US Servicemen Overpower Gunman on HSR Train in France

Aug 21st, 2015 | Posted by

An AK-47 wielding gunman opened fire today on a Thalys train headed from Amsterdam to Paris. He was subdued by two US Marines three Americans who happened to be on the train:

French media said the gunman had shot a Kalashnikov on board the train, and was also armed with knives.

The local paper La Voix du Nord reported that two US marines on the train had overpowered the man. The paper reported that the marines had intervened when the man was loading heavy ammunition in a toilet on the train. Both marines were reported to have been injured, one by gunfire, the other by a knife.

Two other passengers were seriously wounded by the gunfire, alleged to have come from a 26 year old Moroccan man.

Hopefully nobody dies as a result of this. It’s also unfortunate to see high speed rail becoming the scene of a shooting like this. One hopes this doesn’t lead to TSA-style rules being imposed on American HSR.

UPDATE: Initial reports that the Americans were Marines were incorrect – one is in the Oregon National Guard, another in the US Air Force, and a third was their friend. Much credit to them and to others on the train who helped avert a massacre.

  1. morris brown
    Aug 21st, 2015 at 15:29
    #1

    Robert writes:

    Hopefully nobody dies as a result of this. It’s also unfortunate to see high speed rail becoming the scene of a shooting like this. One hopes this doesn’t lead to TSA-style rules being imposed on American HSR.

    Quoting from Prop 1A:

    PROP 1A title

    SAFE, RELIABLE HIGH-SPEED PASSENGER TRAIN BOND ACT.

    How else can it be made safe without security checking?

    Peter Reply:

    Lol. If you think that “security checking” makes us “safe”, then I have some full body scanners to sell you.

    Remember, the worst terrorist attacks on trains were not against HSR trains (with relatively low passenger density), but against crowded commuter trains. Might as well install security checkpoints to “protect” commuter and subway trains.

    Joe Brant Reply:

    They do do this in Beijing, and it is about as easy and convenient as it sounds. There are restrictions on bringing liquids on the subway, and the guards only let you go if you can drink a bit of the liquid in front of them.

    Scramjett Reply:

    That is a very smart and common sense approach to security. For that reason alone, it will not be implemented by TSA who prefers the most invasive and humiliating approaches to “security” that doesn’t actually improve security.

    RobBob Reply:

    I should add that in my experience in Beijing, if you’re not carrying any bags you basically bypass security. If you have a bag you have to put it through a scanner, but it’s quick.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    It’s very hard to imagine how any kind of meaningful pervasive security checking could be done on a busy rush-hour subway…. A busy subway at rush hour has people constantly streaming, without stopping, through enormous banks of parallel faregates; many of those people are of course carrying the usual small bags (briefcases, backpacks, purses) and often larger ones.

    If you just slow each person down by a few seconds, you’ve already created an enormous bottleneck… and can you really do useful checking in a few seconds? ><

    Bdawe Reply:

    Security checking on HSR is as logical as security checking on anywhere in the public realm. You can’t hijack a train into a building. They are not potential mass-casualty weapons in and of themselves, and thus present no more danger than any other crowded space. Do we need the TSA checking everyone going into a public square or riding a subway?

    Travis D Reply:

    Some people would say “yes” to that.

    Scramjett Reply:

    Those people deserve neither freedom nor security.

    beetroot Reply:

    Study after study has shown the TSA to be nothing but security theater. It’s there purely for the perception of safety, not because it actually leads to safer outcomes. In essence, it exists solely to reassure people like morris, who are genetically predisposed to living in a state of constant fear.

    Travis D Reply:

    If no one was checked in any way before getting on a plane would you still fly?

    Nathanael Reply:

    I don’t fly because of the harassment by TSA, TSA’s repeated thefts from luggage, TSA’s arbitrary power-trip invention of rules, etc. They also have proven unable to prevent all manner of weapons from being taken onto planes, so they’re incompetent.

    I think I’d be safer with no checks on anyone getting on a plane, yes.

    Scramjett Reply:

    +10!

    JJJJ Reply:

    Have you flown internationally recently? Board a plane in Mexico and they use the same security the US enjoyed in the 80s. Bag through scanner, walk through xray, youre done in all of 15 seconds. I cant recall any incident where “lax” security like that has caused issues.

    Scramjett Reply:

    It was passive and effective! TSA can’t have that!

  2. morris brown
    Aug 21st, 2015 at 15:44
    #2

    As oil prices went a bit below $40 a barrel today, it is interesting to recall some of Robert’s assertions as to why we need HSR. As an example look at:

    Robert from Monday, September 22, 2008

    Up by $31 in the last couple days according to the New York Times, currently at $122/bbl. Sure, crude prices have been coming down since their July peak, but as I explained last month the long-term trend remains upward for fundamental reasons, including peak oil and the global surge in oil demand.

    Even if oil prices were to level off around $100/bbl high speed rail would be a good deal for Californians. But what this recently rally reminds us is that upward pressure is still there and the days of $100/bbl are probably over. We’ve seen 30% year over year increases in the price of oil since 2002. As we know, this has a dramatic ripple effect throughout our transportation system. The airline crisis is one of them, as higher fuel costs lead airlines to cut routes, flights, and raise fares.

    The only way out of this is to build sustainable mass transit that is fast, reliable, and not dependent on oil. High speed rail meets all those needs. We’ve already waited long enough – time to get started by passing Prop 1A.

    agb5 Reply:

    On the other hand, according to Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman What Ails The World Right Now Is That Governments Aren’t Deep Enough In Debt , so its your patriotic duty to borrow big and build HSR anyway:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/21/opinion/paul-krugman-debt-is-good-for-the-economy.html?_r=1

    synonymouse Reply:

    Perhaps Krugman should loan out his Nobel loot to, say, Greece.

    Scramjett Reply:

    Dude, you do know that we’re still paying off the Civil War?

    Nathanael Reply:

    National government “debt” is a sort of fiction; what governments need to do right now is to print money, and “debt” is one way to do that.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    No no no. Government debt is evil. Except when Republicans are in power, then they cut taxes on rich people and borrow so they can spend like drunken sailors.

    Mattie F. Reply:

    It’s called “long-term” for a reason. Oil won’t remain at $40 forever. Its price is controlled by a cartel that wants to put out of business competitors that can only operate profitably above $100/bbl – and the only reason they would have to do that, is if they plan on keeping prices there long-term.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Yep. The Saudis have stated their deliberate intention to drive the tar sands and fracking operators out of business by keeping oil prices low for several years. They’re simultaneously hurting Iran and Russia, which are opposed to their geopolitical interests.

