By Frédéric de Kemmeter, Railway policy observer – Freelance railway contributing writer – Suscribe my blog
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New entrants in passenger services: who are the four from France?
24/03/2023 – In France, four entrepreneurs are trying to put private trains on the rails. But they face a number of challenges. None of the four has a similar business, but all are talking about filling a gap in the national rail supply. A quick overview.
Railways: to develop leasing for support new entrants’ projects
01/03/2023 – The availability of rolling stock is a stumbling block to the ambitions of new operators to launch new open access services, with high investment costs for new vehicles and a limited second-hand market. This is not a new observation. The second-hand market is unevenly distributed across Europe and approval…
Success for Trenitalia France
24/01/2023 – A successful bet for Trenitalia France: its Paris-Lyon route reached its one millionth passenger last December. This was important because the Italian company’s arrival on French soil was a risky move in a country that has never been convinced by multiple operators on the same network…
Private operator Le Train chooses Talgo for its future rolling stock
24/01/2023 – Of the four candidates who wanted to operate train services in France, it is finally the company Le Train that is the first to take action. On 23 January, the Bordeaux-based company announced the acquisition of 10 Talgo Avril trainsets. In France, one of these trainsets – not intended for Le Train – is currently…
Polish operator PKP is considering its dining cars
09/12/2022 – The national operator PKP runs more than 5,000 trains in practically every month in which there should be restaurant or bar cars. For operational needs, PKP Intercity As of 17 November 2022, PKP Intercity had 82 dining carriages, of which 63 carriages are in working order, 4 carriages are undergoing repair operations. Most of the restaurant cars are in working order, but the carrier…
The European rail network? A real patchwork of technologies…
02/11/2022 – If you think that railways are just about politics and finance, then you’re in for a real treat. Because railway infrastructure is above all national technology, which is an obstacle to standardisation and the European dream of trains without borders. We will explain all this to you very briefly.
Presentation of the new Nightjet sleeping cars and couchettes cars
07/09/2022 – On 6 September, ÖBB and Siemens presented the new Nightjet cars of the Austrian operator. This time, there are no longer any painted frames, but real finished cars in which the interior finishing touches can now be admired. The cars will initially be travel towars Italy…
I experienced Brussels-Stockholm round trip by train
08/08/2022 – Don’t ask me « how long time? » This round trip of 3,645 kilometres was obviously done in 4 stages… and 10 trains. The whole thing was spread over 9 days to enjoy the cities we don’t visit every year. These long journeys allow us to learn a lot of things. We’ll talk about railway reality rather than dreams and utopias, as rail is apparently the transport planned to replace the plane. Is this true?
The 10 years of NTV-Italo
26/04/2022 – This Thursday 28 April marks the 10th anniversary of the start of NTV-Italo’s services in Italy. This is an opportunity to look back on this undeniable success, which was unique in Europe, while high-speed competition is now taking off in Spain and France.
Intercity, a train not to be forgotten in Europe
12/12/2021 – Standardisation, volume and competition from aviation. This is the main focus of the long distance policy of the railway companies. To achieve this, they have relied on high speed, forgetting a little about the added value of the classic Intercity train.
Great-Britain: scaled back plan for HS2 network project
21/11/2021 – The UK’s high-speed network project HS2 is undergoing a major slimming down in the part towards the Midlands. The authorities intend to shift the focus of rail policy to local and regional transport in this region. But with what money?
France celebrates 40 years of high speed trains
19/09/2021 – This week France celebrates the 40th anniversary of the TGV. The French high-speed train has given a new lease of life to a railway that was wondering about its future.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxx
What’s new about long distance operators?
22/08/2021 – There is a lot of movement among the long-distance operators in Europe. This is an opportunity for a brief summary as we enter the last quarter of 2021, featured Trenitalia, Ouigo Espana, REgioJet and Renfe. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxx
Can the train really replace the plane?
28/06/2021 – The train could replace some 500 to 1000km flights. Mentalities seem to be evolving in this direction and the average travel time would increase. But there are still a number of conditions for this replacement. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxx
Moving from product to customer: can rail learn from Gafam?
20/06/2021 – Moving from a « product » policy to a « customer » policy is a real challenge for rail. The weight of assets (trains-infrastructure) and cultural habits still largely shape rail policy, but there are, however, some reasons for hope.
