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Old May 17th, 2016, 10:10 PM   #3561
clickgr
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I think it is very stupid to cut from things like that especially when you have the money to build such big and modern terminals. If you need one day to build airport train stations to the existing terminals it will cost you 3 times more.
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Old May 18th, 2016, 01:12 AM   #3562
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clickgr View Post
I was talking about the new terminal where most international flights arrive, I guess it is T2. So far it was faster to take the shuttle bus to reach Sants than change terminal at the airport and wait for the Rodalies train.
T2 is the old terminal and T1 is the new one. Both terminals have domestic and international flights, but low-cost companies usually fly from T2. Currently T2 has both metro and Rodalies, while T1 only has metro. However, as I said, T1 will also have Rodalies services in a few years, once the new rail line is built. Therefore it will be possible to take a one-seat ride from T1 to Sants in 20 minutes, not bad at all. Hopefully it'll be ready in 2020.

Depending on the road traffic conditions, the combination of metro + train from T1 is faster than taking the direct bus to Barcelona. You can change to Rodalies trains at El Prat station, which has more train per hour than the airport station. In any case, the combination of L9 + L5 is not bad either, you can reach Sants in 35-40 minutes from T1.

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One think I never understood is why in a country with such a good HSR network like Spain they didn't forecast to include AVE stations at its big international airports. Both Madrid and Barcelona have almost brad new terminals wich serve among the highest air traffic in Europe and none of them has AVE station inside.
There are several reasons for that. First of all, airports are not always possible to reach from HSL without compromising travel times to other destinations. I mean, look at a map of Madrid - Barcelona HSL and then at where Madrid and Barcelona airports are located.

In Madrid a northern access to the city coming from Barcelona could have enabled a HSR station at the airport, but that route was discarded due to environmental concerns and geographic difficulties. The government finally decided to adapt the current rail line from Madrid Chamartín station to Madrid airport for AVE services. That's not easy, as you may know HSR and conventional rail have different track gauges in Spain. In any event, the project, if ever completed, will enable high speed trains coming from southern or eastern Spain to finish at Madrid airport after having crossed the city using the new Atocha - Chamartín HSR tunnel. But it will be a dead-end line, so no through services will be able to use it.

In Barcelona there was a heated debate on that topic. Some politicians wanted the airport to have a HSR station. However the airport is not precisely on the easiest route towards Madrid, so they ended up reaching a compromise and decidede to build the HSL as close as possible to the airport, and that's why they finally decided to create an intermodal station in El Prat municipality, not far from the airport but not at the airport itself, served by HSR, classic rail and metro. However the plan was put on hold due to lack of funding, once the underground HSR platforms had already been built (they were finished in 2008 and remain out of service since then). If you pay attention, you can spot them a few minutes after leaving Barcelona Sants on any AVE train towards Madrid.

So as you can see, even if there have been attempts to include major airports in the HSR network, there have always been obstacles for that, mostly geographic or environmental, but also political, technical and, last but not least, financial.
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Old May 18th, 2016, 01:27 AM   #3563
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Originally Posted by clickgr View Post
I think it is very stupid to cut from things like that especially when you have the money to build such big and modern terminals. If you need one day to build airport train stations to the existing terminals it will cost you 3 times more.
Sorry to insist on that, but both Madrid T4 and Barcelona T1 (the brand-new terminals of both airports) were projected to include big underground stations for metro and commuter rail (Cercanías / Rodalies) beneath them. In both cases these new stations were built together with the rest of the terminal, but they gradually entered into service once the different governments completed the rail or metro lines serving the airports, which was sadly never in time for the opening of the terminals (in the case of Barcelona airport, the railway station beneath T1 will enter service around 2020, while the metro station was opened last February).

These commuter train connections to the airports have also been projected for passengers to be able to reach HSR stations in the city centers in the easiest possible way. Of course HSR stations at airports are a better solution, but when that's too difficult (as I explained in the previous message), some alternatives need to be found, and both in Madrid in Barcelona, the commuter rail connections to their airports (once it's finished, in the case of Barcelona) are good.
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Old May 18th, 2016, 04:48 AM   #3564
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UPDATE.

