Jul 28, 2009

rail in europe

train ride with food merchant in india
Photo: train ride with food merchant in central India

Do you prefer to go by rail, or to fly? At which distance does your preference flip to flying? 200km, 500km, 800km, 1200km, 1500+km? What is the distance at which flying and train takes the same time? In west-EU or Japan vs. east-EU or India? How about comfort? Taking all the airport hassles, security regulations into account, where does Ryanair's comfort degree compare to TGV's?

Legislation, regulation can impact the above preferences hugely.

After a decade of cheap and worsening quality flights in Europe, maybe the continent is ready for a soon to be liberalized rail market?

It will be interesting to look at the continental travel landscape in 2020:
- what increased competition did to rail travel quality, prices, choice
- what the expanded, fast rail tracks did to travel times between European cities
- how the source for electricity to feed this system shifted from fossil to renewables
- how all the above together with raising fuel costs stole millions of passengers from flying to rail, and how that impacted air travel prices


Peti said...

Although I am a big fan of railways and of the TGV in particular, the comfort is not better in a TGV than in Aer Lingus for example: less loud, but more vibrations.
Also there are bigger fixed costs connected to rail travel than to air travel. See the same in bus vs train even for longer distances. So I am a little afraid that in the wider scheme of things trains will just remain one of the options and not the winner, that takes all.

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