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KTX: of delays and ambitions

by DoDo Mon Nov 1st, 2010 at 06:42:41 AM EST

Korea Train eXpress (KTX) was mainland Asia's first high-speed railway (HSR), and also the first extra-European export success for European high-speed rail technology. The KTX story matches that of Taiwan's THSR in many ways: similar passenger numbers, project costs; both started with passenger numbers well below forecasts and with deficits that made them a national scandal; and in both cases, the reasons included a half-finished state, delays, and difficulties inherent in the financial construction. However, having started on 1 April 2004 already, KTX is further down the curve: it turned a profit in 2007, and it began to be seen as a success by enough people for calls for extensions to be heard.

Today, on 1 November 2010, the second phase of KTX entered service, completing the HSR tracks on the more than 400 km route between the capital Seoul and second largest city Busan. A second line and several conventional line upgrades are in construction, and there is ambition in local rolling stock development.

A KTX-II, a TGV clone built by domestic maker Rotem, leaves Daejeon on 5 May 2010 while a series 8200 (a Siemens Eurosprinter) approaches with an express in the background. Photo by user vvvf from Picasa

Time for a closer look at this system, and, on the occasion, on the issues of national ambition as driving force and the significance of delays in mega-projects.



Domesticating high-tech

At its original inception in the eighties, KTX was meant to free up capacity for freight on the country's busiest traffic corridor, in a time of ever worsening traffic jams brought by rapid economic growth. This growth was created by an especially close collusion of the state and domestic Big Business: depending on how you look at it, you could call it proactive development policy, or guided capitalism, or corporatocracy, or institutionalised corruption.

One specific of the South Korean model was that Big Business did not consist of big specialised companies, but the chaebol: clan-like family-owned conglomerates that rapidly built up production capacity in unrelated industries. Another speciality was that South Korea's transformation from agrarian society to industrial giant happened in a time of military dictatorship. As a result, the chaebol didn't just dominate but were almost all of the economy, public procurement was a matter of dividing up the turf between them, and the arrival of democracy didn't do much to loosen ties with politicians.

While the South Korean model unquestionably brought economic prosperity and modernity, it also fostered corruption, sabotage of public oversight, and bubbles – in particular, loose loans to the chaebol to socialise the risks, which resulted in the 1997 collapse (and subsequent IMF "cure").

Under these auspices, it shouldn't be surprising that South Korea pursued high-speed rail as a state-run project, for which domestic companies were to develop and supply the technology. But this approach had its problems.

First, in June 1992, construction went ahead even before the technology was fixed (more later). With suppliers lacking prior experience and getting contracts as special favour, quality problems were persistent. (Actually, they still were for the now opened section.) Second, the 1997/8 crisis hit the government budget and some of the contracted chaebol hard, forcing a re-scheduling into two phases: the tunnel-rich last third of the line was pushed back a few years.

Third, it became clear that the domestic industry won't churn out a high-speed train or track any time soon, so the technology had to be imported. In 1994, GEC-Alsthom (today Alstom), the main maker of France's TGVs, won the contract to supply initial trains and equipment, and transfer the technology to local companies.

A TGV in Asia: a KTX-I races towards Seoul on the longest viaduct of the line, the 6,844 m Pungse Viaduct, south of Cheonan. Photo from The World Railway Gallery

Train construction itself, and with that the TGV know-how, was transferred to Hyundai's subsidiary Rotem. In parallel, a programme that was mostly state-funded and mostly run by state research institutions was started to develop an improved, wholly domestic type for Rotem.

Experimental train HSR-350x in Gwangmyeong station. The commercial version took another round of development: check nose shape and bogie shrouding. Photo from Luthien's 망상공방 blog

When the KTX-II was finally presented two years ago, press releases boasted about South Korea becoming the fourth country to develop a train for 300 km/h (forgetting about Made in Italy and Made in Spain, not to mention China). However, unlike its electronics and seating, the KTX-II's 305 km/h top speed and conventional trailers-between-traction-heads configuration wasn't cutting-edge any more. Thus there is already another government-pushed programme, which should result in a 350 km/h distributed-power Rotem train, in service as KTX-III by 2015.

