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Possible? Trains That Never Stop

Mon Nov 22, 2010 8:07 pm

I've been thinking about this recently:

Here in Germany we only have a couple of high speed rail lines, in most other cases the high speed trains will run on existing track at moderate speeds, since the tracks don't allow higher speeds that 160 kph in most places.

Now the real problem is that they stop so damn often. For example the ICE from Basel to Franfurt will stop in places like Offenburg or Baden-Baden, even the super duper HSR from Frankfurt Airport to Cologne will stop at villages (sorry) like Limburg or Siegburg and what's that other place's name. So moments after reaching it's top speed it has to brake again, stop, let about 2 passengers get off and then accelerate again, losing a good 10 minutes on the way. Multiply that by the number of stops in between.

So here's my idea. A train that runs without stopping between, let's say, Rome and London, or Paris and Madrid, or Stockholm and Lisbon. Whenever the train passes a city on the way, passengers who want to get off would proceed to the last car, which will then uncouple and come to a stop. At the same time, another similar car will have boarded the passengers at that station who want to get on, then that car would accelerate and catch up with the rest of the train. So unless you want to get off, the train will never stop, and you save lots of time on the way.

The result would be that HSR speed could be reached on lines that aren't even that fast, just by eliminating the time consuming stops.

Would this be possible?
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RE: Possible? Trains That Never Stop

Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:11 pm

Siegburg is basically Bonn's ICE station, and as for Limburg ... well, you can read German, right?

As for your question: If there's a separate track, then yes. Otherwise: no. The schedule in Germany alone is so tight that you cannot simply rush a train through the network.
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RE: Possible? Trains That Never Stop

Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:38 pm

I'm not very conversant in the technical aspects of rail travel, but would coupling cars at 300 km/h even be safe? And considering your idea of having cars "catch up", wouldn't said cars have to accelerate to speeds higher than that of the main trainset?

Sure, we're concerned for our lives. Just not as concerned as saving 9 bucks on a roundtrip to Ft. Myers.
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RE: Possible? Trains That Never Stop

Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:52 pm

You may find this idea interesting:
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RE: Possible? Trains That Never Stop

Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:33 pm

Interesting thought and it seems to make sense that you would want a nonstop train between the 2 cities.

I took the AVE in Spain and a half ago from MAD to BCN and there are several non-stops, I took the one stop that stops in Zaragoza, the time lost was minimal and it was a very pleasant ride.
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RE: Possible? Trains That Never Stop

Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:05 am

China has been actively studying this possibility. Given China's recent $300 billion investment into building the largest high-speed train network in the world, and being completed in 5 years, they have the advantage of having a clean sheet design when building this infrastructure. My guess is that the cost vs. times savings will be the deciding factor. If China can't do it with all new stations, lines, and rolling stock, no one can.
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RE: Possible? Trains That Never Stop

Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:35 am

That "other places name" is Montabaur. The federal structure of Germany givs the reason, Montabaur is located in the state of Rhineland Palatine which did not want to be excluded from HSR lines/stops. There is one more optional station on that line, CGN airport.

Fact is however, that most trains run non-stop from FRA airport to CGN central station. The smaller cities receive one stop per hour in each direction at the most.

It would be absolutely senseless to run non-stop trains between places like ROM and LON or PAR and MAD. The cost of the infrastructure to do that would be astronomical and then - why? It is far more economical to fly these routes since 3 or 4 km runway at each end can be used for up to 40 movements from anywhere to anywher

HSR is efficient up to 500 km distance, in a few cases in centralized countries like France may be 600 or 700 km. Not more. Germany BTW is polycentric, that's why there are so many stops and the other reason is that ICE trains are run every hour. There are a few "sprinter" connections that go FRA/BER non-stop.
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