In a recent poll of global travelers by SilverRail Technologies, 90% of respondents said they would like to see rail options displayed alongside flights when searching for travel. Rail is suddenly a hot topic (again) as the Obama Administration has pledged $53 billion to create several new high speed rail corridors in the country.
High speed rail is a very realistic alternative in Europe and Asia, but in the US there are very few routes that can currently be replaced by rail transport. When asked whether they would pick rail over air when available:
79% would choose train over plane if high-speed rail options existed.
61% would choose rail over air if the cost was the same or better.
The hassles involved in air travel have also helped increase interest in rail alternatives:
86% of people would accept having the entire time from door-to-door be longer to avoid the process of checking in, security and boarding.
66% would willingly add an hour or more of total travel to their trips to avoid the hassles of long lines, airport security and baggage fees.
Just how bad is the packing situation? Some people actually pack underwear in their laptop bag to reduce the weight of their main bag:
89% of people take action to avoid paying bag fees, planning packing days in advance and stuffing carry-ons to maximum capacity to avoid checking bags.
19% of people surveyed say they pack underwear in a laptop bag to avoid checking bags.
61% are frustrated with extra costs added to airline ticket prices and wanted to be secure that the ticket price they paid is the total price.
And finally, when asked about how air travel has changed in recent years, 72% say waiting in the various lines is the #1 hassle:
Waiting in line is the #1 air travel hassle, according to 72% of people.
While waiting in line for a pat down, 47 % dream about the easy travel of yesteryear
36% wanted family and friends to be able to accompany them to the gate, an impossibility with air travel
train travel and how you can save time, money, and aggravation. All of these points were true about the importance of a high-speed rail network in 1965 and they are even more true in 2011, so let’s make it happen!
The UK government has leased its High Speed One line to a Canadian consortium. The line, which cost more than £5 billion ($8.1 billion) in taxpayer money to build, will be run by Borealis Infrastructure and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension fund on a 30 year lease. They paid £2.1 billion ($3.4 billion) in the deal.
The High Speed One line is the route that Eurostar uses in its journeys from London to Paris and Brussels. The consortium plans to open the line up to more train companies in a move that will see more competition, and hopefully lower rates, on the popular route.
The line will continue to be under the ultimate authority of the UK government and subject to its regulations.
[Photo courtesy user Sunil060902 via Wikimedia Commons]
In 2013, Europe could become even easier to navigate, with a new high-speed train connecting Germany with other major cities in Western Europe. The new Deutsche Bahn train would travel at 200 miles per hour from London through the Euro Tunnel, arriving in Amsterdam in four hours (currently only reachable with a connection) and Frankfurt in five hours (down from seven hours on DB). Additional services are planned for Brussels, Cologne and Rotterdam and officials are hopeful this could pave the way for additional high-speed routes.
The above video from BBC goes inside a prototype train currently at London’s St. Pancras Station for safety checks and a test run. Reporter Richard Scott shows off the train’s reclining seats, real-time travel information, and even multi-country emergency stops. Let’s hope they work out any air conditioning problems for the new trains.
The irritated passengers were unable to see justice served, as the smoker eluded capture – he fled the scene when the alarm that stopped the train went off. Reuters notes a Xinhua news agency report in which a spokesman for the Guangzhou Railway Group Corporate says, “Smoking is strictly forbidden on the Wuhan–Guangzhou high-speed train, even in the toilet.” He continued, “It could trigger the alarm and even cause equipment failures.”
It could also lead to a delay, he didn’t need to explain, that could cost the passengers all the efficiency they purchased.