VIEWS: 15 PAGES: 1 POSTED ON: 3/11/2010
Second chance for Euro sleepers
Second chance A glimpse into the future? Eurostar trains and double- deck sleeper for Euro sleepers trains at St Pancras International station A small group is researching fact that all high-speed lines By Michael Guerra field of view and people are firstname.lastname@example.org milling on the platform the viability of a new overnight are bi-directional, so it should reading the destination dis- passenger service between be possible to bypass all but Imagine standing beneath plays by the doors of each London St Pancras and the the major blockades. the refurbished Barlow roof car, being welcomed by Continent, that would start in at St Pancras, having just smiling train staff. The signalling problem is a finished dinner in the 2008-9. more serious issue, though it You find your car, and then Midland Grand Hotel. The group has established may be possible to fit the your compartment, which is In front of you the train indi- on the upper deck. Your lug- working relationships with the traction with a universal cator shows the numerous Channel Tunnel Rail Link, “aerial” or pick-up that is fed to gage slides under the odd destinations for your already made-up bed. You Eurotunnel, RailNet Europe, the a computer that analyses the train which include: Chur still have time to take a walk International Union of signals and then determines via Basel and Zurich; Venice outside, so leaving your lug- Railways, the European Union’s which system they belong to via Lausanne and Milan; gage and locking your berth DG-TREN, the Strategic Rail and what the signal means. Stockholm via Amsterdam, behind you with your tick- Authority, the Rail Regulator, Copenhagen and Malmo; et’s magnetic stripe, you There is a clunk of the doors, act and the train slows for Lille at 09.30. The last Iberian section Andalucia, you arrive in While preliminary market Seville via Barcelona, and the Department for take the stairs down and out the sound of brakes being Europe. The train is now sta- follows the line down to Sevilla, with plenty of time to research suggests that such a Madrid and Cordoba. released, and a small ding-dong tionary at Lille Europe, and it is Marseille, Narbonne, cuts explore, find your hotel and Transport. on to the platform. service is sustainable, until all The train is due to leave at noise in the corridor. being split into four. The sec- inland to the new sub-Pyrenean enjoy your stay. You step off the It has also been in contact with the costs are understood the The train is the full length of train into the heat, with the 21.30 from platform five, Slowly the train pulls out into tions follow each other at five- tunnel into Spain passing rolling stock manufacturers the platform – 440 yards, sights and sounds of debarka- groups does not know exactly; and the time is 21.00. the night, curving over the minute intervals, the front turn- through Girona and arriving in and consists of four separate tion; luggage trolleys, chatter- and has produced a security hence the research. Through the glass wall the freight terminal, over the East ing north towards the Belgian Barcelona at 07.00, then via sections: the rear one, your ing, children falling behind. strategy that complies with the dark blue train appears to Coast main line and into the border where it will cross Zaragoza Delicias into Madrid Our research suggests that a one, is going to Spain, the UK requirements for running disappear into the night tunnel to Stratford. There is a Germany into the Netherlands, Atocha at 09.20, finally via the Your train is a little dustier, the one-way ticket to Zurich in a next to Italy, the third to trains through the Channel beyond the old arched roof. knock at the door which is stopping in Amsterdam to AVE line to Cordoba (10.50) windscreen showing signs of shared compartment should Switzerland and the front to opened by the uniformed con- change drivers at around 03.30. arriving in Sevilla Santa Justa at insect encounters. A new driver Tunnel. This required not cost more than £100. The You take the escalator down Scandinavia. ducter who checks the tickets It will then reach Copenhagen 11.30. climbs down from the cab correspondence with around one level to the departure You look back along the service the group is area where a few cafes are and asks at what time you at 06.00 for the first set-down, You are woken for breakfast as (probably changed at Atocha), 10 different UK bodies! researching is not seeking a train while the driver pre- wished to be woken, and if you and talks to the train manager still open. You walk up to then off over the Øresund to the train passes Zaragoza, the The group’s proposal is to run subsidy. pares himself for departure. would like to take a full break- before wandering off to find his the ticket barrier, insert your Malmo and Stockholm, arriving sun already high above the Ahead of him the glistening fast in the diner, or a continen- next AVE back to Madrid. high-speed sleeper electric Currently the research is split ticket and proceed to pass- at 11.00. The next section runs Aragon plain. You dress while ribbon curves eastwards to tal breakfast in the compart- multiple units (possibly double- port and security control. on and eventually connects listening to the World Service s If anyone is interested in our into five main areas. the tunnel. ment. deck to make use of the UIC-C with the line to Mulhouse, set- and then pad along to the next project, either in submitting The train is available for You retrace your steps to gauge) from St Pancras s Route suitability using Your journey is to Seville, the ting down in Basle at 06.00, car where a hot and cold buffet thoughts or ideas, or wishing to boarding