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Old July 29th, 2010, 01:12 AM   #201
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News about the Ansaldo-Breda fiasco over the HSL Zuid trains reached Brazil. They put to tender the Brazil's TAV ("Trem de Alta Velocidade") project, bids due Nov. 16th. Some experts/advisors are already advocating that Ansaldo-Breda be disqualified over the fiasco in Netherlands and Denmark, and sources close to the industry says that Ansaldo-Breda is among the top competitors to place a bid for that project in consortium with some Asian construction companies and a major Brazilian one.

In any case, can't they rent some extra Traxx locos, divert a handful Intercity stock cars and put them to provide a peak-time Breda-Amsterdam service only, at least?
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Old July 29th, 2010, 12:37 PM   #202
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At the moment the V250 sets are running at the southern section of the HSL under ERTMS level 2 at full speed.

Furthermore FYRA trains will run an half hourly service to Breda later this year using HST Prio and TRAXX
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Old August 1st, 2010, 04:52 PM   #203
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Fyra news: NS Hispeed has geven a proposal to the LOCOV (a committee for public transport and timetables etc) for a 2nd Fyra service starting October 4th. This will be an additional service from Amsterdam to Rotterdam and back, thereby increasing the frequency to a half hour frequency. Service to Breda will not be part of the October 4 service, but it is possible the service will be expanded later as the current Fyra services are running under the 1000 series in the timetable where the new ones would run under the 900 series.
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Old August 1st, 2010, 08:25 PM   #204
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Quote:
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Fyra news: NS Hispeed has geven a proposal to the LOCOV (a committee for public transport and timetables etc) for a 2nd Fyra service starting October 4th. This will be an additional service from Amsterdam to Rotterdam and back, thereby increasing the frequency to a half hour frequency. Service to Breda will not be part of the October 4 service, but it is possible the service will be expanded later as the current Fyra services are running under the 1000 series in the timetable where the new ones would run under the 900 series.
40 runs/day with extension to Breda would make it more competitive for sure. The time saving from Breda to Amsterdam will be 54 minutes over the traditional route! Let's now see if the thrifty Dutch will pay the high-speed HSA fare supplement (I don't recall the name in Dutch, something like sneltreinen reijzen toeslag, but I'm not sure).
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Old August 1st, 2010, 09:53 PM   #205
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In Dutch it's "Fyra toeslag", it's just toeslag but usually it's the name of the train that goes in front of it, like ICE toeslag. It's certainly not called something with Sneltrein, because that is the old name for trains that stop a bit more then Intercity trains. The current direct train from Amsterdam to Breda is the last of those trains and it won't be used anymore when the HSL will be in full operation with the Fyra going to Brussels.

It will be interesting to see if the Dutch want to pay for it. I can imagine that the time saving won't be enough, there should be something more then just old trains with a new look.
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Old August 2nd, 2010, 10:08 PM   #206
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After running Fyra trains for almost a year I think it's becoming more and more clear that the Dutch aren't willing to pay the high supplement which HSA charges. Increasing the frequency might help a little bit, but cutting the supplement price in half might be more effective.

The Breda extension will be interesting to see, as they are currently doing test runs. I wonder how many passengers the Breda - Amsterdam service will get, especially with the even higher supplement. Rumors have it that a single trip supplement for 2nd class will be E 10,60 on top of the normal fare.

Mind you that the Breda - Amsterdam will start with the Traxx and ICRm carriages as the.AnsaldoBreda train sets are still not admitted for passenger travel on the Dutch tracks, let alone the Belgian.
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Old August 2nd, 2010, 11:55 PM   #207
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What I dislike about the whole operation is that NSHispeed (they can't even spell HigHspeed properly) has to pay 168 million a year for running this service, can't pay the premium to the government... and they get away with it by government granting them a 169 million financial injection.

Am I missing something... or do we (the tax payers) have a train running for EURO 500.000 a day and can't use it for free?

Every company not able to pay the premium fare for the use of that line should be banned, fined and excluded to tender at the next round.

