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Communications link - Super High Speed Railroading - News       

There is a reneissance of the railroading happening around super high speed and high speed trains, so we will continue the high speed trains and infrastructure news section that has been in use since early 2008. This will complement the popular timeline. We used Joomla publishing system for several months in 2009, but noticed that this current html-page is more efficient for both reading and publishing! The future developments will be reported here.     
  Latest developments for the year 2010  
  Latest developments for the year 2009     
  High Speed Developments Year 2008  
High Speed Developments for the year 2010 

 Korail to unweil KTX-2 to Service
Korail KTX-2 in Sotuh Korea
The Korean Railways Korail proudly unweiled its long awaited KTX-2 trainset for service. The KTX-2 is manufactured in South Korea, and the technology transfer from the European manufacturer Alstom was made for the project. While Korail has a fleet of TGV-K trainsets, mostly license manufactured in Korea, the KTX-2 will add more capacity. 
The initial news for the KTX-2 quoted for fish shaped train with a driving trailer at the other end, much like the ICE2. However, the picture is showing a traditional and tried concept of TGV like trainset, with two locomotives and 8 articulated trailers between these. If the Koreans are planning manufacturing the trains for export markets, the stylish KTX-2 is entering tougher market situation for years. For the South Korean internal market the train will be the pride of Korail for years to come. 
(added 4/2010)  
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 Trenitalia to Accompany Veolia on French High Speed
Trenitalia ETR500 series high speed train
The French Air France and Veolia have been eyeing the high speed market of France for years. Recently Trenitalia, which has also long had plans for the market, replaced the airline in the plans. The Trenitalia-Velolia cooperation might bring their trains to routes like Paris - London and Paris - Brussels, in addition to the planned routes south of Paris. One of the reasons for the competition for the Trenitalia, although a poor one, is that the SNCF through the NTV (the new Italian operator) is seen as a competitor to the Italians. 
Trenitalia already has start up rolling stock available. This needs to be certified for the French networks, the challenge being that the ETR-500 trainsets are more or less "hand made", that is there are not two alike if you look at the details. This again means that the certification might cost a whole lot more than it typically does. After the initial starting phase however, new rolling stock from Alstom, Siemens or Bombardier would fix this problem. Veolia would bring its superb operating experience to the table. It will be interesting to see what the next move is!     
 ETR-500 on Italian Gallery Page...       
(added 2/2010)  
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 Renfe Eyeing France and UK for its High Speed Trains    

Spanish Railways Renfe has been doing a respectable amount of restructuring in the past couple of decades, building a normal gauge network to supplement its broad (1668 mm) gauge and creating a huge high speed network with several types of trains operating.
Teófilo Serrano, the new CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of the Renfe has announced, that Renfe is looking forward on buying 10 super high speed trains to connect Spain with France and United Kingdom, among others. The trains would be of type capable of operating in  several countries and be capable of travelling 350 km/h (217  mph) so at least Bombardier, Alstom and Siemens qualify with their existing train types. The trains are supposed to be operating already in 2012, when the last part of the Spanish super high speed network between Barcelona and Perpignan (at French border) is opened with its total length. While this timetable may seem unrealistic, 10 trains are so little, that the three manufacturers mentioned above could relatively easily accommodate these to their manufacturing lines.
While the trains have replaced the airplanes in much of Europe on journeys under 1000 km (600 miles), the "new" speed class of 350 km/h (217 mph) will expand this distance for the trains advantage to 1200 km (750 miles). Spain has a lot to offer for the rest of Europe in both business and vacations, so these trains will arrive for an existing lucrative market. 
 On train types see Super High Speed Main Page...  or
 Super High Speed Trains Page...      
(added 2/2010)  
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 Allegro High Speed Pendolino Service unveiled in Finland

Karelian Trains Allegro being lifted from the ship
Finland is one of the key markets for the tilting high speed Pendolino trainsets of the French train builder Alstom. Karelian trains, a 50%/50% cosubsidiary of the RzD (the Russian Railways) and the VR-Yhtyma (Finnish Railways) has ordered four 7 car train set to connect Helsinki Finland and St Petersburg Russia. The trains are to be taken into use from December 2010, an ambitious timetable, but well within reach by the Karelian trains CEO Ali Huttunen. 
Currently there are two daily trains between these two cities, the distance of 331 kilometers taking 6,5 hours! The new trains will drop this time to 3,5 hours and later to 3 hours (or even less) and add 2 more trains to the timetable. Who ever invented the Allegro name, has been careful in studying the alphabets, the name is nearly identical in both western and cyrillic aplhabets!  
 More pictures on the "Winter Visions" page of Stanislav Voronin... 
  More on Allegro service... 
(added 1/2010)
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 Trenitalia to Run High Speed Trains in France 

