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Author Topic: Competing Channel tunnel trains?  (Read 3268 times)
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« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2023, 07:37:42 am »

Yep the question I keep coming back to is would there be enough of a market for this overnight service to make it viable?

I would think that a London - Amsterdam sleeper could be although at just over 4 hours there would need to be layover time at each end.   Other longer destinations Berlin even on into Warsaw, Prague could be.

Perhaps not a service every night, if it was priced right for the city break market could be a good choice and the right nights for business travellers
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« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2023, 10:27:22 am »

The Austrian NightJets typically do some shunting halfway along their route, so you get things like Innsbruck/Vienna - Cologne/Hamburg combinations. Each of the four combinations is a mixture of stock, typically two day coaches, two couchettes and just one 'proper' sleeper.  As someone who is too old to endure day coaches or couchettes, that tells me that the clientele is a lot younger than I am.
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« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2023, 02:28:56 pm »

Well there certainly seems to be good demand for the new Continental sleeper services, and our two services in UK (United Kingdom) ( Penzance and Scotland) are generally well filled. I would gladly use a sleeper through the tunnel, much more civilized than having to get  to St Pancras  for the first morning  service at some godawful time !
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« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2023, 06:34:32 pm »

As I said in a previous post, I like the idea and would consider using it.

Somebody who seriously looked at this was London Direct Sleeper Group (London Sleeper Trading Limited) and Michael Guerra who was a driving force behind this has made comments about why it never happened on the Business Traveller comments section.

https://www.businesstraveller.com/forums/topic/sleeper-trains-from-st-pancras/

Quote from: Business Traveller
With apologies to John, to whom this was an emailed reply:
I spent 4 years (and a good deal of my own money) running a research project on exactly the same thing (the London Direct Sleeper Group). The project was wound up last year after we completed a business plan. I spent a good deal of time talking to everyone: UK (United Kingdom) and French government officials, EU» (European Union - about) bureaucrats, train manufacturers, security consultants, government security customs and immigration agencies etc. It was a tortuous process with no one wanting to give anything away. However we were able to come up with a business model that suited almost everyone.

First, the trains will need to be capable of 300km/h; this is because they need to run fast enough to only need one Eurostar path. As sleepers can only accommodate 20-30% of the numbers of passengers per unit length of train, compared with a day train, the units would have to be double-deck to be more cost-effective. The Nightstar service model was doomed before it turned a wheel because of the weight of the rolling stock, slowness and the requirement for external traction (sometimes double-headed). As they were also built to a minimum UK loading gauge they were very confined inside, in addition to all the extra equipment they needed inside. For that reason any night trains running from St Pancras will need to be high-speed multiple units, not loco-hauled stock. As multiple units running to a variety of destinations in Europe the trains would have to be fitted for at least 12 signalling systems and for running under 4 overhead voltages. This is a lot easier than it used to be. The also need to be certificated for long high-speed tunnels, which requires the fitment of all kinds of specialised safety equipment. Needless to say they would be very expensive trains. In short, you cannot use loco-hauled ex-Wagons Lits stock through the Channel Tunnel. But even with all that there is the fundamental issue of security.

Every man, woman and child travelling on a passenger train through the Channel Tunnel must past through airport style security (luggage irradiation & metal detector arch). So that if your sleeper was able to leave St Pancras it wouldn’t be able to return with any passengers unless the station they leave from has an equivalent security check to that at St Pancras, Paris Nord or Bruxelles Midi. This is a not inconsiderable infrastructure expense. We suggested running security checks from the train, but unless you were at a terminus station the platform dwells would have been far too long, we also looked into near-future scanning technology but that was not backed as ‘not being the same as’ the current Eurostar agreement. It became an impasse. Technologically nearly everything was possible today, but for the security arrangement. It is interesting that it is possible to ride trains from Stockholm to Sevilla without having to show your passport or having your baggage irradiated due to the Schengen Zone agreement, but as the UK is outside that anyone wanting to run a train through to the continent has to deal with Fortress Britain, which is very difficult to unpick. Paris and Bruxelles are too close to run night trains to, so our business plan is with DB» (Deutsche Bahn - German State Railway - about), who might have the resources to build security infrastructure at Koln of Frankfurt, or Berlin. They are really the only active players looking at new services; however with the current economic crisis it is unlikely to happen very soon. But I live in hope.

As to your own research, I’m afraid that although there is ready market for such a service (however, you would have to run 70-80% full every night on 3% interest on around a 1bn Euro investment on 8 routes) you will probably come to the same conclusions. The security issue is the real difficulty, and I certainly spent too much time on that with absolutely no movement.

There are further comments on pages 2 & 3. See this brief mention about passenger data sharing and safety (page 10)*:

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmhaff/826/826.pdf


Seems security was the impassable stumbling block.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2023, 06:55:04 pm by 1st fan » Logged
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« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2023, 07:05:26 pm »

Sounds as though it'll have to be the 'Citalian Express' mode of operation then, though sans Folkestone Harbour branch.

http://www.eastbank.org.uk/citalia.htm

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« Reply #20 on: January 05, 2023, 10:22:01 am »

Quote
Technologically nearly everything was possible today, but for the security arrangement. It is interesting that it is possible to ride trains from Stockholm to Sevilla without having to show your passport or having your baggage irradiated due to the Schengen Zone agreement, but as the UK (United Kingdom) is outside that anyone wanting to run a train through to the continent has to deal with Fortress Britain, which is very difficult to unpick.

Am I the only person who has wondered for years about the foolishness (?) of "Fortress Britain"?

