Eingestellte und aktuelle Nachtzugrouten [Existing and Cancelled Night Train Routes]

In einem Artikel des SRF findet sich eine Karte mit den Nachtzuglinien aus der Schweiz die seit 2003 eingestellt wurden. Bis 2003 ging es von der Schweiz nach:

[Until 2003 there were night train connections from Switzerland to the cities in the list below. All these have been cancelled.]

  • Kopenhagen
  • Moskau
  • Lecce (Süditalien)
  • Rom
  • Barcelona
  • Paris
  • Brüssel
  • Köln
  • Amsterdam

 

Cancelled night train routes

In einem weiteren Artikel findet sich eine aktuelle Karte der ÖBB-Nightjet-Verbindungen sowie der Partnerbahnen in Österreich (not including privately operated trains like Hamburg – Lörrach, near Basel, whis is run by BTE):

[This is the current network of ÖBB – colored lines are Nightjet-trains, grey lines are trains of cooperating railway operators. Of course there are also some privately operated trains like Hamburg-Lörrach (near Basel).]Ausserdem finden sich in den Artikel ein paar Worte über die aktuelle Geschäftsentwicklung („ein kleine Gewinn“ wo die Deutsche Bahn über „30 Millionen Verlust bei 90 Millionen Umsatz“ klagte). Auch ein paar Worte über die steuerliche Benachteiligung des Zugreisens. Aber dennoch: die Benachteiligung ist die selbe geblieben für die ÖBB – die DB muss sich schon besonders dumm angestellt haben, um so einen Verlust zu produzieren. (In der Tag: im letzten Jahr der CNL hatte die DB noch einige Reformen eingeführt, z.b. durchgehende günstigere Tickets von Dänemark bis in die Schweiz, Sitzwagen ohne Reservierungspflicht usw und innerhalb eines Jahres die Zahlen um 30% verbessert. Mit etwas Geduld hätte also vielleicht sogar die DB das Ruder noch rumreissen können!)

Mit dem Nachtzug unterwegs – eine Reportage

SRF: Mit dem Nachtzug unterwegs – eine Reportage

The night train future: e.g. David Loher (around minute 20 in the report), about to establish night trains between the major European capitals, in the long run including e.g. Copenhagen and Amsterdam; with the first three by end of 2019:

  • Bern-Basel-Berlin-Warsaw.
  • Bern-Stuttgart-Leipzig-Dresden.
  • Bern-Stuttgart-Neumünster.

Night trains back in Stuttgart! Good news. Also ÖBB is planning to extend their network in 2021 with completely new trains!

Night Train leak:

Some interesting numbers have been leaked:

Occupancy rates of night trains of the CityNightLine branch to Denmark, which was cancelled in 2014

In particular: „Total occupancy 2013 in the Danish branch of the CNL night train system 2013, estimate: 63 % occupied over the year.“

That is a much higher occupancy rate than in most day time trains and comes close to airline occupancy rates. So why are airlines so succesful then and night trains not, given that they reach similar occupancies?

The case is becoming more and more clear: it is simply, and foremost, due to political decisions. To repeat it: no VAT, no jetfuel tax, no emission trade for airline – full VAT, full energy taxes for trains and night trains!

Just like in the case of lignite (brown coal) power plants: the state has consciously decided to ruin our climate by subsidizing unsustainable use of fossil fuels!

Germany fails at its 2020 emission reduction goals. Completely. And air traffic is excluded from the Paris agreement. The official numbers say: we have not reached a reduction. If you include air traffic: we have increased emission!
Anyway: Why, even without air traffic, did we fail? The reason is an almost 30% increase oin traffic since 1990, the reference year of climate politics.

Maybe that is because many kilometers of street have been constrcuted, while more railways have been shutdown than constructed?

Or because the lorry toll on German highways has been reduced fro 5 years in a row?

 

Martenstein über eine Reise im Billigflieger – Die Expansion von RyanAir

Der Zeit-Kolumnist Harald Martenstein beschreibt diese Woche sehr lebendig den Komfort eines Billigfluges. Bei der Zeit leider hinter einem Paywall, aber beim Autor auf Facebook zu finden:

Harald Martenstein: Über eine Reise im Billigflieger

Ich zitiere ein paar der schönsten Absätze:

Jetzt bin ich zum ersten Mal mit Ryanair geflogen (..) Wir wurden von Uniformierten auf das Flugfeld geführt, dort standen wir eine ganze Weile im Regen, der sehr kalt war. (..) Manche Leute hatten reservierte Plätze, andere nicht. Die anderen setzten sich irgendwohin, bis diejenigen kamen, die genau diesen Sitz reserviert hatten, dann standen die anderen wieder auf und suchten verzweifelt einen neuen Sitz (..). Im Flugzeug war es sehr heiß, wie früher in sowjetischen Hotelzimmern, und weil wir alle nass waren, entstand Saunaklima.

