TGV - why was it considered advanced?

bryan9 Jun 27, 2006

  1. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Chris-

    Very interesting post. Any pictures of your trip you might share?

    Welcome to TrainBoard!

    :D

    Boxcab E50
     
  2. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    Man, What a good thread.

    1: I believe there was an article in trains a couple months ago about the Myth of the conspiracy against interurbans. Sadly, it appears that greed and corrupt ownership was all that was needed to doom these companies, not a vast conspiracy.

    2: I don't think there's any doubt that Americans have no problems with Trains. Heck, again from a recent trains magazine, the Metroliner/NEC actually ran a couple of commuter airlines out of business. America's issues are governmental and geographic.

    3: The real issue here is that High Speed rail only benefits Urban and suburban people, yet it requires funding to be approved by people in rural locations as well. With the Chicago example, Metra is lucky it gets the funding it gets when just about everyone in the state not served votes no.

    4: And of course, commuters aren't the big issue anyway, Amtrak is required to support all those same rural residents in the middle of beautiful nowheresville America. They tend to vote against these things.

    5: How many stops does the Paris to London train make? I find it unlikely that a highspeed train would result in less time spent at the depot compared to at the airport. You're still going to have to drive in to Union Station and check any bags, go through security etc. etc. etc. I'd like somebody to give me a plausible reason as to how it would take less time.

    6: One huge advantage that rail has over air is fuel efficency and environmental concerns. Jet airplanes are the most polluting least efficent options in transportation.


    Having said all that, I think you need only look at your selfinterested fellow American rather then your politicians for the culprits. And not just the NIMBY folks.
    At the same time, routes like the Cascades, Surfliner(and really all of Amtrak Ca, Railrunner and others are proving that intercity commuter rail is viable. What's needed is an investment in new infrastructure. Perhaps the current gas crisis will prove a benefit in this.
     
  3. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    The acronym "NIMBY" denotes just as you describe: "....selfinterested...." (Not just residents of the USA, but world wide.) That is a NIMBY in every sense of the word. These days, NIMBY is commonly used in a much broader sense, than it was a few decades ago.

    We have a person here, from out of state, who is trying to spearhead a commuter project. There would be ridership. But even at the present growth rate, we're still decades away from putting signficant fare box monies back into the system. His background is such that he's used to getting all the monies he needs from the public. Where there is a tax base-government funding. Which we cannot get through his thick head, does not exist here. Our population is heaviliy scattered rural, low income. Numbering perhaps 2.5% of what he's accustomed to taxing. And those folks in little towns of 50, 80, or a couple of hundred, 300-400 miles away, are going to be in a rage as they learn about this proposal.....

    Boxcab E50
     
  4. Martyn Read

    Martyn Read TrainBoard Supporter

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    In the abstract it benefits all by growing economies, but I see what you're saying. On the other hand most things work the same way, schools, libraries, swimming pools...all easier to justify with lots of people there than in the middle of nowhere.

    From memory most Eurostar trains make one intermediate call at either Ashford (UK) or Lille (France), these intermediate calls are maybe 1-2 minutes duration. (Some do both & some neither, depending on demand)

    Eurostar is maybe a bad example as you have to go through passport control in both directions, even so they reccomend being there only 30 minutes before departure.

    In France, the domestic TGV services are 'walk on', just like Metra. If you're on the station with a minute to spare you can still board. There are no security checks, same as any other train.
     
  5. BedfordRob

    BedfordRob TrainBoard Supporter

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    Cost comparison Air vs. Shinkansen

    Earlier in this thread a question was raised about comparative time and costs. My friend in Tokyo has come back with some info, hope it is interesting.

    Times are quoted as flight time from airport to airport (note does not include check-in time for domestic flights, nor time taken to get to the city centre).

    Train journeys are from station to station. Of course Shinkansen is a walk on service.

