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Innotrans 2024 - From Porto to Berlin, by train


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Giugiaro

I'm planning a work trip for Innotrans 2024, but unlike in 2022, I'm planning to do the whole journey by train to and from Berlin.

 

Accommodation for Barcelona and Berlin is already booked, as well as the European Sleeper Nr. 453 between Brussels and Berlin.
The only thing missing is the FIP bookings on the remaining trains.

 

The following are the timetables I was able to come up with for the journey, including some alternative trains.

The way to Berlin is pretty much figured out. The way back is also pretty much decided as well.

 

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There are a lot of high-speed trains there already. AVE is the Spanish high-speed train, TGV the French one, and ICE the German one. I think Aliva was also a high-speed train service aswell.

 

The longest section without a high-speed train goes from a small city in Portugal to Madrid (if Aliva isn't a high-speed service in which case the section goes to roughly the border between Portugal and Spain). The length of the trip would be around the same length as Kagoshima to Wakkanai (around 2.600 km). And all that while crossing 3 or 4 borders (depending on the train route) you got Portugal, Spain, France, (Belgium) and Germany.

 

The only nice things they could add would be a high-speed rail connection between Spain and Portugal to shorten that part (since everything else could be done with high-speed trains as it is) and overnight high-speed services to not wait 9 hours in Barcelona or take a sleeper train at the beginning/end of the trip.

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That's true. I'm just looking at Kagoshima to Shin-Hakodate on the Shinkansen and it's 11.5 hours. Then it gets slow up to Wakkanai, but it seems like with a high speed link you could do the whole lot in about 13 hours. I checked Google Maps for your trip and it's saying about 1.5 days by train as the fastest possible route.

 

I'll be interested to know how the sleeper train is. There are some cheap sleeper options in Japan but I've never tried one.

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I chose that route since it was around the same length and just a 7 hours time difference.

 

The important thing is that you cross borders compared to the trip in Japan. So you got like 3 or 4 different railway ecosystems that were built to function for each country. It's not just connecting your own major cities (like in Japan) but connecting major cities in different countries. And we still have different systems running in the EU...

 

But I'm interested in Giugiaro's trip report too.

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It sure is a long-term project. Imagine all of Japan's railways would need to switch to standard gauge. That would be the case for Portugal and Spain (for non high-speed trains) for example. Massive task to do while everything is still in operation since with regauging you need to change close to everything you have at the moment.

 

There is the Rail Baltica project really started since some political reasons added fuel to it. A new line from Poland to Finland crossing 3 other countries. That project has tons of problems from political, financial, and time scale. I think the last thing I saw was 5 years late and at least 3 times the initial cost (initially 5.8 billion Euros and now 8 billion Euros for Lithuania alone). Projecting that to the whole of Europe shows the dimension of the project I think.

Edited by Junech
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Hi, don't know if you have already done the trip.

 

Not a big expert with trains out of spain but just a small comment.  I believe the 17:43 -> 17:56 commuter you plan to take from Chamartin to Atocha will probably not give you enough time to be able to catch the 18:00 AVE. I see you have prepared yourself with later options so you will have enough time for next AVEs. It was just to warn you. Enjoy that fabulous trip.

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