France, the largest market for high speed train travel, has long been attracting to Trenitalia, the state owned train operator from Italy. Within years the news has always been the same: Trenitalia will run ETR500 trains in France.  However, until now the French have always been able to fend off the competition. The usual accusation has been that the ETR500 trainsets are individual trains, not two are like, so the normal approval to certain type would be difficult.
While the issue of different trains have been again the issue, this time the strategical situation differs from the earlier: the NTV (20% owned by SNCF (French Railways)) is going to challenge Trenitalia on its home turf, and in response to this the Trenitalia is looking for the markets in France, close enough to Italy and a very lucrative high speed market for any operator. From the beginning of the year 2010 the EU member countries passenger markets have been opened to competition, so Trenitalia will probably be one of the several newcomers. France has the largest high speed passenger market in Europe.
(added 1/2010)
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  • Chinese to Gain Fastest Running Service Title 
    The Chinese conquered the "fastest running normal service" -title from the French in December 2009, when the 968 kilometers long connection between Wuhan and Guangzhou was opened, dropping the connection time between these cities from 10,5 hours to mere 3 hours! The timetable average speed for the whole route (including several stops) is incredible 312,5 kmh (194 mph) and trains normal running speed is 350 km/h (217 mph), in some cases 380 km/h (236 mph). The work for the line was started in 2005. The line has 625 bridges of 362 km and 177 tunnels. The cost of construction was estimated to be 12 billion Euros.
    The previous record holder was the SNCF with its TGV service averaging 272 km/h (169 mph) between two stations.
    This step again proves that the Chinese are fast gaining the number one place in the super high speed railroading.     
    (added 1/2010)
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High Speed D
evelopments for the year 2009 

