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Old December 20th, 2012, 10:43 PM   #721
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
We should get rid of ATB in favor of ERTMS
Hear, hear. Which also applies to KVB, Memor, TBL, PZB, ASFA, ZUB, TPWS, AWS and ATC.
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Old December 20th, 2012, 10:49 PM   #722
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Quote:
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ATB is outdated and improving it would lock-in Netherlands on 160 km/h territory for another 30 years.

We should get rid of ATB in favor of ERTMS
It would have been a simple upgrade of the ATB-EG without too much investments. It could have sped up some lines straight away as a step up before installing ERTMS.

The reason why it wasn't certified on more lines was the ERTMS. It was presented as a new system and not as an upgrade, and Europe only allows new ERTMS based systems and upgrades of existing systems.
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Old December 20th, 2012, 10:55 PM   #723
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Technically, the trick used for Thalys was placing ATB-NG beacons, using those to tell the train it's okay to go 160 km/h. ATB-NG is a proprietary system (owned by Alstom) just like ATB-Vv and TBL1+.
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Old December 20th, 2012, 11:55 PM   #724
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Hear, hear. Which also applies to KVB, Memor, TBL, PZB, ASFA, ZUB, TPWS, AWS and ATC.
Of course.

All national-based systems should be ditched in favor of ERTMS. It should be mandatory that any train manufactured in EU or imported into EU is fit with ERTMS, as to avoid the vendor lock-in trap that currently slows down the adoption of the ETCS
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Old December 21st, 2012, 12:54 AM   #725
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For the development of one internal rail system within the EU, harmonizing the safety systems is key. Luckily, more and more countries are working on migration strategies: Denmark is well underway with the nationwide introduction of ERTMS, the Netherlands are working on a planning to start the implementation from 2016 onwards, Belgium is working on it as well.

More big changes are ahead:

- Siim Kallas, the Vice President of the EU responsible for mobility and transport, has announced that he wants complete seperation of infrastructure managers and railway operators from 2023 onwards. This would mean the end for "integrated" companies such as DB AG (DB Netze) and BB (BB Infrastruktur AG). It's not unlikely that SBB will also be broken up, because Switzerland usually follows EU regulations related to transport and mobility.
- Strengthening of the European Railway Agency: several of the responsibilities of the national safety authorities (such as IL&T in the Netherlands, DVIS in Belgium, etc) would be transferred to the ERA. Rolling stock admission could be one of those responsibilities.

Currently, road and aviation have big advantages over rail as regulations are harmonized and technical hurdles have mostly been taken away. The aim of these measures is to harmonize the market to make it more competitive. This should also make it easier for newcomers to get their trains on the tracks.
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Old December 21st, 2012, 07:15 AM   #726
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Of course.

All national-based systems should be ditched in favor of ERTMS. It should be mandatory that any train manufactured in EU or imported into EU is fit with ERTMS, as to avoid the vendor lock-in trap that currently slows down the adoption of the ETCS
I don't think that any rolling stock manufacturer is going to waste resources on designing trains that can't be fitted with ETCS...
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Old December 26th, 2012, 07:09 PM   #727
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Fare arrangements in place until May 1 2013

So HSA extended to 1/5/2013 arrangements that should expire on 8/1. I think it is a step in the wrong direction, but in any case this is how things stand:

1. Supersaver fares can be bought up to 23.59 the day before travelling. They cost € 25 for Amsterdam-Bruxelles*, are non-refundable and non-exchangeable

2. A "Jump-On" ticket is being offered for € 39*, allowing travel on any train on the day the ticket was purchased, without a seat reservation though - only on 2nd class.

*There is a non-linear (on distance) price scale for shorter sectors: Rotterdam-Antewerpen costs € 20 with Super Saver, € 25 with Jump-On.

