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European volcano reprecursions

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Sunday, May 9, 2010 12:01 PM

Well the past week has seen the ash cloud revive. This time the cloud went over Greenland and sw France, Spain, Portugal, and northern Italy. Airports in those area have been closed off and on. Now Vienna Austria, Geneva, Munic and Stuttgart are closing off and on.with the ash cloud is at lower altitudes below 20,000ft allowing overflights of Europe.

Have not gotten any info on how surface transportation has adapted this week. Once again anyone going to Europe this summer had best have fluid alternate plans before  going. Again the Spain Portugal to/from problem is the biggest hurdtle.

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Posted by beaulieu on Tuesday, May 4, 2010 9:27 PM
SNCF has now filed for two train paths from Port Bou to Figueres with the Spanish infrastructure operator ASDIF, but I haven't heard of any movement towards homologating any TGVs in Spain with which to utilize those train paths.
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Posted by blue streak 1 on Tuesday, May 4, 2010 7:44 AM
Volcano post mortem.

Everything had settled down in Europe with the ash cloud dissipating. Now however Ireland has announced closing of their airports due to a new ash cloud. Since I no longer receive Aviation Week I can only speculate how aviation coped with original cloud.

From press reports the rail situation is murky and by no means crystal. Usually Railway Herald reports on UK operations in great detail but did not list any volcano operations for last week and did not publish this week. Regular media reports had stopped since there was no immediate threats. Scientific community is quiet due to being though of being Chicken Little.

The UK situation was handled by the operating companies by adding extra trains. Network Rail the owner of the rail lines in the UK cancelled many ROW projects to allow weekend service to be near weekday service. Also some UK operators ran trains all night to carry many passengers.

No report yet on Eurostar (Chunell) results but each train carries 766 passengers and with as many as 20 RTs   LON – Paris and 10 LON – Brussels per day the potential was there for 40 – 45K passengers per day (Not counting Disney RT).

I understand that the sleeper services (City Night Line, Artesia Night, etc) placed most of their spare cars that the various RRs would allow onto the overnight services.

The northern European response other than what posted here was about normal operations.

Central Europe really stepped up and operated as many seats as were needed. Even the Moscow – Germany trips had added space. The one bad problem was the passengers that went to Paris to connect to London. The RailEurope web site has published connections in Paris of 15 – 30 minutes but with  channel trains going from Paris Nord and many persons going into the at least 5 other Paris stations there was no way to connect. + the UK requirement of immigration check in at Nord 30 minutes before departure would guarantee missed connections.

East central Europe? Forget it. Timekeeping is always terrible there and no connections are really published. direct trains? Not many.

Southern Europe was OK however the savvy traveler needs to know transfers in Switzerland or Austria are available to connect on to middle Europe. There are plenty of trains Milano – Paris (Austerlitz).

SW Europe (Iberia, Spain) another bad spot. 1 through to Barcelona (2?) and 1 to Madrid very poor. Savvy travelers could get 16 trains in France to/from Port Bou/Cerbere but from there only 8 to/from Barcelona. Only 2 on Atlantic coast.

What does all this mean? A lot of contingency planning is now required because Volcano Katla is only about 20 miles from Ay yah and they have almost always erupted one after the other. If you must travel to Europe or know anyone who is going for either pleasure or business (I know several) then the  recommendation is that anyone traveling to Europe even if they plan not to travel by train get a Eurail Pass. Get a refundable 10 day global Flex pass and if only staying in France and Spain maybe just get a refundable France – Spain flex pass (not my recommendation). The pass will give a person a first class fare (some trains only 2nd class). Reservations will cost extra in some countries (Spain, France, Others?) and traveler will have to pay extra for sleeper space (called Hotel service in European terms). That way if you do not use the pass then you can get a refund when you return to the US. It is impossible to predict what airports will be open if Katla erupts. My gut thought is that the airports in Spain and Portugal  have the best likely hood of staying open longer during normal wind patterns.

 For Europe the reality of a need to plan for much better co-ordination is evident in certain regions.