    The Saudis can’t keep this up forever, though. Eventually they will have successfully driven the tar sands and fracking operators out of business, and oil prices will rise.

    john burrows Reply:

    Robert and almost everyone else was wrong on this one. Back in 2008, with crude oil at $140.00 per barrel, it was hard to imagine that seven years later the price would be threatening to dive below $40.00 per barrel.

    But one thing that hasn’t changed—Back in 2008 each barrel of oil we produced would end up pumping at least 700 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere. Each barrel of oil used today pumps 700 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere, and each barrel of oil that we will be producing 50 or 100 years or more into the future will also produce 700 pounds of CO2.

    Back in 2005 Schwarzenegger, (a Republican) signed an executive order establishing a goal of reducing (by the year 2050) statewide greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 1990 levels. By 2050 we will have high speed rail, maybe even a complete build out to Sacramento and San Diego. I haven’t yet developed the ability to predict the future but I would hope that the full system will be running and that it will be carrying enough passengers to be a big help in getting us to this 80% reduction.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    The current low price of oil is reportedly due to the Saudis & friends intentionally flooding the market to drive companies using expensive methods of production (fracking blah blah) out of business. It won’t last in the long term.

    Nathanael Reply:

    The Saudis can keep the high production up for four or five more years, maybe ten years, but not much longer than that. The frackers and tar sands guys and deep offshore guys will be bankrupt and shut down within 5 years.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The oil will still be in the ground and another set of grifters will convince investors it’s time to reopen everything. Part of it is that North American natural gas is so cheap petrochemical production is shifting to North America. The Chinese and their competitors don’t care where the resin comes from. Or the fertilizer or all the other stuff you can make out of natural gas instead of oil or coal.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Most of the gas fracking sites were *never* profitable; they were land scams. They won’t reopen, because it’s hard to run the same grift twice back to back.

    In the meantime, the continuous decline in demand for oil & gas due to cheaper renewable-energy competition is going to hurt the economics of these high-production cost fields, which will look worse in 10 years than it does now.

    Eric Reply:

    “The Saudis can keep the high production up for four or five more years, maybe ten years, but not much longer than that.”

    I wonder how you know that.

    Nathanael Reply:

    More accurately, they can keep the high production up longer than that, but they can’t tolerate the low *prices* longer than that. They are maintaining their very large government budget out of oil income. The low prices hurt that income. They’ve got a huge warchest, but they can only go five or ten years before they have to start raising prices in order to maintain the government budget.

    They have to maintain and increase that budget in order to maintain social stability, because the Saudi government has no legitimacy beyond that which comes from bribing everyone.

    Nathanael Reply:

    (It’s amazing the things you can figure out by obsessively reading lots and lots and lots of reports.)

    Scramjett Reply:

    Curious. Have you seen this one?

    Jaffe: There Will Be No Shortage Of Oil/Gas—‘Get Over It’
    Submitted on June 24, 2014 – 5pm
    Issue: Summer 2013

    Amy Myers Jaffe: I think the most important fact that a lot of the analysis [on Middle East conflict] somewhat failed to see in thinking about our energy future is a fact—one that I have been saying like a broken record and even wrote a book about, something that even the oil industry itself loses sight of—the oil industry is a cyclical industry. The oil industry has been going through booms and busts since the 1800s, and those booms and busts are connected, in great measure, to the general business cycle—both in the US and the global economy. I’ll give you the two-minute summary of the last go-round for the latest boom cycle, though I know we are all familiar with it after having lived through it so recently.

    http://www.verdexchange.org/news/jaffe-there-will-be-no-shortage-oilgas%E2%80%94%E2%80%98get-over-it%E2%80%99

    synonymouse Reply:

    “…the Saudi government has no legitimacy beyond that which comes from bribing everyone.”

    Ditto for the Brown-Pelosi-Burton patronage machine. When do we get the numbers for the Tutor change order?

  3. adirondacker12800
    Aug 21st, 2015 at 15:50
    #3

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7_July_2005_London_bombings

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Madrid_train_bombings

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Island_Rail_Road_massacre

    You want to take out people on a train, crash a pickup truck through the fence onto the tracks…

    JJJJ Reply:

    Or just stroll onto the tracks and place the device of your choosing. Acela goes through NJ at 150mph. Park in Jersey Ave NJ Transit stop (where I believe they start their max speed journey) and you have complete access to every track.

  4. Reality Check
    Aug 21st, 2015 at 16:23
    #4

    Judge limits evidence for Kings County suit over high-speed rail

    […]

    “The fundamental question that the court will decide in the case is: Has the Authority made a decision that currently precludes compliance with Proposition 1A?” Kenny wrote in his Aug. 18 ruling. “Accordingly, the record before the court will need to consist of the documents replied upon by the Authority in making the decisions being challenged in this matter.”

    Kenny’s decision tossed out a thick bundle of expert declarations that the Kings County side had collected to bolster its assertions. Those included a declaration by former state senator and former judge Quentin Kopp, one of the earliest supporters of high-speed rail in California but who stated that he believes the program now being developed does not represent the original vision for the system.

    Kenny did, however, allow documents that were referenced by web links in public comments presented to the rail authority for the agency’s 2012 and 2014 business plans. He also disallowed an evaluation prepared by Paul Jones, an engineer, who took issue with the rail authority’s claims on trip times between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

    Michael Brady, a Redwood City attorney [and Morris Brown’s trackside neighbor in Menlo Park] representing Tos, Fukuda and Kings County, said he’s not overly concerned about losing declarations from Kopp, Jones or others. “These were done in 2013, which seems like an eternity ago,” Brady said. “Since then, we have developed a mountain of evidence which has been admitted proving all the points we asserted in the declarations. So we can live without them.” He added, however, that he and co-counsel Stuart Flashman of Oakland expect to object to the judge’s exclusion of the declarations.

    […]

    synonymouse Reply:

    Does the Judge have the energy or the nerve himself to examine PB’s assertions if he perfunctorily excludes any expert dissenting opinion?

    Whence came the Doctrine of PB Infallibility?

    synonymouse Reply:

    “the documents replied upon by the Authority in making the decisions being challenged in this matter.”

    replied upon or relied on. ****ing lawyers use worse English than your average fifth grader.

