High-speed trains in Europe are starting to nip into the cheap-fare airlines, writes the Wall Street Journal, by offering amenities such as more legroom, faster speeds (almost 200 mph!), cellphone service and DVD rentals.
A rail system called Eurostar has lopped 20 minutes off the ride from London to Paris, while a Spanish railroad knocked a full two hours off the trip from Barcelona to Madrid.
Couple that with the increased hassle of flying, and the train routes are seeing substantial ridership growth.
Writes Darren Everson:
As no-frills airlines have become increasingly prevalent in Europe, passengers are being charged for checking bags, checking in at the airport, and even for using credit cards. Rail has gone the reverse route, offering more perks. Eurostar’s trains have power sockets and offer free newspapers and magazines in business and premium economy classes on-board. The TGV Med, a French high-speed train that travels from Paris to destinations near the Mediterranean coast, has DVD-player and movie rentals. SNCF, France’s high-speed rail operator, is launching a youth-aimed overnight service to Biarritz and the French Riviera later this year. The service, called IDnight, will have music, dancing and an all-night bar.
Sort of like the typical 11:06 heading out of Grand Central for Southeast.