1.      East central Europe is probably hopeless along with Greece (take a boat to Italy).

2.      Northern Europe only has one 3 train connection Stockholm – Brussels/Paris.  Oslo – Brussels is even worse.

3.      Central Europe you can get around very well just remember the many stations in Paris (6). Gare de Nord is the location for channel tunnel trains and Paris Est (east) is only across the street from Nord.  A few other cities have 2 stations (ex Lyon). Brussels works great for UK connections.

4.      To/from Italy?  Fine just know that connections in Switzerland or Austria may be necessary if Paris -- Milan trips full. Otherwise from Italy connections are necessary.

5.      To/from Spain?   There is only one published thru train (9 hr) however there are overnight hotel cars (Elipsos) that are thru Barcelona  – Paris/ other cities. RENFE and SNCF need to get together and plan for additional services even if passengers have to change trains at Port Bou, Cerbere, or Montpelier because of the gauge change.

6.      The UK works OK if you can travel from/to St. Pancras or Kings Cross as they are across the street from each other. Otherwise it’s the London tube or taxi for connections for the continent.

7.      Russia? Let them fight that out.

8.      The UK and Ireland? Since their location is closest to the volcanoes their planning will need to be planned for the quickest reaction. The only connection possible from Ireland are the various ferry trips to the continent and the UK. The UK will need planning for additional trains to the ferry terminals to distribute and collect passengers. In the UK the ability to collect and distribute passengers to/from channel trains and continental ferry terminals is a necessary consideration.

Now for the good old North America.

1.       Will let all of you posters figure out how to get FEMA and the Canadian equivalent even to do preliminary planning to decide what a major eruption could do to air traffic.

2.      My only thought (not a good one) would be if northern airports are ever closed many N – S commuter trains would have to be requisitioned to travel to open southern airports for east west travel.

3.   Any other thoughts??

 

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Thursday, April 22, 2010 9:50 PM

With aircraft now flying all the Friday Eurostar trains have vacancys. The one extra LON - Brussels round trip originally schedule appears to have been cancelled. The 2 extra PAR - LON still operating. Almost all trains thru the chunnel have space available. 

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Thursday, April 22, 2010 9:00 AM

On National Public Radio this morning - approx. 3 mins. 35 secs. long:

Rail Service Benefits From Flight Cancellations

"This Fascinating Railroad Business" (title of 1943 book by Robert Selph Henry of the AAR)
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Posted by beaulieu on Wednesday, April 21, 2010 11:10 PM
Deutsche Bahn is offering a free Bahn 25 card valid for three months to anyone who bought a full fare IC/ICE ticket during the air chaos. The Bahn 25 card is good for 25% off the ticket price on DB trains, If the program is successful in keeping a significant number of passengers who were forced from air to rail, DB will extend the life of the Bahn 25 cards.
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Posted by blue streak 1 on Wednesday, April 21, 2010 7:51 PM

blue streak 1

Eurostar report for WED: as of 0200 BST.

1. 2 additional PAR - LON Rts and 1 BRU - LON Rt filling spots used on Friday only trips.

2. Inbounds to London sold out except a few Business from Brussels. 

3. Seats to BRU and PAR from LOndon some still available but not many.

4. Thursday schedule same as #1 and not many seats available on any route.

Will be interesting to see if they can add any extra Friday since there are 4 additional RTs on any Friday.

 

Eurostar report for Thursday as of 0130 BST.  Find they are running same extra trains as the above. Still very heavy inbound to London.

Friday even though there are 3 additional regular scheduled LON - PAR RTs and one additional LON - BRU RT the same additional extra trains as for Tue - Thur are scheduled.

Friday may turn out to be a record day for Eurostar.

 

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Posted by beaulieu on Tuesday, April 20, 2010 10:04 PM

blue streak 1

Beaulieu: Thanks again---maybe some standard guaging of Burgos - Vitoria by third tracking the wide guage? Of course that will be a slower route until standard guage is finished than the standard guage by Port Boa for all locations except SW France to NW Spain? The Spanish "AVE" appears wildly popular.