The mock-up of the HEMU-400X at an event in 2009. Photo from WHhh4nwOyo's KTX Watch pages


Delays

In the end, the KTX price tag, including the first trains and the completed Seoul–Busan line, grew from 5.8 to 20.7 trillion won, and the date of completion was delayed 12 years. The two aren't independent.

When a mega-project is over budget, most people think of construction problems, waste and corruption. However, delays drive costs in more ways than one would think at first:
  • Inflation and unit costs: the simplest cost estimates are given in fixed prices (the prices at the time the estimate was made), thus even projects finished on time and without extra expenses could appear bloated. More advanced estimates (for example, Crossrail's £15.9 billion price tag) also include a future inflation forecast, however, delays mean further inflation beyond that. Note that it's not just general inflation that's relevant here: some products or services used in construction can see unit costs increase much more strongly.

  • Interest: if a project is financed with loans, there will be periods of maturity and interest rates to meet. Thus delays might mean paying more or before there is income, which in turn might make a refinancing with even more loans necessary.

  • Wages and rent: the re-scheduling of construction over a longer period of time might reduce the load on the annual budget, however, overall costs increase because wages for part of the workforce and rent for the sites and some equipment will have to be paid for longer.

  • Standards: over the long time a mega-project is realised, both the applied technologies and the requirements by law might change, and such changes might bring higher costs. This is especially true for HSR projects over the past few decades: tunnels dimensioned and equipped for fire safety, ballast-less track, noise protection, urban sections are all significant cost boosters.

Three of the above played a significant role for KTX:

  • In the five years between the basic plan and the start of serious construction work, wages in the construction sector tripled;
  • construction of the line was separated into two phases following the 1997–1998 Asian Crisis, to please the IMF with budget cuts;
  • fire safety standards for tunnels were introduced only when the first phase was already built, the second phase got ballast-less track, and two city-crossing sections (and three extra stations) were (re)added to the project in 2006.

A KTX-I train on a test run on the ballast-less track of the new section at Deokcheon-ri in September. Photo from Digital Kookje


Disputes un/like in Europe

The delay of the sections across Daejeon and Daegu was owed to long disputes with the cities over the routing: shall it be on ground, in tunnel, above ground; crossing or bypassing the city, or both? Such disputes are common in Europe. What is less common is changing plans back and forth several times while the rest of the line is already in construction.

Another thing common in Europe is conflict with environmentalists and conservationists. But things get exotic with South Korea's most publicised environmental conflict: the salamanders vs. KTX case.

On Mount Cheonseong, south-west of Ulsan, there are some protected mountaintop wetland areas, and in one of these, a rare kind of salamander was discovered. In the plans for the second phase of the Seoul–Busan KTX line, Wonhyo tunnel (second-longest on the line as well as in Korea at 13.27 km) was to pass right underneath, thus there was a non-zero risk of hitting and draining aquifers.

The government refused to change plans. However, the protests grew and gained a nationwide, even international prominence when Buddhist nun the Venerable Ji Yul Sunim joined in, and started four hunger strikes in succession. Ji Yul & co also went to the courts, sought to make the salamanders co-plaintiffs, and hundreds turned up to testify in their stead.

Salamander tapestry and live feed from Ji Yul in Seoul on the 84th day of the hunger strike that eventually achieved the halt in construction in 2005. Photos from the communist(!) Korean Action against Dispatch of Troops

Ultimately, the battle ended in complete defeat for the environmentalists: the High Court did not recognise the salamanders as legal person, and construction proceeded according to original plans. Be it due to fortune or because builders paid extra attention to avoid negative publicity, no aquifer was drained.

One might wonder why people were mobilised by this issue, while highways, road construction or sprawl have a much stronger effect on pristine areas than a tunnel deep below. However, at least to Ji Yul's credit, I note that currently she is documenting and protesting a massive river development project, a rather stronger intervention into nature.


Traffic

In Europe, a high-speed service with more than ten thousand passengers a day can be considered well-frequented, and not a single one got to more tan three times of that in its first year. In comparison, KTX's initial ridership in 2004 was astronomic – still, it was half of the final forecast, and a third of what was in the original plans.

