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» RAILforum » Railfans » Trip Reports » Euopean Rail Trip April 2004

   
Author Topic: Euopean Rail Trip April 2004
jdchamberlain
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I recently spent 14 days in Europe including rail trips between Florence and Assisi Italy, Assisi and Trento Italy, Trento Italy through the Brenner Pass to Innsbruck and Munich Germany and Munich Germany to Salzburg Austria.

I have several comments on European Rail that might be of interest to railfanners:

The mainlines are smooth, smooth, smooth. Almost no sideways or vertical jerking.

All of the mainlines outside yards and junctions have speed limits of 180 KPH and some of it 260KPH. There is an ongoing project throughout Europe to replace wooden ties with concrete. It looks as though the mainlines are about 70 percent completed.

The trains were clean and comfortable, whether in a compartment or a coach. Eating accomodations were not up to U.S. standards on most trains. Some long haul trains (EuroStar and EuroCity) had no dining facilities and those that did were very basic. Bring your lunch became our watchword.

The most startling observation was the country side and cities that we passed through. NO trash or liter, no junkyards, no run-down or abandoned high density housing! On the way to Europe, I took Amtrak from Baltimore Airport to Newark Liberty Airport and would never want one of my European friends to take that trip. I would be ashamed for them to see that America.

Lastly, rail travel is less expensive that in the U.S., even with the devalued dollar against the Euro.

Best regards


Posts: 4 | From: Vista, CA,USA | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
George Harris
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Its called subsidy, subsidy, subsidy.

I frankly burn when I hear how wonderful European track is. It had better be. Per unit of traffic they spend at least three times as much money on track as in the US. A let of the "wonderful" track ideas fell apart when first tried under European traffic. Those that have lasted have taken a lot of work to get up to a satisfactory quality for our traffic. I have or have seen a lot of the European specifications and track standards. There geometric standards for track and turnouts are very good, but there material standards are not. I could state it much stronger, but I am trying to be polite. They use concrete ties primarily because wood is more expensive in Europe. They also changed to concrete because their wood tie was thinner than the US version and the woods used were not as good, so it did not last near as well. The concrete ties used in the US are at least three times the strength of those in Europe, but they are no where near three times as expensive. I could go on, but I won't.

As to the social conditions, most European countries have a "big brother" mentatlity which we would, and should, and I hope continue to find intolerable.


Posts: 2448 | From: now in Olive Branch MS most of the time | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
George Harris
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Oh yeah, were you using a Eurail Pass? If not you should have been. If you were, you did not get a true flavor of the costs as experienced by the local population. Rail travel is relatively speaking more economical that driving in Europe, since all European countries have a policy of high tax on gasoline and automobiles. The European auto driver would consider $2.00 a gallon wonderfully cheap.
Posts: 2448 | From: now in Olive Branch MS most of the time | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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