The hysteria generated by the arrival of 45,000 "illegals" in a nation of 67,500,000 is extraordinary when you look at those two figures side-by-side.

Notwithstanding this "fortress" policy, I have (if I recall correctly) undertaken about 20 return cross-channel (or North Sea) ferry trips in private cars from Britain since the mid-1970s and never once been searched or scanned, even though this has been in a variety of combinations of occupants of the car I was travelling in. This included a few birdwatching trips when we would have been a car-full of scruffy males who surely must have been worth a look! I have been searched thoroughly three times elsewhere. Once was travelling by ferry to Northern Ireland for a friend's wedding in the troubles (mid-1980s) when all vehicles were "searched" by a sniffer dog, and twice on birding trips (see above) in the same decade when travelling between Scandinavian countries. The first was coming off the Helsingor-Helsingborg ferry, the second crossing from Norway into Finland in the far north, at a crossing point well-known in the birding fraternity (or at least those who liked trips to the far north of Europe) for the officiousness of the Finnish border staff. In both cases the opposite journeys were entirely unchecked, indeed on the Finnish trip we went form Sweden, into Finland, onto Norway, then back to Finland when our thorough check was undertaken. The first entry into Finland at a different point was only marked by a sign and change in the colour of the road-marking

If all our continental neighbours now think open borders are safe, perhaps it is time we did a "robust risk assessment". Think of all the expense (both in delay and border infrastructure) we might save.

Smelling salts for Mr Farage please.......
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« Reply #21 on: January 05, 2023, 10:42:18 am »

Am I the only person who has wondered for years about the foolishness (?) of "Fortress Britain"?

No, absolutely not. But train services through the Channel Tunnel and its effect on them are a tiny element of the issue, and one which has its agenda limited by "Fortress Britain" constraints; the services cannot in themselves change that policy and to that extent are unable to change things or take the lead in such changes being such a small element even if they wished to.

I may be following up with a much longer and more general post somewhere ... if not on this thread, I will add a link.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2023, 10:48:30 am by grahame » Logged

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« Reply #22 on: January 06, 2023, 09:58:17 am »

I may be following up with a much longer and more general post somewhere ... if not on this thread, I will add a link.

OK - deep breath

It is horrendous to hear of people drowning in the sea between France and England, though for some reading this (which I am likely to share outside the Coffee Shop) they will not feel that connected with the people who die as those people are unknown to them, with a different home language, a different religion, a different skin colour, and are "illegal" which (of course) you, dear reader are not. So "they must be stopped" together with putting those nasty people-traffickers who put them at risk and bring them to England out of business.  What a major task, and just look how tough our government can be ... rattling their patrol boats, putting people into camps for long periods, and shipping them off to Africa.  And real actions to address the issue is needed, furthermore action that is popular with many of their core voters and a sizeable chunk of swingable voters too, especially if sold as a battle being fought on their behalf.

But hang on a moment.  Let's take a step back and take a wider view and see if there is an alternative

Some facts

1. This country is short of care and medical workers, agricultural staff, bus and lorry drivers. In many other areas such as the hospitality business and retail you'll find desperate adverts looking for staff.  You'll find things not happening because of staff shortages.

2. France, where the boats are coming from, is a member of the Schengen zone which offers a freedom of movement around Europe. Last Autumn, I travelled across that zone and once out of England and into France (or Italy or Germany by air) movement over borders was straightforward - almost un-noticed.  Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Germany and Belgium. For sure, you could tell which country you were in with things like mandatory mask wearing (and enforced) in Spain but no such rule in France or Portugal.

3.  We are talking about 1 person in a boat versus 1,500 residents each year.

Across Schengen, there are pockets of employment and unemployment, and there are some brief border monitoring as well as such things as security checks even with certain countries in the zone.  And I note that Switzerland and Norway and Iceland, though within the zone, are not within the EU» (European Union - about).

Taking that wider view, what would the outcome be if the UK (United Kingdom) was to join Schengen? Would it lead to mass unemployment amongst Border Force staff? The UK being overrun by people who long term have to be supported by the state?  Jobs being filled which are currently avaialble? The Conservative party loosing votes and supporters?  Danger in The Channel being slashed?  People trafficers being put out of business between Calais and Dover overnight?  Eurostar train services being able to increase, with a network of daily and nightly services service much more than a single station in England?   Easier flow of goods across The Channel with a saving of costs? 

Or is there even a solution in helping people feel that they don't need to leave their distant home and take desperate risks?

Edit - spelling correction
« Last Edit: January 06, 2023, 10:50:28 am by grahame » Logged

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« Reply #23 on: January 06, 2023, 11:47:48 am »


Just wondering why if Schengen is so good are 45 000 people a year so desperate to leave it that they will hazard their lives and pay a fortune to escape it?

The answer may rest in the European rules about social insurance, which effectively limit free movement.

Our population problem is that we have 67.5M people but only housing for perhaps 55M. Tough if you are low paid.

The EU» (European Union - about) is a protectionist Cartel, sometimes even against its members. Why were DB» (Deutsche Bahn - German State Railway - about) ICE's stopped from working through the Channel Tunnel?


OTC
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« Reply #24 on: January 24, 2023, 09:20:53 pm »

Merged Thalys and Eurostar rebrand as Eurostar.  From CityAM

Quote
Eurostar has unveiled its new brand identity complete with a logo, symbol and name: Eurostar.

The high-speed rail line’s regeneration includes bringing in  French-Belgian high-speed train operator  Thalys and Eurostar under one company name, the Eurostar Group.

Announcing the move on Tuesday, all of its 51 trains will carry a new star symbol by the end of the year, inspired by l’Etoile du Nord which inked Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam.
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