Meanwhile, the lower-than-planned domestic Fyra fare supplements were made permanent (from €0,70 Amsterdam-Schiphol to € 3,70 Breda-Amsterdam). These are prices 60% lower than the initial fare plans unveiled in 2009.

I think these are bad decisions that will greatly hurt the bottom line of HSA, which is already struggling with its finances. Reasons for it:

- they are foregoing a lot of money by essentially not charging the higher full fares of € 54 for 2nd class same-day travel. The Supersaver fares are cheaper than older Benelux fares and were never intended to be widely available (original plan was: discount up to 7-day advanced purchase, limited to 25% of seat capacity of each train)

- changing for a new route with brand-new trains was the only opportunity to make a change that eliminated unreserved travelling between Netherlands and Belgium (save for regional border trains). Once they allow this to continue until May, it will become a political third-rail to eliminate the possibility even when the full V250 fleet is deployed

- without compulsory reservation, another expected cash cow for HSA disappears: passengers willing to travel on 2nd class but forced to buy expensive 1st class tickets because 2nd class seats were full. It means, coupled with other consequences, many passengers that would be obliged to pay € 74 for same-day travel on busy trains will be effectively travelling for € 39, and maybe even getting a free 1st class seat as there is virtually no standing room possible on V250.

- passengers will treat the roll-back of Jump-On fares in May as a "fare increase" from € 39 to € 54, making it politically problematic

Summing it all, HSA is drastically foregoing revenue and putting itself in a financial position where it will be not able to pay franchisee fees to the Dutch and Belgian governments, unless it puts in place politically unacceptable fare increases brought upon themselves. HSA management is essentially expecting the two national government to bail it out by creating a situation where charging the high fares it needs to pay back the franchise contract will just be not politically acceptable

This becomes clear once you realize passenger are travelling for cheaper prices on a train that is up to 44% faster!
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Last edited by Suburbanist; December 26th, 2012 at 08:55 PM.
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Old December 26th, 2012, 07:40 PM   #728
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I agree with you that HSA's price policy is less than optimal for HSA itself.

However, as we've seen in the past when Fyra first started operating between Amsterdam and Rotterdam, passengers were unwilling to pay HSA's fares (which were 60% higher than NS domestic fares). When Fyra Brussels started to operate, it didn't get even 1/3rd of the occupancy rate of the old Benelux train despite being faster. Passengers were unwilling to pay for the fare increase, once again. As a result, the regional train from Roosendaal is overcrowded and the parking place in Essen is nowadays mostly filled with Dutch cars.

Either HSA continues with their high prices (and empty trains) and thereby going bankrupt, or they adjust their prices hoping to attract more passengers. Given that empty trains would be bad for the public image of HSA as well as the ministry of Infrastructure, HSA is more or less forced to do something.

As the Dutch say: "het is pompen of verzuipen".
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Old December 26th, 2012, 07:49 PM   #729
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Quote:
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I think it is a step in the wrong direction [...]
If you think that this is a wrong idea it will certainly be a very successful one!

(sorry I didn't resist...)
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Old December 26th, 2012, 08:59 PM   #730
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Either HSA continues with their high prices (and empty trains) and thereby going bankrupt, or they adjust their prices hoping to attract more passengers. Given that empty trains would be bad for the public image of HSA as well as the ministry of Infrastructure, HSA is more or less forced to do something.
I used Fyra last week, it was just a one-trip experience, but the train was quite full. I'd say 80% full or so.

For all practical matters, Fyra is now a bargain compared to the old situation. € 25 for travelling the next day with fixed departure, or € 39 for departure anytime. I think the fare for the Benelux Amsterdam-Bruxelles was € 37. So travelers are getting a very good deal, considering they are, at the worst case, paying the same for a train that is newer and much faster.

So I'm left with the impression HSA just gave up and decided to operate a cheaper service, placating public opinion opposition who felt entitled to a subsidized train, and then it will leave the Dutch and Belgian governments holding the bag for the dozens of million of euros HSA should pay them each year... which means, indirectly, the Treasury will assume the whole debt taken for construction of HSL Zuid/4 because HSA will not be able to raise money to pay for it.

