Amsterdam Eurostar

Discussion in 'International Transport' started by Gadget88, 14 Sep 2017.

  1. duesselmartin

    duesselmartin Member

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    Germany consideres building or re opening a dedicated freight route to Antwerpen. It would not do it If If where not a commercial centre.
     
    Last edited: 12 Jun 2019
  2. tasky

    tasky Member

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    That was the plan they stated publicly I think - a third service now, fourth and fifth after the return journey is sorted
     
  3. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    You mean major seaport.
     
  4. island

    island Established Member

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    Signs for London passport control have gone up in Rotterdam-CS.
     
  5. fowler9

    fowler9 Established Member

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    It is also a really pleasant city and the Antwerp Centraal is on of the nicest stations in the world I have had the pleasure of passing through.
     
  6. Quakkerillo

    Quakkerillo Member

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    Personally, I don't see the business case for Antwerp; I have my doubts about the patronage. Whereas Amsterdam and Rotterdam have also a large hinterland, Antwerp much less so. People from Ghent/Mechelen/Turnhout are much better off travelling via Brussels. Only people living in Breda would benefit, as people from Tilburg/Eindhoven would prefer the one-change Rotterdam change. Currently, the Thalys that stops there already sees a relatively small amount of passengers compared to the other Thalys stops on this route. And a very large amount of these passengers are tourists, not per se business people.
    Secondly, the station design makes it basically impossible to get a dedicated platform with security going; the through platforms are heavily used as is, and closing it for x time severely limits the operability. Furthermore, I see not much space for where the passport and customs checks would have to happen, if at all. Best chance would be on the platform itself, but it'll be a lot of work to clear this in time for the London-bound Eurostar and redirect trains around it for 20-30 minutes before a scheduled departure. The only place where this could work would be on platform 6 on the top-level, but then the train would have to reverse in Antwerp and go via the Eastern Ring, adding way too much time.

    With 4-7 trains per hour Brussels-Antwerp taking between 25 and 35 minutes, I'd think it makes life much easier to not stop in Antwerp, no matter how pretty the station is.
     
  7. tasky

    tasky Member

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    yeah OK, when you put it like that, it makes sense
     
  8. AlexNL

    AlexNL Established Member

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    This is a valid point, there is absolutely no space for all the security stuff which is needed for a Eurostar operation.

    Antwerp <> Brussels South takes 46 minutes.

    I think a 'set down only' approach to Antwerp *might* work. People wanting to travel from the UK to Antwerp can do so with a direct train, going back would require a train to Brussels and then going through security there. If the current set-up with Amsterdam is enough to convey 300k passengers, surely there must be some viability to a setup like this for a stop in Antwerp as well.
     
  9. Quakkerillo

    Quakkerillo Member

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    Oops, I always travelled to North from Breda, and forgot to add the 8 minutes for North-South in my mind. But also, I just saw that the journey time has been significantly 'sobered' as well. I'm pretty sure that around 2009, the shortest journey time was about 6-8 minutes faster than it is now...?
     
  10. MisterT

    MisterT Member

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    Edit: oops, talking about the E* here, not the regular IC. Please ignore my post.
     
  11. cle

    cle Established Member

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    I'm not convinced by Antwerp either. This is about absolute journey time, hence the non-stop Brussels runs and also lack of Schiphol (which would have platform issues too). Disney/South E* trains don't stop at CDG, on the Schiphol point, either.

    Journey times between Brussels and Antwerp are pretty poor, it's among the slowest sections other than Schiphol to Centraal itself (Zuid would chop 10 mins, but not happening clearly).
     
  12. AlexNL

    AlexNL Established Member

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    The Dutch railways and ministry of infrastructure currently have plans to send all international trains to Amsterdam Zuid, including Eurostar.

    They're currently working on a few big projects to increase capacity at Amsterdam Zuid (adding two platforms) as well as increasing comfort and safety at Amsterdam Centraal (by widening platforms) and completely remodeling the throats on both sides of the station.
     
  13. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    So that fancy customs area they built to accommodate Eurostar will end up being rendered surplus to requirements shortly after its introduction? Glad it's not just us that lack a certain amount of foresight with our transport planning! :lol:
     
  14. MisterT

    MisterT Member

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    The Eurostar building at Amsterdam Centraal was always meant to be temporary, so no lack at foresight in this case :)
     
  15. Struner

    Struner Member

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    The extra platforms (let alone the €* faciiities) are not quite there yet :E
     
  16. GingerSte

    GingerSte Member

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    Are the (Brussels-bound) platforms heavily used for their full length? Even outside of the rush hour? IIRC the platforms are very long, possibly enough for a full Eurostar. Cordoning off the end of a platform, north of the (existing) escalators and lifts might be more do-able. I assume that this would be at the end under the parking station. Lengthening the platform (in either direction) would also mitigate that loss.

    Looking at the plan at https://static.b-europe.com/-/media...Station_Plans/BEABC/Map_Antwerpen_Centraal_EN, it looks like there might be some sort of basement at level -1 north of the main lifts . Pelikanstraat (north is to the left, I think). I don't know if this is in use by the Metro or for staff facilities. I have not seen it in person. Is there scope for passport/security facilities there?
     
