5 May, 2011 @ 18:25
1 min read

You WILL take the train to Spain

THOUSANDS of British tourists could face far longer journeys to the sun under an EU proposal to replace short-haul flights with fast-track rail journeys.

The EU plan would see European-wide flights phased out to cut carbon dioxide emissions from transport by 60 per cent over the next 40 years.

The plans could have a dramatic effect on the number of sun-seekers flocking to the Costa del Sol each year.

Flights from London to Malaga take under three hours, while the current equivalent journey by train takes up to 20 hours, and includes stops in Paris and Madrid.

But EU transport commissioner, Siim Kallas, insists that fast track railway (AVE) would cut this journey time dramatically.

As the Olive Press reported last year, a plan could see the AVE trains taking passengers from London to Malaga in just ten hours by next year.

The current journey time has already been drastically reduced with a new spur around Madrid allowing trains to go from Malaga direct to Barcelona in only five hours and 43 minutes.

Meanwhile trains from Malaga to Paris can take just 13 hours, with a stopoff in Barcelona.

Kallas, who is also planning to ban diesel and petrol cars in cities by 2050, praised the AVE route between Madrid and Barcelona, which now takes 50 per cent of all passengers between the two cities.

Wendy Williams

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  1. This is interesting…but when you compare train and plane journey times, you need to compare city centre to city centre. Once you factor in travel to and from the airport, the two hours or more hanging about before take-off, and transfers at the other end, the real journey time from central London to Malaga is closer to 8 hours than 3. The big problem making the cost comparable.

  2. It costs me £200 to travel from Cardiff to London by Train yet a flight to Malaga and back can be under £50! Train fares are very expensive and crowded. How many AVE trains will be needed to serve all the short haul destinations in Europe. Will there be enough capacity to replace air travel. Doubt it somehow. There aren’t enough seats on the train to London as it is now and I don’t think I will be standing all the way to Malaga! Another crackpot half thought out idea from Brussels.

  3. Let us hope the train replaces short haul flights and that this EU scheme becomes reality. Plane travel is stressful and seriously damages the environment. Plane travel, short haul, needs to be phased out asap.

  4. EU elections are held every five years, and every EU citizen is entitled to vote, and to stand as a candidate, wherever they live in the EU. A system of Proportional Representation is used.

    Did you actually vote Guirizano? lol.

  5. guirizano,
    you need to understand that we in the west have been consumimg far too much of the world’s resources – peak oil has come and gone, aviation fuel is’nt taxed – why not.

    We in the west will simply have to get used to consuming less and that includes air travel and travel in general.

    Now China,India and other countries are demanding and claiming their fair share of resources – those resources are finite best to get used to it.

    It’d easy to forget but 95% of Brits did’nt know what a foreign holiday was in 1965, let alone own a holiday home or even remotely think about living abroad.

    Even rich Germany cannot afford the present rate of pensions and will have to drastically cut them.

    Look at all of you complaining like spoilt brats whose parents have discovered they are potless and can’t afford all the goodies you used to get – that’s the situation and throwing tantrums aint going to change reality.

    Most western countries in reality are bankrupt with debts they will never be able to pay – all discretionary expenses will have to be abandoned – foreign holidays will be the first to go as will living abroad.

    Some of us in the west have known this for a long time, saw the writing on the wall and acted appropriately – cheap air travel will be gone within 10 years as will the businesses that feed off it – game over – reality begins.

  6. Yes, I do vote Fred, but that’s for the European Parliament Fred, a toothless animal if there ever was one.

    If you read the article above it’s clear that this is idea is being driven by one of the Commissioners, Siim Kallas. I don’t ever recall elections for the European Commission. Do you?

    Oh and it still is a crackpot idea.

  7. Stuart.

    This is not the first energy crisis humanity has witnessed. And it won’t be the last. We’ll just find a way around it just like we’ve always done before.

    Over a certain distance rail just don’t cut it against air, and being forced to take one instead of another by some unelected official is outrageous. Especially since high speed rail is without disadvantages for the environment amongst others.

    I very much doubt cheap air travel will be gone in 10 years time. If anything the opposite. It’s a lot more likely that aircraft will undergo a revolution in design, that more efficient propulsion and alternative fuel sources will be developed than cheap air travel fading away.

  8. guirizano,
    I thought you were a sensible guy, I did’nt think you were a Mr Macawber. Your wishing and hoping.

    Train travel is 5 times more efficient than the motor car.

    If cars had to be made far more fuel efficient than they are now it’s actually possible but guess what the speed has to drop by a long way.

    There is no way around finite resources – the energy crisis is already with us – what do you think the Iraq war was all about – why did the Americans want the Russians out of Afghanistan because it has vast mineral deposits and it is needed for the oil pipelines from the former Soviet republics.

    All future wars will be fought over water and mineral deposits.

    You’ve got used to travelling at a certain speed that’s your problem – just get used to going somewhere else more slowly – why do you think that there are so many fat slobs around – they have forgotten how to walk or exercise and food is going to rocket in price so the slobs will have to get used to eating less – humanity might begin to look a bit more attractive in the future.

