Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Trains are slower than cars as well as planes

Can someone tell me how many times we've heard the Government tell us in the last ten years that it's going to get us all using high speed rail in the UK instead of flying? It's a bit like the A-Level results, every year a transport minister rolls out a report with a great vision to have us use trains.

This time around they've gone a little further, with Andrew Adonis saying that he would like to see short-haul flying to Europe replaced by rail travel instead.
"I would like to see short-haul aviation – not just domestic aviation, but short-haul aviation – progressively replaced by rail, including high-speed rail," Adonis said. "If we want to see [this] progressive replacement … then we have got to have a high-speed rail system that links our major conurbations and makes them far more accessible to Europe, too."
Errr reality check moment. Who in their right mind would want to take a train to some European destination even if it was high-speed? The splendid gents on Top Gear have already shown numerous times that it's quicker to drive a car than catch a train. That puts train third after cars with commercial flights in first.

Let's take an example though. I can do, door to door, to Andalusia in 5.5 hours for £50 return (I could do it quicker if I didn't check in a bag and paid £3 for the priority security route at Luton). There is no way that a train can get me there that cheap or that fast, even if it was doing a constant 250mph and the train picked me up from my door and dropped me off outside my destination.

Do Transport ministers live on another planet to the rest of us?

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