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Train is very suitable for the overnight travel ; there is probably a market share for that on the cross country lines like NY-LA ; getting into the train in the evening, reaching destination in the morning, which is more enjoyable than the 6 hours long flight which ends up eating a whole day anyway. Long range high speed train hasn't yet been really set up in Europe, but its time might come in the US.

HST and what you call Express lines are thoroughly codependent. In France for example, smaller cities not far from the high-speed corridor do get direct trips along the corridor : eg see Paris and Lyons, two big cities 600km away, first HST line in France ; Grenoble is about 100km from Lyons, and has direct lines to Paris. i.e. all cities 'close to the corridor, even if they are not large enough to get a the new lines built to the city itself, are in effect part of the corridor.  Very important in getting more politicians on board :)

(You wouldn't believe how much was done to get the TGV in some places ; Les Sables d'Olonnes, a seaside resort, has no electrified railway. So for the end of the trip the TGV train is pulled by a diesel...)

Oh, and about train speed, a new high speed record is coming on a railway east of Paris at the beginning of april. Probably over 300mph.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 08:35:20 PM EST
In the policy discussion from which this emerged, its the travel time that will qualify a project, and how they accomplish that is largely up to the project proposers, provided they fall within the general envelope and system standard that would allow services that cross over project boundaries.

For example, Pittsburgh / Columbus / Indianapolis / Chicago and Chicago / Milwaukee / Minneapolis would be able to support a Columbus / Milwaukee service, if the travel markets and timing made that a viable service to add.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 09:03:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well said.

Regarding the last, the world record of the TGV Atlantique was already above (515.3 km/h = 320.2 mph). On 13 February, the TGV Est test train already reached an inofficial world record of 553 km/h (343.6 mph). Here you see it at a moment it goes 544 km/h, throwing sparks:

a little later:



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

by DoDo on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 09:06:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mixed up my mphs and kphs. Wondering how fast the record run might go, 580kph?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 10:42:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As the world speed record set by the Japanese maglev in 2003 is 581 km/h, despite all low-key formulations by SNCF and Alstom officials, I think inofficially they are eyeing that threshold...

But I'd hope these tests also make practical sense, as an extreme test of the technology of the next generation of TGVs (chiefly: at last switch to distributed traction [a first in high-speed Jacobs, that is between-the-cars bogies], that with the next best electric motor type [permanent magnet synchronous] and state-of-the-art power electronics [IGBT]).

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

by DoDo on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 04:06:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can win a seat in the record train.

Here is the SNCF drawing lots web site

Good luck!

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 05:58:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the link!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 06:38:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On the integration, I am assuming something like the following:

... with the central track flying over to join the Express Rail network.

Note that "Express Rail" doesn't mean much of anything from a European perspective, its kind of adding a line to European main national grid standard with priority access to the adjoining bulk freight line for Express passenger and freight overtaking and crossing operations.

So some HSR rail services between Sacramento and Los Angeles would run express and stay in the corridor, and others would come out for Fresno or Bakersville or wherever and then re-enter to continue.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 09:12:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's hard to think in the American single-track-as-default way of mind ;) Trains going both ways on a single track, great way to get accidents, and trouble scheduling.

Here in France single tracks lines are dying or tourist only, most tracks are doubled, and around Paris not a few see 4 or 6 parallel tracks for reasonable distances...

OTOH freight around here has a minimal market share which is a big problem. And focus on high speed means that Express and local trains are underfunded.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 10:49:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They cope with scheduling by, 1, making the trains longer and, 2, running the bulk freight behind schedule when there is a conflict.

Its a self-fulfilling prophecy. The major transport task is time-insensitive, weight-charge-sensitive freight. Ergo, if you can save enough money to trim down the charge per ton at the cost of sometimes running half a day behind schedule, that's a good swap. But then you have a rail network that cannot run passenger trains at full speed because they are giving way to a late running coal train.

Suppose you have an Express and a bulk freight running eastbound, and another pair of the same running westbound. The bulk freights hold, one of the Express switches to the bulk freight line, the Express pass, then the bulk freights pass.

Hit the capacity limits for that set-up, and shift to a two-way Express/Local and bi-directional bulk freight line.

Hit the capacity limits for that set-up, and shift to two way Express-Only and two way Local/Bulk.

