Zug ins Grüne

A train into the greener countryside.

Some wonderful person has carefully filmed, edited and posted online videos of the Stuttgart Stadtbahn light rail routes. These videos take you into the green twice, because the streetcar lines start and end in the city’s green outer periphery; they also document and share other ways of building and living.

In the video for the U2 line, you can hear kids discussing with their father while practicing multiple languages.

(TSOOG   ins   GROON ah.)

Gotthardbasistunnel

The Gotthard basis tunnel, being built under the famous Gotthard Pass through the Swiss Alps. They’re saying this new double tunnel for trains is the longest in the world, at 57 km. Wonderful ZDF heute journal report on the testing currently underway, showing how Swiss engineers are verifying human/computer interaction to control responses to a variety of simulated emergency situations. It’s not yet known whether the air each train pushes in front of it and pulls behind it will be enough ventilation for all 57 kilometers.

Passenger trains are to travel through the new tunnel at up to 250 km/h. Accelerating inside the tunnel would cost a lot of energy because of the column of air; the F.A.Z. said the trains will “thunder into” the tunnel entrances.

(GOTT haht BOZZ iss TOON ell.)

Höhere Gewalt

Higher violence or higher power, but it means force majeure, an event or effect that can be neither anticipated nor controlled. This has been defined more narrowly recently to limit E.U. railways’ and airlines’ ability to refuse to compensate passengers by claiming helplessness after poor management.

Even in force majeure cases such as bad weather, landslides or labor strikes, the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg said on 26 Sep 2013, passenger railways will still owe customers some money back after a late train arrival.

If your E.U. train is 1 hour late, you have the right to reimbursement of 25% of the purchase price of your ticket. 2 hours, 50%.

As part of their reporting on the Court’s decision, ARD tagesschau.de interviewed rail passengers waiting at German train stations, many of whom said they had in the past qualified for money back due to late trains but didn’t bother going through with the paperwork.

On 05 Feb 2014, the E.U. Parliament voted to strengthen air passenger rights, in part by passing a stricter, eight-part definition of force majeure for airlines.

Though they’re not done wending their way through the governments yet, the new rules would give passengers on E.U. flights delayed >3 hours the right to 300 euros from their airline, >5 hours = 400 euros, and >7 hours = 600 euros.

(HƏ ƏH rah   geh VAULT.)

Bahntunnel unter dem Bosporus

Rail tunnel under the Bosphorus strait, being called the Marmaray Connection.

A tunnel for trains opened between Europe and Turkey! ARD tagesschau.de said it was a joint Japanese-Turkish project that found many archeological treasures, including old ships from sunken armadas.

(BON toon ell   OON tah   dame   BOSS pore us.)

Miniatur-Wunderland

“Miniature Wonderland,” a flabbergastingly extensive, ambitious, complex, technically impressive and beautiful model train exhibit in Hamburg. They recreated the Swiss Alps, the Frankfurt Airport, a floating Scandinavian cruise ship, Las Vegas and Florida. There are dozens or perhaps hundreds of tiny jokes to hunt for. The sun rises and sets every fifteen minutes, with lights coming on in all the little villages. Visitors can watch the Wunderland artist-engineers at work in their glass cubicles, while they can watch you enjoying the show.

(Min ee ah TOUR   VOON da lond.)

Majestätisch

“Majestic.” How tagesschau.de described the way light cascades into New York’s Grand Central Station, which recently celebrated its 100th birthday. Jackie Kennedy helped save the station from being torn down in the mid-twentieth century.

(My est ATE ish.)

Schienenkartell

“Rails cartel.” Troubled steel giant Thyssen-Krupp and three other firms are defendants in a lawsuit by the Deutsche Bahn for railroad construction price-setting collusion said to have lasted almost a decade. Deutsche Bahn (German Rail) is seeking 550 million euros after, it said, trying for several months to reach an out-of-court settlement. Its lawsuit is said to have good chances, in particular because somehow the suit suspends the statute of limitations for the offenses, for which these companies were fined ˜100 million euros last summer by the German Federal Cartel Authority (Bundeskartellamt), which criticized the Deutsche Bahn’s lax procedures. Tagesschau.de reports that the Deutsche Bahn has often been the victim of rail cartels. The F.A.Z. called them “nearly a historical normality.” In 2012 Thyssen-Krupp announced losses of 5 billion euros after failures of e.g. investments in steel processing plants in the USA and Brazil; it fired half its board in consequence.

Update on 23 Jul 2013: The Bundeskartellamt announced it has issued a second set of fines in this matter totalling ˜97 million euros to eight companies, moving its fines total for this rail cartel to ~230 million euros. This second set of fines was for overcharging construction firms and local, regional, private and industry train organizations. F.A.Z. reported the fine money will go to the federal government. Almost all the companies are cooperating, according to the cartel authority. The investigation was started by a request to turn state’s evidence from the Austrian Voestalpine company, which also said recently that it is the only one of these companies to have reached a negotiated settlement with the Deutsche Bahn so far. This second set of BKA fines is not yet final; they may still be appealed.

The Bundeskartellamt’s press release said in the cartel the company scheduled to win each order was given a “leadership” role that included telling the others how much to ask for in their so-called “safety bids” [“Schutzangebote“] tendered to camouflage the collusion.

(SHEE nen cartel.)

Raketenschlitten

Rocket sled. Which, Wikipedia writes, “is a test platform that slides along a set of rails, propelled by rockets.

“As its name implies, a rocket sled does not use wheels. Instead, it has sliding pads, called ‘slippers,’ which are curved around the head of the rails to prevent the sled from flying off the track. The rail cross-section profile is that of a Vignoles rail, commonly used for railroads.

“A rocket sled holds the land-based speed record for a vehicle, at Mach 8.5.”

(Rock ATE en shlit ten.)

Bundesnetzagentur für Elektrizität, Gas, Telekommunikation, Post und Eisenbahnen, BNetzA

German Federal Networks Agency for Electricity, Gas, Telecommunications, Post and Railroads, a federal regulation authority tasked with maintaining and promoting competition in “so-called network markets,” according to Wikipedia.

(BOON dess NETZ ah gen tour foor elek tree tsee TATE, goz, tay lay com MOON ee ka TSEE OWN, post oond EYE zen bonn en.)

Eichhörnchen-Monster-Brutalo-Bahn

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