    Mattie F. Reply:

    It’s a one letter typo. Get over yourself.

    synonymouse Reply:

    intentional obfuscation, totally in keeping with Prop 1a.

    J. Wong Reply:

    You don’t know where the typo was introduced. Likely it wasn’t the lawyers.

  5. Reality Check
    Aug 21st, 2015 at 16:53
    #5

    Atherton: Work continues on restoring seldom-used Caltrain station

    […]

    Caltrain has not stopped at the Atherton station on weekdays since 2007. There has been talk of restoring weekday service, but no decision has been reached.

    […]

    Put it out of it’s misery! What a complete waste. America’s Finest Transit Planning Professionals?

  6. Reality Check
    Aug 21st, 2015 at 17:19
    #6

    HSRA’s Ben Tripousis’s Aug. 20 presentation to Caltrain Citizens Advisory Committee

    keith saggers Reply:

    “Next Steps with Cap and Trade-Advance Multiple Segments of High Speed Rail Concurrently”

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    Chart 9 (Benefits of Grade Separation:
    Suggest you add
    Schedule Reliability
    Less noise (No whistles or gongs)
    No traffic tie-ups (including emergency vehicles)
    Curb mischief and public access to tracks

    Peter Reply:

    How does grade separation improve schedule reliability? Do you mean for buses?

    BMF of San Diego Reply:

    Isn’t it obvious? Grade crossings include gates, which are systems that are prone to malfunction from time to time, and, can be subverted by impatient people. Grade separations are safer for everyone and enable more consistent reliable service.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Startling numbers of train delays are due to idiots driving around gates and getting hit by trains as a result.

    Roland Reply:

    Third slide (top of second page 2) “Capable of Operating at Speeds up to 200 MPH”. Is this a typo or did America’s finest rail planners mysteriously drop 20 MPH and hope that no-one would notice?

    Peter Reply:

    Is this yet another example of interpreting a presentation as a plan? Don’t take these presentations too seriously. They’re not mandatory on anyone.

  7. Miles Bader
    Aug 21st, 2015 at 19:44
    #7

    Cue Grauniad commenters complaining about “Amerikan military imperialism!1!” ><

  8. Mattie F.
    Aug 22nd, 2015 at 10:19
    #8

    Just allow free rides for active-duty military, then you’ll always have a couple Marines on hand to save the day. No checkpoints necessary.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Ha! That’s an entertaining idea. They might go for it.

    JJJJ Reply:

    Thats not a terrible idea actually.

  9. Emily68
    Aug 22nd, 2015 at 11:13
    #9

    I guess a couple of good guys without guns CAN stop a bad guy with several guns.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Au contraire, the SNCF got really, really lucky IMHO. French TV is describing the perp as intelligent but to me he seems not of course just unhinged but IQ challenged.

    A professional assassin would have made the military types on board and adjusted strategy accordingly. A whole lot of people would have been killed. The passengers would be sitting ducks.

    Apparently at least part of the train staff locked themselves up in a compartment and just hunkered down.

    Joey Reply:

    Professional assassins generally have no interest in mass killings.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I hesitated over professional; perhaps well-trained assassins would read better.

    But the arab world is violent – IIRC Saddam Hussein was a hitman for hire before doing mass killings as dictator.

    joe Reply:

    measure violennce by gun deaths per capita.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    A professional would have decided that trying to shoot people in a train is really stupid and not very effective.

    EJ Reply:

    We’re talking about the real world here, though. Not “Die Hard.”

  10. datacruncher
    Aug 22nd, 2015 at 12:18
    #10

    Questions arise over Merced HSR committee

    Plans to design a stop for California high-speed rail are expected to ramp up in the coming months, and elected officials and residents are questioning whether the city has done enough to put together a complete steering committee.

    The Ad Hoc High-Speed Rail Citizens Advisory Committee has been meeting about once a month since December. The seven members are a combination of city employees and local residents, according to city staff.

    The Merced City Council got an update from city staff this week about the plan, and could be asked to approve a consultant for planning at the next council meeting. The committee interviewed the potential consultants.

    But questions have arisen about whether the committee had enough technical expertise to make that call. The committee included administrators, insurance agents and city staff, but no one from the Development Services Department.

    Mayor Pro Tem Josh Pedrozo said the group that did the interviews was accomplished and intelligent, but none of them had experience in city planning. “I think that the committee was lacking a strong technical (expertise),” he said.

    He also noted that no representative from UC Merced was part of the interview process.

    Article continues at:
    http://www.mercedsunstar.com/news/local/article31870455.html#storylink=cpy

  11. datacruncher
    Aug 22nd, 2015 at 12:22
    #11

    Long-awaited bullet train meeting arrives next week

    The bullet train’s proposed new path through Bakersfield — a route that’s quicker, shorter, less elevated and would impact hundreds fewer property owners — will get its first public airing Tuesday afternoon.

    ………

    By all accounts, the rail agency is now working well and closely with Bakersfield officials, which wasn’t always the case.

    In fact, the conceptual train line some residents and land owners will see for the first time Tuesday was first developed at City Hall.

    It began, Community Development Director Doug McIsaac said, when Bakersfield officials, having sued the CHSRA to block the train’s adopted, “hybrid” path, realized someone would have to find another route to bring it through the city.

    Struck by that realization, they pulled out maps of the area.

    ………….

    Shafter City Manager Scott Hurlbert said the conceptual alignment would take as many as 1,500 houses in Gossamer Grove, a master-planned community of 3,500 homes being built over the next 12 to 18 years.

    It would also impact the “north beltway,” part of Shafter’s planned freeway system, and would “greatly reduce” the city’s chances of being chosen as the site for a CHSRA heavy maintenance facility of about 1,500 jobs.

    “In our minds and from what we’ve seen, what some of the high-speed rail staff have indicated, it would pretty much eliminate the location for a heavy maintenance facility. Others have said you can figure out how to put the HMF on a rail spur, but that really hurts the efficiency of it,” Hurlbert said. “We actually prefer the hybrid at this point.”

    Morales said Shafter would still be considered for a heavy maintenance facility regardless which alignment is ultimately confirmed.

    ………

    Lennar broke ground earlier this year on Gossamer Grove’s first phase of 400 houses, and the bullet train won’t impact the planned community for a long time to come, according to a representative.

    Mike Miller, a Central Valley division president for Lennar, declined to confirm the exact number of Gossamer Grove houses that would be affected.