  • Chinese to Accelerate the High Speed Investment 
    While much of the world is trying to cope with the recession and maintain their level of building lines, other infrastructure and trains, the China has just announced, that it will order a total of 280 new super high speed train sets! In addition to this, there is also an order of around 400 heavy locomotives for freight. The orders are divided equally between the China Northern Railway, which is ordering another 140 pieces of CRH3 (Velaro type) trains and the China South Railway, which is ordering further 140 pieces of type E2-1000 train sets on the license from the Kawasaki Heavy Industries. The CRH3 trains are currently capable of speed of up to 350 km/h (217 mph) and the E2-1000 275 km/h (171 mph). The trainsets are expected to be in traffic by the end of year 2012.
    The orders again solidify China as the soon to be leader in the use of super high speed trains. These orders combined with the earlier ones mean, that by 2012 China will be larger in the use of super high speed travel as France, which started the building of the high speed infra and trains 4 decades earlier. It will be interesting to see which additional orders will accompany this years additions from Siemens, Kawasaki, Bombardier and their licensed local builders.    
    (added 11/2009)
  • Bombardier to enter officially the super high speed manufacturers club 
    The most active railroad rolling stock manufactirer Bombardier is to enter the super high speed club officially. This is a long awaited move that Bombardier has been preparing for carefully for years.
    The initial order of the Zefiro 80 type super high speed train units will be for the Chinese ministry of railways (MOR) and the trains will be built at the Bombardier Sifang plant. The Zefiro 380 trains will be of new speed class, with their top speed of 380 km/h (236 mph). The first 20 trains to be delivered from 2012 will have 8 trailers and the next 60 unit 16 trailers. All units should be in use at the end of the year 2014.  
    (added 10/2009)
  • Belgian High Speed Network "Finished" 
    During the fall 2009 it was videly published that the Belgian high speed network is now finished. Actually the third extension north of Brussels was opened for traffic connecting the EU Parlament city with Amsterdam in the north via Antwerpen, Breda and Rotterdam. As the Benelux countries are densely populated the route is partly underground and dug into the hills making in some places an interesting scene of small tunnels and line going throught the fields in some places. Although putting the line underground cuts noise caused by the super high speed and high speed trains, it must be quite stressfull for the driver on a sunny day to adjust eyes from bright sunlight to tunnel darkness and back every few seconds. The new route has the standard European train control system installed and by 2010 it will be finished so that in the ETCS level 2 can be used and trains travel up to 300 km/h (186 mph) speeds.
    This third addition to the Belgian high speed network supplements the existing two lines:
    1) west of Brussels to Lille, where it connects to French high speed networks. These branch from Lille towards Paris (south) and Channel tunnel (west).
    2) the other high speed branch from Brussels is east towrds Germany via Louvain, Liege and Aix-la-Chapelle leading to Köln in the very populated part of Germany.       
    (added 10/2009)
  • SNCF, DB eyeing super high speed freight 
    The railroad giants SNCF (the French National Railways) and Deutshe Bahn are both studying the possibility to carry super high speed freight on rails with the manufacturers. While this has been on the Alstom marketing material for years, now there is a firm possibility for creating such a system while the super high speed market in Europe is otherwise not growing in 2008 - 2009 period, maybe not even in 2010.
    The system would work so, that high speed trains like TGV or Velaro modified to carry freight would be used. This would involve some modifications to the existing designs including airplane like large cargo doors. Standard airplane cargo containers would also be used. This would allow automatic moving of the containers on the train floor and interchangeability with the airlines. These containers could be transported on rails for shorter distances of say 3000 kilometers (2000 miles) and on the airliners to cross the great waters, areas without rails and longer distances. This would also mean that the super high speed freight terminals would be built (as planned) on the major European airports like Munich or Charles de Gaulle in Paris.
    Vehicles for this new business could be converted from the existing older super high speed trains, like the aging TGV-PSE units, or their cousins TGV La Poste trains, which the French Postal services is using less and less, since the basic mail business all around the world is in general decline (not the parcel courier business). The train builders are eyeing also for totally new units, which would enable using the maximum loading gauge for transportation (when needed).
    Besides parcels and critical spare parts etc. these trains could carry anything found currently on the roads as long as its high value to weight freight. Like fresh vegetables to the Scandinavian winter from Spain to Stockholm, or SKF roller bearings from Sweden to Munich Germany. For the right price the demand for the services would be huge! In Europe the building of the high speed infrastructure has progressed steadily for 2 decades now. With railnetworks connected and waters crossed either with tunnels or huge bridges the super high speed freight could be made true today!  
    (added 08/2009)
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  • SNCF to rebuild 35 TGV-PSEs
    Société Nationale des Chemins de fer français will rebuild 35 units of its 107 units wide TGV-PSE fleet. There will also be an option for another 60 trains to be rebuilt. This will leave the question of fate of the remaining 12 units open at this time. The rebuilder will most likely be one of the three giant high speed international / European manufacturers: Alstom, Bombardier or Siemens.
    The TGV-PSE units were built in 1978 - 1988 and refurbished around the year 2000. At the refurbishment phase the interiors were rebuilt and the famous orange-red-dark blue livery was overpainted with the current silvery gray and blue. With the rebuilding program starting in the couple of next years SNCF expects to prolong the life of the units for another 10 - 15 years. This might result in that some of the units are retired only after 45 years of active career in everyday traffic, a formidable accomplishment for a first generation super high speed train!
    Some of the magazines read have noted recently that SNCF sees some of the Lyria units trafficing to Switzerland and Italy badly worn out. Rebuilding these is especially important now, as the competition with the EU open access is starting for real in the 2010. Even with the competition in the region, the SNCF is by far the largest super high speed trains operator and will be in strong position. However the rebuilding program will probably allow SNCF to expand its services even further, capacity allowing. Two main competitors in the region are the Trenitalia of Italy and the Railjet of Austria (owned by the ÖBB), which plans to run partly the same routes.
    (added 07/2009) 
  • SNCF to order 35 more new TGV units
    Already the owner of the worlds largest super high speed fleet the SNCF (French State Railways) has ordered 35 new TGV units for 1,2 billion euros (1,7 billion USD) or 34 million euros (48 million USD) per unit. There is also a further option for 65 units. All units should be delivered from 2011 to 2015. 
    The units are technically relatively similar to the existing TGV-POS single story units (which have been reported of production speeds of up to 340 km/h (211 mph) today on the LGV-EST). The new units will have 4 electrical systems: 25kV 50Hz, 15kV 16,7Hz, 3000V DC and 1500DC for use in France, Switzerland, Benelux (Belgium-Netherlands-Luxembourg) and Germany as well as in Italy. Plus the necessary train control systems to operate internationally.
    The background for the order is the probable strong demand for the international travels of the SNCF after the open access of EU after the beginning of the year 2010. SNCF want to be the number one player in the future as well as today, so it has been both buying into several companies, remodeling and refurbishing its huge fleet of super fast trains and ordering new units. 
    (added 07/2009) 
  • Dutch High Speed Service Named "Fyra"  
    The Dutch - Belgian Regional high speed service has been named "Fyra". While discussing the name in forums we found out that in Dutch language this does NOT mean the same as in Swedish: number four!
    (The editor understands most of spoken Dutch by understanding both German and Swedish :) . 
    While the service might not be chosen by the language, it connects the four cities of Holland and Belgium: Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp and Brussels. This line is currently served by Thalys , TGV and Eurostar international units.
    The units for the service to be used are Ansaldo-Breda manufactured Albattross V250 trainsets. The units are capable of utilizing 25kV 50Hz, 15kV 16,7Hz, 3000V DC and 1500V DC electricity. Train control / safety systems included are LZB, TVM, ERTMS/ETCS and BAcc/SCM. Although the trains are late, the first two units have already arrived to Holland for further testing. The unit was tested on the Velim test circuit for 13 months. Further 17 units will follow from the manufacturer in Italy.    

