Sun Oct 16th, 2011 at 08:55:10 AM EST
It was suggested that I spin off my Special Focus Rail in Friday Salons into a separate diary. Here is the first attempt: rail news with short commentary, this time four items.
Euregiobahn is a couple of local train services around Aachen operated as a separate unit under former federal railways DB for a decade now. With new diesel multiple units (DMUs), renewed stations, restored branchlines and some new cutoffs, it was a successful model of local passenger rail revival with local government support. A metropolitan area, however, deserves something more like an S-Bahn system – a realisation that finally came to those sitting on the money pots.
frontpaged - Nomad
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|Deutsche Bahn: TGV nach Marseille ab März - ICE 3/BR 407 ab August- Nachrichten bei Eurailpress|| German Rail: TGV to Marseille from March 2013 - BR ICE 3/Class 407 from August - News at Eurailpress|
|Ab dem 23.03.2012 will die Deutsche Bahn und die SNCF ein neues Zugpaar zwischen Frankfurt/M. und Marseille mit Zwischenhalten in Mannheim, Karlsruhe, Baden-Baden, Straßburg, Mühlhausen, Belfort, Besançon, Chalon-sur-Saône bzw. Mâcon, Lyon, Avignon und Aix-en-Provence anbieten.||As of 23/03/2012 German railways DB and French railways SNCF want to offer a new pair of trains between Frankfurt/M and Marseilles, with stops at Mannheim, Karlsruhe, Baden-Baden, Strasbourg, Mulhouse, Belfort, Besançon, Chalon-sur-Saône or Mâcon, Lyon, Avignon and Aix-en-Provence.|
| Eingesetzt werden die neuen TGV 2N2, die spätestens zu diesem Termin auch zwischen Frankfurt und Paris über Saarbrücken zum Einsatz kommen.||The new service will be operated with the new TGV 2N2, which should also operate by this date at the latest between Frankfurt and Paris via Saarbrücken.|
| Unterdessen hat Siemens bestätigt, die neuen ICE 3/Velaro D nicht vor August an die DB AG abzuliefern, da der Bahnkonzern auf die Zulassung für Frankreich besteht.||Meanwhile, Siemens has confirmed that it won't deliver the new ICE 3/Velaro D to DB AG before August, because the railway company insisted on approval in France.|
The new service will use the new LGV Rhin–Rhône high-speed line between Belfort and Chalon-sur-Saône, which opens in two months (see recent Salon comment on the inauguration ceremony, another Salon comment 13 months ago on the first Velaro D plans for the Frankfurt–Marseille relation, and China's premier line on the Velaro D).
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Railway Gazette: Saudi Landbridge to go ahead as state project
SAUDI ARABIA: On October 10 the Council of Ministers decided to proceed with the Saudi Landbridge east-west freight line as a state-funded project.
The line linking Dammam on the Gulf with Jeddah Islamic Port on the Red Sea will be state owned and financed by the Public Investment Fund, with the operations contracted out. This is similar to the model adopted for the North-South Railway, where operations began earlier this year, and the future Haramain High Speed Rail line.
...The government had originally envisaged developing the Landbridge project using private finance through a public-private partnership. After four consortia has been shortlisted, the Tarabot consortium was named preferred bidder for a 50-year BOOT contract in April 2008, however financial terms could not subsequently be agreed. Industry insiders have suggested that investors were unwilling to take on the political and demand risks of such a long-term project, which is estimated to cost up to US$7bn.
Saudi Arabia was and still is the only state on the Arabian Peninsula with a significant rail network, but even that was constrained to a small part of the country (between Riyadh and the Gulf). Now it is in the process of constructing a country-wide network, along with urban rail projects.
The failure of the Saudi Landbridge build-own-operate-transfer scheme is yet another example for my contention that PPP for large rail schemes just doesn't work (for detailed arguments with the case of the Taiwan High Speed Rail BOT failure, see End of the tunnel in Taiwan). As for the current Saudi model: contracting out operation may make sense for Saudi Arabia in the case of passenger trains, not having any local companies with the proper experience; however, I don't see the point of contracting out the Saudi Landbridge instead of building on operator experience on the existing railway.
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Railway Gazette: SBB Cargo electro-diesel shunter unveiled
SWITZERLAND: The first of 30 Eem923 diesel-electric shunting locomotives ordered by SBB Cargo was unveiled at Stadler's Winterthur plant on October 14.
The Eem923 is based on the electric-only Ee922 used by SBB's passenger division, and can run at up to 100 km/h on 15 kV and 25 kV electrified main lines. It also has an 360 kW auxiliary diesel engine for 'last mile' operation on non-electrified sidings.
In hybrid multiple units, the inactive propulsion system is always a deadweight and reducer of useful floor area (examples I mentioned earlier: the "BiBi" version of SNCF's AGC regional multiple unit platform in From byproducts to variable stars: local multiple units, and Spanish railways RENFE's Talgo-made Class 730 high-speed trains).
Locomotives, however, need to be heavy to be able to exert high traction forces, and last-mile diesels are compact enough to replace ballast weight: neither of the drawbacks of multiple units applies. This is a new idea: the SBB loco is the first application I recall (first reported in this Salon comment), the second was already in a mainline electric locomotive, the latest version of Bombardier's TRAXX locomotive platform (see in this Salon comment). A drawing-board version of the last-mile diesel TRAXX is also marketed for the UK (see this Salon comment).
Why not electrify dieselised sidings instead? I raised some points here and discussed diesel shunters here; in addition, the traffic on some sidings is too light.
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