It's a shame a company like DB wasn't awarded the contract while they proposed to operate ICE trains on it in competition with NS. And I'm sure if DB would have been the prefered bidder then we would have had hourly trains running to Brussels for a year already.
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Old August 3rd, 2010, 11:10 AM   #208
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If the Ministry of Transportation hadn't rejected the initial offer by NS (Dutch national railways), we would have had a high speed line fully integrated in our national intercity network. It wasn't NS' choice to start a subsidiary (NS HiSpeed) for the HSL. They were "forced" to do this by the government. That might explain why the Ministry of Transportation is giving a financial injection to NS HiSpeed rather than let them go bankrupt. It's their own fault it has became such a mess. Unfortunately, such financial aid won't solve the problem.

It's a fundamental problem: the Fyra-services are not attractive enough to justify a big supplement on the (already high) regular ticket price. Even worse, the future crossborder Fyra-service to Antwerp and Brussels is in some way less attractive than the current Intercity-service. That popular Intercity service will be discontinued just to fill the Fyra. How irresponsible can a government be: spending BILLIONS for a new high speed line, with counterproductive results: the crossborder connections become far more expensive and less attractive than the current situation. Not to mention the disimprovements for people living in The Hague, Dordrecht and Roosendaal. Some policymakers at the Ministry of Transportation should be fired instantly because of their incredible incompetence regarding policymaking.
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Old August 3rd, 2010, 07:46 PM   #209
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maarten Otto View Post
What I dislike about the whole operation is that NSHispeed (they can't even spell HigHspeed properly) has to pay 168 million a year for running this service, can't pay the premium to the government... and they get away with it by government granting them a 169 million financial injection.

Am I missing something... or do we (the tax payers) have a train running for EURO 500.000 a day and can't use it for free?
I read - or I think I read - on the NRC.next that Fyra occupancy rate has risen from 7% in Dec/2009 to 11% in May/2010.

Quote:
Every company not able to pay the premium fare for the use of that line should be banned, fined and excluded to tender at the next round.

It's a shame a company like DB wasn't awarded the contract while they proposed to operate ICE trains on it in competition with NS. And I'm sure if DB would have been the prefered bidder then we would have had hourly trains running to Brussels for a year already.
The Dutch government rushed to construct and contract the operation of HSL before new European regulation were to enter in force, barring (as they now ban) any such "exclusivity" rights to operate trains in any new HS tracks not tendered on a given date in 2003.

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Originally Posted by ArthurK View Post
It's a fundamental problem: the Fyra-services are not attractive enough to justify a big supplement on the (already high) regular ticket price. Even worse, the future crossborder Fyra-service to Antwerp and Brussels is in some way less attractive than the current Intercity-service. That popular Intercity service will be discontinued just to fill the Fyra. How irresponsible can a government be: spending BILLIONS for a new high speed line, with counterproductive results: the crossborder connections become far more expensive and less attractive than the current situation. Not to mention the disimprovements for people living in The Hague, Dordrecht and Roosendaal. Some policymakers at the Ministry of Transportation should be fired instantly because of their incredible incompetence regarding policymaking.
Less attractive? Travelling times from Amsterdam to Bruxelles/Brussel will be reduced by 1h32. I don't think that is going to be any "small" improvement at all. Sure, as it always happen, there are some "losers", in this case, specifically, the riders to/from Roosendal (passengers from Den Haag can easily connect at the new (u/c) Rotterdam Centraal Station and passengers from Dordrecht can connect at Breda. Folks at Roosendal will have to travel to Breda or Antwerpen in local trains, but that is life.

Thalys already slashed - even with not-yet-in-use signaling allowing 300+ kph speeds between Rotterdam and Hoofdorp junction near Schiphol - travel times from Amsterdam to Paris by 1h13, and ridership on Thalys services (more expensive than the semi-crap "Benelux" trains) are risen steadily.

It seems that KLM/Air France Paris-Amsterdam services are already suffering a dent due to increased attractiveness (and much improved punctuality) of Thalys services on the route.

We need to see the bigger picture: the HSL was not (only) about moving people from Rotterdam to Amsterdam.