Ich wusste, dass die Sitze bei Ryanair eng sind. Aber mir war nicht klar, dass sie aus Sparsamkeit das kleine Netz an der Sitzlehne weggelassen haben, wo man Dinge und Abfall hineintun kann. (..) Interessanterweise gibt es auch keine Spucktüten. Wenn ein Ryanair-Flug in Turbulenzen gerät und den Leuten wird schlecht, muss das ein unvergessliches Erlebnis sein.

Aus den Lautsprechern kam das Kommando: „Taka Tuka, Narodniki! Dawai!“ (..) Gut zu verstehen war nur das Wort „Rubbellose“. (..) In der (Bord)zeitschrift waren Fotos des Speisenangebots. Die Lasagne sah aus wie der Kopf von einem dieser Zombies aus meiner Lieblingsserie The Walking Dead. Die Stewardessen waren nicht direkt unfreundlich, aber stark geschminkt und wirkten, als hätten sie seit Wochen nicht geschlafen. Womöglich war es so. Ich habe einen Steward nach der Uhrzeit gefragt, und er antwortete erschöpft: „Rubbellose gibt es bei meiner Kollegin.“

Vor ein paar Monaten gab es einen Bericht, ein Ryanair-Flug sei in München mit den Worten „Mayday! Mayday!“ gelandet, weil sich die Piloten nicht sicher waren in ihrer Übermüdung die Landung unter Kontrolle zu halten.

Überhaupt, jeder weiss, dass Ryanair-Piloten als Subunternehmer ohne Sozialversicherung für Hungerlöhne ausgebeutet werden. Interessiert den Kunden natürlich ungefähr soviel wie die verbrannten Sklavenarbeiter in Bangladesh wenn man Primark-T-Shirts für 3 Euro haben kann.

Ryanair expandiert derzeit in Europa. Wollen wir wetten, ob das ein Erfolg wird? Sicher wird es. Na klar, wenn man was billig haben kann interessieren Ausbeutung und Klimazerstörung keine Sau.

Ich fahr weiter Nachtzug. Da kann ich schlafen, das ist mir lieber wie wenn die Piloten schlafen. Und ausserdem fast CO2-frei.

The Green Lie (Movie Recommendation)

This week I suggest you go to the cinema.

The Green Lie

Environmentally friendly electric cars, sustainably produced food products, fair production processes: Hurray! If everything the corporations tell us is true, we can save the world through our purchasing decisions alone! A popular and dangerous lie. In his new documentary film, Werner Boote shows us, together with environmental expert Kathrin Hartmann, how we can protect ourselves. Down with green lies!

Trailer on Youtube

This movie has an important message for us: using all kinds of social and ecological labels, the industry is giving us the responsibility for their crimes against the environment and against human rights (the two of them are frequently directly connected). As one person in the movie says: „I buy fair-trade coffee. Because the alternative is what? Bastard coffee?“
The industry is telling us that we are responsible for picking the right products, that it is not them that are responsible for producing fair products. But that’s a lie: bastard coffee & slavery t-shirts & coal electricity should not be allowed to be produced at all. The companies know that, and what they are afraid of is that we also recognize it: that we recognize that we shouldn’t just pick fair-trade coffee in the supermarket; that we recognize that we have to fight for a different economy, and that those companies have to go out of business!

(And economists share that opinion. I quote Jeffrey D. Sachs, special adviser to the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, from a recent talk: „ExxonMobil has to go out of business. Big oil has bought US politics. They own the Republican Party.“)

Mark Lynas: „Anti-science and post-truth: climate change, GMOs and nuclear power“

Today I heard a very interesting talk (Skeptics in the Pub Vienna) in which Mark Lynas explained how he turned from a radical GMO-opponent into a GMO supporter.

