An express train (in Germany earlier and in Austria still today, D-Zug as an abbreviation for through train ) is a type of train of the railway and describes trains that only stop at important stations on the way. Express trains are also represented by the railway authorities with a D in front of the train number.
Express trains have now been replaced in the network of Deutsche Bahn (DB) and Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) by train categories such as Eurocity , Intercity , InterRegio, etc. Night travel was previously designated as an express train, but has been incorporated into the train types EuroNight and ÖBB Nightjet (since December 2016) and City Night Line (until December 2016). Today the Sylt Shuttle plus trains between Bredstedt and Westerland are still tariffed as express trains. Occasionally there are still express trains at the DB as relief trains. Museum train traffic on DB routes is also handled with express train numbers. In Austria, the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) continues to use express trains in scheduled traffic. These serve mainly as amplifiers for regular Railjet or Intercity connections, because these are often overloaded in the morning and evening by rush hour traffic, but are sometimes also independent connections. Therefore, D trains in Austria usually only run on working days.
The first express trains
The first German express train ran on May 1, 1851 between Berlin and Deutz am Rhein (now part of Cologne ) and covered this distance in 16 hours. Three months later, on August 1, 1851, the first night train ran between Berlin and Bromberg . The Prussian state demanded a nationwide network of night trains and in the following years (1852 to 1854) the railway companies set up so-called courier trains between Berlin and Breslau , Frankfurt am Main , Hamburg and Cologne. For the first time, passengers on the overnight courier train between Berlin and Frankfurt had to pay a higher fare in order to compensate for the increased personnel costs of the continuous night service.
Up until 1889 there were express train names for fast trains in course books and timetables with the abbreviation "S" or courier trains with the abbreviation "K" in front of the train number. From 1889, express trains were uniformly designated with the abbreviation "S" in Germany. These express trains consisted primarily of three-axle compartment cars that were also equipped with toilets. The trains in this top-of-the-range range from Deutsche Bahn should not only be particularly comfortable, but also particularly punctual. In the event of delays, express trains had priority over luxury trains.
Through train (D)
From 1892 a new type of train operated in Germany with particularly comfortable express train carriages , the so-called through car train , through train or express train . This exclusively referred to trains made up of special wagons, the wagons of which were connected to one another by transitions protected by bellows , the so-called passage wagons . In addition to the compartments, there was now a side passage so that they could no longer only be reached directly via external doors and running boards as in the previous type of compartment car. The English term "corridor train" for such trains shows the relation to the type of wagon.
Before 1900 the Prussian State Railways procured not only the typical express train cars but also open-plan cars with a central aisle, but they did not become the standard at the time. Car without compartments were then in Europe, except in Scandinavia, mainly in the transport and for the lowest (fourth) car class to be found, or vice versa as - often private - saloon car a luxury especially rich or protokollarisch highlighted passengers.
The first express train ran on May 1, 1892 as the D 31/32 on the route Berlin Potsdamer Bahnhof - Hildesheim Hbf - Paderborn Hbf - Köln Hbf , one month later the D 51/52 followed on June 1, 1892 Berlin Potsdamer Bahnhof - Nordhausen - Frankfurt (Main) Hbf . They only consisted of first and second class cars , dining cars and baggage cars and - for night trains - sleeping cars . You should not only be particularly comfortable, but also particularly punctual. A surcharge of two marks was levied for using the express trains . In 1894 an express train ran between Berlin and East Prussia for the first time, which also carried the third class of car. At the turn of the century, both express and D trains operated, with the D trains representing the higher category. The railway administrations made sure that the most modern and comfortable vehicles were used there. These had to be four-axle wagons in express trains, whereas three-axle wagons were permitted in exceptional cases and on a temporary basis in express trains. Two-axle vehicles were prohibited. The cars had to be equipped with continuous brakes and toilets and, if possible, have superstructures for ventilation. By 1917, all express trains in Germany gradually became express trains, insofar as they consisted of through cars. Without a surcharge with a few stops, only accelerated passenger trains (BP) ran. Only in Bavaria were a few express trains that were subject to a surcharge on the Munich – Mittenwald – Innsbruck route and only became express trains in 1929. In the 20th century, the terms D-Zug and Schnellzug were used almost synonymously in Germany.