    Tokyo to Hiroshima by Air
    Average cost 40000 Yen
    Flight time 1hr 20min

    Tokyo to Hiroshima by Nozomi (the quickest Shinkansen service)
    Average cost 30000 Yen
    Journey time 4hr 6min

    In this situation I'd rather take the train. Cheaper, probably no longer a journey, but more interesting and more relaxing, plus the 'in-flight' service on Shinkansen is way better than the service you get in a plane, bows and all.

    Regards
     
  6. Gats

    Gats Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Some make 2 intermediate stops, being Ashford and Lille, depending on demand as Martyn points out. The Ashford stop would add approximately 4-5 mins to the journey, being the time to leave the trace (via west chord) onto Network Rail lines for the less than 1 km trip to Ashford, slowing, station dwell time, the even shorter trip back to the trace (via east chord) and then back to line speed. Lille is slightly less due to the line into the station having less speed restrictions than Ashford.
    The non-stop trains from London to the tunnel (and vice versa) bypass Ashford on a viaduct beside the station at line speed (240 km/h from memory). The London to Brussells/Paris times will be shorter once Phase 2 is completed bypassing the congestion getting out of London Waterloo to the junction where the CTRL leaves Network Rail and joins at a junction (Singlewell) ~4 kms away, where Phase 1 and 2 of the project join.
    When the complete line is up and running next year, I believe the Kent stops between the London St Pancras and the tunnel will be shared between Northfleet in North Kent and Ashford International. Not sure where the Stratford International stop will fit into the timetable, though.

    Nikk and I have done a few trips back and forth to Paris and Brussells and would recommend keeping an eye on the prices when thinking of booking. We picked up the return leg from Brussells one trip for something like £79 each in first class, some £30 less than standard (economy) on a Sunday evening! Bonus for us was the 18 minute drive from the station to the front door. :)
     
  7. ddechamp71

    ddechamp71 TrainBoard Member

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    Hi all, very interresting thoughts indeed!

    But I think high speed trains (TGV, Acela, ICE, Shinkansen, etc...) are only a fraction of the needs of quick and reliable transportation. Yes, it's true, there is no best transportation system between towns distant from each others, let's say 300 Mi / 500 km.

    That's why here in France, TGV are killing domestic air transport.

    But one has to be aware there is no equity: rail lines belong to state, and so does the only passenger rail transportation system, the SNCF (Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français = french state railway company), as the freight (or what remains of it) is now deregulated here. The french national railway is disabled with very heavy costs (including incredible and totally unjustified social advantages, ex train engineers beeing allowed to retire at 50, after having dealt with regulations allowing, I believe, 3 driving hours max a day, and so on... - all this even not preventing from endless strikes :angry: ), and is "sponsorized" with taxpayers and national debt, on the value of about 10 billion € each year.

    On the other side air transportation can receive no public funds. On the opposite it is every day loaded with more and more highly increasing taxes (the last beeing Pst Chirac's demagogue tax for the 3rd World, although France doesn't follow its commitments taken 15 years or so ago with the G8 countries - but that's another story....).

    And as a conclusion, I realize french way of railroading is mostly turned towards passenger transportation. Freight railroading here is at its last stage before total dismantling (unless private operators, as they are now at last allowed to operate on freight business, take over).

    That's why each time I come back from the US, I'm amazed with the armies of trucks battling the roads here, vs that I see in the US....

    (and as train lover I'm in love with heavy diesel or steam powered freight trains: that's why in my opinion railfanning has no interrest on this side of the pond, and that's why as a modelrailroader I'm modelling an american freight railroad).

    Just my two cents,

    Dominique
     
  8. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    So at most 2 stops Paris to London and vice Versa.

    In the US, that's only going to work for intermediate routes. Say, Chicago to Detroit/Indianapolis/St. Louis. It could work for Milwuakee, but the unending run of suburbs makes it less likely.