One reason is the end of 'limitless' economic growth. Another is speed: the very first plans (and ridership forecasts) foresaw 350 km/h trains covering the Seoul–Busan distance in 90 minutes, but the first phase realised only 300 km/h and 160 minutes. (The now opening second phase cuts the time to 138 minutes, KTX-III trains shall bring it down to 110 minutes.)

A third reason is that the parallel improvement of urban mass transit connections to intermediate stations was put on a back-burner. A fourth reason was the policy to set ticket prices halfway between conventional express and airline tickets. The last two problems were alleviated with discounts and a selective price cut, bringing the fare on some intermediate relations almost down to conventional train level.

In the end, KTX showed solid growth (until the Global Financial Crisis hit).

KTX was a definite success in terms of market share.

Even the new budget airlines failed to dent KTX's market share – until they got help from a railway: the new subway link to Seoul's Gimpo airport (opened a year ago) made them competitive on travel time to South Seoul. But now KTX is changing that calculation again.


Responding to customer demand

The loads of KTX passengers drawn from airlines and cars weren't used to seats facing backwards. Thus all seats of the KTX-II are swivelling seats which can be turned around at terminuses – something appearing in Europe only now.

A funnier issue is top speed. KTX trains have video screens showing movies, and also the train's actual speed. Train speed is not constant: it reduces slightly when the train is climbing grades, entering tunnels or negotiating curves. But Korail was flooded by complaints from passengers who could only snap pictures of 29x on the screen, not the advertised 300 mark. The solution: top speed was simply raised to 305 km/h!


Network expansion

Back in January 2005, when KTX's failure to meet forecasts was a national scandal, the government wanted to shelve the project of a second high-speed line. However, as KTX turned into a success and a part of the "Korean way of life", the second KTX line became a matter of not being left on the sidelines for locals. Thus politicians competed with promises to bring the project back on track, and it is in the works since last year.

Perhaps more significant is the KTX's effect on conventional lines. When the IMF forced the staging of the original project, and made the second line a distant dream, parts of the parallel conventional lines were upgraded so that the trains can reach their originally intended destinations. Then the experience gained led to bolder upgrades and even new lines elsewhere in the country – by early this year, practically the entire mainline network is foreseen for (or already subject to) total reconstruction.

Map adapted from JoongAng Daily

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Display:
South Korea treats high-speed rail as an object of national prestige -- and export opportunity, trying to market it in Turkey, Brazil and the USA. However, as shown in the Salon, South Korea's plans for 2015 have already been overtaken by China.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Oct 30th, 2010 at 08:11:17 PM EST
Your really wonderful pictures of trains, and the informative, useful and well-resourced material you provide, help make ET the special place it is. Thanks, DoDo!
by sgr2 on Sun Oct 31st, 2010 at 10:23:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The loads of KTX passengers drawn from airlines and cars weren't used to seats facing backwards. Thus all seats of the KTX-II are swivelling seats which can be turned around at terminuses - something appearing in Europe only now.

A very low-tech version of this has been standard in New York-area commuter trains for ages....

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Oct 31st, 2010 at 03:29:33 AM EST
That's interesting. I heard that there have been swivelling seats in the USA for longer; but why on commuter trains?

As for why there was no significant demand for this in Europe, I can only speculate: here, speed increases weren't as dramatic in relative terms as in South Korea, that is, f.e. passengers who got used to travelling in backward facing seats at 200 km/h on the Le Capitole had not much trouble with the TGV's initial speed of 260 km/h.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Oct 31st, 2010 at 04:46:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They don't swivel. The whole bench has a hinge so that they can be flipped to face the other direction. Typically, the conductor flips them all at the end of the journey, but you can flip one yourself so that a group of people can travel facing each other (assuming the conductor is one who doesn't object.)
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Oct 31st, 2010 at 07:27:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As a kid in Leicester, one favourite and noisy event was 'reversing' the seats backs on trams when they got to the terminus. A slatted wooden bench seat had an upright slatted back hinged at the ends of the bench.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Oct 31st, 2010 at 05:52:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But Korail was flooded by complaints from passengers who could only snap pictures of 29x on the screen, not the advertised 300 mark. The solution: top speed was simply raised to 305 km/h!
Ha ha ha. Only in Korea!