And for most ROW in the US, four tracks and they are built out.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 12:30:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A ray of hope on the freight front is EU-wide cooperation. The most profitable distance for railfreight happens to be a range (say around 800 km) that would cross most European borders. But borders are the main barriers, as I detailed in richardk's high speed thread. France had problematic rail borders with Britain, Spain -- and Germany, where the two biggest rail technology rivals kept blocking access by each other. But in the last few years they began to cooperate better, say the introduction and mutual acceptance of dual-system locos. On the medium term, the Spanish re-gauging plan should help to increase traffic there too. As for Britain, solving the misery of the Eurotunnel freight transit would need political will (either pushing through SNCF acceptance of Eurotunnel-run services on its lines, or state involvement in Eurotunnel).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 04:23:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is true that focus on TGV has damaged the inter-regional express trains, but in many regions, it has boosted the development of local express trains (TER) with schedules coordinated with TGV.

I am a regular TGV user since 1981 and I still find it a fantastic way to travel. The 3 hours limit is not absolute: I also use TGV to go from Lyon to Brussels and back, which takes a little less than 4 hours. Compared to flying to there (around 3 hours from city centre to city centre), it's much more comfortable and reliable, with plenty of time to work or relax.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 05:52:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
TER has gotten worst rather than better in the last half century. Now that SNCF has gotten regions to pony up, it is starting to get better, but maintenance is underfunded, and many trains are a bit old. Smaller lines are being closed even though they have  market (my personal pet peeve being Grenoble-Aix, a very nice track going through great scenery. It is almost impossible to buy tickets for that line through the internet ticket sell ; and people in the Durance valley take a coach rather than the underscheduled train...)

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 06:02:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rhône-Alpes is probably a pioneer region in this field, but there is a good TER network, more and more equipped with fast, modern regional trains like this one:

 

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 06:46:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Grenoble-Veynes line that is disappearing is actually a Rhônes-Alpes TER lines... But since it is of little interest for the region (going into another, PACA), it is dying out. The cars are old and decrepit. In the maintime, parallel to that line, a motorway is being built from Grenoble to Sisteron...

And of course, because of the regional financing, a logical line such as Grenoble-Aix-Marseille doesn't exist. I'd bet one can find examples like this all across France.


Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 06:55:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, that's what I said about inter-regional lines...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 07:41:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was speaking more precisely of the inter-regional, not really express lines (rather thanlong distance intercity such as, say, Bordeaux-Lyon or Lyon-Strasbourg which I felt you were referring to). Grenoble-Veynes is probably running under 100kph for most of its length :)

It's also a spectacular line... a couple photos :

Just found a nice French wiki on trains, and a nice website that seems to have a wealth of train-related informations.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 07:34:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a wonderful line. But what I dream of is to travel across the Massif Central in a not too distant summer, and there, the cull of scenic lines has been severe...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 04:36:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You should take a look at this : la liaison ferroviaire Bordeaux Limoges Lyon

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 08:12:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...and not just France.

In the German language, Provinzialismus (provincialism) and the connected word Kleinstaaterei (appr. 'statelet-ism') has some strong historic connotations. During the latter time of the many German states and statelets, and then until WWI when the constituents of unified Germany retained significant autonomies, all-German nationalists applied the above words for any problems arising from the application of local sovereignity/autonomy. But one field where there was definitely more to it than the clash of rival identities was railways: there were compatibility issues, over-expensive projects kept within single statelet borders, unreasonable parallel projects, and needed but unrealised cross-border lines. Some of those were built post-WWI. But from the mid-nineteen-nineties, it's back to 19th-century conditions: the same financing mode also applied in France led to a dying of services on branchlines crossing the borders of the Länder.

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

by DoDo on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 06:30:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way, regarding branching off (not just) high-speed lines, that is a constant hobby-horse of mine...

The simplest solution is branching like a tree:

No superstructures, just four switches (like the one below: not only the end but the centerpiece is movable, too), one train passes three of them.

But such a simple bifurcation (AFAIK the one at Courtalain on the LGV Atlantique was such for some transitional time) is a bottleneck. To allow two trains to pass, you need at least one bridge:

If train control foresees switching tracks there must be such switches on one arm. So one superstructure, six switches, one train passes 3(4). Most high-speed line connections and bifurcations are like this.   Most of them in Italy, as the Italian high-speed philosophy involves connections to conventional lines every 30-50 km, often built out in a pharaonic way:

On a very busy line, it would be ideal if track-changing at the branching would be level-separated, too. What to do? One could double the tree:

But 4 superstructures, 14 switches, every train passing 5 -- expensive, and this number of routes is overkill. The following still  does all 12 cases, but spares 2-2 bridges and switches, and switch passages for one train can be 3-4.