 

Obviously Burgos to Vitoria is the mountainous segment with grades and curves, the planned line will have significant tunnels, which is why it will be the last portion finished even though the Vitoria to Irun segment won't be worth much without it. The southern portion includes the line to Leon and Gijon which is why it is being pushed faster. 

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Posted by beaulieu on Tuesday, April 20, 2010 9:51 PM

ÖBB reported ticket revenue for last weekend was double any previous weekend this year, tickets sales at Wien Westbahnhof was 450% above normal.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Tuesday, April 20, 2010 7:57 PM

Eurostar report for WED: as of 0200 BST.

1. 2 additional PAR - LON Rts and 1 BRU - LON Rt filling spots used on Friday only trips.

2. Inbounds to London sold out except a few Business from Brussels. 

3. Seats to BRU and PAR from LOndon some still available but not many.

4. Thursday schedule same as #1 and not many seats available on any route.

Will be interesting to see if they can add any extra Friday since there are 4 additional RTs on any Friday.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Tuesday, April 20, 2010 1:21 PM

Great Western
It seems that the dust cloud has reached eastern Canada - according to UK meteorological projections.  An easterly direction might mean that the arctic circle could be totally ringed by a dust cloud which may well affect, eventually, Canada and some of the more northerly of the contiguous 48 States

Right now it is too early to tell eventual problems because of too many unknowns. However if the ash cloud encircles the arctic circle the following could happen. 

1. Great circle airplane trips would divert with much longer trips and maybe requiring fuel stops.

2. Great northern lights much more vivid?

3. Colder winter due to colder arctic. ( This very iffy)

4. Possible disruption to GPS signals for the polar orbiting sats?

5. Continous changing of available landing airports due to local conditions.

 

 

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Tuesday, April 20, 2010 1:11 PM

beaulieu
Madrid to Valladolid is operating, Valladolid to Burgos is divided into several sections all of which are in various stages of construction, Burgos to Vitoria the route has been decided but nothing further has been done (no contracts or even bids), Vitoria to Irun is also in sections which are in various stages of construction. Valladolid to Burgos and Vitoria to Irun should be ready by at least 2014, they are hoping to have Burgos to Vitoria done before the end of the decade. The recession has hurt progress on this route which doesn't have as much political priority as some others.

Beaulieu: Thanks again---maybe some standard guaging of Burgos - Vitoria by third tracking the wide guage? Of course that will be a slower route until standard guage is finished than the standard guage by Port Boa for all locations except SW France to NW Spain? The Spanish "AVE" appears wildly popular.

 

 

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Posted by Great Western on Tuesday, April 20, 2010 11:47 AM

 It is hoped that by the week-end with wind direction of the United Kingdom will veer eastwards, rather than the present south-easterly direction.  This will be a dramatic improvement for air travelers in the UK.

It seems that the dust cloud has reached eastern Canada - according to UK meteorological projections.  An easterly direction might mean that the arctic circle could be totally ringed by a dust cloud which may well affect, eventually, Canada and some of the more northerly of the contiguous 48 States.

Quite an event for sure: I only hope that some lessons are learned and the realization than man does not yet control the natural world.  

 

Alan, Oliver & North Fork Railroad

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Posted by beaulieu on Tuesday, April 20, 2010 10:58 AM

blue streak 1

Beaulieu: Thanks for the update. That is the most detailed information that I have seen. Have been waiting for the Barcelona -  France route to open to return there. A question you may not be able to answer. Is any standard guaging being done yet on the Inru - Madrid route? 

Theanks for the Switzerland info. A couple friends are in Europe for an extended vacation but called and wanted to know what options would be available late May if Ah - Yah volcano continues.

 

Madrid to Valladolid is operating, Valladolid to Burgos is divided into several sections all of which are in various stages of construction, Burgos to Vitoria the route has been decided but nothing further has been done (no contracts or even bids), Vitoria to Irun is also in sections which are in various stages of construction. Valladolid to Burgos and Vitoria to Irun should be ready by at least 2014, they are hoping to have Burgos to Vitoria done before the end of the decade. The recession has hurt progress on this route which doesn't have as much political priority as some others.

