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to Frankfurt and Stuttgart.
I collected some current data on the border-crossing lines.
Due to still unfinished works on the Frankfurt leg (renovation of Saarbrücken station and the line until Kaiserslautern), Paris-Frankfurt will start at 4h11m, cut to 3h49m at the end of the year. Top speed is generally 160km/h until the Rhine valley, even just 80-120 km/h across mountains. It will be raised to 200 km/h on two thirds of the line only after further works and testing of new signalling, plan is 2008, I place my bet on 2010. This will bring only a few minutes, the Mannheim-Frankfurt line will bring more -- as things now look, in 2017...
The Rhine bridge at Strasbourg and the connecting line of Germany's Right-bank Rhine Valley Line is only for 160 km/h and single-track, a new bridge and 200 km/h will be built probably 2008-10.
The second leg of the LGV Est Européenne proper high-speed line is now slated for 2014, with preliminary works already begun. But I wonder how much the French construction companies will take with a 4-km tunnel under the Vosges.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
1) German ICE-3 trains:
These eight-car trains have two wheelchair-fastening places in the non-bistro middle car -- car No. 24, seats no. 65 and 67, between a 2nd-class compartment and a child facility, with a toilet for the disabled ("Behindertengerechtes WC") beyond the latter. The bar is just next in the neighbouring car. (Check groundplan of the train, car No. 24 is fifth from top.)
German railways DB has a so-called Mobilitätsservize, a special branch that, in case of no fixed ramp, will arrange for a mobile lift in any station for long-distance trains after a call a day before the travel, like this:
You can download a full brochure for the disabled [pdf!] in English.
2) French TGV POS trains:
In all TGVs, there is a four-seater compartment for passengers with wheelchairs at the first-class end of the train (car R1), though tickets for it are second-class. There is a button to call the conductor, who can bring special compact wheelchairs for moving on-board.
By booking a seat in the wheelchair zone 24 hours ahead, the boarding help service is activated in the appropiate stations. Read more here.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
I have another solution. I get out of my chair just before the door, and buttwalk down the car's steps to the last step before the quai, drag my chair down and over my head, unfold it on the quai, and make the transfer. Only risk is that the front wheels will fall into the gap between the car and the quai. Big gap is scary. I need to press gang another passenger or two to hold up on the front of the chair and/or balance the back-- there are lots of people who see the need right away, and someone will usually step up and do it without a word, in France.
No ramp involved, but good upper body strength is needed. Grimy pants, but beats the alternative. Would be tough for a Para, impossible for a Quad, however. That ramp for the TGV could easily be a collapsing unit, stowed on board. There is such a ramp, but it appears only rarely- I dunno the problem. I politic for this ramp each time I travel, but with no apparent effect. Duh. I's only the user, boss.
Thank you, Dodo. A real help.
Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
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