The connection to Jeju Island (population 560,000, 85 km tunnel or bridge) seems a very faraway, improbable, grandiose dream.

Environmental protests: Koreans have somewhat of an itch to protest and challenge the government. Student protests in the 80s against military dictatorship, labor conflicts, recent massive protests over imported beef. Much of this has a theatrical component like the physical altercations in parliament.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Sun Oct 31st, 2010 at 09:35:47 AM EST
The connection to Jeju Island (population 560,000, 85 km tunnel or bridge) seems a very faraway, improbable, grandiose dream.

Yep, just one level down from madness like the daydreams about the Korea-Japan and Korea-China tunnels.

Korea Train Express - Wikipedia

In January 2009, Korea Transport Institute also proposed a 167 km (104 mi) line from Mokpo to Jeju Island, putting Jeju 2 hours 26 minutes from Seoul.[33] The line would include a 28 km (17 mi) bridge from Haenam to Bogul Island and a 73 km (45 mi) undersea tunnel from Bogil Island to Jeju Island (with a drilling station on Chuja Island), for an estimated cost of US$10 billion.[33] As the proposal was popular with lawmakers from South Jeolla province, the government is conducting a feasibility study, but the governor of Jeju expressed skepticism.[34]

I'd doubt even that US$10 billion estimate. Then again, the governor expressed scepticism because he wants airport expansion instead.

(BTW, I forgot to mention: for those interested in the KTX system in more detail or more in-depth, read the linked Wikipedia article and the articles on individual lines linked from it -- I wrote more than 90% of all :-) )

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Oct 31st, 2010 at 10:47:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jeju Island (population 560,000

Note: the proposal had to do with the island being a popular tourist resort; extra demand comparable to the flood of vacationing Madrileans justifying the Córdoba-Málaga line. Still, even if annual demand is a few million people, it's far away from a number justifying US$10 billion.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Oct 31st, 2010 at 10:51:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even more than this: Jeju Island is the de rigueur honeymoon destination for all Korean newlyweds; this is why it is so popular.
by Bernard on Tue Nov 2nd, 2010 at 11:29:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One might wonder why people were mobilised by this issue, while highways, road construction or sprawl have a much stronger effect on pristine areas than a tunnel deep below.

The Greens (or at least the press coverage of them) in Italy seem to suffer from the same problem. One of them was even quoted claiming that high-speed rail makes no sense as flights are so cheap...

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Oct 31st, 2010 at 09:55:10 AM EST
Sigh...

I'm always of two minds when such protests go on. And at least in Korea's case, environmental protests could be a very necessary means to hold construction companies responsible, whatever they build -- from what I read, shoddy work and construction accidents leading to pollution or 'civilian' casualties are a bit too common, in spite of media attention. For example, I can kind of understand when some citizens of Daegu had second thoughts about a tunnel construction after this:

100 die in hail of steel after Korea gas blast - World, News - The Independent

The explosion, caused by a leaking gas main at a subway construction site, hurled cars, trucks and buses into the air.Thousands of steel plates being used as a temporary road surface were also thrown through the air in a deadly hail, crushing and dismembering pedestrians. "I heard a loud bang and flames rose about 50 metres into the air, taking with it steel plates," a taxi driver said.

Gusts Of Popular Feeling: The dark side of the 'Miracle on the Han'

The 'national humiliation' of the Seongsu Bridge collapse would, unfortunately, pale in comparison to the 101 killed and 202 injured six months later in the April 28, 1995 Daegu gas explosion...



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Oct 31st, 2010 at 11:11:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps more significant is the KTX's effect on conventional lines. When the IMF forced the staging of the original project, and made the second line a distant dream, parts of the parallel conventional lines were upgraded so that the trains can reach their destinations. Then the experience gained led to bolder upgrades and even new lines elsewhere in the country -- by early this year, practically the entire mainline network is foreseen for (or already subject to) total reconstruction.

Hong Sang-soo's film The Power of Kangwon Province (1998) has characters taking a Gyeongchun Line (I think) train as part of a journey to Seoraksan. One of the carriages is an open plan sleeping car (rather like Soviet platskartny and Chinese hard class). When the upgrade of the Gyeongchun Line is complete in December, the entire line will become part of the Seoul subway. The reduction in journey times must be pretty spectacular.

