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Old August 5th, 2008, 03:36 AM   #21
Wuppeltje
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I thought that nobody was talking about the Belgians?
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Old August 5th, 2008, 11:13 AM   #22
sweek
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Quote:
Originally Posted by X38 View Post
It's AnsaldoBreda who builds the trains... And the Dutch Railways (NS) ordered it... Not the Belgians NMBS! .
It's both the Dutch Railways (not NS but Hi-Speed Alliziance (NS+KLM) technically) and the NMBS (Belgian Railways) that have ordered these trains.
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Old August 5th, 2008, 06:41 PM   #23
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Have the Belgian Railways already ordered these FUGLY trains? I hope not...

We should have some decent French or German HST's!
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Old August 6th, 2008, 12:51 AM   #24
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They have. Part of the fleet will belong to the NMBS. I don't think they're too ugly, really.
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Old August 6th, 2008, 08:23 AM   #25
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I can't understand why they went to a manufacturer who was already well late in Denmark, for a brand new design, when there was the off-the-shelf ICE3M for example.
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Old August 6th, 2008, 11:54 AM   #26
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^They wanted the cheapest. Those carriages that are being used, are just normal, with another colour. You can see them on the Benelux train.
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Old August 6th, 2008, 01:39 PM   #27
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Oh man, there goes my hope that they were going to get rid of those noisy carriages
I live about a kilometer away from the railway and can clearly hear when it is a cargo train, a regular Belgian train or the Benelux train that passes through.

All trains make a lot of noise at the moment because the tracks have been renewed, but the Benelux train really makes a lot more noise than the others.

Greetings,
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Old August 6th, 2008, 02:49 PM   #28
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Poor Glodenox.
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Old August 6th, 2008, 04:56 PM   #29
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X38,

If you're from Antwerp maybe you can help me with the following question. I know that they are making a new underground station in connection with the existing main station to facilitate the passage of the HS-trains, which together with the HSL-Zuid will get Antwerp-Amsterdam up to speed (pun intended).

But... what's planned for Antwerp-Brussels? Last time I read the site of the Belgian railways they were still sticking to their old story: the tracks are to be renovated, enabling cruising speeds of 160 km/h. Well, yes, but I have two problems with this. First, 160 km/h is not very fast. In my native Denmark the main line out of Copenhagen (and westover) has this as its top speed and the Danes are seriously thinking about upgrading this "low" speed. (And that's NOT an international line.) Second, and more importantly, even if they do upgrade the tracks there are still going to be some awful bottlenecks on this route due to saturation. Last time I travelled between Paris and the Netherlands our train was trapped for quite some time (both aller and retour...) in Mechelen as well as in Vilvoorde - a bit like in the old days on the commuter tracks to Waterloo Station in London. No amount of upgrading is going to make this problem evaporate, I think. Or are they going to double the tracks?

Someone told me on another thread that there are plans to draw a new line from Brussels to Brussels Airport, which will then be continued along the Brussels-Antwerp freeway until Mechelen. If this line was used for Thalys trains then it could certainly avoid half of the congestion problem north of Brussels. However, according to other sources then powering of this line will be limited to 3,000 volt. If this is true then, obviously, it is not suited for HS. Do you know any more about this?
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Old August 6th, 2008, 07:03 PM   #30
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I can answer that question for you as well Hans as I live there and take that line daily when I have to go to school

That tunnel underneath Antwerp is already open and in use (by high-speed trains as well) for quite a while now.

They are indeed working on a new track which will connect Mechelen and Brussels via the E19 motorway. I'm not entirely sure how fast trains will be allowed to drive there, but it'll be more than the 140km/h they may drive between Mechelen and Vilvoorde (that's as far as I'm aware).

Whether that track will be used by the Thalys and/or Benelux trains however I don't know. It would make sense for them to pass through Brussels Airport before going to Brussels, but there's nothing we're sure of yet.

The limit is set at 160km/h because the signalling there is still mainly done with lights and electric contacts. ERTMS is going to be installed there within a year or so, but as you proved yourself: it's very likely they'll stick to 160km/h.

The main reason for keeping it at that limit according to me are the many stations between Antwerp and Brussels which are also called at by commuter trains. The track is located in the densest area of Belgium and as such expanding it isn't easy, if possible at all. For most of the track there are already four tracks next to each-other. Only at the very end the two split up because they go through the centre of a city (Mortsel). If they would improve that split-off section, it could perhaps improve the grid in general.

As for the bottleneck: I'm not sure about Vilvoorde, but in Mechelen the train usually speeds through at a speed of about 70km/h and doesn't have to stop that often (only if they're very unlucky). So I think you just had bad luck that day.

So, summarized, I'm afraid it'll stay a slow section in the grid for quite a while. In Denmark you've got long open stretches where you have plenty of space to separate such a line, but take a quick peek at Google Earth and you'll quickly understand it's not that easy in that region

Greetings,
Glodenox
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Old August 6th, 2008, 07:40 PM   #31
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Indeed.
Belgium is REALLY overcrowded because we had'nt any urban planning for MANY years. It sounds f*cking crazy, but it's true. The only space thare's left is unther the ground level...
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Old August 7th, 2008, 09:03 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 33Hz View Post
I can't understand why they went to a manufacturer who was already well late in Denmark, for a brand new design, when there was the off-the-shelf ICE3M for example.
The ICE is too expensive.
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Old August 7th, 2008, 01:01 PM   #33
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Quote:
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The ICE is too expensive.