    (added 07/2009) 
  • Keolis to Introduce its High Speed Service in United Kingdom
    Keolis, the traffic giant owned by  AXA, Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec and SNCF of France, has introduced the British national high speed service using High Speed 1 line. This service will connect London St Pancras station (also used by the super high speed Eurostar trains) with 9 destinations along or near the HS1 line, icluding Ebsfleet and Ashford.    
    The opening of the service shows strong commitment of the British to try to develop with the rest of the Europes railroad boom, after decades of deglecting development. Other development news will probably follow by the years end.    
    The HS1 trainsets are of the new Class395 "Javelin" built by Hitachi in Japan. The shape of the trains is typical for high speed travel and British taste, with spacy looking stylish interiors. There are six cars per trainset with seating capacity for 340 + 12 passengers. 29 sets are either delivered or on their way to Europe. The units can be distinguished from the European high speed units easily by their doors, which make the Class 395 train less streamlined. While Europeans use smooth plug doors, "Javelins" use doors that slide inside the train structure, very much like we are accustomed to see at the  metro and commuter trains of the larger cities.     
    (added 07/2009)
  • Turkey High Speed Adding Capacity
    The Turkish rail systems are progressing rapidly and providing connections up to 3 times faster between bigger cities.  The Turkish operator TCDD has been running high speed services between Ankara, the capital of Turkey, and Eskisehir, West of the capital on high speed track since March 2009. The number of daily trips both ways will be raised in September 2009 from daily 13 to 20 a day.
    Turkey is modernizing rapidly. It has an ambitious high speed network of 3000 kilometers (1800 miles) either under construction or being scheduled after the previous parts are finished. The main line of the network will connect Ankara to Istanbul and Europe, hopefully making direct fast trains from Ankara to Paris / Munich / London possible. This might be the case as fast as in 10 years!
    For the high speed TCDD is using HT65000 high speed EMUs capable of speed of up to 260 km/h (162 mph). 12 comfortable and spacious trains of 6 cars were built by the Spanish manufacturer CAF. For the future needs it is obvious that in a such a vast country as Turkey, many more units will be needed.
    (added 07/2009)    
  • German High Speed Network Expansion near Stuttgart and Ulm  
    In Germany the high speed rail projects around Stuttgart, Ulm plus rail lines between these two cities have gotten go ahead for upgrading to high speed lines of 250 km/h (155 mph). Most of the lines will be totally new going the shortest way instead of the curvy and slow old lines. The expansion for the high speed network around these two cities is logical next step when you look at the map of Germany, since most other directions have already been added to the super high speed or high speed networks. 
    The Stuttgart 21 project will replace the Stuttgart main station with an underground station with approaches to all existing and new rail networks. To the southern the city center will be connected with airport replacing the 27 minutes rail connection with an incredible eight minute one! From the airport the high speed line continues east along the A8 Autobahn about 50% in tunnel to go through the hills. Out of almost 60 kilometers to be built 33 kilometers is planned to be underground. In Ulm the current Main station will be used, although the approaches again will be made underground.
    The Stuttgart and Ulm projects are to be cost around 7 billion euros (~11 billion USD) to be divided with the German Federal government, regional Baden-Wurttenberg Land, Stuttgart City and region, the Stuttgart Airport , the City of Ulm and the operator Deutsche Bahn.
    Realisation of the project will start immediately and the whole network should be finished for high speed traffic at the end of the year 2019.  
    (added 07/2009)

  • SNCF interested to buy majority in Eurostar Group
    SNCF, the French State Railways, has been said to be interested in buying a majority in the Eurostar Group. This potential offer would prepare SNCF for the coming open access years since Eurostars new trainsets would directly compete with its huge line of TGVs in the "Grandes Lignes", in its most used and most profitable lines. While the SNCF has nothing to fear in the competition environment, this move would solidify its near monopoly for years to come.