Abstract:

Science has become a political football in the age of so-called post-truth. While conservatives, especially in the US, deny the scientific reality of climate change, left-wingers and greens are equally likely to deny the science on genetically modified foods and nuclear power. How can we try to have a more evidence-based debate about these issues?

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Short intermezzo, before we get back to the topic:

Populism. Also characterized as an anti-elite attitude, populism is a political movement mobilizing a segment of so-called „regular“ people to take the control of the government out of the hands of so-called „out-of-touch“ elites.

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He had some interesting points (slightly amended here):

  • Climate change is true. All scientific evidence points this way, even though the right-populists don’t want to believe it. We all agree on that, so no more comment, let’s look at the more interesting ones:
  • Genetically Modified Organisms are safe. All scientific evidence points this way, even though the Environmental Organizations don’t want to believe it. For example Golden Rice could improve the lifes of millions of poor people, if Greenpeace wasn’t lobbying against its distribution.

    „Potrykus (one of the license owners) has enabled golden rice to be distributed free to subsistence farmers. Free licenses for developing countries were granted quickly due to the positive publicity that golden rice received. Monsanto Company was one of the companies to grant free licences. Farmers are permitted to keep and replant seed.“

    „2016 over 100 Nobel laureates have called on Greenpeace to stop the campaign against Golden Rice. They argue with UNICEF numbers showing that 2 Million deaths annually are due to Vitamin-A deficiency.“

  • Nuclear power is one of the safest forms of electricity generation. All scientific evidence points this way, even though the Greens don’t want to believe it.

    The anti-nuclear energy movement is responsible for 10%-20% of the climate change, because they caused the necessity to burn more coal. Yes, Germany should keep the nuclear power plants running for 10 years more and instead switch off the lignite use (brown coal) immediately.

    And we cannot achieve this rate with renewables quickly enough: one nuclear power plants produces the power of 1000 windmills — and more windmill constructors come to death falling from windmills than people die due to nuclear accidents.

    Other interesting remark: coal power plants release more radioactive material into the environment than nuclear power plants, because of the trace isotopes in the coal that escape into the atmosphere.

More reading about GMOs (sorry for the German text, but the German wikipedia has more info on this topic and I lack the time to translate it all):
The Cartagena Protocol
„Kritisiert wurde, dass bei der ersten Verhandlungsrunde keine Vertreter der seriösen Wissenschaft anwesend waren, aber über 100 Vertreter von Nichtregierungsorganisationen, die eine wissenschafts- und technologiefeindliche Agenda vertreten würden. (..) Insbesondere spricht sie sich für eine Revision des Cartagena-Protokolls aus, das europäisch geprägte Regulierung in Entwicklungsländer exportiere.“

And some more references:

Mark Lynas on Wikipedia (check out his books also!)

Steven Pinker on Wikipedia (you don’t believe in science and you also think that everything is getting worse and worse with time? Look at his book Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress which as usual you can also get from a local bookshop, if it still exists)

PS: And of course, the case is again: We have to form opinions based on true information. Not on anti-elitist fake news & post-truth.

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Where in London do you find the most environmentalists? Heathrow airport, sometimes Gatwick.

Jeffrey D. Sachs: The Age of Sustainable Development

Jeffrey David Sachs is an American economist (..) known as one of the world’s leading experts on economic development and the fight against poverty. (..) he serves as special adviser to the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of 17 global goals adopted at a UN summit meeting in September 2015.

I had the pleasure of hearing a him give a talk today, which was very inspiring. I will try to cite here (please apologize for any mistakes, I was taking only very sketchy notes) his 6 key points for the Transformation to a Sustainable World Economy:

  1. Decarbonize completely by 2050. „ExxonMobil has to go out of bussiness.“
  2. We need a global land use strategy for biodiversity conservation, food security, fresh water sustainability. „Beef production is one of the biggest problem. No more beef consumption.“
  3. Increased investments in Health, Education, Training, Skills. „Universal Access to Health and Education. The EU should spend all its development aid on education for girls in African countries.“
  4. Redistribution of Income from Capital to Labour, from Skilled to Unskilled. „To avoid the backlash in our societies. To ensure social inclusion.“
  5. Directed technological change in public-private partnerships instead of pure bussiness innovation. „Focus on Research and Science.“
  6. Transnational cooperation in trade, financing, infrastructure, rivershed management, development financing, migration. „Europe cannot decarbonize with 28 agencies that do not agree. And Europe is already the best example of international cooperation we know. And still, Europe does not manage to get over German lignite.“

Get one of his books from your local shop (if you still have a local book shop), e.g.,

Age of Sustainable Development

ISBN: 0231173156
Columbia University Press

Check out some slides of his talks (unfortunately I only found some slightly older ones):

The Age of Sustainable Development: Talk as PDF-Slides

or try Youtube.

