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High speed rail lines in the BeNeLux, Germany, France area?

Old Nov 8th, 2007, 05:15 AM
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High speed rail lines in the BeNeLux, Germany, France area?

We're planning our next trip with our friend tagging along, and he really wants to take a high speed train line.

We've already taken the Thalys from Paris to Brussels, which I know is high speed. Has the Brussels to Amsterdam section been upgraded to high speed yet?

I see that the Thalys also runs from Brussels to Cologne. Is this high speed also?

Does the new TGV line, which runs from Paris, end in Strassbourg, or does it go further?

Are there other high speed lines that we can consider in the Germany, France, BeNeLux area?

Robyn >-
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Old Nov 8th, 2007, 06:08 AM
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Hi Robyn,

the fastest high speed train route in Germany is the ICE Frankfurt-Cologne, which travels at a speed of 300 kph. That route goes via Frankfurt Airport, so if you arrive in FRA you can hop on right there.

The new TGV from Paris continues via Strasbourg and Karlsruhe to Stuttgart.

Kathrin
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Old Nov 8th, 2007, 08:01 AM
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The Thalys between Cologne and Brussels is indeed high speed.
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Old Nov 8th, 2007, 08:20 AM
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The HSL in the Netherlands is being tested at the moment. It is due to open sometime next year, but I don't know if a date has been announced yet.
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Old Nov 8th, 2007, 09:02 AM
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From what I gather, the German portion of Brussels-Cologne can be run up to 250km/h (lower than the 300/320 on other TGV routes); while the upgrades on the Belgian part should be completed soon.

But this route is not entirely highspeed, at least not now. That's why right now, it takes 2:17 on the ICE and 2:24 on the Thalys for Brussels-Aachen-Cologne, and this route should be just over 200km.

While Brussels-Paris (almost 300km) can be done in 1:22.
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Old Nov 8th, 2007, 09:23 AM
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I believe you can TGV from Paris to LUX.
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Old Nov 10th, 2007, 04:25 AM
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Thanks for all the information, everyone. We're planning our trip for spring of 2009, so by then it sounds like there will be several new fast lines open. Maybe we can plan an itinerary based primarily on high speed train travel!

Can anyone recommend a good website so I can keep up with the progress, as new lines start running?

Thanks again. Robyn >-
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Old Nov 10th, 2007, 05:40 AM
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By then you may even be able to get the ICE though the tunnel instead of Eurostar, as DB have put in a bid to run their own trains through to London.
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Old Dec 1st, 2007, 12:51 PM
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no idea whether you're still checking this thread, just some details to add:

- Brussels-Cologne isn't that much of a highspeed-line yet. Brussels-Liege is fine (note the spectacular new railway station by Santiago Calatrava in Liege), Liege-Aachen is currently under construction (should be inaugurated by 2009, as first test drives have already been accomplished). Inside Germany, Thalys doesn't run any faster than most other trains would, slowing down to a mere 100mph between Aachen and Düren.

- Cologne-Frankfurt is considered one of the most boring highspeed-lines there is, as most of the track is either tunneled or walled, only fun is when you get a glimpse of those 'slow' cars on the parallel A3 motorway (but you can have similar views Paris-Brussels). One thing the ICE-3 trains are good for: The engines are integrated in the floors + there's a window _behind_ the driver's seat, so you can take a look over his shoulder (alas I think it's first class coaches there).

- as far as I know, the Paris-Strasbourg highspeed-line ends just before Strasbourg (100km), after that's it's 'fast trains on slow tracks' again, especially once you cross the border to Germany

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Old Dec 1st, 2007, 01:01 PM
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> (alas I think it's first class coaches there).

Only on one end. The other end is 2nd class - and you can look over the driver's shoulder there as well, if the train goes in the right direction...
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Old Dec 1st, 2007, 01:21 PM
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> Only on one end. The other end is 2nd class - and you can look over the driver's shoulder there as well, if the train goes in the right direction...

Yes, obviously, naturally you're right. I guess I confunded it with ICE2 coaches (one end engine, the other just the driver's cab).
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Old Dec 2nd, 2007, 10:16 PM
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You asked for a page that will keep you updated: An alliance of European rail companies operateing highspeed-lines has been established recently, named 'Railteam'. Their homepage has a 'press corner', too, for the news (http://www.railteam.de/en/).
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Old Dec 8th, 2007, 03:10 AM
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Nautiker -

Thank you for the additional information and link to the excellent website. This is exactly what I've been looking for.

"only fun is when you get a glimpse of those 'slow' cars on the parallel A3 motorway (but you can have similar views Paris-Brussels)."

YES! I know exactly what you mean, having done the Paris-Brussels run a decade ago. It was like the cars were standing still. That's the kind of speed I want our friend to experience... really, really fast.

We'll be (probably) flying in and out of Amsterdam, so it would be great if the Amsterdam-Brussels section of the Thalys is upgraded in the next 16 months.

You mention the ICE3 and an ICE2, which must be different types of ICE trains. Is there a link where I can learn more about their configurations?

Thanks again. Robyn >-
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Old Dec 8th, 2007, 03:24 AM
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> Is there a link where I can learn more about their configurations?

There is a good ressource at www.railfaneurope.net
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Old Dec 8th, 2007, 03:33 AM
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http://www.railfaneurope.net/pix/de/...u/ICE/pix.html
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Old Dec 8th, 2007, 04:51 AM
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Thanks for the links, altamiro!

Robyn >-
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Old Dec 8th, 2007, 05:58 AM
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I guess railfans are among the most devoted contributers to wikipedia, so there's naturally a page on ICEs, too: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/InterCityExpress (as there are pages for TGV, Thalys...).

From what I know, the Brussels-Amsterdam-HSL is supposed to be opened to public by October 2008, the eastern branch Brussels-Liege-Aachen by early 2009.

Yes, the ICE3 represents the newest generation of German HS-trains, and though you may find different 'generations' on different relations, Cologne-Frankfurt is served by ICE3 solely (due to the gradients on that line which require the 'light' in-floor engines). Just in case you consider taking that train at all: The motorway is to the east of the tracks for most of the time, alas there are a lot of walls / cuttings. Due to the federal system in Germany, some trains stop in fascinating places like Montabaur (9000 habitants), really taking the edge of highspeed-travel, so make sure you get on those direct trains which do the stretch Cologne-Frankfurt Airport in less than 1h...
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Old Mar 4th, 2008, 05:11 PM
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I've taken the new TGV from Paris to Strassbourg and yes it is fast and the first class coach is lovely, but was I impressed...sad to say, no, maybe I'm jaded...it was very good, fast service, but I can't say that I even noticed the speed....
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