    We reported a few months ago that the Deusthe Bahn was going to buy the British share in the Eurostar. This was followed by silence and not it seems like the French have turned the deal to their advantage. We'll look closely to the developments and will report when the new turn takes place again.
    Eurostar is the company with Eurostar trainsets to connect London and Paris through Channel tunnel. Unlike other compnies, the Eurostar unit are safety equipped to cross the channel through the tunnel giving it a practical monopoly for the lucrative route. 
    SNCF is the huge French National Railways operating among others a TGV fleet of almost 500 trains!  
    Deutsceh Bahn is the mighty National Railways of Germany, which is looking for expansion targets abroad, so the Eurostar would well suit this need.  
    (added 07/2009)
  • AGV into production phase
    Alstom has started the manufacturing of the production version of its new flagship super high speed train AGV (Automotrice a Grande Vitesse). The first customer Italian private operator NTV will receive 25 units of 11 car AGV type starting year 2010. The production phase was initiated after successfull test period of over a year first started in summer 2008 in Velim test circuits and after that around France and on the LGV-EST superhigh speed line (East of Paris). The unit was tested on its operations speed of 360 km/h (224 mph) in real life situations. 
    The prototype has been dismantled and is currently being built with production parts and equipment needed for operations in Italy. Included are sreens for European standard train safety system ERTMS level 2 and the Italys own SCMT system. The unit will return to Velim for another set of tests, then continue to France for finishing. In November 2009 the AGV unit is expected to start its six month testing period in Italy. The production units will be built both in France and Italy. 
     (added 06/2009)   
  • Albatross V250 finally arrives in Amsterdam
    The unit has been in tests in Czech republics since summer 2008 and is now readied for test driving on the networks of Belbium and the Netherlands. The prototype V250 train was towed to Watergraafsmeer depot in Amsterdam and another unit will accompany it soon arriving from Italy.
    The V250 Albatross is the Italian Ansaldobreda manufactured train. Currently the company is late on the delivery to its customer, which might endanger the market share of the operator of the Belgian-Netherlands high speed lines, since the European Union Open Access for passenger traffic is starting in 2010. Should another operator have suitable trains starting 2010 and Albatross operator Belgian Railways + High Speed Alliance not, the market might be lost. 
    (added 06/2009)       
  • LGV-EST to be extended in France
    The French authorities are making a decision on the extension of the LGV-EST (The fast track from Paris east towards Germany) from Baudrecourt in France to Vendenheim at near Strasbourg (located near the border of France and Germany). This extension will be 106 kilometers long and the investment will be worth just over 2,1 billion euros (2,9 billion USD). If the construction is started in 2010, the line will be finished and open for traffic already in 2014. This extension will further reduce the trqavel times between France and Germany and have a positive affect on the trains' market share against airliners. When the LGV-EST first phase came into use, certain shorter plane routes were cancelled immediately due to fear of the competition. 
    (added 06/2009)  
  • E5-Shinkansen prototype testing period starting
    The new Shinkansen train type E5 has been finished for testing from the Kawasaki workshops late June 2009. The type E5 is the latest for Shinkansen tracks and is aimed on challenging the TGV's and Velaro. E5 features an extra prolonged nose for reduced resistance of aerodynamics (and to provide extra crash protection) and all the bogies are covered with windplates to further reduce the resistance and noise, a major consern on the densely populated areas of Japan. Curiously, the doors of the train are still oldfashioned and sliding into the trains sides (unlike competition, which uses the aerodynamic plug doors). Also we have received reports from the western passengers of the >poor< noise insulation on some of the Shinkansen train, hope this time the comfort issue will be taken seriously as well.
    The testing period will go on until the traffic on the type starts at Tohoku Shinkansen line in Japan. The initial speed will be 300 km/h (186 mph) but this will be raised to 320 km/h (198 mph) by 2013. For the competition both the Alstom AGV and Siemens Velaro will have a number of units in production use moving 360 km/h (224 mph) / 100 meters/second (33ft/s) at that time.
     Earlier news on E5 prototype planning & building phase... 
    (added 06/2009)     
  • Railjet to run into Italy
    With the open access in year 2010 between the European Union member countries, the Austrian Railways ÖBB Railjet is getting ready to run into Italy. This move is reported to be due to the poor service Trenitalia is providing for the Deutsche Bahn and ÖBB. The Trenitalia has according to press even asked its (ex)partners to reduce their fast trains over Brenner pass and has been refusing on much of the cooperation.  According to plans the Railjet will start running Railjets from Wien Austria to Graz, Villach and even Venezia on 2012. The traffic will be started in cooperation with Deutsche Bahn, ÖBB and Italian FNM with conventional trains in 2009.  
    The Railjet between Budapest, Wien and Munich was officially started in April 2009 following years of preparations. The Railjet is a special train consisting of one or more Taurus locomotives of Siemens plus multiple unit like coaches. This economical and flexible solution to run high speed passenger services is currently capable of running 230 km/h (143 mph). The trains are branded by attractive red and gray livery with large Railjet texts to differentiate them from the normal similar looking trains. We will closely follow the success of some 70 railjet units in the European battle for high speed markets.  
    (added 06/2009)
  • Eurostar to buy new trainsets 
    Eurostar, the traditional Channel Tunnel operator, is considering on buying more 400 meter trainsets to cope with the competition from the start of the year 2010. In 2010 the European Union member states passenger traffic on rails will be opened to competition. As the Eurostar traffic has been in a steady growth for years, the new sets would add capacity, enable new destinations like Amsterdam, Luxembourg and Köln, or even Munich, to be added. Thirdly from the strategic viewpoint the new trains will fill in some slots on rails from the competition. The Channel Tunnel slots are getting scarce sooner or later when the capacity will all be in use.
    While the tenders will be out for 8 new trainsets and 15 options, the Eurostar is refurbishing its current fleet by rebuilding the insides of the trailers. Even the unit 01/02 that has been in store for years for future needs will now be taken into use. (added 06/2009)    

