As we contemplate another cold, grey December evening here in the UK, having barely emerged from a cold, grey, foggy December morning, the prospect of catching a high-speed train from Paris to Barcelona is an immensely tempting one.
This weekend, the new high-speed direct trains travelling at speeds of up to 320km per hour will begin operation, taking approximately six and a half hours to complete the trip. The journey time is scheduled to drop even further in 2017, when another high-speed section opens in the south of France between Nimes and Montpellier.
This is still considerably longer than any airline flight, but then people always like to forget the debilitating journey to and from the airport and the endless hanging around soulless airport terminals when totting up travel time for a given journey. Here at E&T Towers, we’d much rather step on to a train in one city and step off in to another at the other end, without having to wait for a baggage handler to drive over our suitcase with a fork lift and then fight with a 500-strong crowd of bad-tempered, dishevelled fellow travellers for a taxi before we’re allowed to continue to our destination. Long-distance train journeys still retain an air of romance that flights lost long ago.
What chance the HS2 project for high-speed rail in the UK? E&T has been following that particular hornets’ nest for some time and will continue to do so.
Click on the graphic for an expanded view.