Europe Ex­press

The Washington Post Sunday - - Travel -

While the United States quib­bles about sub­si­dies to keep Am­trak lum­ber­ing along as is, Europe is vastly ex­pand­ing its net­work of high-speed trains. Four new high-speed routes will open this year: K France’s new TGV East line on June 10 will be­gin pro­vid­ing ser­vice be­tween 20 French cities and 10 des­ti­na­tions in Ger­many, Lux­em­bourg and Switzer­land. Trains on the new line will travel at 199 mph, cut­ting travel time by a third or more. For ex­am­ple, a trip from Paris to Reims now takes one hour and 35 min­utes. As of June 10: 45 min­utes. From Paris to Frank­furt: less than four hours, down from the cur­rent six. Costs range widely. For ex­am­ple, Paris-to-Reims costs be­tween $25 and $75 each way. K New high-speed track as of Nov. 14 will speed Eurostar trains be­tween Lon­don and Paris in two hours and 15 min­utes, and be­tween Lon­don and Brus­sels in less than two hours, shav­ing about 20 min­utes off each trip. K Spain’s AVE train had al­ready cut travel time be­tween Madrid and Barcelona from al­most seven hours to 41⁄ 2. Ad­di­tional high-speed tracks set to open at the end of this year will cut the time to less than four hours. By the end of 2008, the trip is ex­pected to take 21⁄ hours.

2 K The Nether­lands will open ser­vice on its new Zuid (South) high-speed line by the end of this year, al­though the train won’t meet its fi­nal goal un­til next year: Brus­sels to Am­s­ter­dam in 11⁄ hours.

2 Cur­rently, con­ven­tional trains take three hours.

High-speed trains now op­er­ate on 3,034 miles of track in 10 Euro­pean coun­tries. At least 1,711 miles of track will be added by 2010.

For more info, con­tact a travel agent or Rail Europe: 888-382-7245, www. raileu­rope.com.

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