    But he was struck by the fact that Bakersfield and Shafter now differ on their choice of alignment.

    “That’s the irony of it all. They settle with Bakersfield and just thumb their nose, I guess, at Shafter,” Miller said, acknowledging talks between the rail agency and Shafter are ongoing.

    “Fortunately, it has zero impact on the initial two-thirds of the project we’re working on, but the next 30 days is going to teach us a lot,” Miller added. “No matter where they put the line through, not everybody’s going to be happy and that’s just the reality of it.”

    ………….

    More at:
    http://www.bakersfield.com/News/2015/08/20/Long-awaited-bullet-train-meeting-arrives-next-week.html

    datacruncher Reply:

    From the article sidebar

    In current estimates, the conceptual line is about 6 1/2 miles shorter as it goes through urban Bakersfield, and where it is elevated, will only be about 60 feet high.

    Parts of the hybrid alignment were planned to be 75 to 80 feet high to clear the Westside Parkway and other public facilities.

    As currently planned, the conceptual alignment would require acquisition of just 144 land parcels in comparison with the 541 parcels needed for the hybrid alignment.

    The conceptual alignment would also take hundreds fewer structures than the hybrid alignment, which would impact 526 structures, including 231 single-family houses.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    6 miles shorter? So that saves several minutes.

    Eric M Reply:

    only around 2 minutes

    Peter Reply:

    It save more like 5 or 6 because the trains wouldn’t have to slow to 150 mph through the Hybrid Alignment.

    beetroot Reply:

    I thought the 150 mph limit was to minimize noise in residential areas – does the new alignment avoid residential?

    Zorro Reply:

    HSR noise at speed is largely beyond human hearing, thanks to the Doppler Effect, unless you have hearing like a Bat. I’ve watched youtube videos and I could barely hear anything, 4 or 5 seconds isn’t a heck of a lot of time, I think this worry over sound from HSR, is a lot of hooey over nothing, in Europe and Japan they don’t put up sound walls, if there was a significant source of noise I’d expect there would be a cry over this, but where is it?

    It’s like the Commandos who raided Norway in WWII, Hitler said His troops would be there to oppose any invaders, one of the Commandos said, ‘well where are they?’ In a Telegram to Herr Hitler..

    Peter Reply:

    What the fuck are you talking about?!?!

    Clem Reply:

    Is there a single sentence in there that is factually correct?

    Zorro Reply:

    Ok Maybe Doppler can be ignored, here’s something, that I found here.

    We need to approach all rail development in this country with an appropriate level of humility. For more than half a century, the US has quietly slipped behind in train technology. We do not have experience in operating high-speed rail lines.

    So let’s start with noise. I once spent a week within a few hundred yards of the TGV line outside Tonnerre, France. Trains rocketing through Burgundy whooshed by with a sound much quieter than trucks on the main highway. This high-speed line seemed remarkably quiet. But that’s my impression.

    Many of us spend time abroad. Can anyone reading this share their own experience? If you’ve been near a high-speed rail line for some time, could you describe the noise level?

    And here down the page from the first quote.

    There is a reason why most compensation programs for new HSR projects only extend 75m (approx 150 ft) away from the actual rail line; it\’s because after that distance, the sounds generated by the rail line are no longer distinctly noticeable. (You will know that it is there, but it will not be the earth-rattling intrusiveness that most NIMBYs think it is).

    HSR tracks are much, much more smooth than conventional railway tracks (the margin of error is measured in millimeters), and thus generate less noise and shaking; the removal of crossing gates also eliminates the need to sound horns. Lastly, the transition from diesel to electric means that the trains\’ operation makes very little noise itself (more than 70% of the noise is actually aerodynamic–similar to the physics of whistling); the only physical noise is actually the pantograph/contact wire.

    Even when the tracks are built on a viaduct, the sound levels generated by the HSR are exaggerated in most reports. An HSR trainset traveling at full speed (186mph/300kmh) passes completely out of earshot in around 4-5 seconds–the maximum frequency for HSR is around ten services per hour per direction (Tokaido Shinkansen; 6-minute headways), or 20 trains per hour for a single line, or just a little under two minutes per hour. In all likelihood, CHSR will probably run quarterly-hour services at most until there is evidence for more demand, not to mention that most HSR systems reduce off-peak frequencies (which means nighttime intrusion is greatly lessened.)

    Lastly, modern HSR networks require extensive daily maintenance, which limits their opening hours. Even networks with high traffic such as Japan and Taiwan close their HSR lines to check the track for signs of wear or damage; what this means to the residents affected by the rail line is that this little tidbit completely does away with the fear of sleepless nights.

    With all this being said, an HSR system built on ground level or elevated viaduct will not be as accoustically intrusive as most people would imagine; unless the construction actually cuts through roads and affects the transportation grid (and aside from the properties immediately adjacent to the rail line), HSR construction will not significantly lower community housing prices in general. The only exception are areas around tunnel entrances (various factors greatly amplify the intensity, duration, and range of sound in these areas), so tunneling is an expensive unnecessity.

    I can attest that this information is factual and true because many of these observations have been recorded first-hand over the course of several years of study.

    Peter Reply:

    If the source of your “information” is the Almanac News, then no wonder you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Try a slightly more authoritative source.

    Zorro Reply:

    How about from the Guardian then?

    Philip Hammond, the transport secretary, said the sound simulation would convince thousands of residents that the £17bn project will not blight the landscape. Unveiling sound booths that will tour the High Speed Two (HS2) route, Hammond said that on some parts of the route the trains will be barely audible.

    “Unless you are listening for it, you don’t hear it. The train does not particularly stand out, which is different from what people have been led to expect.”

    The 3D system created by Arup, the engineering firm, uses sound recordings taken from French TGV high-speed services and lays them over background recordings taken from four locations on the high-speed route: Northolt in west London; Great Missenden and Wendover in Buckinghamshire; and Ladbroke in Warwickshire.

    Peter Reply:

    Not a single part of your comment is based on fact.

    HSR passing by at full speed is LOUD. Like 90 dB at 50 feet loud. Hence the need for sound walls (or other noise mitigations measures, such as noise easements or retrofitting houses with soundproofing). In Germany, sound walls are common.

    I don’t know how common they are in Japan, but people in Japan are VERY noise-sensitive. HSR trains are limited to producing 70 dB through residential areas, hence why they use measures like covered bogies, shielded pantographs, and shielding the gaps between cars.