so you make your your compartment, lower RailNet Europe to interface end of the line. As you reach Zurich 07.00, and Chur at 08.00. breakfast is ready. You dine help in a practical or financial International to a variety of way to the travelator where the blind, take a quick with the 12 national Stratford after a few minutes The Italian section circumnavi- until Madrid where half the way please write to: Michael destinations up to 1,500 miles staff check your ticket and shower, and then change for infrastructure managers. the train slows, comes to a stop gates Paris and joins up with passengers alight. Emerging Guerra, Secretary, London away, and to run either wave you up. bed. You turn off the main s Security. for a minute and then contin- the Sud-Est to Dijon via the into bright spring sunshine you Direct Sleeper Group, 6 Nash refurbished or new loco-hauled The gleaming dark blue light, open the blind and ues, having picked up the are grateful for the tinted win- Close, Welham Green, Hatfield, s Rolling stock specification, TGV route to Lausanne at 06.00, stock to destinations up to 600 articulated cars fill your look out into the station. dozen or so businessmen from dows and the gauze blind. Herts AL9 7NN involving both infrastructure then through the Alpine tunnel miles (possibly attached to Docklands. into Italy for Milan at 08.00 and A couple of hours later, after Or preferably by email to: managers and rolling stock other trans-European overnight It is raining again, restricting arriving in Venezia Santa Lucia climbing off the Meseta into email@example.com suppliers. services). the view out so you lower the s Service specification blind and read the card intro- The true niche for these s Marketing/branding. ducing you to the facilities of W hy Nightstar was never going to succeed services seems to be that they your Grande Classe compart- should leave in the evening, ment. There is of course the Nightstar ques- specification (especially electrical with after work, and arrive at around In designing new rolling stock tion. Having had years to investigate its numerous loco interface variations) the group is looking at the total There is a small shower with a breakfast time (before work). flip-up toilet assembly inside. this, and having talked to some of and steel construction meant that the This is a niche not currently package. The group has a wide those involved in that project it is hard- cars were far too heavy and required There is a hanging space for a serviced by either the airlines experience of the different couple of jackets, a small basin ly surprising that it was not going to too much power. sleeping cars of the past 50 with glass and bottle of mineral succeed. Stock built from aluminium extrusions, or other high-speed rail services. years and it is interesting to water. The reasons are many but can be out- with greater insulation and reduced note what conditions equate to There is a small sway as the lined as the following. The service was lighting and heating loads would have The main practical problems Eurostar’s £200million plan to run Nightstar sleeper ill-conceived, running trains from a a good night’s sleep and an trains to mainland Europe was abandoned in 1997 train continues to curve and meant a car of around half the involve negotiating access enjoyable journey. accelerate towards Ebbsfleet. number of stations in the UK to a num- weight/passenger with a lower power around overnight maintenance despite the fact that a fleet of 30 carriages had been Ebbsfleet passes in a flash and ber of stations in Europe was always requirement, further simplified by not blockades and the difficulty of The group’s research is at a built. you turn on the small flat- going to make the number of possible having to interface with other traction. designing traction that can critical stage. It is looking for The plan was to run night trains from London to screen display that pivots from combinations of trains a shunter s partners to help in furthering nightmare. We have simplified the Security: It soon became apparent that interface with any number of Amsterdam, Dortmund and Frankfurt, as well as the side of the berth. European Infrastructure Managers the research to its logical from Swansea, Plymouth, Glasgow and Manchester service, yet we are able to serve many signalling systems, without It takes a little while to get used times the number of destinations with- were not keen on investing in secure interfering with any others. Of conclusion, and possibly take it to Paris. to the headphones (so as not to passenger areas, or secure sidings, in Europe than Nightstar. course, much of the on to the next stage. Some compartments had their own shower and annoy the neighbours) and you when the market was too small. The rolling stock was too heavy, infrastructure the group is Michael Guerra is the secretary toilet while there were also reclining seat settle down for one of the required too much power and was too We have come up with a practical alter- planning to use is still under of the group. In the “sleeperettes” for the budget traveller. The coaches movies on the 10 channels or small. The UK gauge meant that the native that precludes the use of major – pictured – were eventually sold and are now being watch the progress of the train cars were always going to be smaller infrastructure investment and construction. The maintenance accompanying article, he via the traincam. The Chunnel than the classic sleeper. The high increases the flexibility of the service. problem may be offset by the outlines the possibilities. operated in Canada by VIA Rail. passes before the end of the first 10 Railwatch December 2003 Railwatch December 2003 11
"Second chance for Euro sleepers"