  17. AlexNL

    AlexNL Established Member

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    The platforms at -2 at Antwerp Central are long enough for a Eurostar train - they're explicitly designed to receive double Thalys trains (400m long) so a Eurostar will also fit there.

    After the Brussels attacks, Belgian officials imposed Eurostar-style baggage checks on all international high speed trains. They arranged this at Antwerp by having Thalys trains halt at the far end of the platform and placing luggage checking equipment halfway. These checks were abolished rather quickly though.

    The "basement" at -1 is already in use for bike parking and rental facilities. Repurposing that for Eurostar security checks could theoretically be possible, but you'd still have to build a "secure" way to get to the train after going through the checks.

    The platforms at -1 are not suitable for a Eurostar: the platforms are a bit too short for a 400m train and there are no tracks leading from Line 12 (the Antwerp avoiding line via Oost and Dam) to -1.
     
    Last edited: 4 Jul 2019
  18. GingerSte

    GingerSte Member

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    OK, thinking (quite literally in this case) out of the box.

    Provide a new underground area to the east of the station. This only needs to be long enough to feed a few carriages - not the full Eurostar length. This does come with temporary disruption to the zoo, though.

    Access would be from level -1, to the north of platform 13/14. This would be the London-bound section of the platform for the train. The intra-Schengen section would be from the existing platform. No need to partition of sections of existing platform. I imagine that the Eurostar computer systems are smart enough to open one side for intra-Schengen and the other side for London, and that appropriate dispatch procedures can be agreed.

    Antwerp eurostar 2.png
    (Note: section above is based on my understanding of the station layout. It could be quite wrong!)

    Rough construction sequence:
    • Cordon-off effected area of zoo
    • Move any underground utilities out of way
    • Install contiguous (or secant) piled wall (new external wall)
    • Excavate a few metres
    • Install ground-level slab (to act as prop for soil pressures)
    • Excavate to just below level -1
    • Install slab at -1
    • Excavate to just below level -2
    • Install slab at -2
    • Internal fit-out
    • Break through wall to provide access to passport area.
    • Transfer wall load (see below) to transfer beams, and remove existing external wall between levels -1 and -2. Replace with glass partitions and sliding doors.
    • Make good zoo area and reopen.
    In order to make the openings at level -2, I would use transfer beams at level -1 to support the existing external wall. These would bring the downward load to columns a few metres back from the new platform face. These would be fairly deep (and heavily-reinforced) concrete beams.
     
  19. Quakkerillo

    Quakkerillo Member

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    Based on the station layout PDF you posted 2 posts ago, there could be room on the Kievit side to organise this, however this would cause the following issues to be dealt with;
    No further construction can be made Northbound (left on the pdf) from the B-Parking, as then you're in the Zoo.
    The parking itself is not that high for the parking levels, and it would become a very costly procedure to re-design and re-build this to Eurostar standards. https://www.interparking.be/-/media/Belgium/Images/Centraal/centraal2.ashx
    The loss of parking spaces; I heavily suspect the Antwerp mayor would be against this so it'll be hard to pass politically.
    The only access right now to the (potential) Eurostar platform would be with the stairs and elevators as seen in the bottom image on the right-hand side; in order to make them Eurostar-only, you need to block the access to platforms 10-24 for all passengers coming from Kievit, as for them the only way to get to those platforms is with the same way to get to the Eurostar platform.

    It's just going to be *such* a lot of work with so many inconveniences in my opinion.
     
  20. GingerSte

    GingerSte Member

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    The Klevit end is the south end of the station (ie the end facing towards Brussels and then London). As I understand it, the Eurostar access at Amsterdam Centraal will be at the north (Amsterdam) end of the train. (As mentioned before in this thread, one half will be for passengers to London, and one half for Brussels, and then for Brussels->London passengers.) The Klevit end would therefore be the wrong end of the train. I'm not currently aware of which end is planned for the Eurostar "terminal" when it moves to Amsterdam Zuid.

    My idea above was to put the entrance to the Eurostar security area where the green/yellow arrow is below.
    antwerp eurostar 3.png

    A quick check of Google Earth shows that this is underneath one of the structures of Antwerp Zoo, so this scheme is not without disruption. In terms of disruption and construction, it might have been easier to do it under Pelikaanstraat (so the bottom of the picture above, rather than the top). However, London-bound trains would be on the zoo side, and there would probably be a lot more utilities on the Pelikaanstraat side to divert.

    I suspect that the darker grey area to the left (north) is plant and staff areas for the station, and so difficult to move. However, I don't know this.

    I've deliberately put this away from the main station building, to reduce any construction risks to that. I don't want to be responsible for finishing the Luftwaffe's job!

