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Old August 6th, 2010, 03:47 PM   #241
spag85
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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
lack of an underground HS link to downtown Amsterdam, possible with a new station like St. Pancras in the Zuid area, close to alignment of the North-South subway line.
Schiphol-Amsterdam Centraal is 13-15 minutes, Schiphol-Zuid is 7 minutes. Trains travelling at the speed of light wouldn't justify a tunnel here.

And why the connection to North-South subway line instead of Centraal Station (where people actually want to go)? To connect two flawed projects?

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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Then, they didn't construct a bypass of Rotterdam for "through" trains.
Rotterdam's size and importance justifies a stop here.

The only good reason for the Dutch HSL would be capacity (and not travel time) - but then we need to run all the trains planned and imho there shouldn't be a "supplement".
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Old August 6th, 2010, 04:28 PM   #242
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It begins with the lack of an underground HS link to downtown Amsterdam, possible with a new station like St. Pancras in the Zuid area, close to alignment of the North-South subway line. Sure, it would have cost a couple billion Euros, but that is the price to pay to be at-par with the best cities and have a dedicated HS terminal.
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Originally Posted by spag85 View Post
Schiphol-Amsterdam Centraal is 13-15 minutes, Schiphol-Zuid is 7 minutes. Trains travelling at the speed of light wouldn't justify a tunnel here.
And why the connection to North-South subway line instead of Centraal Station (where people actually want to go)? To connect two flawed projects?
It was actually planned by the construction of the Schiphollijn in the 80s: the terminal of the trains from/to Schiphol would be a station under the Museumplein in downtown Amsterdam, with a tunnel to Amsterdam South station under a canal (Boerenwetering). There is a small tunnel under the westbound A10 east of South station, build to accomodate this.

But Amsterdam is no Paris or London, and even no Brussels. Those capitals are by far the most important city of their country. Amsterdam is not that important, it's just the primus inter pares (first among equals) in The Netherlands. The city of Amsterdam has a population of just 760.000 people. This has it's effects of the planning of the railway network. Many passengers on the HSL won't have Amsterdam as their destination, while in France almost everyone has Paris as destination. Therefore, you shouldn't build a HS-terminal in downtown Amsterdam, but serve the existing hubs in the national railway network. And fully integrate the HSL-operations in the national network, with a 10-minute frequency throughout the day.
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Then, they didn't construct a bypass of Rotterdam for "through" trains. It will almost oblige trains to call at Rotterdam. They could have opted for a solution like Bologna (IT), building an underground train station just below the regular train station in Rotterdam only for high-speed services. It would cost, but speeds could be increased.
It would require an entirely new HSL through Rotterdam to increase the speed. The HSL now uses the existing Willemspoortunnel through Rotterdam, which doesn't allow an higher speed and is already very busy.
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Old August 6th, 2010, 05:19 PM   #243
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I already mentioned earlier, the current faillure of the HSL is caused by the Ministry of Transportation. The Dutch Railways (NS) had a proposal to fully integrate the HSL in the national railway network. This was a map of the plan, called IC Max:


The proposal was rejected by the Minister of Transportation, mrs Netelenbos. An article from newspaper Trouw, november 26th 1999, translated with Google Chrome but with many corrections by me:
"What NS can do, other companies can do too"

The Dutch Railways say their offer on the high speed line (HSL) to Paris has important benefits for cities such as Breda, Tilburg, Eindhoven, Arnhem, Utrecht and Haarlem. The commission who advised minister Netelenbos to reject the bid, suggests that any other carrier can offer the same benefits. And the House of Representatives does not know who to believe.

NS continue to believe it's unbelievable Netelenbos wiped their offer off the table. NS' vision for the HSL can offer more than just a quick, exclusive, international train journey. The major asset in the new Intercity train Max, a silver-blue double-decker train with a maximum speed of 220 km / h on the HSL and 160 km on the existing intercity network. Integration with the intercity network delivers more trains and shorter journey times, according to the NS.

