Spain's New High-Speed Rail Service Challenges the Airlines
It’s not just Eurostar, the rail service between London and mainland Europe, that is challenging the aviation industry in terms of both emissions and convenience. In fact, high-speed rail networks are expanding all over Europe. Now we hear from The Guardian that the new electrified rail link between Madrid and Barcelona is set to launch later this month, with the super-fast Ave S103 service set to reach speeds of 220mph, covering the journey of 410 miles in 2 hours and 35 minutes. And the offering looks set to make a serious dent in the aviation market.
While flying will still be marginally faster, the evidence is strong that many people will choose to stay firmly on the ground, given the choice. On a similar route between Madrid and Seville that is already in operation, more than 80% of travelers choose the train. And there is, of course, also the environmental argument:
There is also the environmental question: trains produce at least four times less carbon dioxide per mile than planes, and even less when compared with short-haul flights. Spain is preparing itself for a future in which there may be limits on the number of flights a person is allowed to take, particularly within the EU.
And let's not forget that electric trains can be run on renewable energy too! In terms of comfort and convenience the operators are not skimping either. Each train features a conference room, upgraded cooling and air conditioning, internet access and a restaurant car – and passengers are refunded their entire fare if the train is more than 5 minutes late. Sheesh – we sure hope someone at Amtrak is watching closely… ::The Guardian::via site visit::