beleben

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Dealing with the TGV problem

with 4 comments

Most of France’s TGV high speed trains are running at a loss, and even the profitable ones are not earning enough to cover their cost of capital, The Economist magazine reported (13 Aug 2014).

SNCF bosses see three options for dealing with the problem.

[‘All change’, The Economist] […]

The first is to slash the [TGV] network from 180 point-to-point journeys to only a core of the 40 most profitable. […] The latest planned TGV line, from north east France to the Mediterranean, would simply be scrapped.

[…] The second option is to do precisely the opposite: to go all out to boost traffic, with cut-price fares, loads more routes and streamlined ways of working to get train utilisation up from barely six hours a day to around 13 — which would compare with the way low-cost airlines “sweat” their assets.

[…] The third policy would amount to a more cautious version of the above expansion: a radical overhaul of operating and working practices to turn most of the TGV network into the railway equivalent of a low-cost airline.

In December 2013, Le Figaro reported that ‘low-cost’ Ouigo was abstracting traffic from (higher-yield) standard TGVs, but load factor was 60% (it is sometimes claimed that more expensive standard TGV services have a load factor of 70%).

Ouigo passengers need to present themselves at the station 30 minutes before departure (Les Verts)

‘Ouigo passengers need to present themselves at the station 30 minutes before departure’ (Les Verts)


Extract from an interview with TGV book author Marc Fressoz, 2011

Extract from an interview with TGV book author Marc Fressoz, 2011

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Written by beleben

August 14, 2014 at 8:50 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

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4 Responses

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  1. Is this relevant to HS2? The French have their own way of running their network and we aren’t going to be copying it. HS2 Ltd seem more than keen to sweat all their assets, thus explaining the 18tph core frequency that is almost unheard-of for European high speed rail lines.

    CautiousObserver

    August 15, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    • Is this relevant to HS2? The French have their own way of running their network and we aren’t going to be copying it.

      The European Technical Standards for Interoperability are, in essence, French — as the HS2 chief engineer has acknowledged.

      The Eurostar trains, signalling, and electrification on HS1 are French.

      The Eurostar product offer, and marketing, follows SNCF practice.

      beleben

      August 15, 2014 at 8:46 pm

      • But I’m asking about HS2? Your answer was about HS1, which is indeed more of an extension of LGV Nord than it is a true British high speed railway. What the TSIs do is ensure that all high speed lines built in Europe will be of equivalent standard, so it is irrelevant whether the initial technologies were French or German or whatever.

        CautiousObserver

        August 16, 2014 at 8:32 am

      • The blogpost was about the financial crisis affecting the French high speed rail network — which is cited as being the ‘best’ of its kind (at least in Europe). If you wish to believe that there is no crisis, that is your prerogative.

        How HS2 would be “a true British high speed railway” is difficult to understand. It is based on French and Japanese thinking, and most of the contractors involved, or looking to get involved, aren’t British.

        beleben

        August 16, 2014 at 9:08 am


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