    As far as inconveniences go (with respect to Quakkerillo's comment), then there would be some. However, that goes for any project. I know first hand, with the Birmingham New Street redevelopment a few years ago. In this case part of the zoo area would need to be closed off for a relatively long period. Mitigation would need to be in place to stop animals getting spooked by construction noise. But closure of part of that area could be mitigated by providing the zoo with a shiny new building at the end of it (or whatever: everything's negotiable). Disruption in the station would be less. It would be limited to making the openings in the east wall at those two levels. I would also be inclined to try and increase the concourse area in front of platforms 11-14, possibly at the expense of some of the length of these (if it can be spared).
     
  21. cle

    cle Established Member

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    Would these new (400m?) platforms at Zuid be underground, and stubs? The highway is right there, so I can't quite see where they would go. Admittedly, access to the city is now much less of a problem with the N/S metro line, which has capacity. Bit of a rubbish arrival for visitors, in comparison...
     
  22. AlexNL

    AlexNL Established Member

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    The plans are to bring the A10 motorway underground, and to build two additional overground platforms. It would be through platforms, so trains can access the Watergraafsmeer TMD.

    However, the construction companies responsible for building the motorway tunnel have recently handed back the job. This is going to throw a huge spanner in the works, it's likely to incur a major delay to the project as well as incur significant cost overruns. This may affect the Amsterdam Zuid expansion, as well as the overhaul of Centraal. Zuid having six platforms is a prerequisite to the remodeling of Centraal.
     
  23. Gadget88

    Gadget88 Member

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    With Antwerp it depends how Eurostar want it from what I read originally they wanted a stop here. It would increase destinations. However to rival airlines it’s best they don’t stop at the airport or Antwerp. One question I’ve not asked before is will they ever make the line beyond Brussels high speed to maybe see journey times to London to Amsterdam come down to 3 hours like what happened with Paris?

    Another solution to Antwerp is send some Eurostar’s there but only to set down and let passengers off. Sell no return leg? All security checks could be done before hand and maybe not allow passengers on at Brussels?
     
  24. AlexNL

    AlexNL Established Member

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    There are no plans to build a dedicated high speed line between Brussels and Antwerp. There are other projects going on to reduce journey times.

    Infrabel are currently constructing the 'Rail Bypass Mechelen', a project which will add two new tracks to Mechelen station and will allow HSTs through Mechelen station at 160 km/h (currently 100 km/h).

    Infrabel are also working on optimising other parts of the route, there are plans to replace the current Y. Otterbeek junction with a couple of flying junctions which will help alleviate some constraints. However, this project is still in the early stages and funding hasn't been secured yet.
     
  25. Gadget88

    Gadget88 Member

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    So what was different about the desire to cut the 3 hour time down on the Brussels and Paris route? Was it all down to HS1 or was work done on the Belgium side? Also I believe the older Eurostar train holds the speed record despite these trains being slower than the new trains.

    They are working on Paris to Milan in 4 hours so I’m surprised there isn’t a desire for a quicker service to Amsterdam. Is 2 hours the best we can hope for to Brussels and Paris? I believe journey times were cut with the new trains.
     
  26. Gadget88

    Gadget88 Member

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    Another option for Antwerp could be to build new station outside the existing one like in the UK we have Ebbsfleet
     
  27. johnnychips

    johnnychips Established Member

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    I don’t think the lions in the zoo would be too happy :)
     
  28. Quakkerillo

    Quakkerillo Member

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    For that, you'd need to build a whole new High-Speed route as well, and make sure trains connect to this new station. This will even beyond impossible, I'm afraid.
     
  29. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    Yes work was done in Belgium, specifically HSL1 from the French border to Brussels. This opened in late 1997.

    Yes 2 hours is the best you can hope for. It is a long way, and on High Speed Line almost the whole way except for the Channel Tunnel, and approaches to Gare du Nord and Brussels Midi. In the highly unlikely event that the LGV Picardie gets built, that might knock 15-20 minutes off the London Paris time, but I can’t see the French Government spending £5bn+ to save journey time to a country outside the EU.
     
  30. tasky

    tasky Member

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    As well as this, I believe the new alignment between Brussels and Mechelen (line 25N) built as part of the Diabolo project has an alignment capable of supporting 220km/h as opposed to the 160km/h it is currently limited to. I'm not sure whether there are any immediate plans to use the higher speed, does anyone know?


    One big difference is that it would require Belgium to build a high-speed line to cut speeds for British and French passengers travelling to the Netherlands. Belgium is already a relatively good neighbour in terms of building high-speed infrastructure - if it hadn't been then journeys between everywhere else would be a lot slower as passengers tend to have to go through it.

    Any journey time benefit a high-speed line would bring is less important to Belgian passengers who already benefit from very rapid journeys to the Netherlands. Domestically the IC trains only take 41 minutes between Brussels and Antwerp so the case for a true high speed line there is fairly limited, especially given IC services are realistically always going to stop at Mechelen, which is about half way.

    Not saying they're going to build it, but it's not just journey times to the UK that would benefit – LGV Nord is already bursting at the seams in terms of capacity and the Thalys in particular has a tendency to go catastrophically wrong. Also Amiens would benefit.
     

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