The first Intercity Max must ride in 2004. The railway company has five billion guilders ready for investment: 4.4 billion for new trains and refurbishing the existing Intercity, 300 million to boost the punctuality and 300 million to expand the information and service to travelers.

The journey between Breda and Schiphol, which still takes 92 minutes, lasts only 42 minutes in 2006. A trip from Utrecht to Schiphol takes then 26 minutes - now 40. And Amsterdam - Rotterdam will not be 58, but 29 minutes. 200 trains will ride daily between those two cities. Fewer change of trains, more trains per hour and more connections, that is the promise of NS. If they only get an exclusive license to transport both the HSL route Amsterdam - Paris, and the domestic part from Amsterdam to the border with Belgium.

Those advantages are not that big, says the commission-Scheepbouwer. In the railway proposal, there are only two train services that use both the HSL and the intercity network: the train Eindhoven - Utrecht - Amsterdam - Rotterdam - Eindhoven (2 times per hour) and the train Den Haag - Rotterdam - Breda - Antwerpen - Brussels (1 time per hour). It will save travelers between Eindhoven and Rotterdam a change, just like passengers on the routes Tilburg - Rotterdam and Tilburg - Schiphol. Travellers between The Hague and Breda do not have to change either.

According to Scheepbouwer do the NS not know clear how many extra passengers there will be and what would be the financial impact by driving with HST train further on normal track. The NS are only clear about the costs: 39 million guilders annually extra.

The committee is not convinced of the benefits if the NS whould get the operation of the domestic and international part of the HSL. It's also possible to make agreements on good connections with other carriers, says the committee. That the NS dare to say that the passenger only has to buy one ticket if the NS get the two railway lines, finds the committee strange: the government must enforce anyway that it would be possible to obtain at each station tickets for all trains running in The Netherlands.
I still get angry at the Dutch Ministry of Transportation when I read this article which was published 11 years ago. There was a perfect proposal but they rejected it because they were too incompetent to understand the benefits. After this incredible stupid decision, they made another stupid move by forcing the NS to start a subsidiary for the HSL. It was now absolutely forbidden to integrate the HSL and the existing rail network. This is how it all became that terrible mess...

I want a parliamentary inquiry regarding the HSL-Zuid. This is just one element which went totally wrong due to incompetence at the Dutch Ministry of Transportation. There is just so much more, like the never ending story with the AnsaldoBreda trainsets which are rubbish and many years delayed for faked reasons.
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Old August 6th, 2010, 07:18 PM   #244
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Your not the only person who gets angry reading it. What I believe to be the best investment in rail (and I still support they have build HSL-Zuid) turned out to be a financial disaster, to be paid for by the tax payer. Every day the Dutch residents pay 500,000 for this rail franchise.

There are two solutions to get out of this misery:
- Let HSA go bankrupt
- Run HSA trains on national network under a nasty trick by changing train number/headcode at the final destination of the HSL concession and let the train continue under a train number belonging to NS Reizigers.

For instance: Running from Rotterdam to Amsterdam Zuid (integrated station under the current concession), there change train number, and it becomes a train operated by NS Reizigers. Now let it run via Almere and Lelystad to Zwolle at 200 km'h. FYRA suplements would be valid for the entire journey, Between Schiphol airport and Zwolle people would need to pay a 2,- euro suplement (same terms and conditions as ICE International for domestic travel)

By doing this nasty trick you can still run a part of the MAX network, and the city I live in would gain a much welcomed fast service to Rotterdam and Zwolle.
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Old August 6th, 2010, 07:30 PM   #245
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Quote:
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There was a perfect proposal but they rejected it because they were too incompetent to understand the benefits
ArthurK thank you for the insight! When I said a tunnel wouldn't be justified I didn't imply it wasn't planned

I totally agree that the only meaning one can give to the Dutch HSL is to include it in the network and use it to achieve larger capacity.

If HSL is at a surcharge it will cost the public more money to install capacity upgrades on conventional lines which might not be needed if some traffic was redirected on the HSL.

