Recent EU train usage

 
  RTT_Rules The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Dubai UAE
Recently I was able to use the following trains across EU

Swiss - A number of funicular's including one over 4km long to Montana. Only the Swiss would have Funicular's running as commuter services. Every 20-30min or so.

Geneva to Paris, via Lyon on TGV - Previously we did the reverse journey. Most would think TGV wow it will be fast. Well the first 1hr from Geneva to Lyon is up there with a journey over the Blue Mountains, Sydney to Wollongong and Central Coast . The speeds into the corners is often so hard that its hard to stand up and drinks and food move around on the table. This single track is the opposite to a HSR. From Lyon its all 300km/h to Paris.

Paris Metro and RER - 2nd time to Paris. As usual the trains on all lines are frequent, but often smelly either the train or the station. I do like the fact that almost anywhere in Paris is a train station if not 5min walk at worst. Our nearby RER station St Michel is the opposite of DAA, with stairs and a large step up to the train. Overall in Paris if you are in a wheel chair, you don't use the Metro or RER except for a very limited number of stations. And yes some of the trains we used were automated and we survived.

Paris Gard De Nord to London St Pancreas - 2hr to line up and join the train over 1hr late. In that time our seat was changed 3 times and still conflicted with others on the train in our seat when we got there. Yes we had pre-booked tickets along with everyone else. I worked out it would have been quicker to fly and would not have been standing around so long. On board, Eurostar did not impress me. Seats and leg room is uncomfortable, Food on board was crap and slow service. The train was not clean especially the buffet car and there was 4 staff in the buffet but only 1 maybe 2 working. Yes the train got us there quickly, but that was all. I'd use it again because its the right thing to do, not because of the standard of train and service.

London Metro, we stayed near Parson's Green station, which is a nice area 4 stops short of Wimbledon on district line and the trains, station and users on this line reflect this. The District line takes you to most of the usual tourist destinations ie Big Ben, London eye etc. The London Metro did impress me with its frequency of service, some stations you barely have time to get off and the next train is there. The trains are clean, no graffiti, you are informed on everything, even a 30sec delay and they tell you why. Train infront has Red light etc etc. On District line near Parson's Green is Earl's Court which is a complicated junction of two branches on each side of District line, This station has a train every 1-2min, many crossing paths as only on one side is there a fly over for some services. The thing is when you are running trains so frequently no one notices if you are held up 1-2min.

The District line has the twin ground power supply, external and internal rail to provide a positive and negative potential which combined provide a larger potential for the train than normally capable by a single 3rd rail. Looks complicated and expensive.

Euston to Midlands - We caught a train to Penkridge, which you catch a train to Stanford Junction, then back one towards Birmingham. Now to book direct, cost 180punds, but to book to Stanford is 80 Pounds on the Midlands, not Virgin EMU train. Which was nice basic, includes very good wifi. Leaving Euston it wasn't long before we were travelling at plus 140km/hr and held this most of the way. Then at Stanford the Penkridge train was waiting across the platform. I asked the guard if I could buy a ticket on the train, no problem, he never came as its only 6min down the line. So got a free bee. Penkridge is interesting as it was supposed to be closed in days gone by. Virgin runs trains through it at nearly 200km/h. Again this service had high performance wifi. Trains were mostly clean and graffiti free.

Penkridge to Birmingham airport. Pretty much same train as above, quick run to Birmingham, then change on same platform and on to airport station. Again excellent wifi and helpful staff.

One downside to the Midlands EMU's, alot of people travel with luggage, but there is no where to put it apart from doors. They need to remove a row of seats on one side and install racks. The longer distance services are 2+2 across with arm rest and shorter 2+3 with no arm rest.

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  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Prague to Dresden last Friday 14/7.
Train conventional open interior passenger cars and run by Czech Railways (CD). Roughly 30 minutes late throughout.
Prague Hauptbahnhof an utter shambles. Train due away at 1028 and whilst 10" late arriving no platform allocation announced until scheduled departure time with 100s of passengers charging from the main concourse to the further most platform. Another 20" lost boarding with the usual mountains of luggage etc etc plus change of direction. Otherwise train very comfortable 1 + 2 in first at up to 200 km/h. Needless to say track in perfect condition and not one jolt or lurch. Loco on the front, by the way.

Dresden to Berlin today 17/7.
Same train configuration and 10" late away from Dresden where platform allocations are on printed sheets for all to see ages in advance. Again some 200 km/h running plus some a lot slower and arrival in Berlin OT. Sadly, outside the otherwise beautiful Berlin Hauptbahnhof probably a dozen or two half naked homeless people lying around amongst piles of rubbish, dogs and everything else that seems to go with the problem.

As RTT mentions in Britain, proper facilities for the stowage of luggage are an urgent and obviously unaddressed need on the Continent too. This problem is even worse due to the lack of platforms and the need to drag luggage up and down the carriage steps.
  RTT_Rules The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Dubai UAE
Last Dec, Vienna to Salzburg.

The Airport train to Vienna and beyond, ZERO luggage places. you couldn't walk down the aisle easily because of peoples luggage stored in it. Unlike UK trains, no room at doors.

