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Sir Rols

High Speed Trains

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PARIS, Sept 21, 2006 (AFP) - Ultra-cheap train tickets, new rail speed tests and final work on a new line are all being rolled out this week in France as part of anniversary celebrations marking 25 years of the country's super-fast TGV trains.

The event, which is formally feted on Friday, is being cast as a self-congratulatory birthday in a country that sees the ``train a grande vitesse'' network as an engineering marvel that ranks foremost among France's modern achievements.

The network is the most developed in the world, with only Japan's Shinkansen train system coming close.

Every year, some 80 million passengers hurtle around France at speeds of around 300 kilometres (185 miles) per hour in carriages that are being updated to include Wi-Fi.

The same technology underpins the Eurostar and Thalys services linking Paris to London and Brussels, and is being looked at by China and other countries contemplating their own high-speed train lines.

The late president Francois Mitterrand inaugurated the first TGV, which linked Paris and Lyon, on September 22, 1981, and it was opened to the public five days later.

Since then, more lines and trains have been put on to cover much of France, shrinking travel times between far-flung cities to just a few hours. The 780 kilometres between northern Paris to southern Marseille is covered in just three hours.

The latest line, between Paris and Strasbourg, the eastern city near the German border that is also home to the EU parliament, is to open in June next year after five years of work.

The new link will be compatible with Germany's similar ICE (InterCityExpress) service, meaning a Paris to Frankfurt hop will take less than four hours.

France's state rail company SNCF is now conducting tests to further increase the velocity with which the trains whizz through country areas to 360 kilometres per hour.

That speed is well within safety parameters, given that the top tested speed of a TGV stands at 515 kilometres per hour -- or quite literally as fast as a speeding bullet.

The company has also organised a Thursday launch of a five-euro-a-ticket promotional offer for 50,000 passengers to go wherever they like in France on a TGV over the next couple of months -- a deal that was certain to spark a rush to ticket windows and its website.

SNCF unions, though, complained that they would be overwhelmed by the rush.

One, SUD Rail, issued a statement saying it feared ``chaos'' when the tickets went on sale, noting that ``during this period, nine million people use the TGVs and there will be only 50,000 'winners'.''

Such initiatives are the fruit of SNCF's battle to wrest market share from proliferating low-cost airlines that have been muscling in on national routes.

The company's research indicates that on trips of four hours or less, passengers prefer trains to planes, in part because they can avoid hassles in terms of check-in lines, baggage restrictions and security slowdowns.

The infrastructure to propel trains along at speeds achieved by Formula One racers doesn't come cheap: France has spent nearly 23 billion euros over the past quarter-century to put the TGV on the rails.

In terms of passenger transportation, it's proved a major profit centre for the SNCF, bringing in more than four billion euros a year.

Cities and towns benefitting from a TGV station have seen property prices rise as commuters from Paris and other urban centres move farther away from their places of work to enjoy the French countryside.

Vacationers in France have also taken to the network, with visitors from other advanced countries, such as Britain and the United States, wondering why their own trains are so sluggish in comparison.

AFP

Seeing as we've had a few threads for the numerous aviation buffs here, I wondered if we had any rail buffs here, and if they had a favourite fast train system.

I don't call myself a big train fan, but I do like train travel (especially in Europe _ Aussie trains are sh!t), and have travelled on a number of the high speed services _ TGV (France), ICE (Germany), X2000 Sweden, Shinkansen (Japan) and favour the German ICE system by far _ very nicely kitted out inside, very smooth ride.

tgv.jpg

TGV _ France

DB-ET-403-003-ICE-Elb-Nacht-FDM.jpeg

ICE _ Germany

beijing5.jpg

X2000 _ Sweden

Mt.Fuji%20and%20Shinkansen.jpg

Shinkansen _ Japan

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ahhh finally, i was getting sick of all those fucking airbus/boeing arguments. i have been fond of trains in general since a very young boy, and have an extensive Brio train set (if anyone knows about it. i would think so, it seems pretty international). I'm always disappointed and distressed when polititions in BC come up with billions upon billions of dollars to fund new highway projects AND privitize and sell off rail assets. the expensive sea to sky, to whistler, would have been quite suited for a TGV style train.

now, on to the trains in question.

i have never ridden a high speed train. which is sad. i have always wanted to. i'm impressed with the technology and the willingness to put them in place. there are significant advantages over planes, especially for moderate distances (ie. 500 km). the extra time for security and the fact that airports are more often then not located far outside the city centre make trains very competitive.