    As for station time. I posit that after the Subway bombings in Spain, there is absolutly zero chance of a highspeed rail system in the US operating without security checkpoints. No way. I actually find it pretty bold that France and the UK haven't stepped up security. It's too good a target.

    Incidently, I'd love to see High speed service From Sacramento through Oakland/SF, LA and San Diego. I'll go so far as to say it may become a requirment for the growth of California. It'll never happen though.

    Portland to Seattle should be highspeed too. Portland to Sacramento and points south is too far unfortunatly.
     
  9. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    When I was around the business, I saw this talked about seriously. Many years ago. It will eventually start moving foward. But that's all I can say.

    Boxcab E50
     
  10. Thieu

    Thieu TrainBoard Member

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    That is the problem with France (sorry, no offence): they use the railroads for social policy, and that makes it expensive and inefficient. The last decade the European policy is to introduce efficency and private companies, but the French (and Belgian) goverment is against this: they fear social unrest. For other European freight roads it is nearly impossible to enter the French market and SNCF-FRET (but also the Belgian B-Cargo) has a very bad image. With a free railway system (for freights) in Holland, the freight business is going up! We have several companies and they are doing it better than the the national railways 10 years ago.

    Mmm, airports are being financed with public money, as the air traffic control. And no tax on kerosine. And companies get tax discounts if they use a specific airport.....

    True :))) An American diesel is far more impressive than an European.
     
  11. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    I'm not surprised.

    The route is pretty easy from Vancouver Wa to say Olympia. I mean they'd have to bulldoze some houses or backfill parts of the river and the sound to fit it in next to the BNSF, but it's doable. Heck just follow I5 the whole way (not much different from the BNSF routing.

    It's generally agricultural between these two points, so minimal urban disruption.

    The problem is stops.

    I see Portland, Vancouver, Olympia and King's minimally.
    Possible additional stops in Centralia and Tacoma. Centralia would open up the entire corridor allowing people to live in small towns and work in the big city.

    The whole thing would be a boone to both Cities. Cascade service already does good business for Shawks games. You could daytrip Seattle or Portland. Imagine how Powell's sales would expand if the literate Seattlite could come down on a whim. Or the increase in revenues for the Washington State ferry system if a Portlander could take a daytrip up.


    Other logical service extentions would be Eugene to Portland stopping in Salem and Seattle to Vancouver BC. Though these are short distances and could be handled by standard speed service.


    The expensive and most complex extension would be from Seattle/Portland to Boise and possibly Pocatello via Spokane. Boise is an up and coming Tech city and having a stronger link to the rest of the Silicon Forest would represent a huge influx of cash to Idaho. Unfortunatly, those pesky mountains would make High Speed rail a complex solution.
     
  12. Thieu

    Thieu TrainBoard Member

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    We have two high speed trains in Holland: the Thalys (a TGV between Amsterdam and Paris) and the ICE (a German train from Amsterdam to Frankfurt/Basel). For the Thalys and the ICE you can be on the station a few minutes before departure. For the Thalys you need a reservation, the ICE is accessible for alle travellers. They have skipped al the formalities, passportcontrol is no longer since most European countries have an agreement on free travelling, so there are no stops needed for bureaucracy. Baggage is your own responsibility, and do not expect any help from the trainmanagers. Stops on stations take only a few minutes (here in Utrecht the ICE departs within 1 or 2 minutes), so this type of trains operates like regular commuter trains.

    This makes travelling very easy!
     
  13. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    No wonder everyone backpacks across Europe. Any more luggage and you'd never make the train. ;)
     
  14. ddechamp71

    ddechamp71 TrainBoard Member

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    Unfortunately you're totally right here.....


    Yes, airports. But for the operators, ie the airlines, that's another thing: indeed they are struggling with heavily increasing charges, airport taxes precisely, and also Air Trafic Control taxes, security taxes. Only these have been increasing by something like 300 or 400% for the last 8 years....And purposedly I don't speak here of dear Mr Chirac's tax, and struggling increasing fuel charges....



