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TGV-ICE linkage

In the context of the plans for the Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T), it is evident that is the design and operation of very high-speed cross-border rolling-stock such as TGVs (Thalys, Eurostar) and ICE-3 involves substantial extra costs compared with similar stock suitable only for purely internal running. Furthermore, substantial savings could be made by integrating the best features of all existing very-high-speed rolling stock in a single new design (or perhaps a small family of closely-related designs) - and by implementing the consensus of expert opinion on the associated track and signalling system. However, the different organisations involved - equipment manufacturers, infrastructure providers, train operating companies, the national governments and the EU Competition authorities - inevitably have different and to some extent incompatible desires and requirements. Relevant news about developments in this context is reported below.
TGV - ICE linkage
linkage provides optimal connection
Discussions about an high-speed train

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TGV - ICE linkage provides optimal connection between European metropolises
"With today's constructive discussions we have reached a further milestone in the traditionally very good bilateral relations between our departments", stressed Stolpe. "These are to be further intensified now by an stronger exchange of experts," said the Federal Minister. In the framework of the 81st. French-German government consultations and the joint meeting of the two cabinets on 18 September 2003, the Federal Ministers for traffic, building and housing Dr. Manfred Stolpe and his French colleague Gilles de Robien met on Thursday for discussions of common interest. In a joint statement, France and Germany agreed to create the linkage between the TGV Est and the ICE by 2007. Stolpe is convinced that "this step makes possible faster and better connections between European metropolises and their inhabitants".

For this purpose France will complete the first section of the TGV Est (Paris - Baudrecourt) by July 2007, thus reducing the running time between Paris and Strasbourg, en route to Frankfurt or Munich, by altogether one and a half hours. Federal Minister Stolpe announced that Germany plans for its part to include in the context of its federal traffic route plan the development of a connection via the Saarland (northeast branch toward Frankfurt) by 2007. Apart from that in a further stage a new double-track bridge would be built across the Rhine to Kehl and Kehl station would be rebuilt. These measures funded by both countries will make it possible for trains to run at a speed of 160 km/h on the section between the stations at Strasbourg and Kehl.

The two countries will at the same time hand over to the EU Commission the dossier giving details of the exceptions to the application of the technical specifications for interoperability, and will provide a common reference document for the mutual acceptability of TGV and ICE trains by the end of November 2003. Both governments will ask their railway enterprises to suggest, by the end of the year 2004, a common operating plan with a clear international dimension. "Moreover, we are responding to the desires of the SNCF/RFF and DB AG regarding equipping the high-speed connection Paris - east France - South West Germany (POS) with the new European train control system ETCS in a coordinated way, as well as the use of this route for common test running in the context of the final development of the definitive version of this technology", underlined Stolpe.

The testing of this new European system will in practice begin when the new connection is taken into service, and concern all the trains carrying international traffic that will run on this route, said the Federal Minister. Dr Stolpe expressed his conviction that France and Germany have contributed crucially to the development of the high-speed technology for rail transport. The intended cooperation of the railways of both countries with the Italian railways in the context of developing and placing orders for a third-generation high-speed train would be an important step towards overcoming the technical obstacles hindering European railway transport and a contribution to strengthening Europe's reputation for technology.
Press release of the German Federal Ministry for traffic, building and housing.
Message of: 18.09.2003 - Translation by Alan Reekie


Le Soir (18. October 2003)
Discussions about an European very-high-speed train

The European Commission confirmed that informal discussions about the European very-high-speed train project are being held between its General Directorate on Competition and the DB, FS and SNCF. It is too early to describe this future train in detail, but the aim of the project is to incorporate the best features of the French TGV, the German ICE and the Italian ETR 500 in a new-generation design that could be put into service in 2010.
translation by Alan Reekie


Le Soir (18. October 2003)
Discussions pour un TGV européen
La Commission européenne a confirmé vendredi des discussions informelles entre les services de la concurrence et les compagnies ferroviaires française SNCF, allemande Deutsche Bahn et italienne Ferrovie dello Stato sur un projet de train à grande vitesse européen. Ce futur train pourrait être mis en service en 2010. Il est encore trop tôt pour esquisser les contours du nouveau train, qui devrait toutefois s'appuyer sur les qualités respectives des TGV français, des ICE allemands et des ETR 500s italiens.

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