Why is flying so cheap?

With the new train connection between two of Germany’s biggest cities, Deutsche Bahn wants to compete with low-cost airlines. Given that tickets may total around €130 to €150 per journey — considerably more than a low cost flight — is this realistic?

How is it possible that flying is cheaper than a railway ticket? A plane needs a crew of 6-16 people, technicians, very frequent technical chekups, airports, air traffic control and loads of fuel. A train – once the tracks are there – requires much less effort. And nevertheless flying is so cheap. How can that be?

Flying is subsidized. In Germany by an amount that corresponds to 270 Euro per Person and year. In other words: everyone pays 270 Euro a year to support the destruction of our climate. Including the almost 50% of the population who don’t travel by plane: they also support the cheap Easyjet weekends in Barcelona.

Zum Vergleich mit dem Schienenverkehr: Während etwa die Schweiz als Spitzenreiter im vergangenen Jahr pro Einwohner 378 Euro für die Eisenbahninfrastruktur ausgab, waren es in Deutschland nur 64 Euro.

If you want to know more (try to use google translate to read the German text): The state of Germany supports climate desctruction (not only due to air traffic) with subsidies of 57 Billion Euro every year. Not counting in the damage to the health of the citizens.

And almost all other states do the same.

At least there is one nice proposal out there now: the European Union is going to provide Interrail passes to young people.

By night train from Vienna to Rome: a gallery.

Planning a trip to Italy? Consider taking the ÖBB Nightjet from Munich and Vienna to Venice, Verona, Livorno, Milano or Rome. Or take the Thello/Trenitalia/SNCF from Paris to Milano. Or a ferry from Spain or the Balkans.


Als ein wichtiges Instrument für mehr Klimaschutz gilt auch der Abbau von umweltschädlichen Subventionen. In Deutschland werden nach Angaben des Bundesumweltamtes (UBA) die Flüge mit 12 Milliarden Euro pro Jahr subventioniert, vor allem durch die Befreiung von der Mehrwertsteuer auf Tickets und die Energiesteuer auf Kerosin.

Das UBA empfiehlt der Regierung die Streichung dieser Vergünstigungen. Zudem wäre dies auch fair im Wettbewerb mit den anderen Verkehrsträgern wie Bus, Auto und Bahn. Würden die Subventionen entsprechend gestrichen und dafür die Einkommensteuer gesenkt, hätte jeder Arbeitnehmer in Deutschland gut 270 Euro pro Jahr mehr im Portemonnaie.

Um das Klima zu schonen, empfiehlt das UBA aber auch das eigene Verhalten zu verändern und zum Verzicht auf Flüge: „Nutzen Sie Alternativen zu Flugreisen: Andere Verkehrsmittel, nähere Urlaubsorte oder Videokonferenzen an Stelle von Dienstreisen“, lautet der Reisetipp.

(from Deutsche Welle)

Putting quantities in relation: new wind farm vs. air traffic

Here’s a little picture to put some numbers in context:

Near Denmark, one of the world’s biggest windparks was opened recently. This windpark is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 700 000 tonnes a year, by providing electricity.

On the other hand, take a look at the carbon emissions due to air traffic of flights within Germany (where there is practically new distance that could not be covered by train in max. 7-8 hours). Simply by not flying anymore only on distances within Germany we could reduce emissions by the amount for which we would otherwise need more than 11 copies of one of the world’s biggest wind farms!

Simply by cancelling all flights Berlin – Stuttgart (now 5h30min travel time by train) we could save the amount of this wind park in less than three years. And honestly: Berlin – Stuttgart by plane, city center to city center, takes also at least 3h – that’s only two 2.5 hours more by train!

Even more: if Germany was to invest more into high speed lines, the train could do the distance in less than 3 hours (like the Frecciarossa Rom-Mailand).

If we still had night trains, we could do the trip losing no productive time at all: board at Stuttgart Hbf at 10:30pm in the evening, wake up at Berlin Hbf at 6:30am in the morning, ready for work or leisure.