Sir - I believe Phil Mortimer has sounded what appears to be an apt and timely warning about freight in his letter (RG 4.05 p192). Moreover, I particularly like his idea of short, self-propelled trains moving rapidly across networks and borders. One route that would surely benefit is Lyon - Torino.
To surmount the almost continuous 3% ruling gradient, conventional freights in the Torino direction have to stop at St Jean de Maurienne to attach banking locos and then at Modane to change traction for the journey into Italy because of the switch from 1·5 kV DC to 3 kV DC electrification. Unproductive, time-wasting or what?
By comparison, short self-propelled trains, fitted with the appropriate equipment, would quite possibly be able to run through non-stop, as do the lorries through the parallel road tunnel, except for payment of the tunnel toll.
What need, then, for a rail base tunnel along this route?
Sir - Your article on Bulgaria's modernisation programme (RG3.05 p162) says that upgrading of the 153 km route from Plovdiv to Svilengrad is due for completion this year.
May I draw your attention to the fact that construction works have not started yet, and the first works contract has not been awarded. The author seems to have relied on the official 'Programme for Infrastructure Development' from 1999-2000.
International Business Development
Balfour Beatty Rail GmbH
Sir - I have read your interesting story on the HSL-Zuid Project (RG 4.05 p201), but one statement in the box on p203 needs correction.
The proper name for Infraspeed Maintenance Co is Infraspeed Maintenance BV. More importantly, it is not a subsidiary of Infraspeed BV but a sub-contractor. There is a contractual relationship between the two companies, not a shareholder relationship.
Paul van der Wilden
Chief Financial Officer