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Old January 19th, 2013, 10:39 PM   #781
MarcVD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexNL View Post
Out of curiosity: are all 12 cars really necessary? Or are they there just for rush hour demands and are they mostly empty during off-peak services?
During off-peak times, 8 cars would be enough, at the exception of nice
weather days in summer, where all trains are packed with one-day tourists
rushing to sea-side. A few years ago, consists varied during the day but
now SNCB decided against that and operates 12 car consists for the whole
day. I suspect - but have never witnessed it - that in the late evening, half
of the consist is just closed for passengers.

And regarding the usage of those cars outside L2, it's true that they once
ran on Antwerp-Oostende service, but that was before the creation of
IC O which claimed all the available cars. Now Antwerp-Oostende workings
are essentially made out of M6 double deckers.
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Old January 19th, 2013, 10:46 PM   #782
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Fyra put an English travel advice on its website, finally (translation of the Dutch one actually)



Since it's late 19th already, I think they will resume runs on 22nd. Hopefully.
That's a lame excuse of Fyra who doesn't want to admit that their new trains
are a failure. Current weather conditions in Belgium and the Netherlands have
nothing unusual for that period of the year : temperature between -5 and 0
°C, moderate winds, and a few inches of snow. All trains used in this part of
Europe must be able to cope with such a weather by design. If V250 sets
can't, draw your own conclusions.

It's very unlikely that Fyra service will resume that fast, anyway. The SSCIF
will not allow them back without being fully convinced that the trains are
safe. It will be quite difficult to prove with a train that apparently leaves
parts and bits on the track behind it.
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Old January 19th, 2013, 11:11 PM   #783
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AnsaldoBreda December pess release

Ansaldo Breda is not taking any responsibilities for faulty trains.

In December, this is what they wrote

Quote:
Fyra’s faults not caused by train inefficiencies

The start of the high-speed train V250, between Belgium and the Netherlands, has demonstrated the technological level of the High-Speed products of AnsaldoBreda, an Italian company specialized in the production of all type of vehicles for the rail transport.

The technical problems which occurred in the early days, - after careful technical analysis carried out by AB staff as well as by experts of the company that manage the network – were not imputable to the train, but to issues related to the infrastructure system. The V250, during the above-mentioned failures, immediately responded by deploying the security and control systems that are on board.

The V250, which therefore represents a state of the art response to the request for fast links in Europe, is a vehicle extensively tested and perfectly able to compete in the market.
Let's wait to say what they say about the recent hiccups.
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Old January 19th, 2013, 11:12 PM   #784
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Question: could, theoretically, the ICEs used on Amsterdam-Koln service also be used to travel on HSL-Zuid and Belgium?
Technically the ICE-3M trains can run on the HSL-Zuid. However, this won't happen: there is no spare ICE-3M rolling stock available as there have been some incidents in the last couple of years which led to the loss of trains.

Since the Velaro D is (still) delayed the capacity offered by the ICE-3M sets is badly needed - sometimes international services are axed because DB needs the sets for domestic service. Replacement trains and/or buses are provided then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcVD View Post
During off-peak times, 8 cars would be enough, at the exception of nice
weather days in summer, where all trains are packed with one-day tourists
rushing to sea-side. A few years ago, consists varied during the day but
now SNCB decided against that and operates 12 car consists for the whole
day. I suspect - but have never witnessed it - that in the late evening, half
of the consist is just closed for passengers.
To me, having consists of 12 coaches running all day long sounds like a waste of rolling stock. It could be put to better use. During rush hour, additional capacity could be added in the form of a "voortrein" / "piekuurtrein".
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Old January 19th, 2013, 11:20 PM   #785
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I think rail companies save money by not having dedicated personnel and yards to re-configure trains three times a day.
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Old January 19th, 2013, 11:27 PM   #786
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It's SNCB we're talking about - yards and shunting activities are the least of their concern.

