Trains For America

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Showdown in Stuttgart

EUX TV, the Europe channel, brings the story about a local dispute over some serious urban renewal. At issue is a decision to rebuild the local train station to accomadate even faster times for the French LGV. There is an interesting logictical situation in colorful old Stuttgart, which is somewhat more typical in the United States.

Stuttgart, one of Germany’s most prosperous cities and a main stop on the rail line between Paris and Vienna, has always been an oddity because it has a dead-end station.

The locomotives enter the station, stop at the buffers and are uncoupled. Another engine must be hitched at the other end to haul a passenger train on the next leg of the journey, or special two-headed trains must be used.

Unkink this line, planners say, and it will be possible to cross Germany east-west, from Munich to the French city of Strasbourg, in 2 hours and 53 minutes, a reduction by 54 minutes compared to present- day express trains.

France’s high-speed TGV train, which began services to Stuttgart in May, will be able to sweep through and keep going as far as Hungary.

Another interesting aspect of the Stuttgart situation is that the old rail right of way was laid out in 1850 and at some point, trains reportedly come to a near crawl at around 5 mph.This will require boring through mountains and building new bridges. It’s expensive and the question is whether it siphons off funding for other high speed rail projects. It looks like, even in Europe, there are fiscal limitations.

Filed under: International High Speed Rail

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July 2007


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