This issue of High Speed Rail News is a real hodgepodge of stories. We’re going from the most luxurious train experiences in Europe all the way down to Germany party trains and the problems they’re posing. Plus, Eurostar continues to talk expansion and Asia gears up to complete the largest underground high-speed rail station in the world. Let’s go!
Sybaritic Speed: Europe’s Most Luxurious Trains: Italy’s new Ferrari-designed Italo is setting a new sparkling standard in high-end rail accoutrements. But it’s not the first to elevate train travel. First class on Deutche Bahn’s ICE3 races travelers along at 175mph in well-spaced and plush black leather seats. Paris to Madrid onboard the Francisco de Goya is an overnight “train hotel” with Gran Clase sleepers and dinners that start with an aperitif of cava. What other routes take you from point A to point B in uncompromising comfort and style?
Have Pilsner, Will Party: Imagine you’re traveling on Berlin’s M10 Streetcar line, and a band of boozy hooligans turn your quiet car into a raucous rave. On the weekend, this happens in Germany’s capital and other cities, some of which are looking to have alcohol banned. Public safety has been a concern, as well as the stench left behind when revelers exit the train. Deutsche Bahn and other liquor providers who don’t want to bear the costs are blocking their efforts. Who will enforce these beer bans?
Eurostar to Link Frankfurt and Cologne via Chunnel: This new service is planned within the next five years, becoming a direct challenge to European, low-cost airlines. The air has been stagnant over London, Paris and Brussels since Eurostar launched high-speed service, effectively killing plane travel between these cities. But now the competition is heating up, with Deutsche Bahn launching ICE service between Frankfurt and London via Cologne by the end of 2015. What makes them different, and which will passengers take to?
Hong Kong to Beijing is Going Big: The largest underground high-speed rail station in the world is set to be completed in 2015. Designed by Andrew Bromberg of architecture firm Aedas, the Express Rail Link West Kowloon Terminus will have 15 tracks and measures in at 4,628,481 square feet. Trains will reach maximum speeds of 124 mph and travel time between Hong Kong and Guangzhou will be shortened from about 100 minutes to 48 minutes. The façade is equally impressive.