From Dodopedia: :)

The line is being upgraded into an electrified and double-tracked line for 180 km/h.  Between Geumgok and Chuncheon, from 1997 until 2010, the line was re-laid in a straighter, 64.2 km long alignment with a budget of 2.151,931 billion won. The remaining 17.9 km of the upgraded line was built with a separate budget of 574.124 billion won. Towards Seoul, after Toegyewon Station, the new line diverges from the old alignment that ended in Seongbuk Station, and will be reconnected to the Jungang Line at Mangu Station. When the current renovations are complete in December 2010, the entire line will be added to the Seoul Metropolitan Subway system, bringing that system from Seoul all the way into Gangwon-do.
by Gag Halfrunt on Sun Oct 31st, 2010 at 03:14:30 PM EST
Ha! Indeed I wrote all but the last sentence quoted... Incidentally, I was thinking about illustrating the line upgrades with a photo of the old and new Gyeongchun Line, but those I found appear to be copyrighted. Check them out where I found them on SkysraperCity.

As for The Power of Kangwon Province, I hope I come across it sometime...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Oct 31st, 2010 at 04:28:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I read that thread too. :) Are you a member at SkyscraperCity? (I am, under the same name.)
by Gag Halfrunt on Sun Oct 31st, 2010 at 05:35:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nah, but I frequently go there when looking for images for my diaries.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Oct 31st, 2010 at 06:23:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"This growth was created by an especially close collusion of the state and domestic Big Business: depending on how you look at it, you could call it proactive development policy, or guided capitalism, or corporatocracy, or institutionalised corruption."

Makes you wonder what it took for Alsthom to win the order.

Hyundai/Rotem has been fairly aggressive in getting into the US market. No high speed trainsets yet (of course) but they've won a messy EMU contract for Philadelphia, double deck coaches for Boston and LA and most recently an EMU order for Denver. The Philly order was won only after a particularly bloody battle with Kawasaki. This plus lots of technical delays made delivery almost two years late.

by Jace on Mon Nov 1st, 2010 at 10:58:11 AM EST
Makes you wonder what it took for Alsthom to win the order.

Giving away (not the newest) technology, of course :-) There was no domestic competitor, there was tech transfer. There was, however, fierce competition between GEC-Alsthom, Siemens and Mitsubishi, thus GEC-Alsthom/Alstom had not much of a profit margin at the end of the day (just a future competitor with its own technology). That's why they teamed up with Siemens in Taiwan -- an adventure that ended badly for other reasons.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Nov 1st, 2010 at 04:05:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"There was no domestic competitor, there was tech transfer."

I've never really understood this strategy. It seems like transferring technology to markets with large scale competitors may gain you initial entry but unless you plan on setting up long term production, it's suicidal in the long run. Of course China is taking this to the logical extreme in that they're now using this same technology to enter the European market.

As you may know, in the US the carbuilders have to transfer production here to be eligible for federal funds under good old Buy America. While this policy has got its weaknesses (including higher costs, corruption and limits on technological development), it actually helps the builders who do invest here as transferring production makes technology transfer between would-be competitors straight forward: there is none! Protectionism at its best but then again we know what to look out for having done the same thing as China in building up our industrial base 100+ years ago.

by Jace on Tue Nov 2nd, 2010 at 08:59:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Alstom's tech transfer strategy was to not sell the newest technology. The KTX-I was second-generation TGV, while Alstom was already developing the third generation when it won the tender, and was developing the AGV when KTX opened. Then again, Alstom's strategy did not help it to much more contracts. China indeed demanded state-of-the-art technology with near-complete transfer, and quickly set on developing the imported technology further than the original makers -- at least in maximum speed. However, one might have doubts about the quality of production, the Chinese makers have yet to develop a non-wide-bodied export version of any CRH type, and major European railways (I'm not counting privatised British railways here BTW) tend to order from suppliers they know and trust; so eventual competition in the HSR sector can be more expected in third countries. (On all of this, also see Globalisation catches up with rail industry?)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Nov 3rd, 2010 at 06:58:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A significant difference between the way highways are funded and railways are funded lies in the value of partial upgrades.  High speed rail is generally built as a new project from scratch whereas highways are upgraded piecemeal, often creating strong pressure to complete the project: Build a dual carriageway for some section, then return to a one lane each way highway and people will talk about finishing that section of before the road is even finished.