Madrid-Galicia HSL:

-possible opening of the second track between the Olmedo junction and Medina del Campo AV station very, very soon. Could be this week, or early June perhaps?
-Medina del Campo AV station building progressing, but not very fast (the current station opened in a VERY provisory way, with no station building).
-the old access to the Medina del Campo gauge changer and to the Medina del Campo main line station from the Madrid HSL at Olmedo junction has been disconnected (and de-electrified?).

Venta de Baños-Burgos HSL:

-advancing (sort of) fastish. New gauge changer at Burgos station in works.
If it keeps that pace up to the end, it's going to be the next opening after Camp de Tarragona-Vandellos.
-includes a chord at Venta de Baños to allow direct (Gijon/Oviedo/Ponferrada-)Leon-Palencia-Burgos(-Bilbao/Hendaye/Barcelona) services.

Monforte del Cid-Elche AV-San Isidro HSL & upgrade San Isidro-Murcia line:

-little news. Works have stagnated a bit, and there's also nimby opposition in Murcia city (who want "the railway lines underground, or no railway lines at all" ).

Camp de Tarragona-Vilaseca HSL & new line Vilaseca-Vandellos:

-little news. Works have stagnated a bit. Theoretical opening late 2016-early 2017. Likely.
-includes two new gauge changers next to the Reus airport, and a chord to allow direct (Bilbao/Hendaye)-Zaragoza-Lleida-Cambrils-Valencia-(Alicante/Murcia) services.

Antequera Santa Ana-Antequera Ciudad-Granada HSL:

-little news. Works have stagnated.
-only at Granada railway station there's some activity, but that's linked to the new Granada tramway.
-includes a chord to allow direct Malaga-Antequera Ciudad-Granada services. And (seemingly) a gauge changer at Granada station.
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Old May 18th, 2016, 08:23 AM   #3565
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arctic_carlos View Post
T2 is the old terminal and T1 is the new one. Both terminals have domestic and international flights, but low-cost companies usually fly from T2. Currently T2 has both metro and Rodalies, while T1 only has metro. However, as I said, T1 will also have Rodalies services in a few years, once the new rail line is built. Therefore it will be possible to take a one-seat ride from T1 to Sants in 20 minutes, not bad at all. Hopefully it'll be ready in 2020.

Depending on the road traffic conditions, the combination of metro + train from T1 is faster than taking the direct bus to Barcelona. You can change to Rodalies trains at El Prat station, which has more train per hour than the airport station. In any case, the combination of L9 + L5 is not bad either, you can reach Sants in 35-40 minutes from T1.
Thanks for the info. So in my case my flights usually arrive at T1. I never found traffic on the way by bus, usually it takes around 15 minutes to reach Plaza de España and then around 10 minutes walking, so no more than half an hour in total. And the bus station is located right outside the arrivals. If you take the combination metro + train also think the risk is higher to take you longer in case you just miss the train connection and you have to wait another half a hour for the next one. I think the bus is still the best option to reach Sants unless someone has too many baggage and cannot move them walking.


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Originally Posted by arctic_carlos View Post
There are several reasons for that. First of all, airports are not always possible to reach from HSL without compromising travel times to other destinations. I mean, look at a map of Madrid - Barcelona HSL and then at where Madrid and Barcelona airports are located.

In Madrid a northern access to the city coming from Barcelona could have enabled a HSR station at the airport, but that route was discarded due to environmental concerns and geographic difficulties. The government finally decided to adapt the current rail line from Madrid Chamartín station to Madrid airport for AVE services. That's not easy, as you may know HSR and conventional rail have different track gauges in Spain. In any event, the project, if ever completed, will enable high speed trains coming from southern or eastern Spain to finish at Madrid airport after having crossed the city using the new Atocha - Chamartín HSR tunnel. But it will be a dead-end line, so no through services will be able to use it.

In Barcelona there was a heated debate on that topic. Some politicians wanted the airport to have a HSR station. However the airport is not precisely on the easiest route towards Madrid, so they ended up reaching a compromise and decidede to build the HSL as close as possible to the airport, and that's why they finally decided to create an intermodal station in El Prat municipality, not far from the airport but not at the airport itself, served by HSR, classic rail and metro. However the plan was put on hold due to lack of funding, once the underground HSR platforms had already been built (they were finished in 2008 and remain out of service since then). If you pay attention, you can spot them a few minutes after leaving Barcelona Sants on any AVE train towards Madrid.