================

As for the supplement, I think they should test the market better once they have at least 35-40 daily services on the route. They have cheaper monthly supplement passes and so.
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Old August 3rd, 2010, 11:22 PM   #210
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Less attractive? Travelling times from Amsterdam to Bruxelles/Brussel will be reduced by 1h32. I don't think that is going to be any "small" improvement at all.
The problem is of course that forcing people to commit to a particular departure, and to reserve seats reduces the value of the improvement somewhat. People are used to be able to go on a day trip to Antwerpen for example, and return when they feel like it, on any convenient departure.
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Old August 3rd, 2010, 11:40 PM   #211
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The problem is of course that forcing people to commit to a particular departure, and to reserve seats reduces the value of the improvement somewhat. People are used to be able to go on a day trip to Antwerpen for example, and return when they feel like it, on any convenient departure.
Well, today we have a situation in which there are two possibilities to travel from Amsterdam to Bruxelles/Brussel:

- Regular Intercity (Benelux Train) - 2h54 - € 37,80 - 2nd class (no seat reservation/no predefined service or time)

- High speed train (Thalys) - 1h58 - € 25,00 (selected trains only, pre-booking compulsory, sales fare, non-refundable, non-exchangeable); € 38,00 (off-peak trains, pre-booking compulsory, 50% refund, exchangeable until departure + fare difference); € 65 (regular 2nd class fare, pre-booking compulsory, full refund until departure, 50% afterwards, exchangeable)

So you can travel on Thalys paying LESS than travelling on the Intercity. Those Intercity Benelux trains have a lot of demand for shorter routes like Antwerpen-Dordrecht, because for Thalys prices will not change if you are travelling Rotterdam-Brussel, for instance.

By the way, it is strictly forbidden to travel domestically on Thalys. No tickets are sold for, say, Rotterdam-Schiphol on Thalys, whatsoever.

I don't know whether Fyra will have reserved seats or not. Maybe they will have an hybrid model with some carriages exclusive for seat-reserved passengers and others free on first-come basis, like the NS ICE (Amsterdam-Arnhem) or the DB IC (Schiphol-Eschende).

But I know some people are whining about "why don't they run normal trains on this billion euro line"? I doubt HSA would make any money with the plethora of discount cards, free student travel etc. NS hand out at taxpayer cost. And I think the Fyra trains will be too good, comfort-wise and speed-wise, to be just another train in the network.

Maybe they will change toward a cheaper supplement, like the ICE supplement, that allows passengers to use international ICE services between Amsterdam-Utrecht-Arnhem for extra €2 per trip only.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 09:57 AM   #212
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Wasn't it a better choice to do as the NMBS does on HSL2 (Leuven-Liège):
* "normal" IC trains at 200 km/h, integrated in the domestic network and without supplements.
* Thalys HST's at 300 km/h, with its own fare schedule
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Old August 4th, 2010, 10:48 AM   #213
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It is allowed to travel domestic from Amsterdam region (includes Schiphol) to Rotterdam by Thalys v.v. But you will need to have a seat reservation which can be booked on-line 10 minutes prime to departure.

Thalys € 21,00
FYRA € 10,50
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Old August 4th, 2010, 12:11 PM   #214
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post

