Friday, April 20, 2007

More high speed rail in Europe

Here is a little item I came across. Of course, it is satire. Americans know instinctively that human beings can not travel for prolonged periods at speeds exceeding 7o mph, unless you happen to be a NASCAR driver. Anyway, here is the latest from those wacky Europeans, and I don't believe a word of it. (And it wouldn't work here anyway!)

Europe Express

While the United States quibbles about subsidies to keep Amtrak lumbering along as is, Europe is vastly expanding its network of high-speed trains. Four new high-speed routes will open this year:

* France's new TGV East line on June 10 will begin providing service between 20 French cities and 10 destinations in Germany, Luxembourg and Switzerland. Trains on the new line will travel at 199 mph, cutting travel time by a third or more. For example, a trip from Paris to Reims now takes one hour and 35 minutes. As of June 10: 45 minutes. From Paris to Frankfurt: less than four hours, down from the current six. Costs range widely. For example, Paris-to-Reims costs between $25 and $75 each way.

* New high-speed track as of Nov. 14 will speed Eurostar trains between London and Paris in two hours and 15 minutes, and between London and Brussels in less than two hours, shaving about 20 minutes off each trip.

* Spain's AVE train had already cut travel time between Madrid and Barcelona from almost seven hours to 4 1/2. Additional high-speed tracks set to open at the end of this year will cut the time to less than four hours. By the end of 2008, the trip is expected to take 2 1/2 hours.

* The Netherlands will open service on its new Zuid (South) high-speed line by the end of this year, although the train won't meet its final goal until next year: Brussels to Amsterdam in 1 1/2 hours. Currently, conventional trains take three hours.

High-speed trains now operate on 3,034 miles of track in 10 European countries. At least 1,711 miles of track will be added by 2010.

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