When Trains are Faster than Airplanes

June 17, 2008 / 8 Comments

In some worlds trains are faster than airplanes, or at least definitely more convenient considering fuel and airline ticket prices, rising the way they are.

eurostar high speed train When Trains are Faster than Airplanes
Image by Nicola Beccu

Europe’s first high speed train link from Paris to Lyon saw air traffic drop significantly. This was followed by the same phenomenon more recently in the Paris-London, Paris-Brussels and Paris-Amsterdam combinations. Madrid-Barcelona high speed trains caused an 18.4% drop in airline passengers. When I lived in Japan, Tokyo was linked to Niigata by bullet train and the air route was canceled altogether.

It’s faster to get on the train and than to going to the outer limits of the city to reach the airport, check-in, fly, check-out, etc.

british airways boeing 747 400 When Trains are Faster than Airplanes
Image by Dan Holder

Train speeds are pushing along faster – 300 kph (200mph) about the speed and sometimes better of small commuter airlines. In any event, can we expect trains to overtake plane routes in more places? I don’t see it happening in the States. The country is too big. However, there has been talk of a high speed train route from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

But, those talks always stall because of some special interest group. In this case, the environmentalists prevent environmentalists from trying to do ‘good.’ Then what?

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