Remaining trains with compartment cars have now been converted into express trains (also subject to a surcharge) . Express trains had more stops than express trains, but fewer than ordinary passenger trains. From 1930, new cars with open compartments and aisle were built for express trains. While the interior design of the passenger compartments was similar to the common two-axle passenger train cars of that time, the so-called Donnerbüchsen , the design and exterior of the four-axle express train carriages with their closed boarding platforms largely corresponded to the express train carriages. To speed up the change of passengers at the more frequent stops, the platforms had double entrance doors on both sides.
Long-distance express train (FD)
From 1923 onwards, particularly fast trains were given the name Fernschnellzug , or FD train for short , and only ran the first and second car classes at the time (for example the FD Rheingold , which was even listed as an FFD from 1928 to 1936 as a sign of its exclusivity), while most of them Express trains meanwhile ran with first to third class cars. The operation of the long-distance express trains was temporarily given up on August 22, 1939 as part of the Nazi war preparations.
From 1933, the new diesel-powered express railcars of the Fliegender Hamburger type and later the subsequent types were also used for long-distance express trains . The routes served with the express railcars were given the train designation FDt ( long-distance express train with railcars), usually only ran the second class of car at the time and lasted on August 22, 1939.
The average speeds reached by long-distance express trains in the 1930s were remarkable. The express railcars reached an average speed of 132.3 km / h on the route from Hanover to Hamm as FDt 16 as the fastest train on the Reichsbahn, while steam locomotive-hauled FDs still achieved 119.5 km / h on the Berlin - Hamburg route, for example.
Wehrmacht trains in World War II
During the Second World War , a new type of train, the so-called express train for front vacationers (SF train) was created. These express trains ran the shortest route between the Wehrmacht's locations (including France , Greece , the Soviet Union ) and the German Reich . Individual SF trains had cars for civil traffic; these trains approved for this purpose were called SFR trains (express train for front vacationers with a passenger train part).
Because the SF trains were not sufficient for the transport needs of the Wehrmacht, numerous express trains were converted into DmW trains (express trains with part of the Wehrmacht). On these trains the Wehrmacht reserved several cars for their transport needs.
After the Second World War
From 1954, the Deutsche Bundesbahn began to purchase express train passenger cars of the later UIC type X as standard . Cars of a similar design were also delivered to the ÖBB (from 1957) and the SBB (from 1966).
From the annual timetable 1953/54 (from May 17, 1953) light express trains (LS) were introduced. They ran with the new center entry coaches as express trains or express trains, offered more comfort with upholstered seats in third class and also had shorter travel times, among other things. a. by not using through cars. A year later, the network was expanded. In the following years, the trains running as express trains lost this designation again, the D trains were converted to the new cars with end entrances. In the summer of 1960 the name disappeared from the course books.
On January 1, 1968, the Deutsche Bundesbahn abolished the express train surcharge for express train tickets for a distance of more than 80 kilometers, and in 1979 for more than 50 kilometers.
The demand for the express train service of the Deutsche Bundesbahn continued to decline from 1979 onwards. The traffic performance fell between 1979 and 1986 by a total of around a quarter; In some cases, passengers switched to the growing InterCity offer. With the 1982 summer schedule, the surcharge was abolished for most of the Deutsche Bundesbahn's express trains. In 1987 the D-trains of the Deutsche Bundesbahn ran a deficit of 600 million Deutschmarks. Different quality characteristics were considered to be the cause. For example, completely different car material was used. The average distance between stops was between nine and 51 kilometers. These circumstances led to the introduction of the Interregio for the timetable change in winter 1988/89.
With the Deutsche Reichsbahn (DR), express trains remained the basic offer in long-distance transport. The express train surcharge in two stages (zone I up to 300 kilometers three marks, zone II above five marks) was retained until the summer timetable came into effect on June 2, 1991. Until the 1980s, the majority of the express trains in domestic traffic were made up of four-axle reko cars from 1965, and upgraded cars for the first class . In addition to the modernization cars acquired from 1962, the Y-cars, also built from 1962, were mainly used for high-quality and international connections. After the central entry and Halberstadt express train wagons were put into service , the outdated Reko wagons and then the modernization wagons were given to subordinate services.
Long-distance train (F)
For the summer schedule of 1951, the Deutsche Bundesbahn reintroduced the long- distance express train type . They received the train type designation FD or, from May 22, 1955, shortened to F for long-distance train. These trains connected the economic centers of the Federal Republic with each other and until 1956 only ran the second class of cars at that time , the first class only crossed borders (FD 10/9 Rheingold Express, Rheinpfeil and Rheingold); thereafter only the (new) first class. The trains always included a dining car or car with a dining compartment, which was operated by the DSG .