NS is expecting that it might take up to several months before the V250 trains are to re-enter service. Meanwhile AnsaldoBreda has apologized to the client and the passengers on Twitter.
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Old January 19th, 2013, 11:35 PM   #787
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexNL View Post
To me, having consists of 12 coaches running all day long sounds like a waste of rolling stock. It could be put to better use. During rush hour, additional capacity could be added in the form of a "voortrein" / "piekuurtrein".
Well during off-peak, there is plenty of rolling stock to waste anyway. If this
was allocated to other services, it means no 200 km/h stock would be available
to absorb the load during rush hour, the extra trains would hence have to go
via the old line. Also, remember, we have severe line congestion problems
during rush hours on every line converging to Brussels, and specially on the
North-South link. So multiplying trains is not an option.
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Old January 19th, 2013, 11:44 PM   #788
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexNL View Post
It's SNCB we're talking about - yards and shunting activities are the least of their concern.
What Suburbanist meant, and I agree with him, is that SNCB is today very
focused on trimming HR costs. Cutting rakes in two after morning peak,
re-forming them in the afternoon, and cutting them again in the evening
require people and valuable train driver's time (which is a scarce resource
over here). So they prefer running with full consists all day long, electricity
being cheaper than human costs. That generates additional wear and tear,
though, and I don't know whether and how they factored this in the equation.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexNL View Post
NS is expecting that it might take up to several months before the V250 trains are to re-enter service. Meanwhile AnsaldoBreda has apologized to the client and the passengers on Twitter.
Interesting, this means that AB publicly and officially admits a responsibility
for this failure. This more or less opens the possibility for NS and SNCB
to cancel their order with minimal (hopefully nil) charges.
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Old January 20th, 2013, 12:06 AM   #789
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My point is: while you can easily detach a double-EMU (such as the VIRM) in less than 20 minutes and then just drive and park the one of the EMUs in a matter of no more than 10 minutes, the same cannot be said of loco-hauled consists. A good example of this is the shunting they do with the "old" Fyra trains in Breda. It is awful to watch how long does it take, at least 4 people involved, and then they need to shift the loco to the front of the next train etc.

If a train company has its rolling stock (something that is increasingly more expensive) stretched out, it will probably require them to have extra trains to be able to dismantle them mid-day and reassemble 6 hours alter for afternoon peak. Maybe it's better just to wear down unused carriages on that basis alone.
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Old January 20th, 2013, 12:09 AM   #790
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AnsaldoBreda tweets

Here are the AnsladoBreda tweets (I grouped the 14 tweets to make them coherent reading)

Quote:
We apologize to the Netherlands and Belgium for the Fyra problems. We are committed to the utmost to solve this unexpected situation

The problems, occurred in the last days on trains V250, were caused by unexpected problems that, after the first technical tests seem to be related to an undue accumulation, under the vehicles, of a big quantity of snow, that turning into ice and detaching during the train running, damaged some parts of the underframe

However, these setbacks have never affected the safety of the trains or of its passengers. The Fyra trains have been properly and duly tested and verified. They performed tests in the climatic chamber at the internationally Arsenal Institute of Vienna as well as development and verification races on the test circuit in Velim in the Czech Republic and also on the Fyra line.

In no way the problems outlined above occurred. AnsaldoBreda has immediately and adequately organized with his technicians in the Netherlands and in Italy a team of 40 people which is conducting in-depth investigations to find the right solution to this problem all that in close collaboration with the customer's technicians.

AnsaldoBreda apologizes for any inconvenience caused to the customer and to the passengers and ensures that is doing its best to resolve the problem.

Last edited by Suburbanist; January 20th, 2013 at 12:16 AM.
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Old January 20th, 2013, 12:13 AM   #791
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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Ansaldo Breda is not taking any responsibilities for faulty trains.
That was before bits started falling off.
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Old January 20th, 2013, 12:14 AM   #792
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Now there are some retweets asking if Ansaldo Breda will give Zefiro trains from its Bombardier partnership to HSA as replacement for the V250.
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Old January 20th, 2013, 01:14 AM   #793
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Now some people on the press are apparently demanding that Thalys start operating as the international replacement train for the time being to Belgium with Fyra prices (€ 25 day before/€ 39 "jump-on" ticket).

Problem is: they ignore Thalys doens't have much spare capacity at all. It is usually quite busy already on its Bruxelles-Netherlands trips with passengers coming to/from France or using it from Belgium.