  9. Guirizano, the European Parliament appoints commissioners, such as Mr Kallas, and the parliament that appoints these is a democratic entity based on PR. The EU is certainly not perfect, but it does get some things right, and train over plane is a step in the right direction, imho. No transport system is free of problems of course, but Co2 emissions from trains are tiny compared to plane travel. Train travel has already led to large reductions on some popular routes, and I hope this continues. Speed of travel has become an obsession; less is more I find.

  10. As an ex gas turbine fitter , I am constantly amazed at the way everyone swallows the idea that has been put about for years by the green lobby. On an aircraft engine, turbine temperatures exceed 650 degrees centigrade. This means just about everything is burned and converted to energy. Only water vapour is created and this is the trail you see in the sky. The gas turbine is just about the most efficient way we have of converting mass to energy, unlike the reciprocating engine (petrol or diesel) which is one of the filthiest. The minute amount of byproducts produced in a modern bypass fan gas turbine is for all practical purposes negligible. For years ,space heaters have been used to heat warehouses and large indoor spaces with no harm to the people who work there. They use ‘Clean burn’,(kerosin).Almost the same as Avtur for aircraft, but they burn at much lower temperatures than a gas turbine. So do not let the lying MEPs or the misguided greens get away with this one. MEPs love this,as Lenin once commented ,these people are simply ‘useful fools’. I prefer the term, leftie causemongers, if not this it will be something else.

  11. Stuart. You should read what I write before launching forth. I didn’t compare rail to cars. I compared rail to air, with a very specific proviso. I made the point that over a certain distance rail could never compete with air. It is simply not feasible for the majority of people to sit in a train for 4 days to get to and from somewhere, which is precisely why I believe that air travel will continue, and more than likely grow – but using better technology to make planes more efficient and less damaging to the environment.

    Fred, The commissioners are “elected” by the parliament from a list of nominees put forward by the President of the Commission. If you think that’s democracy then good luck! At the very best Mr Kallas was “elected” by some third degree version of democracy.

    High speed rail is not a panacea. It’s just another option amongst many. They all have their advantages and disadvantages.

  12. Guirizano, when you design and implement a better electoral system I’ll take note. I already said all transport systems have their issues, but train has already replaced plane in some areas of Europe – on short haul.

    Tony, planes emit including nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, soot as well as water vapour. They also raise Co2 levels massively. Is that incorrect, Tony?

  13. Great, Fred. We agree that the EU Commission could do with a better electoral system, I would go further and say a system at all. And that for short haul train can be better than plane.

  14. Fred, Incorrect. Totally insignificant amounts. Politicians do not like success in anything unless they can raise yet more tax from it. This can then be spent on the latest ’cause’ in order for them to be seen to be ‘doing good’. The more useful fools sucked in, the better for them. Never forget, a politician is focused on only one thing….the next election, and any current bandwagon will do for their purposes.

  15. Tony, when you said my statement was incorrect, did you mean the Co2 emissions or the fact that jet planes emit nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, soot and water vapour?

    You contradicted yourself because you said an “insignificant amount”, therefore agreeing that those elements are actually emitted. You cannot surely be saying planes do not raise Co2 levels? That would be ‘plane daft’ Tony, and an engineer would surely not say such silly things?

    The term “insignificant amount” is always banded about (just look at Fukushima) but there is no such thing as “insignificant” – tiny amounts of a substance multiplied thousands of times (e.g. thousands of planes) becomes significant over time.

  16. guirizano,
    it certainly does’nt take 4 days to get from the UK to Spain – or were you referring to a trip to Siberia.

    With a friend, we travelled from Brighton to Madrid in 1.5 days and that was in 1968.

    What happens when oil reaches $200 a barrel?

  17. Fred, Insignificant in this context means harmless. Gas turbine driven planes do not raise CO2 levels.piston engined ones do, But again the levels would be insignificant. You can always argue than miniscule amounts of anything multiplied trillions of times would amount to something. In any case CO2 is heavier than air by a long way, so where are all the dead people at or near sea level. With the amounts that you people claim are being created, with many thousands of flights per day, there should be no escape. Learn your subject before repeating ad nauseum what others have already repeated. Also , despìte these vast quantities that are being claimed, the percentage constituents of the atmosphere have not changed since records began. So where is it all?

  18. Tony, firstly I’m glad you now agree that “insignificant” is not the same as “does not exist”. The truth is that airplanes have been emitting far more carbon dioxide than anyone thought, and this is well-known information that has somehow eluded you, even though it has been discussed in every major news outlet for years. Planes also do pollute the atmosphere; there’s no need to ‘learn any subjects’ – just basic facts.

    And yes, I certainly do argue that “miniscule amounts of anything multiplied trillions of times would amount to something”, because this is exactly what happens in our environment right now lol.

  19. You really don’t read what I write Stuart. I said 4 days to get TO and FROM somewhere. That somewhere could have been Spain, or it could have been somewhere else. The fact is, over a certain distance rail does not cut it vs air. – and I am deliberately not being specific about the distance because it is dependent on.