Thalys already slashed - even with not-yet-in-use signaling allowing 300+ kph speeds between Rotterdam and Hoofdorp junction near Schiphol - travel times from Amsterdam to Paris by 1h13, and ridership on Thalys services (more expensive than the semi-crap "Benelux" trains) are risen steadily.
In May I was travelling from Mechelen just North of Brussels to Amsterdam. I could have taken a direct train, but I was curious about the HSL, so I decided to change at Antwerpen to the Thalys. The price was double even though I had first checked for tickets several weeks in advance. But not to matter. I would save 20 to 30 minutes on an otherwise 2 1/2 hours trip, wouldn't I? Plus I had a chance to stroll around the magnificent Antwerpen train station and have a coffee there. However, once the time of departure for my Thalys came, it was delayed. The xenophobic station personnel made their announcements only in Dutch, so nobody but the locals could understand it, but another waiting passenger translated the announcement to me as "due to lack of personnel" the Thalys would be late. My friend in Amsterdam was waiting and could not learn how long since in Amsterdam they try to disencourage the habit of picking people up at the station, as they consider such people econmically unexploitable clutter. With a delay of over half an hour my speed advantage was zero, and unlike in Germany there is no on-the-spot compensation. I sent my ticket to Thalys, and now after 3 months I got a letter that they were working on it.
You might consider this anecdotal, but the Thalys between Amsterdam and Brussels definitely gets a thumbs down from me in speed, price, and service.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 12:22 PM   #215
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Welcome to the club.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 01:32 PM   #216
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The xenophobic station personnel made their announcements only in Dutch, so nobody but the locals could understand it, but another waiting passenger translated the announcement to me as "due to lack of personnel" the Thalys would be late.
What has xenophobia to do with the languages used in the announcements?
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Old August 4th, 2010, 01:34 PM   #217
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Quote:
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In May I was travelling from Mechelen just North of Brussels to Amsterdam. I could have taken a direct train, but I was curious about the HSL, so I decided to change at Antwerpen to the Thalys. The price was double even though I had first checked for tickets several weeks in advance. But not to matter. I would save 20 to 30 minutes on an otherwise 2 1/2 hours trip, wouldn't I? Plus I had a chance to stroll around the magnificent Antwerpen train station and have a coffee there. However, once the time of departure for my Thalys came, it was delayed. The xenophobic station personnel made their announcements only in Dutch, so nobody but the locals could understand it, but another waiting passenger translated the announcement to me as "due to lack of personnel" the Thalys would be late. My friend in Amsterdam was waiting and could not learn how long since in Amsterdam they try to disencourage the habit of picking people up at the station, as they consider such people econmically unexploitable clutter. With a delay of over half an hour my speed advantage was zero, and unlike in Germany there is no on-the-spot compensation. I sent my ticket to Thalys, and now after 3 months I got a letter that they were working on it.
You might consider this anecdotal, but the Thalys between Amsterdam and Brussels definitely gets a thumbs down from me in speed, price, and service.
Were there no departure\arrivals boards? In the bars\cafes in main line stations in Britain they have a TV giving you information as well as the large boards in the main area of the station.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 02:08 PM   #218
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Were there no departure\arrivals boards? In the bars\cafes in main line stations in Britain they have a TV giving you information as well as the large boards in the main area of the station.
The departure board was updated once to +10 minutes, but then failed to update itself, at some point resumed to add one minute at a time. So it was not possible to comfortably sit in a café while waiting.
I find that for border-crossing trains, especially when travelling between destinations which are frequented by international travelers like Brussels and Amsterdam, should have announcements in more than one language should be common, and they are in many places. In Prague for example, they make announcements in 4 languages when a train from Germany or Austria enters the station (and Thalys, let me praise them there, has set a standard for multilinguality among their staff). I do not understand why the station personnel in Flanders cannot be expected to do the same.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 03:38 PM   #219
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In Prague for example, they make announcements in 4 languages when a train from Germany or Austria enters the station (and Thalys, let me praise them there, has set a standard for multilinguality among their staff). I do not understand why the station personnel in Flanders cannot be expected to do the same.
The problem is not that you can't expect that from station personel in Flanders. The problem is you can't expect this from station personel in Wallonia. The French speakers don't want Flanders to set a precedent they would have to follow, but would rather not.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 04:27 PM   #220
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Train arrival information in The Netherlands is rather precarious. There is no board informing expected arrival times, only departure times. It doesn't help that domestic services are run like a subway system, with no service numbers (codes assigned to each train/direction/route/time).

Benelux trains suffer a lot on that route. Every day they cancel one or two Benelux trains at least. That is another reason we need Fyra running ASAP - though now, as one colleague posted, there is no OFFICIAL expectation that Fyra trains can enter service anytime before 2nd semester 2011, due to delays on AnsaldoBreda.
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