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A very impressive analysis of actual train speeds - presumably dependent on 100% punctuality for accuracy?

I appreciate ET is mainly dedicated to Train as opposed to air travel but I would be interested in the comparative cost benefits in terms of travel times, carbon footprint, actual fares, and investment costs.  How do airport costs/passenger numbers compare to train stations+track costs/passenger numbers compare on a pan  European basis?  Is there a "break-even point" - e.g. 500KM - beyond which air travel becomes the more efficient/cheaper option.  Overall, what is the carbon footprint comparison per passenger KM for train vs. Air travel at a pan EU level?  Is there a minimum traffic volume figure below which the occasional plane beats building a line for very few trains? Does air travel offer greater flexibility in terms of seasonal patterns or variable and unpredictable growth patterns - e.g. if Hungary suddenly becomes a very popular tourist/business traveller destination - can that demand be best met by increased air or train capacity?

I appreciate we are comparing apples and oranges here, but a rational EU transportation policy has to make decisions as top where most investment should go.  Is China stealing a march on the EU with its HSR development, or would the EU, is it had the same investment funds available, be better off going for a different rail/road/air mix of transport infrastructure?

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jul 19th, 2011 at 12:04:51 PM EST

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