So as you can see, even if there have been attempts to include major airports in the HSR network, there have always been obstacles for that, mostly geographic or environmental, but also political, technical and, last but not least, financial.
I understand the environmental and geographical concerns, I do not understand the political ones. As for the financial and technical ones it is a matter of priorities. For Madrid an AVE airport station in a dead-line I do not think it is such a problem since Madrid is the main hub for AVE network and routes usually start from Madrid anyway. Some routes can simply start one station earlier at the airport and then continue to Atocha or Chamartín for one more stop before they continue to the final destination.

For Barcelona i think it was a big mistake not to include the Ave station from the beginning to the new terminal (not to El Prat). The location is ideal and would not change anything on the time schedule of the route with the highest traffic in Spain: Barcelona-Madrid route.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arctic_carlos View Post
Sorry to insist on that, but both Madrid T4 and Barcelona T1 (the brand-new terminals of both airports) were projected to include big underground stations for metro and commuter rail (Cercanías / Rodalies) beneath them. In both cases these new stations were built together with the rest of the terminal, but they gradually entered into service once the different governments completed the rail or metro lines serving the airports, which was sadly never in time for the opening of the terminals (in the case of Barcelona airport, the railway station beneath T1 will enter service around 2020, while the metro station was opened last February).

These commuter train connections to the airports have also been projected for passengers to be able to reach HSR stations in the city centers in the easiest possible way. Of course HSR stations at airports are a better solution, but when that's too difficult (as I explained in the previous message), some alternatives need to be found, and both in Madrid in Barcelona, the commuter rail connections to their airports (once it's finished, in the case of Barcelona) are good.
Yes in Madrid Airport there is Cercanías and metro station but still you need around an hour to reach Atocha. Usually taking the taxi it is much faster, though much more expensive. When I have limited time to catch my AVE train I always take the taxi to be sure I will arrive on time. Also think If your final destination is somewhere far away from Madrid this additional hour of traveling within Madrid is a big add-on to the entire trip.

Even if It would take you the same time waiting at the airport (apparently routes starting from the airport are not having the same frequency as those from the city's central station) it is different to be sitting at the platform relaxed, surfing on your tablet or drinking your coffee somewhere at the airport while waiting for your train, and different to move around the city by public transportation, changing trains, keeping all the time your mind to your belongings and having the stress of missing your train due to traffic, delays etc.

Last edited by clickgr; May 18th, 2016 at 10:26 AM.
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Old May 18th, 2016, 01:39 PM   #3566
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clickgr View Post
Thanks for the info. So in my case my flights usually arrive at T1. I never found traffic on the way by bus, usually it takes around 15 minutes to reach Plaza de España and then around 10 minutes walking, so no more than half an hour in total. And the bus station is located right outside the arrivals.
It depends of course on the time of the day. Usually in weekdays in the early morning (7h-9h) and in the late afternoon or early evening (17h-20h) it can take more than 30 minutes to reach Plaza de España from the airport by car or bus.

Quote:
Originally Posted by clickgr View Post
If you take the combination metro + train also think the risk is higher to take you longer in case you just miss the train connection and you have to wait another half a hour for the next one. I think the bus is still the best option to reach Sants unless someone has too many baggage and cannot move them walking.
You're right, but that's why I suggested changing form metro to train in El Prat station (6 trains per hour on average towards Sants) instead of in the airport station (just 2 trains per hours towards Sants).

Quote:
Originally Posted by clickgr View Post
For Barcelona i think it was a big mistake not to include the Ave station from the beginning to the new terminal (not to El Prat). The location is ideal and would not change anything on the time schedule of the route with the highest traffic in Spain: Barcelona-Madrid route.
I'm sorry but I have to disagree.

The new terminal (T1) is located very close to the sea, while the HSL Madrid - Barcelona follows a completley different route.

Here you can see in red the current alignment of Madrid - Barcelona HSL; in orange the new rail access to T1, currently under construction; and in purple what should have been built in order to connect the HSL to the airport.



