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Monday, February 26, 2007

Age of the Train 

This year is being dubbed the age of the train in Europe because of the introduction of several high-speed rail links. At present, the rail journey from London to Strasbourg currently takes about 8 hours but from June 10, 2007, this will be reduced to a mere 4.5 hours with the launch of the French TGV Est high speed train. Suddenly, the range for European day-trippers has dramatically increased; the British will be able to enjoy a weekend break in Champagne country and the French will be able to pop across the Channel to watch the start of this year's Tour de France.

Later in the year, the new St Pancras International rail station in London is due to open and Eurostar will operate even faster trains between Paris and London thanks to the completion of the final segment of high-speed track. This will make the journey time about 2 hrs 15 min.

A similar reduction in journey time is promised for Spanish travellers with the completion of a high-speed line between Madrid and Barcelona; bringing the journey time down to around 4 hours.

Eurostar recently commissioned a study comparing flying with travelling by train and concluded that Eurostar releases ten times less carbon dioxide than a plane, making train travel the green choice for eco-conscious travellers.

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