But HSA is playing for the crowds there, like "if we are going to be bankrupt, let's underpay the government instead of charge more for travelers". Which plays into the population resentment about the whole V250 delay...
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Last edited by Suburbanist; December 26th, 2012 at 09:06 PM.
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Old January 17th, 2013, 08:31 PM   #731
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End of the line for the V250?

Today, 3 V250 trains broke down. The cause of these breakdowns are mysterious damages found to the platings underneath the trains. The infrastructure has been inspected visually in an attempt to find a probable cause, to no avail. No such damages were found on the Thalys rolling stock.

Since discovering the damages, all Fyra services to and from Brussels have been cancelled for the rest of the day. It's not sure yet if the V250 will resume operations tomorrow.
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Old January 17th, 2013, 10:00 PM   #732
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End of the line for the V250?
Since discovering the damages, all Fyra services to and from Brussels have been cancelled for the rest of the day. It's not sure yet if the V250 will resume operations tomorrow.
Last I heard is that Fyra services are suspended with no date announced
for the service resuming. Fyra "ask customers to postpone their travel
plans", proposes an alternative made of the Fyra hauled trains (i.e. the
good old Benelux hardware) till Breda, then bus to Antwerp, and then
domestic SNCB train to Brussels. All tickets sold can be refunded.

Political bodies in Belgium also start requiring the return of the previous
service, like it already happened in the Netherlands.

End of the farce ? Wait and see...
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Old January 17th, 2013, 11:02 PM   #733
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Perhaps at this point it makes sense to write down the losses, try to get some money back from Ansaldo-Breda and order new trains from some reliable source?
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Old January 17th, 2013, 11:15 PM   #734
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Is something said by a lot of people, especially on news-sites.. Buy new trains, that fixes the problem..

Only forgetting that new trains take 3 yrs to begin service...
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Old January 17th, 2013, 11:26 PM   #735
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Trains are not cars or trucks that you just to a dealer (used or new) an buy a bunch of them. Even if they placed a new order TODAY (and that is a big IF, because HSA is on shaky financial grounds to do so, and it would take at least 4 months for the most short possible technical, operational and legal proceedings mandatory for these purchases), it would take at least 2 1/2 years to have trains running on commercial operations barring any problems.

The only thing I fear is that they downgrade the new line to allow older trains running there.
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Old January 17th, 2013, 11:27 PM   #736
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Is something said by a lot of people, especially on news-sites.. Buy new trains, that fixes the problem..

Only forgetting that new trains take 3 yrs to begin service...
Sure, but it just might be the least bad of all possible choices...
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Old January 17th, 2013, 11:28 PM   #737
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Trains are not cars or trucks that you just to a dealer (used or new) an buy a bunch of them. Even if they placed a new order TODAY (and that is a big IF, because HSA is on shaky financial grounds to do so, and it would take at least 4 months for the most short possible technical, operational and legal proceedings mandatory for these purchases), it would take at least 2 1/2 years to have trains running on commercial operations barring any problems.

The only thing I fear is that they downgrade the new line to allow older trains running there.
And you'd propose to do what?
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Old January 17th, 2013, 11:31 PM   #738
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And you'd propose to do what?
Fix the defects that are preventing the normal operation of the V250.
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Old January 17th, 2013, 11:39 PM   #739
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Fix the defects that are preventing the normal operation of the V250.
Obvious solution, but it could be that they are so flawed that fixing them to a reliable working condition is technically not feasible. If this sort of breakdown were to reappear every few months after "fixing" them then it would be cheaper to retire them immediately and start from a beginning 3-4 years later.
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Old January 18th, 2013, 02:04 AM   #740
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And then revert 10 years of construction and commission of the HSL-Zuid?
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