Of course this HSR access to the airport could be built someday as a secondary link, but the main HSL Madrid - Barcelona couldn't be built via the airport, as it would have added at least 15 minutes to travel times between both cities (including the stop at the airport). We're talking about a route where HSR needs to be competitive with plane, and the detour through the airport would have compromised that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by clickgr View Post
Even if It would take you the same time waiting at the airport (apparently routes starting from the airport are not having the same frequency as those from the city's central station) it is different to be sitting at the platform relaxed, surfing on your tablet or drinking your coffee somewhere at the airport while waiting for your train, and different to move around the city by public transportation, changing trains, keeping all the time your mind to your belongings and having the stress of missing your train due to traffic, delays etc.
I agree with you, of course. I took once an ICE to Mannheim in Frankfurt Airport station and it was much better than having to go first to Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof to take the ICE. But we have to bear in mind the particular circumstances and situation of each HSL, airport and city. In Barcelona I don't see how the HSL could have been routed via the airport without adding too much time to end-to-end travel times. This HSR access could be added in the future, but not as part of the main line.
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Old May 18th, 2016, 02:26 PM   #3567
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Thanks for the diagram and the explanation. I thought the line towards Madrid was the black one at the coastal line since it first goes to the south to camp de Taragona, but you are right the AVE line leaves Barcelona at north-west before it turns later to the south. I just noticed that.

There is indeed a small circle to pass through the airport. However, I do not think this would add such a big delay to the Barcelona-Madrid route, definitely not due to the deviation (it is really very small), mostly due to the extra stop. But still the train on the way from Barcelona Sants to the Airport has not yet reached high speeds so the delay occurring from this stop is the minimum possible.

For example the direct train with no stops Barcelona Sants - Atocha Madrid takes 2h 30min. The same train with only one additional stop at Zaragoza Delicias takes 2h 45min. That means in order the train to slow down from the 300km/h to make around 2 minutes stop and to accelerate back again to the 300km/h speed needs 15 minutes. I am pretty sure the extra stop at Barcelona airport while the train anyway is not moving faster than 120km/h inside the city will add time much less than 15 minutes, perhaps around 5-7min. So the final impact on the route is not that big. After all not all schedules need to stop at the airport, there can still be direct fast schedules.


Quote:
Originally Posted by arctic_carlos View Post
I agree with you, of course. I took once an ICE to Mannheim in Frankfurt Airport station and it was much better than having to go first to Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof to take the ICE. But we have to bear in mind the particular circumstances and situation of each HSL, airport and city. In Barcelona I don't see how the HSL could have been routed via the airport without adding too much time to end-to-end travel times. This HSR access could be added in the future, but not as part of the main line.
I have the same experience as you with the ICE station at Frankfurt airport while traveling to north Bavaria. It is really very convenient and not to mention that Frankfurt is a city with excellent public transportation and metro schedules and the distances are quiet short. It is very easy to move between the airport and the Frankfurt Hbf compared to the Spanish cities. The benefit from such a HSR airport station will be much bigger for the traveler for example in Madrid compared to Frankfurt.

Last edited by clickgr; May 18th, 2016 at 02:34 PM.
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Old May 18th, 2016, 02:47 PM   #3568
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 437.001 View Post
Madrid-Galicia HSL:

-possible opening of the second track between the Olmedo junction and Medina del Campo AV station very, very soon. Could be this week, or early June perhaps?
-Medina del Campo AV station building progressing, but not very fast (the current station opened in a VERY provisory way, with no station building).
-the old access to the Medina del Campo gauge changer and to the Medina del Campo main line station from the Madrid HSL at Olmedo junction has been disconnected (and de-electrified?).

Venta de Baños-Burgos HSL:

-advancing (sort of) fastish. New gauge changer at Burgos station in works.
If it keeps that pace up to the end, it's going to be the next opening after Camp de Tarragona-Vandellos.
-includes a chord at Venta de Baños to allow direct (Gijon/Oviedo/Ponferrada-)Leon-Palencia-Burgos(-Bilbao/Hendaye/Barcelona) services.

Monforte del Cid-Elche AV-San Isidro HSL & upgrade San Isidro-Murcia line:

-little news. Works have stagnated a bit, and there's also nimby opposition in Murcia city (who want "the railway lines underground, or no railway lines at all" ).

Camp de Tarragona-Vilaseca HSL & new line Vilaseca-Vandellos:

-little news. Works have stagnated a bit. Theoretical opening late 2016-early 2017. Likely.
-includes two new gauge changers next to the Reus airport, and a chord to allow direct (Bilbao/Hendaye)-Zaragoza-Lleida-Cambrils-Valencia-(Alicante/Murcia) services.