take for example, going from Kelowna (where i live) to vancouver. it is aproximately 420 km from YKL to YVR, and the flying time is approximately 45 minutes. driving distances are similar, about 450km, and almost the entirety is interstate quality freeway, and, when not blocked with snow, takes approximately 4.5 hours to drive to vancouver. Train route would be significantly longer as there are mountains directly in the way that would be difficult for a train to tackle. the distance would be closer to 550km.

total time - downtown to downtown (estimate)

air: 45 minute flight + 2 hour check in +15min to YLW + 20 minute bags, etc. at YVR + 35+ minutes from YVR to downtown vancouver

total time: 3h50m+

driving: 4.5h (up to 5.5h with rush hour traffic)

train: 20 minute check in + 2h train ride + 20 minute out

total time: 2h 40 minutes.

~~~~~~~

anyways, now that i have bored you with fake numbers...

i don't really know which is my favourite train, though the ICE trains look the most modern. TGV trains look rather... dated.

Ice3_station.jpg

ICE train

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I agree that the thing is with trains, they sure beat air travel in terms of practicality, at least in moderate distances. But I also tend to think the reason they haven't succeeded in places like Australia and Canada is not just a question of longer distances but also of population. (though Australia has other problems as well _ try the fact that each State here hiostorically has different gauge tracks).

The reason they're so popular in places like Europe and Japan is you have very large populations using them regularly for medium distance travel _ I guess we in Oz and Canada just don't have such large population centres so close to each other to make them economically viable. Pity. That said, the idea of a high speed rail line linking Sydney-Canberra-Melbourne is one that often gets mooted from time to time.

ahhh finally, i was getting sick of all those fucking airbus/boeing arguments. i have been fond of trains in general since a very young boy, and have an extensive Brio train set (if anyone knows about it. i would think so, it seems pretty international).

I've never heard of Brio, though I have at various times had train sets and done layouts with landscapes etc. I've tended to mainly use German kits _ Fleishmann and Marklin. When I was with CAF in hamburg he took me to see what I think is one of the largest model railway layouts in the world _ a really huge one recreating various towns in Germany, a US area and a new one (I didn't see because it wasn't finished yet) set in Scandinavia. Maybe CAF can remember the name of the exhibit and post pics of it.

One thing I'd love to do is take a trip on one of the famous luxury routes _ the Orient Express or the Blue Train. Thougb maybe I'd better leave it a few decades _ I hear they're mostly full of older, retired travellers.

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I've never heard of Brio, though I have at various times had train sets and done layouts with landscapes etc. I've tended to mainly use German kits _ Fleishmann and Marklin.

well Brio is very famous in Germany, too

33203.gif

it is really fun to play with it, because it is very easy to change the tracks and change everything - I PLAYED A LOT WITH IT WHEN I WAS YOUNG!!

When I was with CAF in hamburg he took me to see what I think is one of the largest model railway layouts in the world _ a really huge one recreating various towns in Germany, a US area and a new one (I didn't see because it wasn't finished yet) set in Scandinavia. Maybe CAF can remember the name of the exhibit and post pics of it.

lol - yes of course I remember the name: Miniatur Wunderland

This model railway layout is really fantastic - it is so detailed - the people are searching on the layout for special details: e.g. a speed trap (the camera flashes), the suicide at a bridge, sex in a sunflower field or the dead body in the small river - every of a quarter of a hour it becomes night - then there is a fire department in a city and a fire breaks out and you see the fire cars rush to the burning house - in the scandinavian part of it - the sea is with real water and ships are driven through the water without seeing any control.

Now they are building an airport with planes departure and také off - and at the same time they are building the Alps over two floors...

Here are some photos:

miwula6.jpg

the landmark of Hamburg on the layout

107108594_2a80f92829_m.jpg

a detail of a race on the Köhlbrandbrücke (Hamburg)

t_mini2.jpg

a detail from the US-part in the layout

189581.jpg

a detail of the sea in the Scandinavian part

48541516_d2184c1-400x300.jpg

... sex in the sunflower field

B)

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... and maybe buy an engine or a model house, car etc.?

I wish I'd taken pictures of my last model train layout when it still existed _ I was very proud of it. Unfortunately, it took up lots of room and my partner thought it was better for us to have a spare bedroom.

I also just remembered I've also travelled on the Spanish high speed service from Sevilla to Madrid, but I can't remember it's name. Would it be Talgo?

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I have "just" used the ICE (Inter City Express) so far. It is the best way to travel from Hamburg to Berlin. It just takes 1 1/2 hour from central station to central station. By car it takes 2-3 hours (depends on the traffic on the autobahn).

