Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Fast trains

Just two hours. It is just amazing. In an inaugural run, the Eurostar travelled from Paris to it's new London home St Pancras in just over 2 hours. Once the regular service starts in November, the trip between the two Alpha cities will take 2 hours 15 minutes. Add to this the half an hour you will need for boarding and security checks and you still get from heart to heart in less than three hours. Some say that housing prices in Cambridge are expected to keep rising because it now is half an hour from London and three and a half hours from Paris. By train.

Brits use cheap airlines a lot, partly because flying in and out of an island has been the quickest and most convenient way. With the tunnel it was said that Britain is no longer an island, but it has now joined the continent. Poor rail infrastructure in England in general and between London and the tunnel in particular reduced this saying to just that, but now with the new high speed rail link this will become a reality. Fast trains have already wiped out most flights between Paris and Brussels, hopefully the same will happen for London-Paris and London-Brussels connections as well.

Another news is that the Russian and Finnish railroad companies are forming a new joint venture to equip the Helsinki - St Petersburg railway with fast Pendolino trains. The aim is to cut travel times from 5 to 3 hours. This is a very welcome development, as well. If the mental distance between Paris and London (or Britain and the continent) sometimes seems larger than the physical distance, the mental distance between Finland and Russia is even greater. A fast rail link will be a physical bridge that hopefully helps in reducing the mental distance. This rail connection isn't just to move traffic from air to the rails, it is to boost communication in the first place.


1 comment:

s.j.simon said...

:) You know, the swiss were very late to lay rail tracks. check this out