    Zorro Reply:

    The Guardian says otherwise.

    Philip Hammond, the transport secretary, said the sound simulation would convince thousands of residents that the £17bn project will not blight the landscape. Unveiling sound booths that will tour the High Speed Two (HS2) route, Hammond said that on some parts of the route the trains will be barely audible.

    “Unless you are listening for it, you don’t hear it. The train does not particularly stand out, which is different from what people have been led to expect.”

    The 3D system created by Arup, the engineering firm, uses sound recordings taken from French TGV high-speed services and lays them over background recordings taken from four locations on the high-speed route: Northolt in west London; Great Missenden and Wendover in Buckinghamshire; and Ladbroke in Warwickshire.

    Peter Reply:

    Ugh, my last comment is “awaiting moderation”, thanks to shortened URLs.

    Anyway, shortened story, five minutes on the Google came up with several examples of sound walls in Europe and AGGRESSIVE vehicle-based noise mitigation measures in Japan.

    HSR passing by at full speed is LOUD. Like 90 dB at 50 feet loud.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …so….. quieter than the freight trains going through the grade crossings blowing their horns?

    Peter Reply:

    Yes.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    The Japanese shinkansen noise standard is 70 (residential) / 75dB (commercial/industrial) at 25m. So that gives a good idea of what’s achievable in a real system where noise abatement is taken very seriously.

    Noise restrictions are a major part of reason (there are others too, like increased maintenance costs) why most parts of the Japanese shinkansen network, which passes through a lot of densely populated areas, largely hasn’t moved past 300km/h.

    Aerodynamic noise increases as the sixth power (the overall increase in noise, because other factors are still present), but you’d have to be going crazy fast to get to 90dB from 70dB….

    Hmmm, by my calculations, to reach 90dB from 70dB (at 300km/h) by the 6th-power rule, you’d have to be going 646km/h…! ><

    Anyway, actual Japanese measurements (using a single commercial train) yield about a 6dB increase when moving from 275km/h to 360km/h. [Using the 6th-power rule yields about 7dB, but again, that's counting all noise as aerodynamic, which it isn't.]

    Eric Reply:

    “Noise restrictions are a major part of reason (there are others too, like increased maintenance costs) why most parts of the Japanese shinkansen network, which passes through a lot of densely populated areas, largely hasn’t moved past 300km/h.”

    Really? Not the curve radius? I’d think putting up sound walls is a lot cheaper than straightening curves in an urbanized mountainous country.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    @Eric
    Curve radius is also a factor, especially on the oldest parts (the Tokaido shinkansen), but of course on newer lines they had the benefit of hindsight, and so these were specified with larger minimum curve radiuses. The Tokaido shinkansen used 2500m curves, and is currently limited to 285km/h. Newer lines use 4000m curves, and it’s planned for the Tohoku shinkansen to run at 360km eventually.

    Anyway, noise is a big issue for shinkansen development, and a major focus of their research is into reducing it…

    Nathanael Reply:

    I certainly wouldn’t believe an FRA report which makes purely theoretical predictions, given the FRA’s record. Anyway, the important point is that the HSR is quieter than the existing freight trains with their horens, and the noise drops off pretty quickly as you get further away.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Especially if you are on the other side of the highway and the no-mans-land between it and the existing freight line.

    Peter Reply:

    Nope, the 150 mph speed limit would have been due to the track geometry of the hybrid alignment.

    Clem Reply:

    The hybrid alignment slaloms between a hospital and a school. The resulting reverse curve is rather tight with a 115 mph limit.

    Peter Reply:

    Right, it’s been so long since I looked at that alignment, I got 150 mph confused with 115 mph.

    Clem Reply:

    The hybrid 115 mph penalty was two minutes.

    Clem Reply:

    It’s most assuredly not 6 miles shorter. That got screwed up somewhere.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    it dose seem like a better alignment away from the older established residential neighborhoods where it would literally rund between peoples back yards.

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    I think it is six miles less within Bakersfield city limits. The new route has a lot of the west to east movement in Shafter.

    agb5 Reply:

    “The alignment could take as many as 1500 houses in Gossamer Grove”
    This sounds like a wild exaggeration, the houses are planned to go right up against the existing railroad and freeway which HSR will be paralleling.
    He must be imagining the need for a wide dead zone between HSR and the nearest house.
    http://www.shafter.com/DocumentCenter/View/3529

  12. Lee
    Aug 22nd, 2015 at 14:07
    #12

    They were NOT US Marines. It was an Air Force Sr. Airman and an Oregon National Guardsman. The Airman charged him with the Guardsman and a British citizen following. He got a pretty bad cut to his hand taking the guy down. The Morrocan was carrying an AK-47, a pistol and a Boxcutter. The Airman was cut with the Boxcutter.

    EJ Reply:

    There was also an American civilian who was friends with the two servicemen. However he and the British businessman don’t count because they are not Our Troops, and do not Protect Our Freedom.

  13. JimInPollockPines
    Aug 22nd, 2015 at 17:31
    #13

    Sacramento station is going to be a “stub end why do they make this mistake in advance?

    keith saggers Reply:

    cant open

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    sac

    Nathanael Reply:

    It’s gonna be a crazy long time before Sacramento station gets built. Send in your comments, there’s years yet to get that changed.

    Clem Reply:

    Not as long as Las Vegas…

    Nathanael Reply:

    You’re just guessing regarding that.

    The thing is, CHSRA has been explicitly instructed to finish LA and SF before even starting on Sacramento. So any more funding which arrives goes to the LA-SF route before a single dollar gets spent on Sacramento.

    Nevada HSR will get going to Las Vegas the moment it gets funding, and when that happens is best described as a crapshoot. :-)

    Travis D Reply:

    Where would the tracks run through to? It was always supposed to be a terminus just like San Diego.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Davis

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Not quite. The current station is laid out the opposite way, with traffic going from west to east and vice versa. The HSR map shows the HSR Row being north south and then curving around the American River and coming to a stop at the current station location.

    That’s ass-backwards because you have to build in most crowded area for rail traffic tracks that could handle both west going HSR trains and east bound traditional trains in the same space. My guess is that eventually if HSR is extended either to Tahoe or to the north it will flow west to east like other train traffic even if it is grade separated…

    Clem Reply:

    What do you mean “not quite”? In the notional HSR alignment, a northbound service to Sacramento will pull into the station heading west.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I know that is the current design, but that’s not operationally going to work unless you disrupt all other forms of public transit in the city because trains runs west to east.