Well, you get what you pay for, it seems.

Besides, by not starting running for year after year, the lost revenues are also "too expensive".
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Old August 7th, 2008, 08:01 PM   #34
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Not the mention the fines they will have to pay for not being able to achieve the timetables that are written in the contracts for the HSL Zuid concession.

These contracts were already very bad, these were made by the government to earn as much money as possible from this line. But that means the line won't be using it's full potential, making it too expensive for too many people to use the new line.

Until now everything about this line is total fail, only the decision to build this line was good. It's just such a waste of a good line, I'm actually almost angry because of all the mistakes that have been made.
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Old August 8th, 2008, 01:26 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Momo1435 View Post
Not the mention the fines they will have to pay for not being able to achieve the timetables that are written in the contracts for the HSL Zuid concession.

These contracts were already very bad, these were made by the government to earn as much money as possible from this line. But that means the line won't be using it's full potential, making it too expensive for too many people to use the new line.

Until now everything about this line is total fail, only the decision to build this line was good. It's just such a waste of a good line, I'm actually almost angry because of all the mistakes that have been made.
You think HSL Zuid will be bad, look at what we have to put up with in Aus, I present the fastest train in the country:



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Old August 8th, 2008, 12:36 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glodenox View Post
They are indeed working on a new track which will connect Mechelen and Brussels via the E19 motorway. I'm not entirely sure how fast trains will be allowed to drive there, but it'll be more than the 140km/h they may drive between Mechelen and Vilvoorde (that's as far as I'm aware).

Whether that track will be used by the Thalys and/or Benelux trains however I don't know. It would make sense for them to pass through Brussels Airport before going to Brussels, but there's nothing we're sure of yet.

The limit is set at 160km/h because the signalling there is still mainly done with lights and electric contacts. ERTMS is going to be installed there within a year or so, but as you proved yourself: it's very likely they'll stick to 160km/h.
Glodenox, many thanks for the explanations. Yeah, I agree it would make good sense for HS trains to use, in the future, the airport as a main junction on their way out of Brussels. - And that's not just about Antwerp. A new connection to Louvain (the midway point on the connection Brussels-Liege) could also be drawn alongside the motorway that's already connecting Louvain with the airport. This would actually be a quite neat solution, because as we both know there's already a HSL to the east of Louvain, which is, alas, too short, for its 300 km/h trace to make any sense at the current juncture.

As for the powering of the line, well, I'm told that 3 kV allows the tri-current Thalys trains to run at a respectable 200 km/h, and that's definitely an advance over what we have at present. It would be totally sufficient for the connection between Brussels and the airport where trains have to accelerate/decelerate anyway, though I'll still keep my fingers crossed for a more "whole hearted" solution from the airport onwards.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glodenox View Post
So, summarized, I'm afraid it'll stay a slow section in the grid for quite a while. In Denmark you've got long open stretches where you have plenty of space to separate such a line, but take a quick peek at Google Earth and you'll quickly understand it's not that easy in that region
Yup. Denmark is a very unusual country. Small and flat like the BeNeLux, but with a density of population at par with France. Blame it on agriculture: until the late 18th century the land couldn't feed half as many people as could live in the Rhine Delta and other such places. Only the larger Copenhagen agglomeration can be compared with there Brusses/Rotterdam/Amsterdam line, and there (too) they have problems with saturation. Copenhagen-Roskilde is awful.

Still, the flat lands in eastern Japan are even more overcrowded than Belgium, and the Japanese have chosen some pretty uncompromisingly fast and high-tech solutions for their country. But... then again, this may be down to differences in politics. Japan has a massively influential engineering sector (the largest in the industrialised world) whose supporters in parliament would preferably cover the country in cement. Belgium has under-invested in infrastructure for generations, apparently because catering to the demands of local constituencies (not to mention the two main language blocks...) have consistently taken priority over the "national interest".
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Old August 8th, 2008, 02:20 PM   #37
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And add to that the lack of urban planning (it's still not much better today in my opinion) and you've got a total gridlock if you'd want to expand a line. People (understandably) don't want to leave their houses, so we'll never get anywhere, unless we go underground or build a long bridge over the existing infrastructure (but then there'd be noise problems).

Greetings,
Glodenox
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Old August 10th, 2008, 05:36 AM   #38
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What's with slow time tables for the HSL Zuid? Trains from Amsterdam to Antwerp for example will take only a 1 hour and 10 minutes to reach it despite the short distance. Is it do to the stops?
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Old August 10th, 2008, 10:37 AM   #39
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Yes, first it takes 14 minutes from Amsterdam Centraal to Schiphol, the trains share the tracks with all the other local and Intercity trains on this stretch.

After Schiphol it also takes a few minutes to reach the actual HSL Zuid, with the stop on Schiphol it takes more then 20 minutes before the train becomes "high speed".

In Rotterdam you also loose up to 10 minutes with the stop and going to and from the HSL.

The same goes for Antwerp although if they hadn't build a new tunnel to the station it would even take longer then the 1 hour and 10 minutes.

The distances on the HSL between the stations are also short, before the train hit maximum speed it almost has to break already. That's also not good for the average speed.

With everything combined you can say that the ride would take more then 30 minutes less if the line was from Amsterdam to Antwerp without any stops.
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Old August 10th, 2008, 03:25 PM   #40
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In Amsterdam they will save around 7 minutes in the future when they transfer the HSL from Amsterdam Central tot Amsterdam Zuid.
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