So there isn't space to carry much more people at current, let alone with extra demand from reduced prices!
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Old January 20th, 2013, 02:10 AM   #794
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I agree with you - the outcry for Thalys to act as a Fyra replacement service is understandable, but unrealistic. Thalys could only offer this service with more rolling stock, which they don't have, and with a different pricing structure, which they don't want.

Being a replacement for Fyra at Fyra prices isn't something that Thalys would do as their values are different. The Thalys brand focuses on warmth and exclusivity, they emphasize that in their commercial outings (remember the green lobster in the Willkommen, Bienvenue, Welkom tv campaign?).
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Old January 20th, 2013, 09:46 AM   #795
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcVD View Post
What Suburbanist meant, and I agree with him, is that SNCB is today very focused on trimming HR costs. Cutting rakes in two after morning peak,re-forming them in the afternoon, and cutting them again in the evening require people and valuable train driver's time (which is a scarce resource over here). So they prefer running with full consists all day long, electricity being cheaper than human costs. That generates additional wear and tear, though, and I don't know whether and how they factored this in the equation.
SBB uses fixes 8 car consists on some routes, where they add blocks of cars to reinforce during peak hours. They show every day that you don't need more than a few minutes to add a rake of cars, or a locomotive. And you don't need more than one extra person to do it... Given the wages SBB pays they still do it.

I find it strange that NMBS would be so focused on trimming HR costs. I thought they were focused on not angering the trade unions.
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Old January 20th, 2013, 10:52 AM   #796
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SNCB capitulated in the sense of holding down its HR costs by staving off new hirings as much as possible. I bet they have one of the highest average workforce age among railway companies.
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Old January 20th, 2013, 12:51 PM   #797
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The Hitachi Javelin sets went into service pretty smoothly. Perhaps Fyra should look there?

Also, I see a lot of TGVs sitting around at Lille and Paris every time I go. They can't all be awaiting maintenance. Perhaps they can lease some for a year?
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Old January 20th, 2013, 12:58 PM   #798
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K_ View Post
SBB uses fixes 8 car consists on some routes, where they add blocks of cars to reinforce during peak hours. They show every day that you don't need more than a few minutes to add a rake of cars, or a locomotive. And you don't need more than one extra person to do it... Given the wages SBB pays they still do it.
That was the plan when the I11 stock was ordered, and factored in the
number of cab cars (BDx) included in the order. The HLE13 traction engine
even had, built-in, the cabability to run in the middle of the train, with a
cab car at each end, to make those reinforcement moves easier. Why this
way of working never materialized is still some kind of a mistery to me. One of
the reasons cited is that with a loco or cab car inside the consist, the
minibar could not move freely over the whole train. But those minibars have
been scrapped years ago.

Quote:
Originally Posted by K_ View Post
I find it strange that NMBS would be so focused on trimming HR costs. I thought they were focused on not angering the trade unions.
That's right, and as Suburbanist said, this cost trimming essentially occurs
via age attrition, with the result of a pyramid of ages totally unbalanced in
the SNCB population. It started firing back about five years ago, with train
drivers retiring in masses and insufficient training capacity to replace them.
As a result, availability of drivers is now the main constraint around which
everything is organized...
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Old January 20th, 2013, 01:06 PM   #799
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 33Hz View Post
Also, I see a lot of TGVs sitting around at Lille and Paris every time I go. They can't all be awaiting maintenance. Perhaps they can lease some for a year?
Those TGV sets must be properly equipped in order to operate a Fyra
service : ETCS level 1 & 2 (which they don't have since all french high
speed lines have TVM430), 3 kV traction (only a few TGV reseau have it),
ATB and TBL signalling (only fitted on the Thalys sets) and a system to
limit the extension of the pantographs (there are bridges on the NS where
the catenary is interrupted). 3 kV traction can't be retrofitted at all, and
the rest would be quite complicated, certainly not worth it for a lease of
one year or two.
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Old January 20th, 2013, 02:14 PM   #800
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Using Thalys for all the trains between Amsterdam and Brussels is an option that can be used as a more definite operation in several years. But that will only be feasible if there's also a proper Benelux service using the old line. Then you really have a choice between cheap but slow or more expensive but fast. But I doubt that the NS is interested in this option, they will have to share the income with Thalys.
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