Antequera Santa Ana-Antequera Ciudad-Granada HSL:

-little news. Works have stagnated.
-only at Granada railway station there's some activity, but that's linked to the new Granada tramway.
-includes a chord to allow direct Malaga-Antequera Ciudad-Granada services. And (seemingly) a gauge changer at Granada station.
Any news regarding what is happening with the Seville-Cadiz high-speed section? It was expected to be finished by end 2015 and as far as I know it is still under construction.
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Old May 18th, 2016, 08:51 PM   #3569
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Quote:
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Thanks for the diagram and the explanation. I thought the line towards Madrid was the black one at the coastal line since it first goes to the south to camp de Taragona, but you are right the AVE line leaves Barcelona at north-west before it turns later to the south. I just noticed that.
The black line following the coast is the Barcelona - Tarragona classic line. Trains to Madrid used it until the HSL opened in 2008. The HSL was built further inland because the coastal area is too urbanized between Tarragona and Sitges, and too hilly between Sitges and Castelldefels. It would have been terribly expensive too build a HSL there, so they chose a longer but easier alignment via Vilafranca del Penedès.

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Originally Posted by clickgr View Post
There is indeed a small circle to pass through the airport. However, I do not think this would add such a big delay to the Barcelona-Madrid route, definitely not due to the deviation (it is really very small), mostly due to the extra stop. But still the train on the way from Barcelona Sants to the Airport has not yet reached high speeds so the delay occurring from this stop is the minimum possible.

For example the direct train with no stops Barcelona Sants - Atocha Madrid takes 2h 30min. The same train with only one additional stop at Zaragoza Delicias takes 2h 45min. That means in order the train to slow down from the 300km/h to make around 2 minutes stop and to accelerate back again to the 300km/h speed needs 15 minutes. I am pretty sure the extra stop at Barcelona airport while the train anyway is not moving faster than 120km/h inside the city will add time much less than 15 minutes, perhaps around 5-7min. So the final impact on the route is not that big. After all not all schedules need to stop at the airport, there can still be direct fast schedules.
If said deviation is to be built, I guess it would be above all used by services calling at Lleida, Camp de Tarragona and Zaragoza (and Castellón and Valencia on the coastal line). Not a lot of people go from Madrid to Barcelona to take a plane, given the fact that Madrid airport usually has better connections, especially long distance flights. Barcelona airport has perhaps more connections to mid-sized European cities, thanks to the number of European tourists who visit the city. However people going to cities like Castellón, Valencia, Tarragona, Lleida, Huesca or Zaragoza tend to fly (as you do) either to Madrid or Barcelona if they don't have direct flights from their cities of origin. That's why I think it wouldn't really make sense to make non-stop Madrid - Barcelona services stop at the airport, as a shorter line already exists and the benefit for passengers going to or from Madrid wouldn't be that great.

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Originally Posted by clickgr View Post
I have the same experience as you with the ICE station at Frankfurt airport while traveling to north Bavaria. It is really very convenient and not to mention that Frankfurt is a city with excellent public transportation and metro schedules and the distances are quiet short. It is very easy to move between the airport and the Frankfurt Hbf compared to the Spanish cities. The benefit from such a HSR airport station will be much bigger for the traveler for example in Madrid compared to Frankfurt.
I agree with you, but we have to take into account that the situation in Madrid regarding connections to the airport will surely improve once the new Atocha - Chamartín opens (probably next year) and many services to Valencia, Alicante, Murcia and/or Andalusia are moved to Chamartín, which is very close to the airport.

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Any news regarding what is happening with the Seville-Cadiz high-speed section? It was expected to be finished by end 2015 and as far as I know it is still under construction.
Last works were finished in October last year. Now the line is completely double-tracked between Sevilla and Cádiz and the maximum speed in some sections has been raised to 200 km/h. The number of services using the line is also steadily growing; now there are up to 6 Madrid - Cádiz daily services each way (on weekends), besides commuter and regional trains.
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Old May 18th, 2016, 08:55 PM   #3570
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What might have been possible a long time ago when the entire system was planned is to make a direct high speed line from Barcelona to Tarragona (city centre) via airport and probably mostly in a tunnel and then make a junction with one branch continuing south to Valencia and the other going north first to Zaragoza and then Madrid (skipping Lleida). I think 2.5 h to Madrid would still be possible.