    Davis, is too close, though for an HSR stop.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Stop typing. Nothing you ever write makes any sense.
    Just. Stop. Typing.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Oh hello again Richard. When is the last time you have been to Sacramento? I forget.

    By the way, the only time I will consider stop typing on this board is ten minutes after your funeral concludes. You have made zero substantive contribution here for the last three years and just come on to attack people who post and who don’t. Real bravery you show day in and day out. Heck of a job, Dick…

    Clem Reply:

    Everywhere I’ve been, the trains run in both directions. Are you saying Sacramento is the exception?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    No, what I am saying is only this:

    The approach under the current CAHSR design bends around from the south to the west before stopping at the Sacramento station. The engineering challenge is that the Capitol Corridor runs along that route and so does major freight for UP. If you have HSR trains coming into Sacramento late in the day or leaving early in the morning, you won’t be able to share track with the Capitols which flow the opposite way because of commute patterns (more demand going west in the morning and east in the evening.

    But there no room for new tracks that way, so you are going to have to build a really expensive viaduct. OR, you approach from the West and use the UP ROW that runs perpendicular to the 80 to go north of its ever built out and drop down to along the same ROW and head out along the Gold Line to Tahoe and Reno.

    Clem Reply:

    The current plan is for HSR to enter/leave the Sacramento station from the opposite end that the Cap Cor enters/leaves. They don’t overlap.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Sorry Ted. But I don’t understand the “no room” HSR access problems you seem to fear at Sacramento.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    https://www.google.com/maps/place/Sacramento,+CA/@38.5783842,-121.4681467,14z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x809ac672b28397f9:0x921f6aaa74197fdb

    If you look at the map, the proposed HSR alignment follows the ROW along Elvas Avenue. Then at the intersection near the Business 80 freeway it follows the ROW just north of B Street until it reaches the station. Between that junction and the station you have only two tracks, which means if you blended the approach, you would lose one direction and at a time when commuter trains run that might be impossible. The alternative to build a viaduct which would be…really inconvenient.

    Joey Reply:

    The track is owned by UP so “blending” will never happen to begin with. The more likely solution is property takes.

    Joe Reply:

    Never ever because….

    Meanwhile In IL

    “This video has been developed by the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) to provide a broad overview of the Track Renewal Train (TRT) construction process. Some of the content within this video may not apply to the Illinois High-Speed Rail Construction.”

    Joey Reply:

    The trains running in Illinois are of the heavy, FRA compliant, diesel, variety. It should go without saying that the same type of trains use UPRR tracks in California. They have, however, made it abundantly clear that they will not allow lightweight HSR trains, nor electrification, on any of their track.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You can’t mix fast trains and slow trains for long distances. The fast trains catch up with the slow trains.

    Reality Check Reply:

    From the satellite view, it appears there’s plenty of room to add one or two more tracks if necessary.

    Joey Reply:

    Possibly, but UPRR has also specified that they will not allow HSR even on their property, except to pass over or under it (and even then, structures must clear span their entire ROW).

    Miles Bader Reply:

    @Joey
    Has there ever been an explanation for UP’s douchiness concerning HSR, other than them simply being douchebags…?

    [I do recall having heard that UP upper management is mega conservative politically, but you’d think they’d be a little more accommodating when they stand to make some money…]

    swing hanger Reply:

    American railroads are conservative not only politically but also operationally, and are wary of anything outside of their own direct control sharing their right of way, especially given that their own freight trains have a propensity to derail and explode with disturbing frequency (but likely figured into their costs of operation).

    joe Reply:

    UPRR is a corporation taking a public position for leverage. UPRR can take a Never ever, no way no how, double dare and hope to die stand in the papers and public record.

    IL upgraded track and improved grade crossings for the privilege of running Amtrak service. UPRR benefits to the tune of this 1 B effort.

    One risk an obstinate RR runs is losing the free billions the public pays to improve their ROW. CA is building dedicated infrastructure so no worries about nay impact and that’s track CA is going to maintain at higher priority over RR track.

    The hottest July in the known climate record and air quality in urban areas will push renewable electric rail service and it’s going to require flexibility on the part of the RR Industry.

    joe Reply:

    Blended HSR in urban areas

    Feds agree with developer on Dallas-Houston high-speed rail route
    http://www.dallasnews.com/news/transportation/20150825-feds-agree-with-developer-on-dallas-houston-high-speed-rail-route.ece

    Two other corridors studied were tied to existing rail lines.

    Federal law mandates safety walls to separate high-speed and freight rails where they run together. Over the course of 240 miles, the walls’ cost could kill the project. Separating the lines, however, increases the impact on property owners.

    Furthermore, the existing freight tracks have curves that would slow the passenger trains. Texas Central Partners’ 90-minute goal would be hard to attain.

    Another major problem with the freight corridors, the report said, is the railroad companies. They “have declined to consent to share their right-of-way for the majority of distance between Dallas and Houston.” They will, however, “continue to negotiate for use of the freight rail right-of-way for short distances needed to enter downtown Dallas and downtown Houston.”

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Federal law mandates safety walls to separate high-speed and freight rails where they run together.

    This must come as news to the P&W.

    Joey Reply:

    joe: What RRs is Texas dealing with? BNSF has proven amenable to allowing dedicated HSR tracks on its ROW, UPRR not so much.

    JJJJ Reply:

    Reno?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Boise. But who’s counting…

  14. JimInPollockPines
    Aug 22nd, 2015 at 17:32
    #14
  15. Edward
    Aug 22nd, 2015 at 20:29
    #15

    But back to the subject at hand…

    From The New York Times:

    “PARIS — It was 5:45 p.m., a normal Friday afternoon on the sleek high-speed train that takes high-level European diplomats, businesspeople, tourists and ordinary citizens between Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris.

    Less than an hour away from Paris, a French passenger got up from his seat to use the toilets at the back of the carriage. Suddenly, in front of him rose a slightly built man. Across the man’s chest, in a sling, was an automatic rifle of the kind favored by jihadists the world over: an AK-47.

    The passenger threw himself on the man. The gun went off, once, twice, several times. Glass shattered. A bullet hit a passenger.

