High-Speed Rail News #20: Thello, Gatwick & Heathrow rail link

You Say Goodbye, I Say Thello!

ICE premiere in London

The German Railways presented on 10/19/2010 for the first time an ICE 3 at London's St Pancras International. Image © Deutsche Bahn AG

After taking a week to talk about High Speed Rail News in America (to which some responded, “What high speed rail?) we’re back with a bonus issue of Fast Track. This time, we’re back in Europe, where progress isn’t slowing to a halt. New airport connections, a slight delay to the mainland and a new overnight train to Venice are all making news.

  • Say Hello to Thello: Travelers are in for a new romantic rendez-vous between Paris to Venice. Overnight service will commence December 11, 2011 for travel between two of Europe’s most loved cities. This joint venture from Veolia Transdev and Trenitalia has been named “Thello.” There will be three classes of accommodation, including four-and-six-berth couchettes, some set aside just for female passengers. Plus, private compartments with shower and toilet. What else can you expect on this journey?
  • Which Way to Heathwick: High-speed rail could soon link Gatwick and Heathrow airports in just 15 minutes, so says a new proposal drawn up by civil servants. The £5B plan – creating a hub known as Heathwick – would mean no need to build another airport to serve London or expand the current facilities at Heathrow. However, opposition is likely. How come?
  • Take the Train to the Plane in Spain: In late September, a new rail link opened at Madrid Barajas airport. RENFE suburban services began running to a new station beneath Terminal 4, shortening travel times: just 11 minutes to Chamartin station, 18 minutes to Nuevos Ministerios and 25 to Atocha. Holder of a RENFE high speed service ticket? Travel for FREE. Construction was to the tune of €218M. See why this train moves so fast.
  • Achtung, Train Baby: Deutsche Bahn has abandoned its plans to launch services to London in time for the Olympics next summer. The new plan is to be up and running by the end of 2013. There simply isn’t enough time to complete the technical details associated with traveling through the chunnel. Dr Rüdiger Grube, chairman of the Deutsche Bahn management board, said, “By making full use of the opportunities afforded by the liberalization of the European rail transport market, we are able to offer our customers genuine alternatives to air travel.” Your patience will pay off.

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