    I do agree! :happy3: Furthermore here in Europe, at least in France, trains are mostly passenger, and mostly electric powered....No thrill stuff for me as a railfan!:angry:

    Dominique
     
  15. Thieu

    Thieu TrainBoard Member

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    Well, I think that airlines are complaining a lot, but get more advances from the government than they will admit.

    Our Intercity network is not being subsidized by the governement. They are responsible for the tracks etc, and the operators are responsible for the trains. We have to make a profit on our own. Same for the Thalys and other trains that will run on the new HSL tracks next year.

    Yes, most trains here are passenger also.... Our freight network is very small, and freight trains are short and have rather small (diesel) locomotives compared to the American giants. Our largest engine in fact is an American one: the Class 66, a disguised SD40....

    And our electric locomotives? Well, they are French ;-)
     
  16. chndrsn

    chndrsn TrainBoard Member

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    TGV/Eurostar Security

    Coming from a country where seeing a Police officer on the street with a sub-machine gun or M4 rifle would be an extraordinary event, despite 11 Sep 2001, security in France was ubiquotous but discrete. I do recall seeing local police, Gendarmes and soldiers at Gar de Nord and at both Waterloo and Gar de Nord the CCTV systems are omnipresent.

    I also seem to recall that most Eurostar services bypass Lille, I got back onto it there for London, most unusual occurence for an international (Oz/US and so on) tourist. I also believe that the TGV and Eurostar have done much to restore the economy and life of Lille.

    The attached image was of my service to Waterloo coming in, and yes if you are not where your compartment/carriage stops and ready, you miss out, no warning whistles/conductors flags or delays. Bang its gone!

    Now here is a question for you, where do the Eurostar crews overnight in London?
     

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  17. Thieu

    Thieu TrainBoard Member

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    I know that engineers of the Thalys change at the borders of the countries, but that they are giving ICE engineers educations to permit them running trains across the borders. Dutch engineers can travel to Frankfurt, and Germans to Amsterdam. Conductors also change underway, I think.

    The problem in Europe is that each country has its own safety and signaling systems, and most countries also have a different language. That makes it very complex.
     
  18. Martyn Read

    Martyn Read TrainBoard Supporter

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    Someone lent me a Eurostar cab ride video a few months ago and it mentioned the crewing arrangements on there.

    From my memory of what it said, most crew diagrams go out and back in a day, driver and 'train manager/train captain?' (I could have the wrong term here as post-privatisation everyone calls it something different!) are actually the same post, if you're the driver outbound you return as train captain & vice versa.

    Eurostar crew have to be competent in UK, Belgian, French, Eurotunnel signalling and electrification systems, so they have to know and retain a heck of a lot of information and have the language skills to be able to convey that to controllers in whichever country they are driving in.

    In addition if they are performing a customer service & safety role on the other leg of the trip they also need to have the knowledge and skills to deal with the public.

    As well as being responsible for a quarter mile of train with potentially 770 passengers zipping along at 186mph... ;)

    Suffice to say, I have lots of respect for these folk!
     
  19. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Are the electrified lines in the UK and on the Continent the same, or different voltages and frequencies?
     
  20. Thieu

    Thieu TrainBoard Member

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    Hahaha, almost everything in the European countries is different from each other! In Holland we have 1500V on the catenary, just like in a part af France. Other countries have 3000V, or 25kV. That last one will also be used on the new HSL from Amsterdam to Belgium. And the UK cannot have continental equipment: too big.

    The use of diesels is widespread amongst small, and new freight carriers. Large companies like Railion have multi-current engines that can run under up to 3 or 4 different systems. Passenger trainsets and engines are also capable of this if they are used for international connections. The ICE can have the Dutch 1500V and the German 25kV, and has safety systems for both countries. The Thalys must be suited for Dutch, Belgian, French and German currencies and systems...
     

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