High Speed Rail News: Expanding Rail Networks in Europe

Frederic LangloisOur CEO, Frédéric Langlois, shares his excitement for high speed rail by writing our latest edition to our blog post series High Speed Rail News.

The cities of Europe seem to be moving closer together. Train journeys between cities are being shortened, high speed rail networks are expanding across the European continent, making travel faster, easier and more flexible. A new trend is emerging, whereby Europeans can live in one country and commute daily to work in another. For example, Parisians working in London can continue to live in Paris and take the train to work each day, traveling under the English Channel, instead of sitting in traffic on a busy highway. In short, Europe is shrinking – and this is good news for the modern traveler.

The question is no longer how many miles it is from Paris to Champagne, but how long it takes to get there. Distances are being measured in hours and minutes, because time is our most precious commodity! Modern travelers know that it takes 45 minutes on the TGV from Paris to Champagne, two hours on the Thalys train from Brussels to Amsterdam and under three hours on the AVE train from Madrid to Barcelona. Breakfast in Strasbourg, France and dinner in Frankfurt, Germany is no longer an unusual occurrence, especially at this time of year when a visit to the Christmas markets of both these countries is a special experience.

The high speed rail revolution is happening now. More plans are being made for more high speed tracks to criss-cross Europe.  On December 19, 2010 another new route opened up to connect the French town of Perpignan with the Spanish town of Figueras. The revolution will continue as new players enter the scene of high speed rail travel. A new private railway is opening in Italy in 2011, it will compete with the National railroad (Trenitalia) on major routes within Italy. Soon the German railroads (DB) will begin operating their trains on English tracks and will compete with Eurostar for market share on those routes.

German railroads (DB) ICE Train

High speed trains are the fast and socially responsible way to travel. No modern traveler wants to leave behind an enormous carbon footprint and this is evident when we witness the demise of flights on the short haul routes. Some airlines are considering the possibility of running their own fleet of high speed trains on certain routes that no longer are profitable to connect by plane. Currently trains have approximately 90% of the market share Vs air on journeys less than two hours.

High Speed trains are connecting people to places in record time. Trains today are modern, sleek and comfortable, many offering Wi-Fi on board or at the stations so travelers can stay connected with today’s world, while still honoring the time old tradition of train travel.

Happy Holidays to our friends,  I wish you all a wonderful holiday and safe travels by rail(of course)!

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