Happy birthday, InterCity Express
30/05/2021 – 10 years after the launch of the first high-speed train in France, Germany launched its own high-speed train called « InterCity Express » (ICE). This is an opportunity to look back at the German concept, which differs from the French options. The arrival of the ICE has allowed Deutsche Bahn – and Siemens -, to become one of the world’s leading high-speed railways.
End of franchises and a new era for British railways
05/24/2021 – A new public sector body named Great British Railways as part of railway reforms will own and manage rail infrastructure, issue contracts to private firms to run trains, set most fares and timetables, and sell tickets. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxx
D-Takt: the great challenge of the clockface timetable 1/2
05/09/2021 – A train every half hour from city to city and from village to village. Convenient transfers without long waiting times, even in the countryside. Riding a train anywhere in the country would be as easy as riding the S-Bahn in the cities today. This second part will detail the impact of the clockface timetable service on journey times between the major German cities and the place reserved for new entrants.
D-Takt: the great challenge of the clockface timetable 1/2
05/02/2021 – A train every half hour from city to city and from village to village. Convenient transfers without long waiting times, even in the countryside. Riding a train anywhere in the country would be as easy as riding the S-Bahn in the cities today. It is the Deutschlandtakt, the german’s clockface timetable.
How rail is bringing fast service parcels back on track
03/08/2021 – How can we make the rail journey more timely? There is still a lot of work to be done, but rail has some arguments to achieve this.
How Alstom wants to force mainline competition in Germany
02/22/2021 – DB has very little competition in the mainline segment and mainly opts for the same supplier. However, a manufacturer would like to change this in order to shake up the homeland of Siemens.
Datas and mobile app: a new weapon to dominate
02/01/2021 – How mobile app are becoming a weapon for one company to dominate rail transport. The question is whether this is how there will be a modal shift
How the night train could be an asset for the railways
18/01/2021 – Night trains can be an asset for the railways, rather than a constraint. Provided that it is taken as a special segment with a strong business model
Japan: integrated railways but a contrasting railway policy
12/07/2020 – We know little about Japan and its railway policy, which is often the subject of various fantasies. Contrary to European countries, there is not a single national railway but dozens of integrated railways at local and regional level. Some make many money while others suffer from the depopulation of rural areas and an ageing population.
Want to save the environment? Then you should stop traveling !
02/11/2020 – Why a climate lockdown and the local economy can put the train at risk? If there is no more travel, there are no more trains. If the economy is local, there are no more freight trains
A pool of vehicles could facilitate access for operators of pulled trains
26/10/2020 – One of the problems facing new entrants is the acquisition of rolling stock. Leasing formulas exist for traction equipment, but less so for pulled equipment. This can be an obstacle, especially for night trains.
Infrastructure managers should made themselves the railway timetable
10/16/2020 – The timetable, which is part of the very base of the railway, has become a crucial marketing issue for operators. But isn’t it rather the task of infrastructure managers?
More operators are needed to contribute to more modal shift
16/08/2020 – The railway is not able to cover a maximum of our mobility needs. Not really because there are other modes of transport, but because there are not enough operators and innovation.
How can the train win back business travellers?
07/17/2020 – Business customers have high expectations when it comes to travel. The train can conquer this clientele but under certain conditions.
The post-Covid utopia: Paris-Berlin in four hours…
06/22/2020 – It is well known that great crises give rise to great utopias. The EU’s Covid-19 economic stimulus package could be used to fund a high-speed rail network across Europe, according to the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies.
Spain stops some of its night trains
05/26/2020 – According to the local press, the Renfe is planning to stop its “trenhotel” night train between Barcelona, Madrid and Vigo/La Coruña, when traffic in Spain is allowed to resume.
First Group open access service London-Edimburgh takes shape
05/03/2020 – East Coast Trains (First Group) will operate up to five daily return services between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh via the East Coast Main Line from October 2021, using open access rather than franchising.
One-hour flights replaced by the rail monopoly?
05/01/2020 – We want to replace the 1 or 2 hours flights by High Speed Train. That’s great, but it indicates that only one company will have that charge by monopoly?
Why Amtrak trains are always so late?
03/15/2020 – Amtrak, the subsidized company that handles passenger services in the United States using extensively the tracks of other private operators, has to fight for better punctuality. That’s seem very difficult !
Why are Japanese trains so punctual? – 03/22/2020 – The Japanese are clearly the world champions in punctuality for all trains. But why is that and how do they do it? Explanations.