Of course that's just a theoretical exercise now although might still make a sense to build a full loop via airport (regular speed) and thus enable faster access to airport from Tarragona and points south of it.
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Old May 18th, 2016, 11:36 PM   #3571
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Originally Posted by Sunfuns View Post
What might have been possible a long time ago when the entire system was planned is to make a direct high speed line from Barcelona to Tarragona (city centre) via airport and probably mostly in a tunnel and then make a junction with one branch continuing south to Valencia and the other going north first to Zaragoza and then Madrid (skipping Lleida). I think 2.5 h to Madrid would still be possible.

Of course that's just a theoretical exercise now although might still make a sense to build a full loop via airport (regular speed) and thus enable faster access to airport from Tarragona and points south of it.
It is not so easy.
I explain it....conversely. At first it was considered Lerida-Barcelona non-stop. Maybe it would have a call near Vilafranca or so, but non-stop at first.

They decided to approach Tarragona and dessigned the maximal curve to have and reach 350 km/h in non-stop trains (only half of HST calls there). This is why distance to city centre.

Avoiding Lerida is not easy at all. The point is how to cross Cinca river. It is here.

https://www.google.es/maps/place/225...53!4d0.3417097

Coming from Zaragoza it has a quite hard down slope incluiding through a tunnel, plus a bridge and later an up slope.

If you take a look to tolled motorway, direction Zaragoza it is one out of few sites where it has a 3+2 due to slopes.

Therefore, it will cross near Lerida. Direct trains avoid city and save time but any direct line will not cross in other places. Lerida has a quite good location.
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Old May 18th, 2016, 11:48 PM   #3572
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Quote:
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Any news regarding what is happening with the Seville-Cadiz high-speed section?
No, no news.

Quote:
Originally Posted by clickgr View Post
It was expected to be finished by end 2015 and as far as I know it is still under construction.
No. The upgrade and double-tracking is finished and in use. The final section opened months ago.
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Old May 19th, 2016, 03:19 AM   #3573
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Quote:
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What might have been possible a long time ago when the entire system was planned is to make a direct high speed line from Barcelona to Tarragona (city centre) via airport and probably mostly in a tunnel and then make a junction with one branch continuing south to Valencia and the other going north first to Zaragoza and then Madrid (skipping Lleida). I think 2.5 h to Madrid would still be possible.

Of course that's just a theoretical exercise now although might still make a sense to build a full loop via airport (regular speed) and thus enable faster access to airport from Tarragona and points south of it.
A direct HSL from the Barcelona airport to Tarragona city centre would involve tunneling for about 1/3 longer than the Gotthard base tunnel.

Expanding said line from Tarragona city centre to Zaragoza via the straight way (Mora-Alcañiz) would mean tunnelling for twice as long as the Gotthard base tunnel.

Enough said, I hope.
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Old May 19th, 2016, 10:58 AM   #3574
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In other words.... providing a Barcelona-Tarragona centre..... later if you wanna keep 300 km/h or so it would be easier to go via Alcañiz rather than turning back via Lerida.

Curves aren't so easy at HSL
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Old May 19th, 2016, 12:27 PM   #3575
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If said deviation is to be built, I guess it would be above all used by services calling at Lleida, Camp de Tarragona and Zaragoza (and Castellón and Valencia on the coastal line). Not a lot of people go from Madrid to Barcelona to take a plane, given the fact that Madrid airport usually has better connections, especially long distance flights. Barcelona airport has perhaps more connections to mid-sized European cities, thanks to the number of European tourists who visit the city. However people going to cities like Castellón, Valencia, Tarragona, Lleida, Huesca or Zaragoza tend to fly (as you do) either to Madrid or Barcelona if they don't have direct flights from their cities of origin. That's why I think it wouldn't really make sense to make non-stop Madrid - Barcelona services stop at the airport, as a shorter line already exists and the benefit for passengers going to or from Madrid wouldn't be that great.
I 100% agree with your statement. The Barcelona International airport apart from the city of Barcelona not only serves cities with no, or almost no, international flights like Huesca, Lleida, Zaragoza, Tarragona, Castellón and Valencia but also serves many tourist destinations on the coastal line of Catalonia, of the Valencian Community and even on the French Mediterranean coast. All these areas are served or will be soon served by high-speed trains from Barcelona. That's the reason why I think an AVE station right on the airport terminal should have been Nr. 1 priority for the city of Barcelona and for the central planning of the AVE network in Spain.