On the Rhine route, a few train runs were initially bundled with the pre-war type VT 04 and VT 06 multiple units and the new VT 08 in up to four groups. In addition to railcars, locomotive-hauled trains with pre-war wagons consisting of three to five cars were also used. For this purpose, steel standard wagons from several groups of use were used. The compartments and corridors of these cars had a revised interior and new runners. The exterior paint changed from the standard bottle green to steel blue ( RAL 5011). In addition, the lettering Deutsche Bundesbahn or, if the cars were only on the road in Germany, the letters DB in silver letters were attached to the side walls. A total of at least 76 cars have been converted for this purpose. This also included the wagons of the Henschel-Wegmann train .
With the delivery of new cars of the later UIC type X from 1954, the pre-war cars were pushed out of long-distance train service. The blue F-Zug paint scheme was adopted for some of the new first-class cars.
For these particularly fast trains with few stops - as in the FD times - a special long-distance express train surcharge was levied. The F trains were replaced by intercity trains from September 1971 .
City express train (DC)
The City-D-Zug with the abbreviation DC was introduced by the Deutsche Bundesbahn for the 1973 summer timetable. The official name at DB was the express train of the Intercity supplementary system . The name City-D-Zug became established very quickly . There were 16 lines, 8 lines in the so-called supplementary network and a further 8 lines in a connection network. The trains in the connection network were mostly already existing express trains, but more often express trains that were only given this attribute. Only in rare cases were new trains actually laid.
On the trains of the eight lines of the supplementary network, the trains had a name that was related to the region served, but always ended with -land , e.g. B. Eggeland, Emsland, Westfalenland or Werraland . The trains of the eight lines of the connecting network had names ending with -City (Wiking-City, Förde-City, Weser-City, Welfen-City, Kurhessen-City) .
Mainly three times a day, these trains were supposed to connect economic centers that were not connected to the IC network as feeders to this train system. This type of train was unsuccessful, as the travel times were geared towards the IC trains that ran every two hours, which at that time only ran the first class, and passengers in the second class were therefore left behind by the connecting trains. There was also a lack of comfort offers such as a dining car or train secretariat.
The rolling stock of the DC trains also only corresponded to the general standard of other express trains. A specially initiated development of special comfort cars was not pursued further in favor of the European Eurofima project with uniform cars for higher comfort ( Eurofima cars ) for six countries. However, some DC trains ran with pop paint .
As a result of the general decline in passenger numbers at DB, some trains were removed from the offer as early as 1974 as part of austerity measures. The trains defined as connecting lines never bore the designation DC, only their names were given in the timetable and on the train route signs. But that too was dropped from the mid-1970s. Some of the original DC trains (in the supplementary network) on the Frankfurt am Main - Emden route, which were driven with brightly colored wagons from the Emsland and north of Rheine, were initially pulled by steam locomotives, became better known . This type of train also lasted for a long time on the Stuttgart - Konstanz - Zurich route.
In 1978 the DB gave up this type of train completely, but many relations continued with normal express trains. Some of them were integrated into the interregional network 10 years later , such as the connection Emden - Münster - Hagen - Gießen - Frankfurt am Main.
The FernExpress was a first and second class train type, had the traditional abbreviation FD and was introduced by the DB for the 1983 summer timetable. These trains with names, which were also mostly related to the landscape in terms of tourism, usually connected the greater Hamburg area or the Ruhr area with holiday centers in southern Germany; some of these trains also ran abroad.
In the second class, the trains consisted entirely of earlier non- air-conditioned Bm-type IC compartment cars , which were made available through the use of new air-conditioned open -plan cars in intercity traffic. The purely first-class cars were also removed from the IC park, the train restaurant consisted of QuickPick self-service dining cars , and later the ARmz 218 half - dining car . In addition, there were mostly first and second class through coaches to other holiday resorts.
The FD Königssee between Hamburg and Berchtesgaden also had a so-called Kinderland car , which was equipped with a relatively large children's play area. The FD Allgäu between Dortmund and Oberstdorf and Berchtesgadener Land between Dortmund and Berchtesgaden later also ran such a car.
In the mid-1980s, 16 trains ran daily, with which 203 German and 40 Austrian holiday destinations could be reached without changing trains. In 1988, the FD network consisted of ten direct connections with 22 through carriage runs between headwaters in urban centers and tourist destinations. The departure from the source area took place in the early morning, the arrival in the target area in the late afternoon.
