Rail transport in Europe

By admin ~ November 7th, 2009. Filed under: Rail transport in Europe.

Rail transport in Europe is characterised by its diversity, both technical and infrastructural.

Rail networks in Western and Central Europe are often well maintained and well developed, whilst Eastern and Southern Europe often have less coverage and infrastructure problems. Electrified railway networks operate at a plethora of different voltages AC and DC varying from 750 to 25,000 volts, and signalling systems vary from country to country, hindering cross-border traffic.

The European Union aims to make cross-border operations easier as well as to introduce competition to national rail networks. EU member states were able to separate the provision of transport services and the management of the infrastructure by Directive 91/440/EEC. Usually, national railway companies were split to separate divisions or independent companies for infrastructure, passenger and freight operations. The passenger operations may be further divided to long-distance and regional services, because regional services often operate under public service obligations, while long-distance services usually operate without subsidies.

Great Britain Railway Network

By admin ~ November 7th, 2009. Filed under: Great Britain Railway Network.

The railway system in Great Britain is the oldest in the world, with the world’s first locomotive hauled public railway opening in 1825. As of 2006, it consists of 16,264 kilometres (10,106 mi) of standard gauge lines (the 18th largest in the world), of which 5,361 kilometres (3,331 mi) are electrified. These lines are single, double or quadruple track. In addition, a number of narrow gauge lines operate in parts of the country.

The British railway network is connected with that of continental Europe by an undersea rail link, the Channel Tunnel, which opened in 1994.

International cross-Europe services

By admin ~ November 7th, 2009. Filed under: European Rail network.

The main international trains operating in Europe are:

InterCityExpress (Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland and Austria)

Thalys (France, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands)

Enterprise (Republic of Ireland & United Kingdom)

Eurostar (Great Britain, France, Belgium)

EuroCity (conventional trains operated by nearly all Western and Central European operators, with the notable exception of the United Kingdom and Ireland)

TGV (France, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Germany)

Oresundtrain (Denmark, Sweden)

High-speed rail

By admin ~ November 7th, 2009. Filed under: High-speed rail.

High-speed rail is emerging in Europe as an increasingly popular and efficient means of transportation. The first high-speed rail lines in Europe, built in the 1980s and 1990s, improved travel times on intra-national corridors. Since then, several countries have built extensive high-speed networks, and there are now several cross-border high-speed rail links. Rail operators frequently run international services, and tracks are continuously being built and upgraded to international standards on the emerging European high-speed rail network. In 2007, a consortium of European rail operators, Railteam, emerged to coordinate and boost cross-border high-speed rail travel. Developing a Trans-European high-speed rail network is a stated goal of the European Union, and most cross-border rail lines receive EU funding.

Today only the core countries of Western Europe are ‘plugged in’ to a cross-border high-speed rail network. This will change rapidly in the coming years as Europe invests heavily in tunnels, bridges and other infrastructure and development projects across the continent.

Trans-European Rail network

By admin ~ November 7th, 2009. Filed under: European Rail network.

The Trans-European high-speed rail network (TEN-R), together with the Trans-European conventional rail network, make up the Trans-European Rail network, which in turn is one of a number of the European Union’s Trans-European transport networks (TEN-T). It was defined by the Council Directive 96/48/EC[1] of 23 July 1996.

The aim of this EU Directive is to achieve the interoperability of the European high-speed train network at the various stages of its design, construction and operation.