    The man with the gun kept going down the carriage, holding his AK-47 and a Luger pistol. In a pocket was a sharp blade capable of inflicting grievous harm. He had at least nine cartridges of ammunition, enough for serious carnage.Alek Skarlatos, a specialist in the National Guard from Oregon vacationing in Europe with a friend in the Air Force, Airman First Class Spencer Stone and another American, Anthony Sadler, looked up and saw the gunman. Mr. Skarlatos, who was returning from a deployment in Afghanistan, looked over at the powerfully built Mr. Stone, a martial arts enthusiast. “Let’s go, go!” he shouted.”

    A fourth person who joined in was a British businessman. The French press have been covering this heavily

    Lots more:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/23/world/europe/americans-recount-gunmans-attack-on-train-to-france.html?_r=0

    BMF of San Diego Reply:

    Hero’s!

    Neville Snark Reply:

    ‘Heroes’, you mean.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    On amtrak we give active duty military a 15 percent discount. Personally I think active duty should ride free.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    … and have the DoD (or whatever department) pay.

    In fact, that’s how the Swiss system works; the army pays the Swiss public transit system a certain amount of money per year which covers the free trips by military in uniform, plus various free tickets by non-uniformed people.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Robert’s comment about being afraid of airline style security “theater” might be misplaced. If stations have the ability to conduct TSA quality screening, then it opens the door to building stations and connections to the secure areas of airports.

    Now, I’m not eager to see *every* train needing body scanners and TSA agents. However, if an express train to SFO could take passengers from Fresno that have been pre-screened it could seriously increase the demand for service. This would be especially true if baggage could be checked through too.

    The main impediment, of course, is that this won’t be possible in the biggest air market of them all, Los Angeles. But that’s probably why all the interest in Bakersfield, Palmdale, Burbank, and San Diego all gravitated toward more connectivity with airports. People are beginning to see HSR’s real potential.

    Eric Reply:

    SFO rail station will be half a mile from SFO international plane terminal. How do you get passengers between these stations without leaving security?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I think eventually, the SFO station will be redesigned (along with most of the airport) to have on site HSR and BART stations.

    It’s just too crucial for SF’s long term plans to reassert itself as the most important city west of the Mississippi.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Er, the problem with that doing so would make all travel on HSR worse for the sake of a very small proportion that choose to connect directly to a plane flight.

    That doesn’t look it’s even close to being a good tradeoff…

    Reality Check Reply:

    Speaking of security theater, here’s a recent NYT headline:
    Train Attack in Europe Puts Focus on Vulnerability of U.S. Rail

    Clem Reply:

    The U.S. is different from Europe in two important respects:

    1) our foreign policy pisses off more people

    2) it’s shamefully easy to get an assault rifle

    HSR is just the tip of the iceberg. Subways, light rail and commuter rail make for large captive “audiences”.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Back in the 60s and 70s it was fashionable for angry young men to be nominally left wing. It’s fashionable for them to be right wing these days. There will always be angry young men. They can be quite creative and can figure out ways that express their anger without using guns. Angry middle aged men too.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Metesky

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Austin_suicide_attack

    ….The damage from the shrapnel in the 1920 bombing on Wall Street is still visible. The 1975 bombing at Fraunces Tavern has been restored. La Guardia airport, the stuff in Chicago, the stuff in Boston, the stuff in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Oklahoma City….

    The assault rifle was in France. Reasonable restrictions keeps them out of the hands of garden variety crazy people. It’s not going to stop zealots with a mission.

    EJ Reply:

    So they just figured that out because of the incident in France? They forgot about this?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Island_Rail_Road_massacre

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Yeah…Colin Ferguson…and yet…mass transit is basically policed the same way 20 years later…

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    For security I would assume first that
    the tracks will be fenced and difficult access
    the entire row will be under 24 hour live feed video monitoring and recording from a central security location.
    All stations will be under 24 hour live monitoring
    there will be visible uniformed on board police presence walking through all trains
    there will be visible uniformed police presence at all station boarding areas
    There will be no checked baggage
    Carry on baggage will be limited to two of reasonable size per person
    HSR station employees will be trained to watch for suspicious activity and be proactive

    Thats no guarantee, but at least creates an less welcoming environment for would be evil doers.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    it will also provide the sense of of safety and security to passengers that hsr will need in order to attract riders.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The tracks will be fenced as a matter of liability. Viaducts will also be used.

    There will be uniformed police at each station and security cameras.

    But video surveillance of the whole ROW won’t happen. Neither will a ban on checked bags. Those would costly policies that would do little to deter mass casualty events because the biggest risk is always bombs or shootings in area where people congregate.

    The Rand Corporation, for example, determined the most dangerous area in all of LAX was the check in counters for Southwest airlines because of their staffing rules that always created a line of passengers checking in before security. The LA City Council was worried about the control tower and hijackings and Rand had to be the one to tell them how unlikely that would be.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Why would they be offering checked bags?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Airlines offer checked bags…People substituting air (or car or Amtrak California) travel for HSR have the ability to take a large amount of luggage with them on the other mode of transport. If CAHSR tried to circumvent that, it would be an unmitigated disaster.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Amtrak has 75% of the air/rail market between New York and Washington DC. They don’t offer checked bags. Trains aren’t cramped tubes with your knees against the back of the seat in front of you. Plenty of space for luggage. And there isn’t a half hour walk to your gate.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    European trains are subsidized one way or another by government. The reality is that American HSR will be much more compact in the seating area even if its not nearly as bad as the airlines are today.

    Acela isn’t really High Speed Rail, but instead serves a day travel business market between New York, DC, and Philadelphia. It’s not going to serve passengers with a ton of luggage in the aggregate, which is the reason that it balances it out for the passengers that do.

    Peter Reply:

    I’ve never been on a train, high speed or otherwise, with checked baggage. You just roll your bags onto the train with you.

    Yes, I know Amtrak offers checked baggage. However, we’re not planning on slow-pokey rail transportation, with the train sitting at the station for 10-15 minutes. HSR trains will stop for the minimum time possible in order to load and unload passengers, maybe 3 or 4 minutes. No way the HSR operator will want the timetable risk of loading and unloading bags, too.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The fact is that there won’t be major dwell times at intermediate stations, but at LA Union Station, SFO, TBT, and San Jose (and Anaheim and San Diego and Las Vegas…) or any other stations which might have nonstop express service…we could easily see checked bags as a way to encourage leisure travelers to come aboard.