But now that the infrastructure is ready (and the trains are crap anyway) don't you think there is a possibility in mid-term to have these through trains (e.g. running further than Amsterdam)? It really can't get much worse than this.
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Old August 6th, 2010, 09:54 PM   #246
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On Amsterdam-Rotterdam?
On Amsterdam-Paris... if you start accepting a bit less speed here and there, you end with crap services like the German IC Schiphol-Berlin that takes insane 7h30 to complete the trip/

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The fat they built a new line is OK, but it was totally unnecessary to build a 300 km/h line between Amsterdam (in fact Schiphol airport) and Rotterdam.
If it was a (partly upgraded) line of 200-250 km/h it would have been OK and it would have benefited the domestic travel.
One must not forget that the HSL cuts 28% of the length in the Rotterdam-Hoofddorp route. So you don't have only an increased speed but also a reduced distance. Just look at Google Maps and you all can see: the "traditional" route goes through Leiden, Den Haag and Delft.

The route is congested, those three cities rail's ROW are narrow and in some cases it demolishing nearby buildings to construct additional tracks would be insanely expensive, like in Delft or at the Den Haag HS station.

It is a very different situation of a route that you can just improve a signal here, fix a junction there and so. The intersection with the Den Haag Central - Gouda line is a nightmare too, and it is in the middle of the city.

So a brand-new rail was needed, IMO - as much as they need to unclog the node at Amersfoort.

[/QUOTE]

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The other big railproject of the last decade is the Betuweroute, the dedicated freight railroad from Rotterdam to Germany. Same story: billions more expensive than planned (4.7 billion instead of 2.5), years of delay and still not proper functioning.
The Betuweroute is not working for the solely reason the Germans diverted money on their part of the route to fund other projects. It is the most advanced freight-only rail line in Europe. When the Germans complete what they promised to, freight rail transport to Germany and beyond will be dramatically improved, relieving both nearby highways and the Dordrecht-Best rail line.
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It would require an entirely new HSL through Rotterdam to increase the speed. The HSL now uses the existing Willemspoortunnel through Rotterdam, which doesn't allow an higher speed and is already very busy.
That is what I'm talking about - an underground, angled station for HS services and a 4-km tunnel all the way beyond Rotterdam Zuid.

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[INDENT]"What NS can do, other companies can do too"
After this incredible stupid decision, they made another stupid move by forcing the NS to start a subsidiary for the HSL. It was now absolutely forbidden to integrate the HSL and the existing rail network. This is how it all became that terrible mess...
These are European regulations. The Ministry and NS took advantage of a loophole, indeed, setting up the HSA after the deadline for the spin-off of operational units for new services but before spin-off was mandatory for all passenger services.

The Ministry rushed to get another loophole: one that allowed HSA to be given exclusivity over high-speed domestic services, as couple months after HSA was established, such moves became illegal. All new HSR corridors must be opened to competition, on domestic or international routes.
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Old August 6th, 2010, 10:49 PM   #247
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The infrastructure of the HSL Zuid itself may be very good (I don't know, but apparently it is, also considering the route choosen). It's the service that is not.

HSL Zuid should be operated like the new Berne-Olten line, not like Paris-Lyon. And the actual low use give me reason: the Berne-Olten has 6 trains per hour per direction full of passengers from its opening, the HSL Zuid has no more than 2 tphpd, one of which of only 6 coaches with only 10% of occupied seats. It is true that V250 trains are late, and it would be difficult to increase the number of train trips, but this does not justifiy the emptienss of the Fyra services. Here, the problem is the dissuasive price.