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

by DoDo on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 06:12:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My focus above is on branch/main line junctions, rather than main/main line junctions, and branch/main junctions should be designed so that through services run through without switching. And this being the US, on a switch onto the end of the branch line (if the branch is to be accessed two-way, this is on the other side of the flyover, not in the main corridor)

So:

  • pull the main line alignment apart to allow a central track;
  • have the switching loop branch off one of the two main lines;
  • have the other main line switch onto that; and
  • fly the switching loop out of the main line corridor.

There is at least one switch on the branch line end, more if its a dual-track line or a t-intersection for access in both directions. If its a two-way Express alignment, then it would have the identical alignment on that end, so four switches total to interconnect the HSR corridor with a two way Express alignment. Add two more switches if a standing loop is required on the interconnection line.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 11:12:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My focus above is on branch/main line junctions, rather than main/main line junctions

The switches used being high-speed switches, what I posted applies equally for 'branch/main' and 'main/main'. What may have been confusing is that I just didn't draw up the other end where the branch reaches the conventional line, which can be built as a mirror image of the high-speed junction, or simpler, depending on line speed and frequency (and number of tracks). The lots of Italian interconnections mentioned (& photo-documented -- the one shown is the Interconnessione Cassino, at the foot of famed WWII flashpoint Monte Cassino) are such.

For single-track access (which I'd generally advise against -- keept it double-track at least on the acceleration length, or until it connects to the conventional line), yours is fine, except if you fly over only from one side and connect on the other side, the through tracks can remain straight.

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

by DoDo on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 12:00:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, its the same number of switches, the central access is more space conserving, the two separate flyovers more flexible. Looks like a footprint / cost / frequency tradeoff to me.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 12:58:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... system is unsuitable for the US because the rail slope is different, so equipment that runs on the specialized high speed corridor cannot run on the regular rail system.

He quotes 30% grinding on high speed TGV and 20% grinding on "regular rail around the world" (except for light rail, which is sometimes 0% slope).


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 01:01:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Could you give a link for that comment? It appears that fella' is talking BS, but maybe some details got lost and I'm not familiar enough with North American rail terminology. But assuming it's not my failt, my reply would be:

It is true that US rail and wheel profile is different from the European one, but you solve that by changing both (after all, when the German ICE made a demonstration tour of the US 15 years ago, its wheels were replaced), and it is not a function of high-speed or conventional. (After all, as others said, many French TGVs continue their travel to destinations along conventional lines, say Paris-Bordeaux, which is high-speed less than half-way, only until Tours.)

The grinding rate I know about is a measure of maintenance needs: how much of a line has to be grinded a year to correct rail surface errors. As such it has nothing to do with compatibility with conventional lines. (And on some heavily-used TGV lines, the grinding rate can be not just 30% but up to 50%.)

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

by DoDo on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 04:15:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't, its an internal discussion. But the assertion is that the track geometry for the the highest speed TGV's is 30% slope, the track geometry for "regular rail everywhere in the world" is 20% slope, therefore high-speed TGV's are restricted to TGV only track almost exclusively.

Is the distinction between the highest speed corridors and the lower speed corridors track geometry or the actual layout of the track ... curve radius, etc?

My belief is that he has received a garbled interpretation of a poorly understood fact from the middle of one of those pointless arguments between Express Rail and HSR.

However, I had only inferred the opposite from what I had gathered regarding TGV's, and did not know it directly.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 04:35:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is the distinction between the highest speed corridors and the lower speed corridors track geometry or the actual layout of the track ... curve radius, etc?

Basically the latter: key factors are minimum curve radius, distance of the two tracks and distance from buildings/walls, switches. But other requirements are: stronger and more tense catenary, special signalling and train control system, and a number of safety measures (like sensors for cars falling off bridges).

To bolster you even further, here is a picture of what someone referred to upthread, a TGV pulled by a diesel on the last leg of the Paris--Les-Sables-d'Olonne journey along a really really conventional track:



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

by DoDo on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 05:23:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There very few places that have a catenary structure at all, so the HSR would be defining the strength and tension of the catenory for the bulk of the country.

;)


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 06:41:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thinking about it, one possibility for what he/you may have meant: rail inclination. That is really about slope, rails being tilted inward, and 1:20 is one of the typical values, and the one preferred for high-speed. However, it is not necessary -- for example German lines have 1:40, the other common value in Europe. But what you should tell your commenter is that international trains in Europe often traverse sections alternating between 1:20 and 1:40, in fact it can vary between these values on the same line (say there is fixed track in a tunnel) -- it is no compatibility problem, only the forces and wear are different.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 04:59:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He's use 20% and 30% as values, so it can't be inclination, which in percentage slope terms are like 2.5% and 5%.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 05:03:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Re-reading (I often get confused what with being exposed to both technical and non-technical railroading language from three continents), that does appear to be it.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 05:07:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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