Back in October, Larry Olmsted wrote a piece on Forbes that was so glowing about the benefits of taking trains over flying, we felt here at SilverRail that we could have written it ourselves!
In the article, Larry talks about how in Europe (and parts of Asia), the convenience benefits of arriving downtown are enormously valuable, particularly when compared to air travel. He says:
After a bit of a hiatus for the holiday period, we are back in action here on the SilverRail blog. And this year, as well as the commentary and opinion pieces that we put out on here, we're going to focus on being a reliable information point for opinion pieces and news in the rail, particularly high speed rail, industry, with an admitted bias towards promoting high speed rail usage and improvements in ticketing systems and distribution across the rail market.
In early September, our intrepid team from SilverRail Technologies, and in particular our CEO Aaron Gowell, went on a trip to Paris from London to compare the experience of taking the train versus flying.
They started at Aaron's house in Central London, went out to Heathrow and flew to Paris ending the trip at the Eiffel Tower. That is where they turned around, and returned to London on the Eurostar. Watch the video to see the results, but it has to be said that we were not that surprised at how it panned out.
A couple weeks ago, Renfe, the Spanish national train operator, announced that the travel time between Barcelona and Madrid on the high-speed trains was going to be reduced to two-and-a-half-hours thanks to a new navigation system. According to our analysis (noted with green dots in the linked graph), this should mean that about 60% of passengers choose rail over flying over the coming years.
Although our own company blog is coming to this a bit late, we are very pleased to announce that SilverRail has signed an agreement with ebookers to sell European and North American rail tickets. We are very excited as this is SilverRail's first major foray into the leisure travel space, and ebookers intends to eventually offer packages (rail plus hotel) over time as well.
Despite the slightly aggressive title of the post on TravelMole, (Canadian rail: setting a good example for Amtrak), it is actually highlighting some pretty decent news. the Canadian passenger rail service, VIA Rail, is making infrastructure investments, including track improvements, comfort improvements and station improvements, in an attempt to speed up the service (particularly on inter-city routes) and make it more comfortable for passengers.
I was planning to write a quick article on my thoughts on the California High Speed Rail proposal, but have just spent the last two hours completely geeking out on the project, reading the new business plan, reading the Benefit Cost Analysis, and reading a bunch of opinion pieces on various transport blogs. Really fascinating stuff, and amazingly inconclusive. My outline of some of the debate is below.