The end of the FD trains came in 1993, when more and more IR, IC and ICE trains also ran in holiday regions.
FD trains from summer 1983:
- 210/211 Wörthersee: Klagenfurt – Dortmund
- 220/221 Donau-Kurier: Vienna – Dortmund
- 256/257 Frankfurt – Saarbrücken – Paris
- 264/265 Mozart : Vienna – Munich – Strasbourg – Paris Est
- 268/269 Bavaria: Munich – Lindau – Zurich
- 702/703 Lake Constance: Constance – Dortmund
- 712/713 Allgäu: Oberstdorf – Dortmund
- 722/723 Berchtesgadener Land : Berchtesgaden – Dortmund
- 780/781 Königssee: Berchtesgaden – Hamburg
FD trains from summer 1988:
- 1902/1903 Lake Constance: Constance – Dortmund
- 1912/1913 Allgäu: Oberstdorf – Dortmund
- 1916/1917 Tegernsee: Tegernsee – Dortmund
- 1920/1921 Bavarian Forest: Passau – Dortmund
- 1922/1923 Berchtesgadener Land: Berchtesgaden – Dortmund
- 1970/1971 Black Forest: Seebrugg – Hamburg
- 1980/1981 Königssee: Berchtesgaden – Hamburg
- 1982/1983 Alpenland: Oberstdorf – Hamburg
Express train (ex)
The Deutsche Reichsbahn had had the Ex type of train for express trains since the late 1950s . These were particularly high-quality express trains with few stops on the way, similar to the F-trains of the Deutsche Bundesbahn, but with first and second class. An express train surcharge was required in addition to the express train surcharge. After they had already disappeared in domestic traffic during the 1960s, they were reintroduced in the 1969/70 timetable with the advent of new express railcars .
Express trains on the DR 1972:
- 2/3: Leipzig – Berlin
- 6/7: Leipzig – Berlin
- 54/55 Vindobona : Vienna – Berlin
- 121/122 Berlinaren: Berlin – Malmö (closed to internal traffic)
- 147/148 Karlex : Karlovy Vary – Berlin
- 154/155 Hungaria : Budapest – Berlin
- 311/312 Neptun: Berlin – Copenhagen (closed to inland traffic)
- 347/348 Karola: Karlovy Vary – Leipzig (only in summer)
The locomotive hauled international trains were converted back into normal express trains in the course of the following years.
Since 1976 city express trains have been introduced, especially for long-distance professional traffic to Berlin , from 1987 the Interexpress (IEx) train type operated in international traffic in the Comecon countries , which could be used in domestic traffic at the normal express train tariff. The international EMPT tariff did not contain any train-type-related surcharges.
From 1960 to 1989 there were also long-distance trains of the city express service , for which the normal express train surcharge was calculated.
In Austria the development started later than in Germany, because the railway companies shied away from the increased operating costs. In 1861 the first express train ran from Vienna to Budapest , in 1862 the first express train from Vienna via Prague to Dresden and in 1868 the first express train from Vienna via Krakow and Lviv to Bucharest . In 1887, the third car class was introduced for the first time in Austrian express trains, while the Hungarian express trains were made up exclusively of the first and second car classes until 1912. Later there were in Austria, in addition to the usual express trains, express trains (Ex) as well as the railcar express trains (TS) run with the series ÖBB 4010 . These have been replaced by the Eurocity , Intercity and Railjet train types in recent years . In night traffic, most of the express trains were converted to EuroNight , now also known as ÖBB Nightjet .
At present, the express trains known as D-Zug run during peak times with the stopping pattern of an Intercity. On the Westbahn they are used from Monday to Friday and on Sundays, on the Südbahn the D-trains run together with the Railjets to create a higher number of seats between Vienna and Villach on Sunday afternoons. The express trains do not have all the quality features of an intercity train, for example there is no first class or there is no sale of food and drinks. Express trains also run on some routes at the edge of the day if the number of passengers is too low for an Intercity or Railjet.
Special trains or booster trains to concerts or other major events are also run as express trains. There are also several international express trains, for example between Croatia , Slovenia and Villach , as well as two daily connections from Vienna to the Czech Republic and from there to Moscow , St. Petersburg , Warsaw , Krakow and Berlin . Once a week there is a direct express train from Nice to Moscow. The stops in Austria are Innsbruck, Jenbach, Kirchberg in Tirol, Zell am See, Bischofshofen, Linz and Vienna.
