Posted: 27 April 2008


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Germany license.


A Thalys PBKA leaves Aachen Hauptbahnhof, heading for Belgium and ultimately Paris.

The Thalys is an international high speed train, based on the french TGV, and it connects Paris, Cologne (Köln in german), Brussels and Amsterdam (that’s where the PBKA comes from), and it happens to drive through Aachen doing that.

The top speed of this train under the french electrification system of 25kV/50 Hz 300 km/h. Under german electricity, 16 2/3Hz/15 kV, it’s only 250 km/h, but that’s okay because the line from Aachen to Cologne, the only one it travels on in Germany, is built to standards of only 250 km/h at it’s best, and has pieces as low as 120. Here, it’s on belgian DC of 3kV already. I’m not sure what speeds it can reach that way, but the actual belgian high speed lines follow the french system again, so it doesn’t seem to matter much.

In the background, from left to right, there’s first a double decker regional express which will head to Dortmund shortly. Then there’s a freight train from Aachen West, then another double decker regional express (this time to Gießen) and ultimately another Thalys, coming from Paris and headed to Cologne.


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