EU "gets" trains, mostly! Even the poorer countries, however vert few services "gets" luggage! TGV, Eurostar and I think our train fro Linz to Prague (Czech railways) is mostly it.
  Brianr Assistant Commissioner

Location: Dunedin, New Zealand
I have never had much trouble with luggage in trains on the continent. Last year I travelled from Prague to Munich on a Saturday morning and had to move my bag from the bike section although all the bike riders only went an hour or so up into the hills. As I am in my 70's I do not like lifting my just under 23kg bag into an overhead rack but another passenger assisted me. However I worried when he got out before Munich. However I managed, coming down is easier if a bit nerve wracking.
I made the same journey back in 2000 but had to change 3 times (including the Czech/Germany border)  by timetable plus a bus ride around track work (but the timetable was maintained). It was amusing as I met some guys from the USA and was sitting and chatting with them when the guard came through. In the scramble for buses, we became separated and I was seated several carriages away after we rejoined a train. The guard insisted on guiding me, and carrying my bag, back to where they were. They claimed we were just joined for life but as in so many such travel experiences, i have never seen those 2 guys since.
In 2015 I travelled from Salzburg towards Vienna and put my bag in a large baggage area near the door. An Indian family boarded and pulled my bag out to put their luggage in. It resulted in quite a bit of shouting on my part as I told them about train etiquette.
  RTT_Rules The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Dubai UAE
Thanks for that

I work in Dubai and spent a year in India and many trips since. That is unfortuately Indian Me First culture. Getting on Eurostar last month a young guy of similar background was told by other passengers to get to end of the long line. Again same and common issue there.

If you want to have some fun at an Indian airport queue,  let a gap of around 1 to 1.5m open up in front of you if there is an older male behind you. They start to squirm.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
I have never had much trouble with luggage in trains on the continent. Last year I travelled from Prague to Munich on a Saturday morning and had to move my bag from the bike section although all the bike riders only went an hour or so up into the hills. As I am in my 70's I do not like lifting my just under 23kg bag into an overhead rack but another passenger assisted me. However I worried when he got out before Munich. However I managed, coming down is easier if a bit nerve wracking.
I made the same journey back in 2000 but had to change 3 times (including the Czech/Germany border)  by timetable plus a bus ride around track work (but the timetable was maintained). It was amusing as I met some guys from the USA and was sitting and chatting with them when the guard came through. In the scramble for buses, we became separated and I was seated several carriages away after we rejoined a train. The guard insisted on guiding me, and carrying my bag, back to where they were. They claimed we were just joined for life but as in so many such travel experiences, i have never seen those 2 guys since.
In 2015 I travelled from Salzburg towards Vienna and put my bag in a large baggage area near the door. An Indian family boarded and pulled my bag out to put their luggage in. It resulted in quite a bit of shouting on my part as I told them about train etiquette.
Brianr
Seems that you had the same trouble that many complain about.
No bike section on the trains that I have travelled on (or, if so, no where near our carriage) and you only get a few minutes to scramble aboard. Gone are the days in Oz where the train was docked an hour before departure to allow a civilised boarding.
Are there luggage racks on Victorian trains these days, if so, wait until the OH&S nannies want them removed.
  RTT_Rules The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Dubai UAE
Seems that you had the same trouble that many complain about.
No bike section on the trains that I have travelled on (or, if so, no where near our carriage) and you only get a few minutes to scramble aboard. Gone are the days in Oz where the train was docked an hour before departure to allow a civilised boarding.
Are there luggage racks on Victorian trains these days, if so, wait until the OH&S nannies want them removed.
YM-Mundrabilla
The problem is for a train with many stops, sitting their idle is wasting time and in some city stations train frequency is very high so cannot wait for too long. Of course the narrow doors don't help. Gone are the days it took all day to go a few hundred km now the timing is often political driven.

2nd problem is this low height boarding, ie steps, this takes time for people to haul up bags especially if they are heavy and the person is not. Just last month my wife and I did the pass-up and down blocking the door. The fact that Eurostar, a brand new (mid 90's) service/line/train was built with low platform step up access just goes to show the extreme level of stupidity that still exists in the EU train designers brains. How did this get past OH&S HAZOP design review?

3rd problem lack of rack storage for bags. Few trains have them from my experience, TGV, Eurostar  are ones that did. Austria not on trains through the airport. I think the train to Salzburg did and some trains from airport run direct to Salzburg, ours didn't. And on the trains that do, there never seems to be enough. There was one train with mid car racks, I'm trying to think which one, the extra space was great, because no one thinks to look in the middle of carriage or drag it past others who have their bags in the aisle or as common in EU, dogs. The storage space needs to be at the ends (I think it may have been where the train exhaust went I'm not sure).

Yes, most trains have overhead racks, but the safety gurus have found ways to limit the size of the bag that can fit in the space to limit the weight that would be lifted. I tend to agree but, only backpacks, hand bags etc should be up there. Not a 25kg full suitcase. I saw on our flight home someone open a overhead bin and the bag drop onto the victim below.

This brings me to my next gripe. Airlines that have as policy to place crew items, bags, blankets, defib etc in O/H spaces taking up 2-3 rows from one end, often both sides. You know the people sitting there are going to want to use this storage space, its a problem on every flight people trying to walk back up the aisle against the flow looking for somewhere to place their bags, arguing with others.

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