By the way the new central station in Berlin is really breathtaking

I wish I'd taken pictures of my last model train layout when it still existed _ I was very proud of it. Unfortunately, it took up lots of room and my partner thought it was better for us to have a spare bedroom.

I also just remembered I've also travelled on the Spanish high speed service from Sevilla to Madrid, but I can't remember it's name. Would it be Talgo?

I just imagine G. hurdling over the tracks and engines to reach the bed....

;)

yes - I think it is Talgo...

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I have "just" used the ICE (Inter City Express) so far. It is the best way to travel from Hamburg to Berlin. It just takes 1 1/2 hour from central station to central station. By car it takes 2-3 hours (depends on the traffic on the autobahn).

Wasn't there talk one time of a Maglev (magnetic levitating) line running between Hamburg and Berlin?

My one disappointment is when I was in Shanghai it was about a month too soon before it's airport to city Maglev line went into operation.

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Wasn't there talk one time of a Maglev (magnetic levitating) line running between Hamburg and Berlin?

My one disappointment is when I was in Shanghai it was about a month too soon before it's airport to city Maglev line went into operation.

It is called "TRANSRAPID" in Germany

strasse.jpg

Yes, that is true - the railway line between Hamburg and Berlin was really run-downed in the time of the German division (the line between Hamburg and Berlin was before the division the fastest line - there was even a special engine for it "The Flying Hamburger") -

VT877.jpg

The Flying Hamburger

After reunification it was thought about to build a Transrapid line between the two cities instead to rebuild the railway line - but they said that it would become to expensive (what I do not believe) and to unhandy to support another transport system.

Siemens built the line in China - and I think that is a huge mistake...

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I wish I'd taken pictures of my last model train layout when it still existed _ I was very proud of it. Unfortunately, it took up lots of room and my partner thought it was better for us to have a spare bedroom.

I also just remembered I've also travelled on the Spanish high speed service from Sevilla to Madrid, but I can't remember it's name. Would it be Talgo?

no,is AVE (Alta Velocidad Española) the service Madrid-Sevilla exists since 1992,and after: Madrid-Toledo,Madrid-Zaragoza-Lleida,in works: Lleida-Tarragona-Barcelona-France,Madrid-Valladolid,Córdoba-Málaga,Madrid-Valencia and others in projects. the speed is 350 km/h

the Talgo (Tren Articulado Ligero Goicoechea Oriol) is a very old train (1942),very famous in Spain ,original for a design of articulated railway passenger cars in which the wheels are mounted in pairs, but not joined by an axle, being between rather than underneath the individual coaches. Another feature of the design is the suspension, which allows the vehicle to passively tilt into curves, aiding passenger comfort.Talgo trains fitted with variable gauge axles can change rail gauge - for instance at the Spanish/French border.

The Amtrak Cascades (Vancouver-Eugene,Oregon) is produced for Talgo,others trains in Europe too.

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no,is AVE (Alta Velocidad Española) the service Madrid-Sevilla exists since 1992,and after: Madrid-Toledo,Madrid-Zaragoza-Lleida,in works: Lleida-Tarragona-Barcelona-France,Madrid-Valladolid,Córdoba-Málaga,Madrid-Valencia and others in projects. the speed is 350 km/h

the Talgo (Tren Articulado Ligero Goicoechea Oriol) is a very old train (1942),very famous in Spain ,original for a design of articulated railway passenger cars in which the wheels are mounted in pairs, but not joined by an axle, being between rather than underneath the individual coaches. Another feature of the design is the suspension, which allows the vehicle to passively tilt into curves, aiding passenger comfort.Talgo trains fitted with variable gauge axles can change rail gauge - for instance at the Spanish/French border.

The Amtrak Cascades (Vancouver-Eugene,Oregon) is produced for Talgo,others trains in Europe too.

Thanks for that. That explains it all now _ I took the Talgo when I was travelling from Barcelona to France, and it was AVE I took from Sevilla to Madrid. Very nice train _ I liked that they showed "in flight" movies!

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In Canada most of the economic activity happens in one area, the Windsor to Quebec City corridor. There has been talk for the last couple of years to build a high speed system to connect Windsor-London-Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal-Quebec City, it had gone as far as looking for a contract (a German company was in the lead) before the planned stalled and nothing happened.

Right now to go from Toronto to Montreal driving, it is about 7 hours, the same with our current train system, with the high speed, they were talking about 2.5 to 3 hours.

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The US only has one high-speed line... and it's not very fast.

acela.jpg

California is in the process of trying to establish a true high-speed rail line. When that will be completed is anyone's guess. But San Francisco has already begun planning the new Transbay Terminal to handle said high-speed train.

