Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
On the demand side:
  • Budget airlines: it's become dirt cheap to get from one end of Europe to the other. Trains are slower and more expensive. (Night) trains are not doing so well with that kind of competition. Demand for that kind of service could increase when airtravel becomes a luxury again. But then we'll have other problems to deal with.
  • International connections are not that big a market, however much they talk about 'European integration'. Eurostar offers very competitive, attractive (speedwise) connections. However, it hasn't reached half of its 20 million projected boardings per year.
On the technical side:
  • Building those things amount to expensive, multi-decade projects that are still completely dependent on member states, where a lot of things have to go right. Those member states are primarily interested in national traffic. Even with appropriate infrastructure I doubt they could push Paris-Berlin under 5 hours.
  • Technical integration is a bitch: some of those international train have to be able to use four different electrical systems and carry multiple train control systems around. Does ETCS actually help?

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Sun Jul 17th, 2011 at 06:38:11 PM EST
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