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Posted by Kiwigerd on Tuesday, April 20, 2010 7:35 AM

 

Quick message from Austria:

Vienna airport is now hub to flights to east, south-east and south. Austrian Federal Railways have increased their seating capacity on the main line to Germany (Westbahn) by a third since Sunday. There are trains however where passengers will be carried standing as the seating capacities are exceeded by demand. German airspace is still closed except for flights under 9000 ft.

It is now 2:35 p.m. Central European Summer Time.

Greetings to all. 

 

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Tuesday, April 20, 2010 7:07 AM

beaulieu
The standard gauge situation on the Port Bou/Barcelona side is this, Port Bou to Figueres tracklaying and cantenary is ready with final signalling work being done

Beaulieu: Thanks for the update. That is the most detailed information that I have seen. Have been waiting for the Barcelona -  France route to open to return there. A question you may not be able to answer. Is any standard guaging being done yet on the Inru - Madrid route? 

Theanks for the Switzerland info. A couple friends are in Europe for an extended vacation but called and wanted to know what options would be available late May if Ah - Yah volcano continues.

 

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Posted by beaulieu on Tuesday, April 20, 2010 12:29 AM

blue streak 1
<snipped>

Now to address the rest of Europe train service.


4. Both Italy and Spain have offered to hub passengers out of their airports when they are not affected by the ash.

5. Unfortunately passengers cannot get there by rail as the one or 2 RTs are completely booked thru Thursday but only connections.

A savvy traveler might be able to get to Rome via Switzerland, unlike France and Austria, Switzerland still has a goodly number of through trains to Milano, on the order of a dozen or so via the three routes, Rhone-Simplon, Lötschberg, and the majority via the Gotthard. A really savvy traveler could use the local services also via the Gotthard as there are hourly trains into Chiasso on the Swiss side, and Chiasso is the north end of S-Bahn type services out of Milano, slow but at least they could keep moving.


6.  Spain   The Spanish broad guage limits thru service as the Spanish are no longer maintaining many dual guage equipment sets but just enough to maintain the one  Paris to Barcelona and 2? to Madrid and the remaining internal dual guage trips.  The standard guage line being built from Barcelona - French border has had some construction delays and I have no idea when it will be complete? Plans are to place several TGV services Paris and other locations to Barcelona. Madrid standard guage to France I have no idea where or how that construction is planned. The mountains between France and Spain make construction very difficult.

The standard gauge situation on the Port Bou/Barcelona side is this, Port Bou to Figueres tracklaying and cantenary is ready with final signalling work being done. Also from Vilafant just south of Girona to Mollet on the NE outskirts of Barcelona, also nearly ready. From Figueres to Vilafant one track of the existing double-track Broad-gauge mainline is being three-railed. From Mollet to Castelbisbal an existing freight line is receiving the three-rail treatment. From Castelbisbal to Can Tunis a brand-new standard gauge freight line will be used ( it will eventually reach France). Finally at Can Tunis a short connecting track will allow access to the Madrid to Barcelona AVE line. Basically from Mollet to Can Tunis you are circling halfway around the perimeter of Barcelona to enter from the southwest. ADIF, the Spanish infrastructure operator wants to have this temporary route open at least by the December timetable change this year, possibly sooner. RENFE wants to run two AVE services to Perpignan in France as soon as possible, SNCF would like to run two of their services to Figueres yet this year. RENFE has put out for bids for new trainsets able to operate in both Spain and France to be awarded later this year. Sixty-two kilometers of the third-rail project was done as of March 1, 2010. SNCF and RENFE are discussing a joint venture that would see 18 to 20 TGV/AVE trains running between France and Spain daily, starting in 2012.


For the present the possible many passengers would have to go to Port Bou or Irun and change trains to/from Spanish French trains as is done now. French TGV trains run to these stations but the Spanish?????? zNot so good. I imagine it will take a lot of negotiation to get decent connections and time is not one thing that is available under the present conditions.

7.  Italy  - France/ Switzerland/ Austria  There are several services but not that many to carry many passengers. Again Negotiations?? Time??

 

 
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Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, April 19, 2010 8:34 PM

Additional checks on Eurostar trains.