  • Flytoget in Norway to be lengthened
    The 'flight train' Flytoget of Norway has been trafficing between the center of Oslo, the capital of Norway, and its airfield Gardemoen since 1998 with class BM71 3 car trainsets. The driving time for the 42 kilometers is just 19 minutes (average speed 132 km/h (82 mph) with units capable of 210 km/h (131 mph) maximum speed). The 16 Adtranz Strömmen built units capacity was found insufficient in 2006 and additional middle cars for each unit ordered from Bombardier increasing their seating capacity from 168 to 224. The installation is currently on the way and all the lengthened trainsets will be in use by the end of 2009.  Flytoget is a subsidiary of the Norwegian State Railways NSB (Norges Statsbaner).
    The units are interestingly based on the Swedish X2 design. BM71 has an unusual cab design, probably intended to reduce the pressure when entering to tunnel. It is also pressure controlled. Very similar looking class BM73 are tilting trainsets while class BM71 is not. There has been criticism on the accessibility of the trains, which are not accessible with their steps for the disabled and elderly, strange feature for such a new train.   
    See the BM71 at the Picture of the month page... 
    (added 06/2009)
  • SNCF to buy into NTV
    SNCF (the French National Railways) is to buy a 10% share of the new Italian operator NTV. NTV is the lead customer for the Alstoms new super high speed train AGV (automotrice a grande vitesse). The AGVs are currently readied for use at NTV beginning year 2010. AGV is the first truly multinational super high speed train capable of using several electrical systems for its energy supply and its top speed at 360 km/h!

    While the AGV is a new high speed train, for the NTV the move secures the largest super high speed train operators support. the SNCF daily operates already over 500 TGV (or similar type) trains in France, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

    For the SNCF the benefits are a larger market in Italy, new for the SNCF, better knowledge of the interesting new AGV train and keeping the competition away from its home turf. While the Deutsche Bahn has managed to gain a substantial market share in France for its freight divisions since the EU open markets for rails in 2007, the SNCF seems to have no intention on letting this happen with the passenger traffic as well. The EU passenger traffic is open for competition from the beginning of year 2010.
  • China to Start Super High Speed Train Building of its Own
    Chinese Ministry of Railways has ordered 100 CRH 350 km/h units from the Chinese manufacturer CNR at the cost of approximately 6 billion Euros. The trains are the fisrt completed with only Chinese technology, no licensing needed. The earlier train sets were manufactured under licences from Alstom, Siemens and Kawasaki. Substantial number of units should be finished when the Beijing - Shanghai super high speed line opens in 2011.    

    The deal means a shift in manufacturing to Asia, where the markets in the coming years will be by far the largest in the world. It is expected that hundreds of other Chinese built super high speed and high speed trains will be ordered in the coming years. These include the worlds first high speed sleeper trains capable of running 250 km/h. The speed will enable connecting Beijing with Shanghai overnight in 10 hours.
  • TGV-PSEs to be rebuilt
    According to our sources SNCF (The French National Railways) has decided on rebuilding the 1980s TGV-PSE-sets. This rebuilding would involve all 107 units. Most of the units were refurbished by the year 2000, the more extensive rebuilding program would however involve building new technology within the old locomotive and trailer structure. 5 large manufacturers were mentioned as possible refurbishing providers including Alstom (the original TGV builder), Siemens (second largest super high speed trains manufacturer) and Bombardier (a company with aggressive high speed product development). The specifications for the rebuilding program are expected to be out in the near future.

    We will closely watch the program and report the developments in the near future.
  • Japan readying the Shinkansen E-5 for use
    The East Japan Railways is getting ready for the E-5 bullet trains test drives in July 2009. The new design is based on the Kawasaki built 700 model, but has several new features which include:

     * The top speed is increased to 320 km/h (200Mph) like the norm for today is. 
     * The nose is pointing 15 meters forward to further lessen the air friction and probably to provide more buffer in case of an accident (very rare on super high speed rails).
     * The front bogies, a major source of noise, are covered. This will also further minimize the airfriction. 

    The estimated period for test drives is 2 years, after which the train should be ready for revenue service from 2011. New trains will be used on Tohoku Shinkansen extension to Shin-Aomori.   
  • Deutsche Bahn to buy into Eurostar  
    Deutsche Bahn (the German national owned operator), one of the largest railroading organizations in Europe is interested in buying the British shares of the Eurostar. This would enable DB to operate Eurostar super high speed trains instead of competing with it starting of 2010 when the European rails open for the competition. In 2007 Deutsche Bahn expressed its interest in competing with the Eurostar. We will be closely watching the developments in the area.