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Last works were finished in October last year. Now the line is completely double-tracked between Sevilla and Cádiz and the maximum speed in some sections has been raised to 200 km/h. The number of services using the line is also steadily growing; now there are up to 6 Madrid - Cádiz daily services each way (on weekends), besides commuter and regional trains.
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No, no news.

No. The upgrade and double-tracking is finished and in use. The final section opened months ago.
Does this mean no more works are pending on this section? Is it classified now as HSR? Are there AVE or Avant services already using this section?
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Old May 19th, 2016, 02:38 PM   #3576
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Venta de Baños-Burgos HSL:

-advancing (sort of) fastish. New gauge changer at Burgos station in works.
If it keeps that pace up to the end, it's going to be the next opening after Camp de Tarragona-Vandellos.
-includes a chord at Venta de Baños to allow direct (Gijon/Oviedo/Ponferrada-)Leon-Palencia-Burgos(-Bilbao/Hendaye/Barcelona) services.
Is there a timeline for this line opening?
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Old May 19th, 2016, 05:13 PM   #3577
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Does this mean no more works are pending on this section? Is it classified now as HSR? Are there AVE or Avant services already using this section?
Currently there are no ongoing works between Seville and Cadiz, but in a couple of years the signaling system will be upgraded so trains can run at faster speeds (up to 250 km/h, if I'm not mistaken).

Some sections now allow speeds up to 200 km/h, so it can be classified as HSR. However, no AVE trains are using this line, as it has still Iberian gauge, and in Spain AVE services only use standard international gauge. Therefore all Madrid - Cadiz services using this line are branded as Alvia and must change gauge near Seville to continue towards Cadiz. Seville - Cadiz regional services are still branded MD instead of Avant for similiar reasons.

In any event, someday in the future this line will be regauged to standard gauge and then AVE trains will be able to use it (electric tension of the overhead line should also be changed for most of the current AVE rolling stock to use it), but there's no fixed date for that. The main obstacle is that the section between Seville and Utrera is shared with other MD services towards Málaga and Granada, and there are also Cercanías trains from Lora del Río to Lebrija, crossing the metropolitan area of Seville from north to south. Any gauge change would have a great impact on those services, which would have to be discontinued or split in different trains. Of course the change of gauge would also have an impact on freight services.
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Old May 19th, 2016, 05:45 PM   #3578
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Thanks. So in other words it is a high speed line but not a part of the AVE network if I understand correctly.
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Old May 19th, 2016, 10:48 PM   #3579
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Exactly. Other similar upgraded lines in Spain which aren't yet part of the AVE network are Vigo - A Coruña, Santiago - Ourense, Castellón - Vandellòs or La Encina - Xàtiva. All of them have currently Iberian gauge, but in the future they'll be gradually regauged to standard gauge and become part of the AVE network. For instance La Encina - Xàtiva will be regauged in the short term, once Valencia - Xàtiva HSL is built and the older La Encina - Xàtiva classic line is reopened in Iberian gauge (for commuter, regional and freight services).
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Old May 20th, 2016, 02:42 AM   #3580
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Does this mean no more works are pending on this section?
Correct.

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Is it classified now as HSR?
Yes and no. Faster trains can reach 200 km/h. But I wouldn't really call it a HSL, there are commuter trains in most of the line, too.

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Are there AVE or Avant services already using this section?
No. Only Alvia (Long Distance, uses the Madrid-Seville HSL as it changes gauge), MD (regional) and Cercanías Seville and Cercanías Cadiz (commuter rail)

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Is there a timeline for this line opening?
Antequera-Granada, Camp de Tarragona-Vandellos, and Monforte del Cid-San Isidro-Murcia should have been opened early this year. It's obvious it's not the case, this is mid-May 2016, and it will still take months.

Theoretically, the Burgos HSL should open by late 2016, but it can't be met as there's a tunnel that's taking too long because of some administrative issue. 2017 is rather likely, though.

The Granada and Murcia HSL's are the least advanced of the four by now, in either case because the works at Murcia and Granada stations have important delays. In the case of the Granada HSL, the upgrade of the classic line between Riofrio and Loja hasn't started yet, and that gets Granada people rather angry, as they've been left with nearly no railway service in Granada for more than a year.
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