It is a pity considering that the rest of Dutch network is similar to the Swiss one, that is, for what I have seen, very good.
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Old August 6th, 2010, 11:22 PM   #248
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The HSl Zuid could also used by more internbational trains. Why are there no trains Zürich-Basel-Strassburg-Luxemburg-Bruxelles-Rotterdam- Amsterdam? Once the had such services. Many Parts of that route are now Highspeed Lines. And given an attractive choice there would be enough travellers be it business or tourist which would use this train. Currently the fastest relation from Zürich to Dordrecht near Rotterdam by train takes 8.5 hours and involves changing station in Paris. So the last four times i had to go there i took the car once and three times a flight ZRH-AMS and then a rental car. The other point is that my company just books the fastest and cheapest way to travel which is usually air. If they built HSL they should try to run as many trains as possible on it.
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Old August 6th, 2010, 11:39 PM   #249
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If they built HSL they should try to run as many trains as possible on it.
Excellent reply. European rules say that long distance services must be profitable. This leads to lines where a single train manage to cover its costs (including the toll of the infrastructure), but the railway itself certainly not (in a reasonable time). I think that a heavily subsided and used infrastructure is far better than a quite subsided but under-utilized one.
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Old August 7th, 2010, 12:00 AM   #250
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The infrastructure of the HSL Zuid itself may be very good (I don't know, but apparently it is, also considering the route choosen). It's the service that is not.

HSL Zuid should be operated like the new Berne-Olten line, not like Paris-Lyon. And the actual low use give me reason: the Berne-Olten has 6 trains per hour per direction full of passengers from its opening, the HSL Zuid has no more than 2 tphpd, one of which of only 6 coaches with only 10% of occupied seats. It is true that V250 trains are late, and it would be difficult to increase the number of train trips, but this does not justifiy the emptienss of the Fyra services. Here, the problem is the dissuasive price.

It is a pity considering that the rest of Dutch network is similar to the Swiss one, that is, for what I have seen, very good.
This is exactly how it should be used.

But because of the current operations the NS hasn't been buying rolling stock that can be used on the HSL. If there will be a decision to change it for the good it will take another couple of years to make it actually possible. The current Fyra trains can't be used since they don't have the capacity needed for normal IC services over the HSL. They need to modify the current VIRM double deck EMUs for 25kV and a higher speed or just buy new trains. Something that again cost time and since the project already had so much delays that might be a problem for the decision makers to finally make their 2nd good decision for this project (the first good decision was to construct the line, all decisions that followed had a negative effect on the project).


@Suburbanist, building a new tunnel under Rotterdam is completely insane, it would be another costly mistake. Compared to Brussels or Paris the HSL line actually starts much closer to the station in Rotterdam then in those 2 cities. And there's still the much bigger gap in the HSL line between Antwerp and Brussels where even more minutes can be saved.
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Old August 7th, 2010, 04:52 AM   #251
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Modifying VIRM to run on 25 kV should be possible, the thing which I am not sure about it how VIRM would hold itself on the HSL-Zuid when a Thalys passes by at 285 kph. Perhaps they could use different bogies.

The VIRM trainsets are also known as "bagpipes" (because of the sound coming from the engines in the older train sets) and "rocking boats" (because of how much they sway when passing points or uneven ground), if a Thalys would pass by at such high speed the train would probably sway from left to right...

From what I have understood (but not confirmed!) is that VIRM should basically be prepared for speeds up to 200 kph, but that for economical reasons it's only approved for 160 kph. Which makes sense because nowhere in the Netherlands normal trains reach 200 kph (even thought Amsterdam - Utrecht is prepared for it). I think the necessary ERTMS could be retrofitted onto the VIRM EMU's, since there's a lot of electronics in trains nowadays anyway, I'm guessing that all what's needed is installing ERTMS receptors (beacon readers and GSM-R) and adding the software.

I once e-mailed Bombardier asking about the 1500V/25 kV, if higher top speeds would be possible and whether or not ERTMS would be supported, but they replied that they couldn't give out the information because it's a company secret. Which makes sense, I guess.

Now, about HSA/HSL-Zuid: I think the best answer to the current situation would be to completely dissolve HSA. It would have some serious consequences, but in the end it would be better for everyone. However, it wouldn't mean that we'd get rid of the ugly ducklings because as far as I know, any carrier that takes over that role from HSA would have to acquire and use the HSA trainsets... if those ever get approved, of course.
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Old August 7th, 2010, 10:52 AM   #252
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It's not so much the company that runs over the HSL-Zuid thar needs to change, it's the concession that is creating all the problems now. The special HSL-Zuid contracts should be dissolved in order for the line to become part of the Hoofdrailnet to make normal services on the line possible. The HSA can then be responsible for the international services to Brussels and they can use the V250 for that.