1. Additional trains Tue London - Paris 3; Paris - London 2; Brussels -London 1

Wedensday Paris - London  2 Round trips; Brussels - London 1 round trip. These trips are for the most part taking slots not used for tuesday or Wed. Fares were listed at 89# sterling 1 way and 159# RT. Of course already sold out.

2. Tuesday check other trains Brussels almost sold out and Paris sold out early both ways.

Appearances indicate that Eurostar is slowly gearing up with additional trains. Do any of our posters in Europe may know how they are going to accomplish this? Crews and equipment. Maybe some very late night? The extra passengers may give a great boost to Eurostar.

Now to address the rest of Europe train service.

3. Extra service in the French, Switzerland, Austria , Netherlands, Germany is proceeding fairly unevenfully.

4. Both Italy and Spain have offered to hub passengers out of their airports when they are not affected by the ash.

5. Unfortunately passengers cannot get there by rail as the one or 2 RTs are completely booked thru Thursday but only connections.

6.  Spain   The Spanish broad guage limits thru service as the Spanish are no longer maintaining many dual guage equipment sets but just enough to maintain the one  Paris to Barcelona and 2? to Madrid and the remaining internal dual guage trips.  The standard guage line being built from Barcelona - French border has had some construction delays and I have no idea when it will be complete? Plans are to place several TGV services Paris and other locations to Barcelona. Madrid standard guage to France I have no idea where or how that construction is planned. The mountains between France and Spain make construction very difficult. .

For the present the possible many passengers would have to go to Port Bou or Irun and change trains to/from Spanish French trains as is done now. French TGV trains run to these stations but the Spanish?????? zNot so good. I imagine it will take a lot of negotiation to get decent connections and time is not one thing that is available under the present conditions.

7.  Italy  - France/ Switzerland/ Austria  There are several services but not that many to carry many passengers. Again Negotiations?? Time??

 

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, April 19, 2010 7:35 PM

aricat
What happened in Europe could happen here boys and girls of the US Congress.

Congratulations you just hit upon the US Congress. A bunch of kids playing in the sand.

But yes it could happen here. Putting all our eggs into the airplane basket will come to bite us. Now? How can anyone predict. Two weeks ago I would have never believed what has happpened to air travel would occurr.

 

.

 

 

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Posted by aricat on Monday, April 19, 2010 7:17 PM

It has a very heavy impact on both passenger and air cargo. CBS did say that nearly all trans atlantic air freight is at a standstill and it will have an impact on US customers.The SS United States is sitting there rusting away in Philly and I bet there are a lot of people thinking where are the great liners now that we could use them.If Iceland's volcanic ash had hit the states instead of Europe; a lot of congressmen would be whining about Amtrak when they can't fly anywhere by jet; and why did we allow our rail service to become so bad.What happened in Europe could happen here boys and girls of the US Congress.

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Posted by beaulieu on Sunday, April 18, 2010 9:59 PM

blue streak 1

Own any of its stock? Anyone?

 

 

No public stockholders, its owned by SNCF, SNCB, and London & Continental (aka British Government). The British Government wants to sell out their share, DB and SNCF want to buy it.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Sunday, April 18, 2010 8:51 PM

mondays eurostar booking appear to be slightly open for almost all trips except Business class. Could not find any extra sections listed but Brussels - London both ways appears the tighest in available seats.

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Posted by steinjr on Sunday, April 18, 2010 11:26 AM

 

marcimmeker

Stein,

What type of rolling stock is used for the airport express? Can it be used in international service to Stockholm or Göteborg/Malmö in Sweden. Or will they be used in services around Oslo and, ultimately, freeing up stock that can be used because it has the required standards?

Or are we talking purely domestic service, Norway is a pretty and big country after all.

Well, the trains sets used for the airport express trains are three-car EMUs (Electric Motor Units) - they are clasified as type 71 train sets in Norway.The airport express service has 16 sets, and would need to retain 3 or 4 sets to cover the airport even at the present service level (1/6th of normal).  So the maximum that could be made available is 12 sets, with 168 seats each.

