Monday, 6 December 2010

Big changes in December timetable

With just six days (at the time of writing) to go until the December 12 timetable change, DSB says that it has responded to passenger demands, with new and more frequent services, better connections and a cascade of rolling stock as the IC4s gradually enter service.

Amongst the highlights (full details can be found here) are a 20 minute cut in journey times between Struer and Copenhagen, thanks to eliminating lightly used stops. For passengers between Esbjerg and Copenhagen the service is ramped up to make it 'virtually' hourly through the day, and direct trains between Aarhus and Kolding will run to Esbjerg, providing an hourly service in the daytime. For passengers in Jutland these changes will make a big difference.

Flensburg, meanwhile, joins the inter-city network with  a two-hourly service to Copenhagen, while passengers from Vamdrup and Tinglev will see an hourly train. New Desiro trains, meanwhile, will begin operation to Grenaa from the timetable change too. Two additional expresses between Copenhagen and Odense-Aarhus will run in the afternoon in response to growing demand, and non-stop trains from Copenhagen to Aarhus are extended in the morning and evening to Aalborg.

A suite of improvements to commuter services around Copenhagen are expected to cut journey times, but journey times to and from Bornholm will be extended by between 10 and 30 minutes due to changes to the ferry operation and the opening of the Malmö Citytuneln.

"This year we have the opportunity to both extend the improvements we introduced in the last timetable and come up with new travel opportunities," says DSB Deputy Director of Traffic Planning Ove Dahl Kristensen.

Apologies for the lack of updates....

Sincere apologies for the lack of updates on the blog over the past month - normal service resumes from today.

Danish Rail News

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Femern Link: tunnel will be cheaper than bridge

The proposed three span suspension bridge proposed for the Femern Link is now expected to be more expensive than the alternative tunnel proposal. The bridge is now estimated to cost DKr 38.5 billion and the tunnel DKr 37.9 billion at 2008 prices.

Femern A/S, the company behind the project, presented the surprise findings at a meeting with political backers. It follows an extensive investigation into the construction options. The changes in cost are partly due to underground geology not being as stable as thought originally. This has resulted in a rethink with other solutions being examined.

Politicians generally seem to prefer a bridge solution as it is more visible than a tunnel. However, whichever form the crossing takes, it has been delayed by two years due to increased environmental investigation demands. Opening is now scheduled for 2020, which means a potential loss of DKr 4 billion in revenue, as well as expenditure of DKr 800 million for additional consultations.

Top to bottom: cross section of the proposed Femern bridge; an overall view of it; a cross section of the alternative tunnel.

Esbjerg examines high-frequency services

Plans are being examined by the municipality of Esbjerg, Denmark’s off shore activity city on the west coast of Jutland and its neighbouring municipality of Varde into the viability of establishing a high frequency local train service between Ribe-Bramminge-Esbjerg-Varde.

The service between these towns is currently an hourly service run by Arriva from Niebüll (Germany) Tønder Ribe, and Esbjerg and a similar service from Esbjerg north to Skjern. This service would be integrated in the new local service. A possible integration of the local service from Varde to Oksbøl in the new service is also being considered.

Free travel for 'Night Owls'

DSB showed its community responsibility last week by providing free travel for ‘Night Owls’ across the entire Danish rail network.

The Night Owl system started in 1998 and has now 7000 active participants in over 200 local groups. The concept is for "responsible and credible adults" to circulate in towns at the weekend on a voluntary basis and chat with young people on their way to and from parties in order to create a feeling of security to both the young people and others and generally nip trouble in the bud.

The Night Owls also circulate, uniformed and in groups of at least three, on local public transport and may travel free between 18.00 and 06.00.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Femern Link loses DKr 550 million support

A European Union Commission has cut DKr 550 million from support allotted to the preliminary design stage of the link across the Femern Belt between Denmark and Germany because they are of the opinion that preparation works of the link are delayed.

The news was announced when the Commission published its interim report on the allocation of the DKr 60 billion DKr TEN-T funds are to allotted from 2007 to 2013. Denmark had been promised approx DKr 2.5 billion towards the preliminary investigations of the project, of which EU covers 50%, but part of the work connected with the preliminary investigations has moved to the construction phase. EU support can only be granted for work already carried out in the period.

It is possible that Denmark can reapply for the grant in the next period starting in 2014. The CEO for Femern A/S, Leo Larsen, is already negotiating with the EU commission about this. 

Bombardier's Øresund trains delivered in 'unsatisfactory quality' says Transport Minister

The first five of 10 new Bombardier trains for DSB First´s services on the Copenhagen Coast line and to Sweden over the Øresund link have not only been delivered late but with many faults - and the sixth train delivered has so many faults that DSB refused to accept it. The finding appears in a notat to the Danish parliament´s permanent traffic commitee, from the minister of transport Hans Christian Schmidt.

"The trains have been delivered in a generally unsatisfactory quality. I consider the situation worrying and will pursue the matter with DSB," says the minister in his report.

At the moment DSB expects the last of the 10 trains ordered to be delivered by 9 December 2010. After some modifications they expect to place them all in operation by 16 December - in other words, after the introduction of the 2011 timetable and the opening of the Citytuneln in Malmö when the new 10 minute interval service between Copenhagen and Malmö/Lund starts.

The new trains are vital to ensure a necessary reserve capacity, enabling introduction of longer trains, better regularity, and guarantee a seat in the rush hour.