In Austria, express trains running on the main routes are counted as long-distance traffic , so reservations can be made and tickets can also be purchased on the train. Furthermore, they seldom carry 1st class cars in inner-Austrian traffic , but in cross-border traffic they are offered for every connection.
In Switzerland , the express train type has only been completely replaced by the terms RegioExpress and Interregio , which can be used in all national languages, since the timetable change on December 12, 2004 on the SBB network and one year later also on the RhB network . This replacement had begun long before that and first included the InterCity, introduced with the 1982 timetable , and later the InterRegios, which could be distinguished from the express trains by air-conditioned cars. With the introduction of the ICN ( InterCity tilting train ) class, some InterCity and InterRegio routes were replaced by the latter, and the remaining express trains were transferred to the existing InterRegio class for long-distance trains and RegioExpress for local trains from December 2004. With the 2017/18 timetable change and the introduction of line numbers in long-distance traffic, the ICN category was abolished and the relations served by ICN trains were integrated into the normal IC network. In Switzerland, no surcharges are generally levied for any type of train; this also applies to ICE and TGV in traffic within Switzerland. Irrespective of this, Forchbahn has been calling its accelerated courses express train instead of express train previously since the 2010s.
The Rapido (R) train type was introduced in 1931. The basic concept was to offer fast daily traffic over medium and long distances with as few stops as possible. Since the 1970s, the 2nd car class has also been increasingly offered. The Rapido train type was retained until 1987 and was then replaced by the internationally introduced InterCity category .
Until it was discontinued on June 9, 2007, the diretto was an important category in Italy in the sector between local and long-distance transport. The diretto had the task of establishing direct connections between larger cities. However, medium-sized stations also had to be served.
The French state railway SNCF referred to express trains as Rapide (RAP) or Express (EXP). The Rapide was more like the German F train and served fewer stops than an express . The Direct (DIR) was roughly comparable to the German express train . These designations were dropped with the introduction of the TGV and Corail trains. Today the long-distance trains hauled by locomotives are called Intercités .
The Czech State Railways (ČD) still has the “Rychlík” train type (from Czech. “Rychle” = “fast”), abbreviated with “R”. Mostly non-air-conditioned compartment cars are used here , in 2nd class with eight seats per compartment. As part of the modernization of the ČD fleet, individual air-conditioned open-plan or compartment cars are now being used in the Rychlík.
Trains that are driven with modernized air-conditioned cars are called "Rychlík vyšší kvality" or "Rx". Rychlíks run on almost all main routes and are often supplemented by “Spěšný vlak”, express trains.
The express train today
The express train type for special trains in day travel still occurs occasionally today. Since the timetable change on December 14, 2008, express trains have been running again on the Austrian Western Railway . They serve as relief trains and run between Wien Westbahnhof and St. Pölten Hauptbahnhof without a scheduled stop. In long-distance traffic between Berlin and Warsaw, Moscow, Saratov, Prague and Budapest, some trains run during off-peak times and as through coaches to Poland and Russia to this day as express trains. In the rest of the long-distance rail traffic in Europe, other train types such as the Intercity or the Interregio developed from further developments from the express train.
The InterConnex trains operated by Veolia were listed as express trains with the generic code X in the timetable information of Deutsche Bahn . The private railway company Agilis , the company has been active on the market since 2010, names its two train types agilis-Schnellzug ( as ) and agilis-Regionalbahn ( ag ).
In addition to the Deutsche Bundesbahn, the Cologne-Bonn Railways also used express trains on their route network until 1975. These trains achieved travel times between Cologne and Bonn that were comparable to those of the Deutsche Bundesbahn. An express train surcharge was payable for these trains.
Until the timetable change in 2007, there were still express trains in night travel at DB, especially to neighboring countries to the east. The corresponding offer was D-Nacht . The putative D-night trains were part of only a few coaches , the other night trains were given. However, this train category had the advantage that it was not subject to the strict tariff requirements of DB night trains, but was on a par with normal long-distance traffic. It was therefore used, among other things, in southern Germany as a replacement for intercity late connections that were operated by DB AutoZug instead of DB Fernverkehr. As D-Nacht, many night trains ran to Germany's eastern neighbors.
The night trains operated by Deutsche Bahn, which were discontinued in December 2016, were last referred to as the City Night Line . Since then, ÖBB Nightjets have been traveling through Germany as night trains on several lines. These trains are also marked as EuroNight in the Deutsche Bahn timetable information .
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