Speeds on railway sections according to actual timetables (2010 - 2013)

Reference: Dr. Carsten Schürmann (RRG Spatial Planning and Geoinformation)
Customer: European Commission, DG Regio
Competences: Planning
Division: Transport Planning and Spatial Development
Contact: Dr. Carsten Schürmann


Railway sections are often classified according to their maximum design speeds. Design speeds are the maximum speeds that can be travelled along a section, based on its technical parameters. Due to various reasons speeds that are actually travelled are much lower. As input to the 5th Cohesion Report a new geodataset representing the maximum railway section speeds, based on actual timetables, was generated. The dataset takes account of different types of train services operating along a railway section, such as fast high-speed or IC train services, and slow regional and urban trains. The dataset was developed on top of the RRG GIS Database, providing the railway geometries, in combination with actual timetable information, allowing deriving actual highest rail section speeds. As an extension to the first calculation in 2010, in 2011 another geodataset on average speeds based upon timetables for summer 2000 was generated, and furthermore in 2013 comparable datasets for 1990 (backcast) and 2013 were developed. Now two datasets are available allowing to analyse the development of average railway speeds in a period of 10 years. Changes towards higher speeds may be caused by improvements on the railway tracks or on the rolling stock, as well as through optimizations of the timetabls; however, there are also sections with lower speeds which may be caused by either replacement of high-quality services (such as IC trains) through low-quality services (such as regional trains) or by missing investments into the tracks.


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