Aside the architecture in Barcelona, the next thing that impressed me was the railroad system they have in place. It gets on time, you don’t have to check in or check out and it’s fast.
Renfe is the company that invested in the new high speed train network in order to take you from Barcelona to Madrid in just two hours and a half which is much faster than a normal flight. Another advantage is the fact that if it’s a windy day or heavy rain an airplane may not be able to take off.
400 passengers will be able to travel with the new AVE S103 (pdf link) that can hit speeds of up to 350 km/h and produces four time less pollution than an airplane. The cost of a trip is going to range between $30 and $80 depending on the class you’re traveling.
The Spanish Government is prepared to spend over 80 million Euros to develop their high speed inter-city railroad so that it can take you across Spain no more than 30 miles from your final destination. Rumors say that the AVE system will also be extended to France with a line going from Barcelona to Paris any time soon.
Add to all these the fact that Renfe will reimburse your ticket if the train is 5 minutes late and I can already see how flying short distances might die.