    Deutsche Bahn also owns the EWS, which operates 2/3 of the freight in Great Britain and some in France, 50% of the London Overground and Chiltern which runs between London and Birmingham. Acquisition of the 1/3 of the Eurostar stock would be the logical next step as well as expanding its services to Germany.  
  • Siemens to Deliver 15 New Velaro-Ds for Deutsche Bahn
    Siemens will deliver 15 super high speed Velaro-D trains for its long time customer the Deutche Bahn. The order is worth 500 million ? according to the builder. The first vehicles are scheduled to go into operation in December 2011 and the first trains will be available for in-depth testing in summer 2011. All 15 multiple units are to be delivered by 2012.

    The new Velaro multiple units will be equipped to handle international transports. ?When cross-border rail passenger transport in Europe is liberalised in 2010 and there is unrestricted competition in that market, as is already the case on the German rail network, we plan to be ready to operate transports on new routes outside Germany,? announced Hartmut Mehdorn the CEO of Deutsche Bahn. ?The new Velaro-D keeps these options open for us and we believe they will also enable us to win market shares from air transport.? The Velaro has a fuel consumption of just 0.33 litres per seat over a distance of 100 kilometres, making it the most environment-friendly high-speed train in the market. The top speed of the new trains is 320 km/h.

    Siemens has so far sold 109 Velaros, winning four of the last five international and national orders placed for multiple-units in the high-speed transport sector.

    According to Siemens the Deutsche Bahn currently operates a total fleet of 250 ICE multiple units, comprising 59 ICE 1, 44 ICE 2, 67 ICE 3, 70 electric ICE T with tilting technology, and 10 diesel-powered ICE TD.
    (Source: Siemens AG Mobility)
  • Hyundai-Rotem to Enter the Super High Speed Club
    Hyundai-Rotem boasted in November 2008 to be the fourth manufacturer to offer a train capable of up to 300 km/h speeds. While the two leading manufacturers Siemens with its Velaro super high speed family and Alstom with its AGV and TGV product line are both starting a delivery on trains capable of 360 km/h, Hyundai-Rotem can be seen to be two decades behind in development in this case. Still, the development of the new kind of train is a formidable achievement for a new manufacturer. Building high tech super high speed trains is so difficult, that not many manufacturers are able to achieve both reliability with technical solutions and enough volume on the markets to maintain and develop the technical superiority. The third super high speed trains manufacturer is the Kawasaki of Japan.

    The original KTX trains were built by licence from Alstom of France and are actually part of the famous TGV Reseau/Atlantique family. These were fixed 20 trailer sets (unusual for a TGV design) to meet with the demand. The newly developed Korean KTX-II trains are to be "half sets" with 10 cars and the motor car at the other end and the driving trailer at the other (very similar concept to the German ICE2s). Like Germans with ICE2s the Koreans seem to be interested in the idea of combining two half sets together for a longer train. The KTX-II trains were according to the manufacturer developed by 6600 person work force and cost 366 billion Korean Wons (195 million USD/144 million Euros). The Korean Transport institute is expecting a lucrative import market for the newcomer.

    The Korean Railways Korail has improved its comfort level with the new KTX-2 trains which are said to be spacious, the seat can be rotated to either direction, there are family compartment on the trains as well as snack bars and restrooms that are accessible for anyone. Included is also the wireless internet in the train. While these have been standard in the European super high speed trains for decades, this can be seen an improvement for the Korean trains.  

    Next the KTX-II will go through a test running process for 6 months, conducted by Korail. Its actual revenue service will start with the Honam line. In the second phase of the project, it will run through the Jeolla line, Kyeongjeon line and Kyungbu line.
    (Sources: Huyndai-Rotem, General Super High Speed info from, the web,...)
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 High Speed Developments for the year 2008

  • The Kawasaki Heavy Industries has decided to start the development of the efSET super high speed train of 350 kph (217mph)  to meet the competition of the Alstom (TGV 320 kph and AGV 360 kph) and Siemens (Velaro 350 kph). While the Kawasaki H.I.  is up to 5 years late from the competition, it has a strict delivery target of the prototype being readied for 2010, at the same time with the first production AGV's and 10 years after Siemens Velaro/ICE3's.
    The world wide market for the super high speed trains is growing and the lucrative domestic markets existing will probabaly provide Kawasaki with enough cash flow to judge the enornous investment needed. The manufacturer is likely to be able to sell it's trains to new markets like China, Russia, India and the U.S.A.  
    As with the competition, special attention will be directed to the energy consumption, noise levels reduction, improved reliability and better aerodynamics. The idea is to use many of the traditional solutions from the existing trains on the Environmentally Friendly Super express train of Kawasaki. Please note that most of the traditional Japanese bullet trains are currently quite a bit slower than existing solution in a number of European countries, Korea and China.       
     More on the Japanese Bullet Trains on our Shinkansen Page...
  • In the U.S.A the State of California is finally considering seriously on getting abord the super high speed train society. About time since the U.S. is the last bigger western country which has not realised the potential of the high speed travel. The calculations fo California on the benefits are quite real; after all the other seuper high speed nations make careful calculations before any new super high speed line is built. 
    Read more on our North America Main Page...

