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By "as opposed to other forms of public transport" I mean other forms of mass transport - chiefly air, sea, and road - it is not meant as an allusion to ownership. The question of what constitutes long-distance travel is is the one we are debating! Interestingly, the Dublin London distance (c. 600Km) is comparable to the Madrid Barcelona route you instance, which seems to be on the cusp of a comparative advantage for HSR over air.  That would suggest that a Dublin London HSR link would not have a huge advantage over air, and would not necessarily displace the majority of air traffic unless there was a distinct price advantage. This surprises me, because a realistic central Dublin London travel time is. c. 5 hours (30min to Dublin airport, 120 min. security, check-in and Board, 90 min taxi and flight, 60 min. London airport to city) which should be easy enough for HSR to halve.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Sep 15th, 2015 at 06:57:03 AM EST
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PS - I  used to commute once a week from Ireland to my West London workplace.  I could do it in 4 hours by driving straight to airport (35 min.) parking in v. expensive short term car park, running onto plane as doors were closing and getting a taxi at the other end.  Of course there could be considerable delays, especially in Winter, and it was not exactly a carbon friendly way of doing it.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Sep 15th, 2015 at 07:08:34 AM EST
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If it's like Eurostar, you'll still need an hour for checking in for the train as well.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Sep 15th, 2015 at 07:14:08 AM EST
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Terminology nitpick corner (it's not important for the debate but I like to put these things in order):
  • What you mean is passenger transport. The "public" in "public transport" doesn't refer to ownership, but to access: it means mass passenger transport available to the public, which covers scheduled bus, tram, metro, rail, ship and airline transport. In contrast with individual transport (which includes cars, cycling and private jets) and more exotic limited-access transport like charter flights and troop transports (I'm not sure if there is a generalised category for those, but traffic stats often differentiate).
  • I used "long-distance" in a sense common across several sub-fields of EU traffic policy, which doesn't refer to any specific distance travelled: basically, it is transport that is not primarily meant to serve commuting. Differences include how and why it can be subsidized, whether there is provision for standing passengers, and whether toilets are obligatory. In this sense, basically all flights are long-distance transport, which is obviously a notion different from "short-distance flight" (what you do on an A320) and "long-distance flight" (what you do on an A380).

For a realistic Dublin–London travel time, as gk says, you have to add waiting time due to the check-in required by UK border controls, as well as some time for travel within the cities (even if that's less than travel to the airport). I note that the travel distance would be significantly shorter than Madrid–Barcelona (only a little over 500 km), but you have to factor in that going full speed across the tunnel is unlikely: it would be technically possible to allow for 320&nsp;km/h for the bottom part (but not the ramps), but you'd save on construction costs and maintenance if you aim lower and increase safety and capacity if there is parallel shuttle and freight traffic. (The Chunnel is 160 km/h max, for the Irish Sea tunnel I think 200 km/h would be ideal.) Rail could still beat the 5 hours you surmise for air, but not by a huge margin.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 15th, 2015 at 09:22:09 AM EST
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I'm deliberately not referring to exclusively passenger traffic as, without including freight, I don't think the volumes have much chance of being economic.

The difference between medium distance and long distance, for me, in this debate, is the point at which air travel has an advantage over HSR in terms of consumer preferences for a given price point. Even short haul flights don't allow standing room, but that is for safety rather than distance reasons.

There are no border controls between the UK and Ireland which maintain a "Common Travel Area" and therefore no reason for lengthy security check delays on check-in.  I hadn't realized Eurostar require a 1 hour check in period, which seems to me to rather defeat the purpose of HSR.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Sep 15th, 2015 at 12:31:52 PM EST
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