It's just that this will have major legal implications, the original competitors and the EU might have problems with the solution. It will definitely be the end of the special status of the line and therefore be subject to the European international competition regulations.

And whether or not the VIRM can be modified for HSL operations is not the question, how much will it costs and does the NS wants to pay for it is the real issue here.
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Old August 7th, 2010, 02:34 PM   #253
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if you start accepting a bit less speed here and there.

One must not forget that the HSL cuts 28% of the length in the Rotterdam-Hoofddorp route.
That's correct that most of the time reduction comes from the shorter route and not 300 kph vs 200/250 kph. But if your stations are very close to each other (like Rotterdam and Schiphol), you have to accept a bit less speed simply because of acceleration and braking curves.

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The route is congested, those three cities rail's ROW are narrow and in some cases it demolishing nearby buildings to construct additional tracks would be insanely expensive, like in Delft or at the Den Haag HS station.
exactly, that is why a new line made sense as a capacity improvement, but it doesn't as a "premium service".

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That is what I'm talking about - an underground, angled station for HS services and a 4-km tunnel all the way beyond Rotterdam Zuid.
Would such a tunnel bring down overall Brussels-Amsterdam journey times below the next 30 minute multiple? Because if not, then this idea doesn't make sense from a timetabling perspective either -- otherwise just imho bad value for money.
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Old August 7th, 2010, 05:41 PM   #254
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- The main competitor is the car. The main feature you are competing against is flexibility.
Not on the long distances. The modal share of passenger road traffic between the Randstad and Paris should be smaller than those of air traffic. You gain very little if you beat solely car traffic on this distance.

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- The current best times achieved with the HSL could have been achieved without it. The distance Amsterdam - Brussel is 240 km. The fastest train now takes 1h37. That is an average speed of 150 kph. If the line would have been upgraded so continous running at 200 kph were possible all the way from Amstedam to Brussel timings would have been similar to what has been achieved now.
I very much doubt that. Travel speed on upgraded conventional railway lines hardly exceed 100 km/h. Add to that the longer way of the pre-HSL route. With upgrading and vmax 200 km/h you'll get nowhere near the travel times of high speed services and you can't compete with air travel.
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Old August 7th, 2010, 09:20 PM   #255
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With upgrading and vmax 200 km/h you'll get nowhere near the travel times of high speed services and you can't compete with air travel.
Paris-Randstad you compete with air and Thalys travel times are attractive mainly because of the Paris-Brussels HSL. One could argue that travel times were attractive already when the Antwerpen-Schiphol Thalys was running on conventional lines (an extra 40 minutes). Would be nice to see if an extra passenger shift happened or not.

Brussels-Randstad you compete with driving and conventional Intercity - many travellers don't see the point of paying for the Thalys now when the travel time gain is only 40 minutes - but you get a much higher possibility of delay, right now.
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Old August 8th, 2010, 03:48 AM   #256
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The travel time from Antwerp to Brussels by Thalys is 40 minutes, according to the Deutsche Bahn travel planner. The distance is roughly around 45 km (28 mi) which really isn't much. The distance Schiphol - The Hague HS is roughly around the same, while Dutch trains only take 25 minutes (Benelux, no stop at Leiden) to 31 minutes (other intercity services which do stop at Leiden) for the same distance.