    And remember, the majority of intermediate stops in the current business plan are considered to be providing more local passengers commuting than true inter-regional transport.

    It all goes back to the fact that for CAHSR to be successful it’s going to incorporate many elements of European and Asian HSR systems but also develop other innovations to address the unique challenge of being integrated into American land use patterns. It’s exciting, but at the same time frustrating that no one is proposing more inclusive operational models.

    Joey Reply:

    There’s no need, or justification, for extended dwell times at any through stations, regardless of passenger load. Also, a sensible operator will outprice most commuters on shorter journeys, since having any significant number of them leaves a large number of empty seats for the rest of the run. There’s a reason why intercity rail tends to have higher farebox recovery than commuter rail worldwide.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    What does land use patterns have to do with how much crap you want to lug along?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Simplest way to say it: in Europe the cities came first and were connected by the railroad. In the U.S. oftentimes the railroad came first and then the cities followed.

    The distance involved, especially out west, was not configured to have major destinations close enough to ride to and from in one day, this creating the need for baggage. In addition, transcontienal routes originally catered to a wealthy clientele that demanded personal service.

    Joey Reply:

    The distances where HSR is relevant aren’t really different between the US and Europe. Urban areas in Europe are more compact but their overall distribution isn’t that different.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Before they got money Florida didn’t want, it took Acela 2:40 to get between New York and Washington DC. Sound familiar in any way?

    Joey Reply:

    HSR could be relevant at longer distances though – DC-Boston is physically within HSR range, just a question of how to get the travel time down without throwing $100b at another one of Amtrak’s bloated plans.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Distance isn’t the issue per se.

    It has more to do with the fact that not every TGV headed to the South of France doesn’t stop in Lyon or Dijon…even though it could.

    The French understand that what’s lucrative is more direct service. That’s why Douty was so fixated on the I-5 alignment and all that. Same way that, as much as Americans here might really want European HSR service…Americans really aren’t going to know how to deal with that.

    joe Reply:

    We should stop investments until Amtrak gets fixed and US construction costs drop.

    Meanwhile lets build a F35 fighter at 1.45 trillion.

    swing hanger Reply:

    The Tokaido, Sanyo, and Tohoku Shinkansen offered a checked bag service, called Rail Go, from 1981 until 2006. I suppose it ceased as passengers took their custom to more convenient non-rail services. Interestingly, it seems that JR East still offers a form of shinkansen express service to shippers (not the general public), typically for delivery of newspapers from the capital to the hinterlands.

    EJ Reply:

    I was gonna ask if there were any HSR trains that offered checked baggage service. I’ve never been on one. Most just seem to have a few designated luggage spots for the few passengers that have big bags. Seems kinda pointless to have checked bags – if you can lug your crap to the station, you should be able to get it a few more feet onto the train without any great difficulty, especially if there is level boarding. The only times I’ve ever seen checked baggage on trains is on Amtrak long distance services, or on airport connector trains overseas that will check bags through to a connecting flight.

    swing hanger Reply:

    I only know the situation in Japan, as I live here and it has a highly developed hsr system and culture with high passenger train modal share. Most people travel lightly (a boston bag or small rolling suitcase that fits in a overhead compartment/rack). Anybody with more luggage sends it ahead by the previously mentioned luggage delivery services. About the only people who lug big suitcases aboard the hsr trains here are foreign tourists- they can usually find space behind the seats on the car ends to store their luggage, if the pieces are too big to lift and place on the overhead racks (too big is something with greater than 45L capacity).

    Miles Bader Reply:

    @swing hanger
    I don’t disagree with you, but it is true that Japanese are also experts at schlepping huge rollable suitcases on local transportation and on foot, to a degree that I think would flabbergast many Americans. I regularly see people walking down the sidewalk pushing or pulling a huge rollable in random places in suburban neighborhood (often quite far from the station), especially concentrated in the train station of course (not a shinkansen stop, but a major-ish station in its area). Some of them are no doubt off to the airport, but certainly not all of them.

    swing hanger Reply:

    @Miles
    Certainly more recently Japanese have been using larger pieces of luggage to travel domestically (twenty years ago the unwritten rule was hard shell luggage was *only* for foreign travel); the development of easily wheeled spinner luggage and retrofitting of elevators at most railway stations has made it easier to lug heavy stuff around. However, like you say, most instances it’s to the airport rather than intercity train travel.

    Andy M Reply:

    You’rer assuming the baggage is actually on the same train as you.

    In Europe, most railways offering checked baggage (getting fewer and fewer by the way) do not stow the baggage on the same train as the passenger. In some cases the baggage doesn’t even go by train but is sent by truck, and maybe even contracted out to the likes of Fedex or DHL. Baggage handling does thus not interfere with the operation of the train. All the railway guarantees is next day delivery, which can be to your home address if you want. To me this is actually the more advanced system than waiting by the baggage belt. With some airlines now charging more for checked luggage than Fedex would charge for home delivery, I’m surprised passengers are still so tolerant of it.

    Edward Reply:

    Not everyone understands that almost all European trains have no checked bags. You can usually check a bag at the station, but that is only storage.

    Both Italy and Germany have baggage transport, but that is pickup and drop off. Say from your home to a hotel in a different city, and – at least in Germany when I was there – it doesn’t operate on Sundays.

    If you can drag it you are usually allowed to bring it. But people quickly learn not to bring airline maximum size beasts when traveling by train. You have to schlep it and there are lots of places it doesn’t fit.

    swing hanger Reply:

    I inquired about DB’s luggage service at their Munich Airport counter- it was an early Monday evening. The agent said that my luggage would be picked up at the airport on Wednesday(!) and then be delivered two business days later- which was completely useless for me. Obviously more of a home to hotel and vice versa service for residents taking month-long holidays rather than one for casual or spur of the moment travelers. It made me thankful for the luggage delivery services here in Japan where they pick up anywhere (including at the numerous convenience stores) and deliver nationwide after one full business day, and guaranteed within a one or two hour window you specify (say, between 7pm and 9pm), all for the equivalent of 15 USD per piece.

    Reedman Reply:

    European rail security folks don’t plan to change anything due to the attack:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/after-attack-what-can-be-done-about-train-security-experts-say-not-much/2015/08/24/2a44740e-4a60-11e5-9f53-d1e3ddfd0cda_story.html

  16. Ted Judah
    Aug 22nd, 2015 at 22:48
    #16

    By the way, happy belated birthday Robert!

Comments are closed.