Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Some projects I'd like to see advanced for strategic reasons.

  • One I discussed here in April 2007 is in France. I wrote that the Paris-Lyon main trunk of the Southeast network is near saturation level in rush-hour already, but it is supposed to carry the traffic boosted by all the additional lines there. A Paris-St. Étienne-Valence line, bypassing Lyon, could separate off the Paris-Mediterranean traffic. Something similar is advocated now in the framework of Transline, and the new long-term programme presented by Sarko includes the Paris-Orléans-Clermont-Ferrand part.

  • An East-West corridor from Paris to Bratislava/Budapest is supposed to be the EU's top priority project, but, as I lament periodically, that's all smoke and mirrors. A key piece not even on drawing boards, though not cheap, could be Vendenheim[future end of TGV Est North of Strasbourg]-Karlsruhe-Stuttgart. In addition to speeding up the big EU East-West corridor by up to an hour, it could serve Paris-Frankfurt, North Germany - Western Mediterranean, and domestic South German traffic.

  • Munich is a big node on transit routes, yet has no through main station, and not even plans for high-speed lines -- even though separating express traffic would make sense on at least two of the connecting lines just for capacity reasons. So, methinks dusting off the "Munich 21" concept of a subterranean station, and then two 100 km lines (N to Ingolstadt and SE towards the Austrian border), would make more strategic sense than "Stuttgart 21".

  • In Austria, it was long discussed, but no one would commit themselves to a Salzburg-Linz high-speed line. But, at least the section used by Salzburg's suburban trains should be bypassed.

  • Germany is blocking further East-West trans-EU routes: Aachen-Düren (the gap between Brussels and Cologne) would be a real no-brainer, along the highway; and there is the issue of going East from Frankfurt (though that would be expensive).

  • Also in Germany, of the projects on the map, I consider the Hannover-Hamburg/Bremen "Y-Trasse" an idiocy. It is tailored for being the cheapest possible: the shortest route. However, by connecting to the existing Hamburg-Bremen line, not only would time savings be moderate, capacity problems would not be solved at all. Not to mention that the route would be across pristine areas. No wonder that lots of locals and environmentalists protest the plans, and private freight railways are negative, too; no wonder either that Germany's new government chose to put it on the backburner in the latest round of budget cuts.

    So: if I were DB's CEO, I would rather advocate an alternative Y, one paralleling the highways between the three cities: higher costs, but also higher benefits. (The argument is made in German here by Markus Groebe, too.)

  • Sweden is disussing an Y of its own, from Stockholm to Gothenburg and Malmö. I say go for it...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 10:16:35 AM EST

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