The Texan high speed railway project is progressing well
02/25/2020 – It gets little publicity , but it seems to be moving forward. The Texan TGV is an issue that attracs our attention because European companies are involved in it. It is also fundamentally different from the Californian dossier, which is getting bogged down. Why?
AVLO, Renfe’s first low cost train in Spain – 12/12/2019 – As the SNCF comes to Spain with its rail concept Ouigo, Spain would to answer clearly. That’s what the Renfe did by introducing its new Avlo train.
Leo Express wants to compete on Warsaw-Krakow route – 12/06/2019 – The Czech private company Leo Express wants to compete with the Polish PKP on the Warsaw – Krakow route. Trains would run up to twelve times a day by December 2020.
Avanti, the new West Coast train that replaces Virgin – 11/29/2019 – Avanti West Coast, a joint venture of FirstGroup (70%) and the Italian rail operator, Trenitalia (30%), will take the lead of the West Coast Partnership on December 8 to replace Virgin.
ÖBB, a major player in Central Europe – 11/04/2019 – Focus on a “small” railway that wants to make a name for itself in Central Europe: the ÖBB.
Swedish projects for norwegian trains – 09/24/2019 – Swedish operator SJ Norge brings new train services for next years in Norway, with a direct night train Oslo-Bodø
KLM to replace Brussels flight with Thalys – 09/14/2019 – Replace the plane on short distance? KLM will do it on Amsterdam-Brussels. From the end of March 2020, the airline KLM will remove one of its five daily flights to replace it with a TGV Thalys.
Trenitalia prepares for Paris – Milano launch – 06/20/2019 – The first of five ETR1000 high speed trainsets being modified to operate Trenitalia’s planned open access service between Milano and Paris is expected to begin test running in France next month, following the completion of retrofitting work. (International Railway Gazette)
Are futuristic maglev trains could revolutionize railways ?
06/17/2019 – While the world looks at Hyperloop projects with caution, it is useful to look at another railway technology: magnetic levitation, which Europe seems to have definitively cancelled …
Asia takes leadership of trains at 600km / h, and itsn’t good news for Europe and America – 05/30/2019 – The Chinese manufacturer CRRC, which is so scary to European manufacturers, unveils a magnetic levitation train project that could circulate at 600km/h.
Denmark/Sweden: SJ wins Øresundståg operating contract – 05/24/2019 – National train operator SJ has been awarded a contract to operate Sweden – Denmark Øresundståg services for eight years from December 2020, to replace Transdev (International Railway Journal)
Sweden, 30 years of railway liberalisation
05/20/2019 – In 1988, rail infrastructure was vertically and institutionally separated from train operations in Sweden. 30 years have passed since 1988, and some lessons can be drawn from this transformation.
NTV-Italo : seven years and now success
05/05/2019 – Last month marked the seventh anniversary of NTV-Italo, the italian private high speed train. It has now become a reference for rail liberalization. Welcome in Italy.
Trains with no staff on board: an infinite debate …
04/23/2019 – Train guards on board is a recurring subject within the whole of Europe. With or without a staff on board? A brief overview of experiences and arguments from each.
Nightjet : renaissance of night trains in Europe
04/29/2019 – While Great-Britain is putting new night trains into service between London and Scotland, we can already see what is happening in Central Europe. Nightjet shows that a good night train services and a good business model can generate revenues and profits.
Regiojet, the czech growing private railway company
12/16/2018 – The Czech Regiojet is now a private company well established in the railway landscape of Central Europe, as it operates its trains in three countries.
Mobility as a Service : the battle of data
29/10/2018 – The concept of Mobility As A Service (MaaS) involves pooling traffic data from all companies involved in a digital platform. However, all companies do not intend to provide what is the oil of today: the data.
From everywhere to everywhere. The future clock-face schedule in Germany
08/10/2018 – The clock-face schedule has often revealed his attraction for customers. If it is usual in Germany, it is not perfect, with sometimes too much delay between the Intercity and the regional traffic. The federal government has just made the decision to better coordinate the national traffic with those of the different Lander. Project name: Deutschland Takt.
The station, more than a transit place
09/17/2017 – For the majority of people, the station is still the place of passage, the one we leave as soon as possible to go to town. However, some managers have examined what could be generate with railway stations, to make them more accessible, more cleaner and that gives to people the desire to stay.
Thalys launches his low-cost service
03/02/2016 – Thalys will also launch a low-cost service with its new concept « Izy » (easy). Starting expected on 3 April.
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