Waterbomber2 wrote:ozglobal wrote:SCQ83 wrote:
I think part of these new taxes in Europe will be set to help high-speed trains.
Most high speed lines are underused (compared to maximum capacity) and lose money. The EU also requires now that HSL have competition with private operators (this is already quite extended in Italy and somehow in Germany, but there are no private operators yet in Spain or France). So a good way to make trains more competitive is making flights more expensive. They can always play the ecologic argument so no discussion about those new taxes.
'Most high speed lines are underused (compared to maximum capacity) and lose money.' Care to provide your sources for this sweeping statement? Care to explain why Air France's domestic network is underused and loss making. It is because most corners of France are now connected by 300km/h HSR and it is usually much faster and much more pleasant to go by train, so why fly? Some city pairs no longer even have flights. e.g CDG - BRU. where the TGV travel time city centre to city centre is 1:18hrs. In Western Europe, everyone prefers HSR city to city where it exists and is under 4 hrs.
SN operates two daily flights on CDG-BRU, mainly for connecting traffic, but bookable to anyone.
High speed rail is not always much more pleasant. Wildlife or one of the daily suicides are all it takes to disrupt a quarter of the network for the rest of the day.
The comfort also leaves a lot to be desired: the stations don't offer enough places to sit while waiting, the interiors are tired and not always functional nor comfortable, restrooms usually disgusting and there is not enough room to store your luggage.
Fares are not always cheap and the environmental impact is not always smaller.
Parking at or around the stations is not simple and getting to the station during rush hour is just as inconvenient as driving to an airport located outside the city.
Travel times are generally reduced, but if you're crossing France from Lille to the South, you don't save time at all vs. flying because of the many stops and lower speed.
There are advantages but just as many disadvantages.
For distances of more than 500km, the airplane is king.
We obviously have different experiences. I live in Paris and will alway prefer the high speed train of air travel for Paris to London, Amsterdam, Marseille, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Brussels, Cologne and Zurich.
For medium and long haul, obviously, I take the plane and then the nasty bits at both ends of the trip are diluted by the journey's overall travel time.
I have had very few bad experiences on HSR in Western Europe in the 17 years I've lived here. I flew to Prague early this week and went to London yesterday by Eurostar. The latter was silent, I had lounges at both ends, I was served decent meals and got 2 hours work done with space and laptop power, without being told what to do every 30 seconds by the cabin crew. We seem to live in different worlds.