This week marks the 40th anniversary of the operation of the TGV in France, and therefore 40 years of high speed rail across the country. The TGV network has grown steadily since its creation in Paris-Lyon route, and there are more plans to expand further. In fact, across Europe – and even around the world – high-speed networks continue to grow. Because, well, they just work.
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The future of transportation will undoubtedly be high-speed rail: it’s efficient, better for the environment than aviation, and frankly, easier for passengers. I don’t have to go to Saint-Pancras two hours before my train leaves for Paris. The high speed train travel is simply fantastic. It’s trains, but quick.
The totality Railway of the future the team seems to agree with me, anyway. We have therefore decided to devote a good part of this issue to them.
We describe Tibet’s first bullet train – and some of the clever techniques needed to deal with the difficult terrain it traverses. We’re also looking into somewhat dubious rumors of a high-speed submarine railroad from China to the United States, via Russia and Canada. It sounds too good to be true, and spoiler: it probably is. We also chronicle the legal issues that HS2 has faced since the start of the project, in light of recent complaints from Siemens and Talgo.
In addition to all this, we also take a look at some of the new technologies being used, tested or developed for rail. Our cover story is about the growing use of body cameras by railroad personnel. We explain why they are an invaluable tool against the abuses that unfortunately railway personnel increasingly face.
We’re also highlighting some exciting new technologies that have the potential to improve post-pandemic UK railways, by showcasing some of the winners of this year’s First of a Kind competition. They’re all great, obviously, but SignalBox was especially helpful during some of the planning issues (read: cancellations) yours truly had on a recent trip on the East Coast Mainline.
And, outside the Netherlands, remarkable new technology has the potential to improve the accessibility of train travel for deaf passengers, using AI to translate last-minute station announcements into sign language. It is really impressive.
On the important topic of making trains more accessible, we also talk to Alain benson on SWR’s new support program, which cuts the time it takes to book in advance from 24 hours to just 15 minutes. I repeat: this cuts the time from 24 hours to 15 minutes. Color impressed me. Trains should be for everyone, and that brings us a little closer to that. But there is still a long way to go, as Alan explains.
Oh, and a few tube stations have opened in London this week, in case you haven’t heard.
Peter Nilson, editor
In this problem
All aboard the Stockholm-Berlin night train
In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of the Malmö-Berlin rail line. A year later, Swedish operator Snälltåget launched a new night train service to connect Sweden, Denmark and Germany. Ilaria Grasso Macola presents the new railway to find out how it came about and how it fits into the biggest night train renaissance at EU level.
The technology that will improve post-pandemic rail journeys in the UK
The theme of this year’s First of a Kind competition was to rebuild the railway in a greener, more user-friendly way to attract travelers a year and a half after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Ilaria Grasso Macola brings together some of the most exciting technologies to find out how they will help restore capacity to the UK rail network.
Traveling through the mountains: Tibet’s first high-speed train
For the first time in history, those visiting Tibet can experience the mountains and sights of the region at high speed, via Tibet’s very first bullet train. Stretching for 435 km, the line connects the capital Lhasa to the city of Nyingchi, allowing the 31 provinces of mainland China to access this new line. Frankie Youd explores the project, highlighting some of its impressive design features.
Do train guards have to wear body cameras?
As the number of assaults on railway personnel has increased in recent years, operators such as Virgin Trains and South Western Railway have decided to adopt body cameras to protect staff safety. Ilaria Grasso Macola examines whether body cameras are the way to go or whether they infringe citizens’ right to privacy.
Helping deaf passengers on train journeys: AI sign language
Due to the vast majority of station announcements broadcast through tannoy systems, deaf people might miss vital updates. Frankie Youd explores new technologies that translate ads into sign language.
China’s wet dream: the underwater railway
China is reportedly considering a 13,000 km high-speed rail line that would start from mainland China, cross Siberia and eastern Russia, and then pass under the sea to Alaska. Although the project is currently on hold, Frankie Youd is investigating if this line could be a future possibility.
Siemens Mobility Joins Growing List of Complainants Against HS2
Britain’s HS2 high-speed railway project was recently the subject of the latest in a series of legal challenges filed by rail players and members of the public, with the project causing controversy since its inception. Luc Christou highlights some of the legal issues faced by HS2.
Preview of the next issue
In our next issue, we take a look at station management as we profile a British startup helping stations manage their waste. While not the most glamorous of operations, waste management can play a crucial role in controlling a station’s environmental impact. We find out how a new system in place in London Victoria and Brighton is helping.
We also present new rolling stock, as well as Alstom’s new TGV M, as well as the world’s first battery-powered freight train.
The German Green Party recently unveiled its plans for a trans-European night rail network to link the continent and reduce the environmental impact of planes. According to the party, the project will also involve connecting Scotland’s largest cities – Glasgow and Edinburgh – to the rest of the continent via London.
In light of this, we dig deeper into the specifics of the night sprinter to see if it will be just a dream or if a climate-friendly and affordable night train network can be achieved by the end of this year. the decade.
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