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The US only has one high-speed line... and it's not very fast.

acela.jpg

That's AMTAK's high-speed train serving the Northeast. It can't really go very fast because it runs through the most heavily populated area in the US; and between NYC - Philadelphia and Wash, DC -- roughly an hour apart. So by the time it reaches its maximum speed, it's time to slow down. So it's really not practical to run a bullet train between Boston thru Wash, DC.

California is in the process of trying to establish a true high-speed rail line. When that will be completed is anyone's guess. But San Francisco has already begun planning the new Transbay Terminal to handle said high-speed train.

Between San Diego - LA - SF, I don't know how the topography will be to handle a bullet train.

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That's AMTAK's high-speed train serving the Northeast. It can't really go very fast because it runs through the most heavily populated area in the US; and between NYC - Philadelphia and Wash, DC -- roughly an hour apart. So by the time it reaches its maximum speed, it's time to slow down. So it's really not practical to run a bullet train between Boston thru Wash, DC.

Between San Diego - LA - SF, I don't know how the topography will be to handle a bullet train.

Yeah.. Amtrak's Acela. :)

It also has that novel tilt feature, so it can handle curves, but that also means it can't go very fast.

I think the proposal was for a 200+mph high-speed train. IT owul dhave to be straight and have a fully graded and separated throughout the majority of the run. Most likely, it would run throught the valleys -- Sacramento, Bakerfield, stockton, Palmdale. But the point would be to connect SF, LA, and SD. I don't have to tell you that making its way into SF would be pretty sticky, since it has to run through the heart of Silicon Valley... or run over a bridge.. or run through another Transbay Tube.

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Yeah.. Amtrak's Acela. :)

I don't have to tell you that making its way into SF would be pretty sticky, since it has to run through the heart of Silicon Valley... or run over a bridge.. or run through another Transbay Tube.

PLUS, security considerations NOW. I mean how do you keep all those miles of track properly guarded? I think this might not be practical.

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It is called "TRANSRAPID" in Germany

strasse.jpg

Yes, that is true - the railway line between Hamburg and Berlin was really run-downed in the time of the German division (the line between Hamburg and Berlin was before the division the fastest line - there was even a special engine for it "The Flying Hamburger") -

VT877.jpg

The Flying Hamburger

After reunification it was thought about to build a Transrapid line between the two cities instead to rebuild the railway line - but they said that it would become to expensive (what I do not believe) and to unhandy to support another transport system.

Siemens built the line in China - and I think that is a huge mistake...

Isn't the "TRANSRAPID" the one that crashed yesterday?

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In Canada most of the economic activity happens in one area, the Windsor to Quebec City corridor. There has been talk for the last couple of years to build a high speed system to connect Windsor-London-Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal-Quebec City, it had gone as far as looking for a contract (a German company was in the lead) before the planned stalled and nothing happened.

Right now to go from Toronto to Montreal driving, it is about 7 hours, the same with our current train system, with the high speed, they were talking about 2.5 to 3 hours.

Well, don't forget about the idea for the Calgary-Edmonton corridor, too.

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Well, don't forget about the idea for the Calgary-Edmonton corridor, too.

and the Amtrak Cascades (Vancouver-Portland-Eugene),produced for the spanish company Talgo...

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I'm surprised that this topic is still here. You want to know why? The "island nation" of Taiwan, Chinese Taipei to some of us, has become the latest area to get high speed commuter trains in service in the world. The whole bullet-train line goes on the western side of the island from the capital city of Taipei in the north to the southern city of Kaohsiung with 7 other stops in between. The trains can go about the maximum speed of 300 km/h and can take the person the whole length of the line in just 90 minutes from, guess this, a 4-HOUR journey. This is a major transportation improvement from when I was visiting there in 1990. Back then, such mass transport was way beyond the island's financial and technical means.

Link: BBC: The Bullet Train Bites In Taiwan

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In Italy we have 2 high speed sections (here called TAV) operating: the Rome-Naples and the Torino-Novara..

Within 2008 the entire section which links Torino to Naples will be completed.. the sections from Milan to GEnova and the one from Milan to Venice/Trieste are under costruction and would be completed within 2010.. the future extension from Naples to the south is underplanned..

here some pics of the operating TAV trains..

ETR500/Rome-Naples

471s1s6.jpg

48p2vt2.jpg

Torino-Novara

35b9rhi.jpg

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