  • China has announced that it has made a new national record on the production run train on it's way to Peking: 380 km/h (236 mph)! The record was made with a Velaro super fast train of siemens. There will be around 60 Velaros built for/in China at the initial phase with probabaly hundreds more in the later phases.
    Read more on our Super High Speed Main Page...

  • The traditional French builder Alstom had it's AGV (Automotrice a Grande Vitesse = EMU for great speeds) tested succesfully in Velim test circuit in the Tsech Republic in the beginning of the summer. The test were quite rigorous with round the clock shifts for the crew aboard the train. Based on the experiences gathered so far Alstom made finishing touches for the train in Rochelle France at the end of the summer and further tests will be carried out in France and Italy. italy is the Initial country for the first AGV trains, which will be painted in Ferrari red for the operator NTV. Numerous high speed tests still need to be done before the production units are readied. These must be done on the LGV's of the France and Italy, since the Velim test circuit does not offer chance for up to 360 km/h super high speed testing.
    Read more on AGV on our TGV/AGV Page...
  • Bombardier seems finally to be entering the super high speed club. It has made numerous successful trials on the Regina train located in Sweden. These trial have reached so far speeds of around 310 kph. Bombardier is better known for it's regional trains and metros + light rail applications. However, entering the super high speed arena is only natural to a company also manufacturing planes! 
    See more information on Bombardier on our Manufacturers page...
  • Ansaldobreda has finally reached testing phase for it's ill fated Netherlands and Belgium high speed Albatross trains. We hope that newly started co-operation with Bombardier will lead to finishing product and make  as well finishing the production units possible. The Albatrosses will operate the same track as the Thalyses and Eurostars, only slower. The name Albatross comes from a distinctive nose of the train, something like on the newer Shinkansens of Japan.
  • Eurostar is rumored to be considering on replacing some of the the existing Eurostar units with the AGV's. The main reason is said to be the reliability, with 94% on Eurostars, as TGV's have almost 100% reliability. Eurostar is actually a double length TGV adapted to British standards as well as continental specifications, main reason for quite different looking bogies on the train. While Alstom is very confident on it's AGV designs performance, only production units will show the reality. 
    Read more on the Eurostar units...

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Created for by John McKey. Pictures by Pekka Siiskonen, Ilkka Siissalo, Sanna Siissalo and John McKey.

 Also on super high speed

Super High Speed News provides you the newest happenings and trends in the super fast railroading. 

A TGV and AGV Theme Page provides information on these most succesfull super high speed trains.
See the Velaro & ICE 1,2,3 Page for these Siemens prides!

The Virgin Trains Pendolino class 390 is one of the many pendolinos found on the Pendolino page.  

It all started from Japan in 1964 with the first bullet train. See what the latest Shinkansens have to offer for the world! 

The Eurostars use the Channel Tunnel connect the U.K. to the mainland Europe. 

The Chinese CHR program is the most advanced  in the world and China will be the world leader in super high speed trains usage in just a few years.

One of the always popular trains is the Russian super high speed test train Sokol. While Sokol was a product in the wrong time period, the Russia today has an impressive high speed program starting.

Maglev of Germany and China starts the new generation of floating on the rail, the new comfort level of travelling! 

 Also on super high speed

Super High Speed News provides you the newest happenings and trends in the super fast railroading. 

A TGV and AGV Theme Page provides information on these most succesfull super high speed trains.
See the Velaro & ICE1,2,3 Page for these German prides!

  Other interesting pages in this category on  
  Super Fast Trains Main Page  
  Super High Speed Trains News   
  Super High Speed Trains records Page   
  TGV & AGV page         
  AGV Page    
  Intercity Express - ICE  and Velaro Page       

  Shinkansen picture & fact page    
  Watching Super Fast Train at Paris Gare du Nord      
  The SNCF TGV Roster Page     
  Pendolino special page        
  Cisalpino (ETR470 Pendolino) story by Ilkka Siissalo in the Swiss section!    
  Sokol from Russia     

  High Speed in Russia   
  Super High Speed Efforts in the U.S.   
  Super High Speed in China   
  Maglev technology Page - levitation on the rail   

  Super High Speed Lines and Corridors...         
High Speed Services:
  Allegro - Helsinki Finland to St Petersburg Russia  
  AVE - High Speed service of Renfe Spain  
  Cisalpino - The Former Joint Venture of SBB/CFF and Trenitalia   
  FYRA - High Speed service of NS and SNCB in Benelux countries 
  Sapsan - High Speed service of RzD of Russia  
  Thalys - High Speed service from France to Benelux countries   
  TGV - High Speed service of SNCF in France       

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© Railroad Reference 2004 - 2010  -  Updated 14.4.2010  John McKey