.es/blog/mapa-de-i...in-april-2015/

A bit complicated though and some of the "projected lines" shown clearly will never be built, but it's still the best.
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Old August 16th, 2015, 09:55 PM   #3299
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunfuns View Post
This is by far the best map of Spanish rail network
Nice link thank you !
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Old August 28th, 2015, 02:16 PM   #3300
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From Rail Journal:

Quote:
http://www.railjournal.com/index.php...ml?channel=523

Spanish 2016 budget maintains HS rail spending
Friday, August 28, 2015



RAIL will remain Spain's transport priority according to the draft budget for 2016 which allocates more than half of spending to rail projects with a special focus on completing the extensive high-speed network

According to the 2016 budget prepared by the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, 54% or €5.46bn of the €10.13bn transport budget will be allocated to rail. High-speed rail will receive €3.68bn, which is 67%t of the rail budget.

The Madrid – Galicia line, which will be extended from Olmedo to Zamora by the end of this year, will receive just over €1bn. Work to connect it with the already-opened Ourense - Santiago and A Coruña - Vigo lines continue. The Spanish government wants to open the whole corridor in 2018

...
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