To make Thalys more attractive, the Antwerp - Brussels travel time should be reduced which can be done by upgrading lines (allowing for higher top speeds), splitting local and intercity services on the 25 and 27 lines, giving Thalys trains priority over others, etc. It should be possible to do Antwerp - Brussels in the same time as Schiphol - The Hague.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 08:52 AM   #257
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To make Thalys more attractive, the Antwerp - Brussels travel time should be reduced which can be done by upgrading lines (allowing for higher top speeds), splitting local and intercity services on the 25 and 27 lines, giving Thalys trains priority over others, etc. It should be possible to do Antwerp - Brussels in the same time as Schiphol - The Hague.
The problem currently is mostly the entry of lines 25 and 27 in to Brussels. The Belgian railways really would like to put all the slow trains on line 27 and the fast ones on 25, and to a certain extent they are allready doing that. However the problem is a lot of conflicting movements in the aproaches to Brussel Noord.
That is being addressed, however. The new line 25N being build between Mechelen and Brussel will give a much faster path in to the Brussels.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 09:03 AM   #258
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Not on the long distances. The modal share of passenger road traffic between the Randstad and Paris should be smaller than those of air traffic. You gain very little if you beat solely car traffic on this distance.
But the Amsterdam - Paris market isn't big enough to justify building a HSL. The most popular destination for Dutchmen south of the Belgian - Dutch border is Antwerpen. The railways ought to concentrate on getting the whole corridor Brussels - Amsterdam running as efficiently as possible. Fast timings on Amsterdam - Paris would have been a still possible.

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I very much doubt that. Travel speed on upgraded conventional railway lines hardly exceed 100 km/h.
Travel speeds on non-upgraded conventional railway lines were often allready 140kph and more. On upgraded lines speeds of 220 kph are possible.

Quote:
Add to that the longer way of the pre-HSL route. With upgrading and vmax 200 km/h you'll get nowhere near the travel times of high speed services and you can't compete with air travel.
What we have now, with the HSL, is a travel time of 1h55 minutes. As I have pointed out before: The distance is only about 240km via the old line. The new line is a bit shorter about 220 km (but if someone has an exact figure, please correct me).
The average speed of ouar 300 kph train is 115 kph...
I repeat again: If the whole corridor had been upgraded, with four tracks from Leiden all the way to Dordrecht, vMax of 220 kph, and a new line from Antwerpen to Breda, also build to 220kph trip time of under 2 hours on Amsterdam - Brussels would have been possible too. Overal travel times would have been shorter for more passengers though, and it would have cost a lot less.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 09:12 AM   #259
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The route is congested, those three cities rail's ROW are narrow and in some cases it demolishing nearby buildings to construct additional tracks would be insanely expensive, like in Delft or at the Den Haag HS station.

It is a very different situation of a route that you can just improve a signal here, fix a junction there and so. The intersection with the Den Haag Central - Gouda line is a nightmare too, and it is in the middle of the city.
The route is being upgraded, with the tunnel under Delft finally being built. That means four tracks all the way from Leiden to Dordrecht. We could have had all that a lot sooner if all the money hadn't been going elsewhere. I don't see however where the "nightmare" is at the intersection with the Den Haag -Gouda line.

In my opinion it would have made a lot more sense to build a railway from Utrecht to Breda, and then on to Antwerpen, and build it as a HSL-Light (220kph), with an upgraded (200 or 200 kph) line via Den Haag and Rotterdam. That way fast services on both Amsterdam - Den Haag - Rotterdam - Antwerpen and beyond, and Amsterdam - Utrecht - Breda - Antwerpen and beyond would have been possible.

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So a brand-new rail was needed, IMO - as much as they need to unclog the node at Amersfoort.
Unclogging nodes can give you a lot of gains in time and efficiency. Which is why it's better to spend money on that, rather than on 300kph lines that are less than 100 km long...
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Old August 9th, 2010, 05:46 PM   #260
JB Colbert
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The Ansaldo problems are due to the fact that they haven't a single interface, i.e. the customer, in this case the HSA, but a dozen of interlocutors.
On the paper the customer is HSA but in practice there are NS, SNCB and some others, each of them have own requests and these are different for the different parts.

Other kind of problems are listed below:
  1. The production tools must be conserved for 30 years (how many V250 would be constructed in 2040?).
  2. The standards of the train are not freezed after the signature of the contract.
  3. The national rules, omologation procedures, in minimum details as well, but of wich the absolute respect is required, are different and conflictual, not only as Netherlands vs Belgium but between different boards inside the two nations.
  4. The above procedures were changed on the run.
  5. The two national infrastructure managers, Infabel and Prorail, have different technical and normative characteristics, often in contrast between them, at least incompatible with the request
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