• european railroads

  • Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of North America.
Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of North America.

Moderators: Komachi, David Benton

  by rail10
 
how european railroads differ from north american railroads in general?

  by David Benton
 
one big difference , european railroads are predominately passenger orientated , whilst american railroads are predominately frieght orientated .

  by Thomas I
 
second big difference: european railroads have most of the mainlines electrified.
  by george matthews
 
rail10 wrote:how european railroads differ from north american railroads in general?
1. Large mileages of new tracks built in the last decade:
Germany: Neubaustrecke (new build high speed routes, partly to reflect the new states after reunification); and Aufbaustrecke (rebuilt lines)
2. Several new TGV routes in France, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium and even a short one in Britain.
3. In the US where there are long distance passenger routes there is usually no more than one train a day, in most countries of Europe frequency s much more often. One or more trains an hour are common.
4. There are very few single track main lines, and none in busy routes.
5. There are are no large cities without rail access.

In general rail is expanding in Europe; in the US at best it is static, and often declining. The US rail suffers from decades of non-investment.

In the US the permanent rise in oil prices is going to affect the dieselised trains; in Europe electricity is largely from nuclear and hydro and so is less likely to rise in price.

Freight is a problem in Europe. Despite years of attempts by the European Commission to speed up cross border trains there are still delays. But there are new freight routes being built, such as a line in the Netherlands to Germany, and a line in Belgium to Germany.

There are major construction projects in Switzerland which will allow lorries to be carried through the Alps (Switzerland really hates having smelly diesels on its roads and ruining the forests).

Long distance trains are suffering from the ultra-cheap airlines. I hope their fuel can be taxed to the same rate as terrestrial users.

One must note that most of Europe is fairly densely populated and therefore rail is more economical. Also cities are closer together than in the US.
  by Thomas I
 
george matthews wrote:
rail10 wrote:how european railroads differ from north american railroads in general?
1. Large mileages of new tracks built in the last decade:
Germany: Neubaustrecke (new build high speed routes, partly to reflect the new states after reunification); and Aufbaustrecke (rebuilt lines).
Were opened in the last two decades to be correct...
Construction times are more than 30 years in some cases....
george matthews wrote: 2. Several new TGV routes in France, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium and even a short one in Britain.
Don't forget the high-speed-limes in Spain!

george matthews wrote: 3. In the US where there are long distance passenger routes there is usually no more than one train a day, in most countries of Europe frequency s much more often. One or more trains an hour are common.

That is not a good comparison, long distance passenger routes in europe doesn't mean the same as in the USA.
Only a few trains have routes over more than 500miles...

In the North-East Amtrak has also more than one train on its routes...

george matthews wrote: 4. There are very few single track main lines, and none in busy routes.
If we speak about whole europe that isn't right.
Single track main lines are very common in Sveden, Norway, Finland, Spain and on the balkans.
And also in central europe are very busy single track main lines e.g. in Switzerland on the line Schaffhausen - Zürich, Zürich - Arth-Goldau -(Gotthard), Zürich - Luzern, Lausanne - Simplon or in Germany on Dortmund - Münster -(Hamburg)...
george matthews wrote: 5. There are are no large cities without rail access.

In general rail is expanding in Europe; in the US at best it is static, and often declining. The US rail suffers from decades of non-investment.

In the US the permanent rise in oil prices is going to affect the dieselised trains; in Europe electricity is largely from nuclear and hydro and so is less likely to rise in price.
Hydro is not importantly outside Switzerland and Austria.
Dont forget Coal and natural gas.
george matthews wrote: Freight is a problem in Europe. Despite years of attempts by the European Commission to speed up cross border trains there are still delays. But there are new freight routes being built, such as a line in the Netherlands to Germany, and a line in Belgium to Germany.
The problems are also technical. There are as many standards for electrification and siganlisation etc. as countries exist in europe...
george matthews wrote:There are major construction projects in Switzerland which will allow lorries to be carried through the Alps (Switzerland really hates having smelly diesels on its roads and ruining the forests).

Long distance trains are suffering from the ultra-cheap airlines. I hope their fuel can be taxed to the same rate as terrestrial users.

One must note that most of Europe is fairly densely populated and therefore rail is more economical. Also cities are closer together than in the US.
And trains are in competition with cars on a european-wide network of well maintained motorways (exept Poland and Norway) which permits high speeds (except in Great Britain and Sveden) and average door-to-door travel-speeds of about 65 - 70mph and more (in Germany up to 90mph!).

  by george matthews
 
My observations of the Northeast Corridor in the US - the only line that is comparable to any European line - is that the service reminded me of British Rail in the 1980s. The trains are old and slow.

The long distance routes are quite unlike any European trains. A few years ago I got the train from Wien (Vienna) to Amsterdam. I alighted at Utrecht (to change for Rotterdam and the ferry) and the train was on time to the minute. It hds passed through: Austria, Germany, Netherlands. The couchette was a reasonable affordable price. In Continental Europe I expect the trains to be on time and usually they are. I have been on a TGV train that was delayed by a few minutes. Other long distance trains I have taken: Amsterdam-Berlin; Krakow-Budapest; Brig-Paris. All on time.

I have taken several long distance trains in the US: Toronto-Chicago (no longer runs; Chicago-Washington; Springfield (Mass.) - Chicago; Chicago-Buffalo. None of these were on time, and most were several hours late. None of them had affordable sleepers. However, the reclining seats are more comfortable than any day train seat in Europe. Short distances, e.g. Old Saybrook to Newark; Winterhaven to Orlando were all right, and on time. The Vermonter from St Albans to Hartford was on time (with bus connection from Montreal - no longer possible).

All over Europe new trains are being built and operated - the average age of the rolling stock is coming down.

Today on the BBC I heard of a train in Sweden running on biogas (Linkoeping line).

I think the US has a very sad situation with its trains. My experience in Canada, limited to the train from Toronto to Montreal, and from Toronto to Port Huron was better. On time both occasions.