Tuesday, January 13, 2009

HIGH-SPEED TRAINS in Spain, a success. They certainly beat the inconvenience of flying; and for relatively short distances it's much quicker, if you count the time you spend going to the airport, etc. I don't do that much now, but for several years I went almost weekly -sometimes more than once a week- to Madrid from Barcelona and back, by air. It was a real pain. It takes pretty much the same 2.5 hours it takes by train, but the worst is that it's fragmented: home to airport, which is usually at a certain distance from the city center; wait in airport; embarking; 50-minute flight; disembarking; airport to city center.

By train you arrive to the station in the middle of the city only a few minutes before departure time; you get on, you sit down, you flip open your laptop, and you can spend the whole time working, or going to the restaurant, etc. It's like night and day.

The government has promised to lay more than 6,000 miles of high-speed rails by 2020, which is good news if they really do it.