Why isn't the same strategy useful for high speed rail?

by njh on Fri Nov 5th, 2010 at 07:40:09 PM EST
Because of the differences in top speed and acceleration. High-speed rail brings a real time improvement only if trains can run at top speed continuously for a significant distance. If construction is broken into 10-20 km segments like on highways, top speed won't even be reached by the end of an isolated section.

Note though that in practice, piecemeal construction for high speeds (200-250 km/h) does happen, on projects foreseeing the upgrade and limited re-alignment of existing lines. Examples: Karlsruhe-Basel in Germany, Vienna-Linz in Austria, West Coast Mainline in the UK, and Athens-Thessaloniki in Greece. This is supposed to be high-speed line construction on the cheap, however, in practice, it was the opposite in all four cases: the result was a combination of limited time savings little noticed by passengers, and high costs due to inflation and many unexpected construction problems (existing infrastructure in the way or bad geology).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Nov 5th, 2010 at 08:20:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I just posted about acceleration (http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2010/11/5/145342/744#16) for exactly this point.  But a 50km section is workable at 300km/hour - that's the distance between stations on the TGV right?  That's a different league (well, 10 actually) to a completely new line over 500km.
by njh on Fri Nov 5th, 2010 at 08:29:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, stations on high-speed lines can be as little as 30 km apart. But it's not a typical stopping distance. Many operators run trains with different stopping patterns, giving longer distances. The fastest scheduled Seoul-Busan trains, for example, have three sections between stops that are each about 130 km (the fourth, 22 km interval is in Seoul and not high speed).

An additional note on this: you can still have pretty good average travel times over 50 km if both stations are on the high-speed line. If you build piecemeal, you have to connect to conventional lines, and the connections and the conventional lines until stations will reduce the time savings.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Nov 6th, 2010 at 10:37:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Many operators run trains with different stopping patterns, giving longer distances.

Do you mean a skip-stop system or a local-express one?  

by MarekNYC on Sat Nov 6th, 2010 at 11:37:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good question; both :-) To stay with the KTX example: in the current timetable, from Seoul to Busan, there are four main stops where all trains call, and 3/1/2 secondary stops between those. All trains skip at least one secondary stop, some skip all, with the full range of variation in-between. (SNCF does the same with regional trains in some rural regions -- that's pretty anti-leisure-traveller of them.)

BTW, long time no see!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Nov 6th, 2010 at 01:01:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On the Paris-Lyons-Marseilles line, most trains never stop in Lyons but go straight to the south, for example...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Nov 8th, 2010 at 05:00:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So build the piecemeal sections such that they give good run times.

I'm imagining connecting one medium town centre to the next, with 300km/hour running in between.  As demand ramps up, bypasses are built (tunnelling under the town or going around).

by njh on Sat Nov 6th, 2010 at 07:13:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, in effect, that is happening in South Korea and parts of Spain.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Nov 8th, 2010 at 03:16:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo can correct me if I am wrong, but I am under the impression that with highspeed and old running on different railways, you get to keep the advantages of the old network with its many stops. So while the high-speed increases long distance rail, old network connect the long distance stations to more population centers, giving the rail network more nodes.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Nov 8th, 2010 at 04:54:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep, at least when it is run that way. Again there is an interesting development to note from South Korea. While it was generally expected that Korail will simply transfer all Seoul-Busan KTX services to the high-speed line when the last third is completed, they not only kept some trains on the old route (first two-thirds on the high-speed line and last third on the conventional line), but increased the frequency of trains stopping at stations along that conventional line section -- and introduced more trains with a new route, serving a city along the conventional line on the first third and then continuing on the high-speed line.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Nov 8th, 2010 at 03:24:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Has it been successful?
by njh on Tue Nov 9th, 2010 at 06:14:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's day 10 of the new service, methinks too early to tell.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Nov 10th, 2010 at 04:09:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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