 The type 71s from the airport express service are the equivalents of the type 73 fast long distance train sets (except the type 73s have four car sets). The type 73s are used for the Oslo-Stavanger (south coast express), Oslo-Bergen and Oslo-Trondheim, plus Oslo to Gothenburg in Sweden.

 Conditions are changing rapidly, so the news about the 71s being put into service as passenger trains may already be outdated.

 Wind directions have changed over Iceland, and the wind is now blowing the ash clouds south of most of Norway. All our airports north of Bergen are now open.

  Several ferry flights from Iceland seem to be are inbound at short intervals heading for Vaernaes airport by Trondheim in Mid-central Norway, and some flights from the US are also inbound - Vaernaes being the southern-most big airport open for regular airline traffic in northern Europe at the moment.

 If the wind direction holds, they expect Oslo airport to be reopened for traffic from the west some time tomorrow.

 Conditions further south on the continent remains somewhat gray.  According to http://www.flightradar24.com/ it seems like almost all transatlantic traffic is coming in or leaving from Spain and Italy at the moment.

 So I guess we'll see what happens next.

 Stein

 

 

 

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Posted by MStLfan on Sunday, April 18, 2010 4:05 AM

Stein,

What type of rolling stock is used for the airport express? Can it be used in international service to Stockholm or Göteborg/Malmö in Sweden. Or will they be used in services around Oslo and, ultimately, freeing up stock that can be used because it has the required standards?

Or are we talking purely domestic service, Norway is a pretty and big country after all.

greetings

Naomi

For whom the Bell Tolls John Donne From Devotions upon Emergent Occasions (1623), XVII: Nunc Lento Sonitu Dicunt, Morieris - PERCHANCE he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill, as that he knows not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that.
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Posted by steinjr on Saturday, April 17, 2010 11:38 PM

 Regarding the ash cloud impact in Europe on trains: staff at the airport express trains between Drammen, Norway (some 30 miles west of Oslo) and the Oslo main airport at Gardermoen (some 30 miles or so east of Oslo) has received advance notice that they will likely be furloughed - seeing that there aren't all that many people who wants to take the train to the airport right now, and seeing that this might be going on for a while.

 Airport express train schedules are down to 1/6th of normal between downtown Oslo and the airport - one train per hour instead of one train every 10 minutes.

 Edit: the news just reported an update Sunday morning our time. Management of the airport express train company has realized (possibly after a brief and rather pointed glare from the minister of transport) that their train sets could be used as standard passenger trains.

 They have now now withdrawn the notice about furloughing 200 of their staff and is now offering to lend or hire out their excess train set capacity to the national railroad company to increase passenger train capacity for the duration of the event.

 Stein

 

 

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Saturday, April 17, 2010 10:34 PM

beaulieu
Eurostar reported that they moved 58,000 passengers through the Channel Tunnel on Friday which is a new record by a substantial margin.

Own any of its stock? Anyone?

 

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Posted by beaulieu on Saturday, April 17, 2010 9:32 PM
Eurostar reported that they moved 58,000 passengers through the Channel Tunnel on Friday which is a new record by a substantial margin.
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Posted by blue streak 1 on Saturday, April 17, 2010 8:22 PM

Naomi:  Thanks for the update .

I just checked Eurostar vs their 13 Dec - 3 Jul schedule that they still have some seats available but almost no business class. 2 extra trains show London - Brussels 1304,1734. 3 extras Paris -London @ 1343, 1443, 1843 and returns at 0757, 1000, & 1331. A couple of these extras were fill ins that took slots that were only used over the X-mas holidays. To know If these were actual extras and not a schedule change I will leave to others.

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Posted by MStLfan on Saturday, April 17, 2010 5:35 PM

- Meanwhile, a high speed train in Germany, on the Cologne - Frankfurt line, lost a door. This door landed on / against an opposing train and injured 6 people. Service on the line was severly disrupted.

Pictures here: http://bit.ly/d7Rdcq

greetings,

Naomi

For whom the Bell Tolls John Donne From Devotions upon Emergent Occasions (1623), XVII: Nunc Lento Sonitu Dicunt, Morieris - PERCHANCE he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill, as that he knows not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that.

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