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Berlin – Amsterdam in less than five hours – Solutions for the acceleration of rail passenger traffic

Sanders, Joran/J.M. (2011) Berlin – Amsterdam in less than five hours – Solutions for the acceleration of rail passenger traffic.

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Abstract:Since the 1970s and 1980 essential links in the European rail network have gradually been upgraded or made suitable for high speed trains. The reasons why these links were improved are to increase the link capacity, to increase speed in slow sections and to improve long distance accessibility. Some 40 years later the European rail network provides fast medium distance passenger transport within separate nations, but also on international links. One of these international links is the Amsterdam – Berlin railway corridor which connects these two major European conglomerate areas. Other transport modes such as car and air traffic are also available on this corridor. Travel times of these tree transport modes vary from 255 minutes for air traffic to 420 minutes for both car and train. Air traffic possesses the majority of passengers that use this corridor, because travel time plays a major role in mode choice. To make the railway corridor more competitive with other transport modes travel time needs to be reduced to approximately 300 minutes. This research focuses on the questions of what causes the high travel time for railway traffic and which solutions are available to reduce the travel time and make the railway corridor more competitive. To answer these questions key concepts in international railway traffic are explained, the current situation is analyzed and the problems that induce a loss of travel time identified. For each of these problems solutions are then generated and advantages and disadvantages described. Finally solutions are compiled into thee variants, low, intermediate and high-end, to achieve the wanted outcome and a preferable solution is chosen. Currently the Amsterdam – Berlin corridor is operated in a two hour tact, and in both Germany and the Netherlands it follows a national IC schedule. The German corridor section uses 15 kV 16,7 Hz AC power supply and both PZB and LZB train control systems. The Dutch section uses 1500 V DC power supply and the ATB. Therefore the locomotive is changed at the border station of Bad Bentheim together with the train staff. The staff needs to posses the national language and the operator needs to have knowledge of both national rules and regulations and of the corridor. Allowed speeds in Germany vary from 250 km/h on the Hannover – Berlin section to 200 km/h and 160 km/h between Hannover and the Dutch border. In the Netherlands speeds is limited to 130 km/h on the entire section. Because the trains that operate the Amsterdam – Berlin corridor consist of pulled carriages the maximum speed for the train is limited to 200 km/h. One of the key concepts in international railway traffic is interoperability; interoperability means the ability of the trans-European rail system to allow the safe and uninterrupted movement of high-speed trains which accomplish the specified levels of performance. This ability rests on all the regulatory, technical and operational conditions which must be met in order to satisfy essential requirements. This is stated in several European regulations such as the EC guideline 96/48/EC of July 23 1996 and more specific in the TSI. Which corridors belong to the European railway network is stated in TEN, these corridors are divided in conventional and HSR. Following the goal of an interoperable European railway system the EU has developed and is still developing the unification of all European guidance- and safety systems under the name ERTMS. ERTMS exists of four components; the first is an international railway management system, the second the unification of all European signalling systems and regulations, the third a single European train control system named ECTS and the fourth a single voice and data communication system, GSM-R. III The problems that induce a loss of travel time on the Amsterdam – Berlin railway corridor can be divided into technical and operational problems. The technical problems are: 1. The difference in power supply 2. Different guidance- and safety systems 3. Track speed limit 4. Allowed train speed limit Operational problems consist of: 1. Available concession space on the corridor 2. Language and knowledge of the train staff 3. Amount of integrated stops Power supply, guidance- and safety systems and staff training cause problems with the interoperability. These problems induce a loss of time at the border crossing where locomotive and staff have to be changed. On the entire corridor speed for both track and train is limited, and every time the train halts time is lost. Each of these problems can be overcome in itself due to several measures, but solving just a single problem of interoperability does not reduce any travel time. To reduce the travel time the entire problem of interoperability needs to be overcome at once. Therefore several scenarios of solutions have been made, at one end low cost, low effectiveness measures and at the other high cost, high effectiveness. For each of these scenarios the expected total travel time, the reduction of travel time, passenger growth, investment costs and cost growth ratio are calculated. From the results of the calculations can be concluded that a reduction of total travel time to less than 5 hours is not realistic, though with even more altercations possible. Because the Amsterdam – Berlin corridor has a relatively low demand the most preferable variant would be the most cost effective. This would be a solution which requires no extreme investments and interventions on the corridor. This would be both the low-end and the intermediate scenario depending on the goals of the train operating companies.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Technische Universitat Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:55 traffic technology, transport technology, 56 civil engineering
Programme:Civil Engineering BSc (56952)
Keywords:Passenger traffic, Rail
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