    How about Brighton to Cadiz in 1968, I bet you could not have done that in 1.5 days. You probably couldn’t do it in 1.5 days today. Or Aberdeen to Algeciras, that would definitely take more than 1.5 days. If you have business in Gibraltar for example and you lived in Edinburgh, would the train cut it? I doubt it, unless you belonged to the leisured classes and were prepared to be uncomfortable for a very long time.

  20. guirizano,
    you were deliberatly not being specific to bolster your argument – not clever that.

    Also you refuse to mention the damage that air travel does to the earth’s atmosphere.

    You need to get up to date about business travel – it’s on the way out that’s why Microsoft paid so much for Skype – it’s called video conferencing.

    Right now I can show a prospective client a product via webcam, can send specs within seconds, post a sample – absolutely no need to travel anywhere.

    Webcam and video-conferencing is going to decimate business travel and all those who work in this industry.

    I’m afraid that you are in denial of change that is going to happen whether you like it or not.

    If I was living in Gibralter I would be worrying about the rising cost of desalinated water, not how long it will take to get from A to B.

  21. Fred, It’s not “well known information that had eluded me”. It’s well put about propaganda that hasn’t eluded you. If by major news articles you mean the BBC or the Guardian, then it’s no wonder you accept everything without question that this ‘disinformation’ hands you on a drip drip basis. Stop quoting the usual vested interests and do some proper research for yourself. The only stupid question is the one that isn’t asked. Don’t forget the scandal of disinformation about this type of subject that happened a few months back. Falsified data etc etc.Lots of red faces then when the truth came out eventually. Lots of suckers around.

  22. Tony, you are the one with the only vested interest here, since you work in the aircraft industry and would of course say there is no pollution.

    You remind me of the fools that told us Fukushima was safe and not a meltdown, only to find out it was on a par with Chernobyl. If there is falsified data, perhaps it’s the data you’ve been reading to tell us that there is no problem.

    Miniscule amounts of anything multiplied trillions of times do amount to something, except of course brain cells in Tony’s head lol.

  23. You haven’t been terribly specific yourself Stuart, and nor have you mentioned the damage HS rail does to the environment amongst other things, but you have demonstrated a lack of comprehension – or do you just launch into a reply without properly reading what other people write?

    Video conferencing has been around for quite a while now but business travel is as popular as it ever has been – sometimes face to face meetings are the only way of conducting business. So I think your analysis of the future of business air travel needs a bit of development. Oh, and what exactly is going to happen whether I like it or not (talk about deliberately not being specific)?

    I’m not sure what the price of desalinated water has to do with anything (or are you deliberately not being specific again), and by the way the place is spelt Gibraltar, with an “a”, not Gibralter. I bet you don’t even know what drinking water costs there anyway – and I doubt you know whether in real terms it is more or less expensive than before…

  24. guirizano,
    you not sure what desalinated water has to do with anything – are you serious.

    No water = no life. you live on a rock that has serious water problems and with desertification irreversible you should be worried.

    Video conferencing is still in it’s infancy, as travel costs escalate much of this will be curtailed because it simply is not cost efficient.

    HS rail travel is the future best to get used to it. Better yet but very expensive to initiate is mag-lev trains – they need to build the lines in a closed environment, then you have the ultimate problem free travel.

    Your flailing around like Tony, sadly too many Brits cannot accept a changing world.

  25. Fred, Resorting to insults and the usual smoke and mirrors, distractions etc.Usual stuff when you have nothing except the knowledge that you have been manipulated. Just like talking to a priest,plenty of belief but no numbers,no real evidence.Stuart ,the same. Priests and their world are an insult to the intelligence of any thinking person with the ability to ask questions. you are the same. Got a wind turbine yet?? Another con by the usual rag tag of leftie greens. Write all you like, it will take more than your propaganda to change facts.

  26. You can’t prove that you haven’t been manipulated either Tony. However, it’s silly to argue that planes do not pollute or raise Co2 levels, since they so obviously do. To come on a forum and say that just shows your amazing ignorance. Are you sure you didn’t work on gas boilers lol?

  27. Flailing around Stuart? Speak for yourself!

    Considering Gibraltar’s drinking water is produced by desalination plants, and the place is surrounded by salt water on three sides your asserting that Gibraltar (I don’t live there by the way, not sure where you got that idea) is heading for “desertification” really does not make much sense. I don’t think you thought that one through properly…

    Back in 1999 we were already videoconferencing with our offices in NY and Tokyo via ISDN lines. Just because you discovered Skype yesterday doesn’t mean videoconferencing in its infancy. Like I said, sometimes face to face is the only way to get things done, and I can’t see any evidence of business travel crashing and burning. If anything, the opposite is true.

    As for travel costs escalating. The reality could not be any different. In real terms air travel costs a fraction of what it did 20 years ago, even 10 years ago. The irony is that rail costs a lot more in real terms.

    Of course HS rail will be part of the future, I’ve never denied that. I’ve also made it clear above that mass transport is the way to go wherever possible. But HS rail won’t be the only option and it’s no panacea. That’s the reality you’d better get used to. There will be HS rail, and there will be air travel and air travel is likely to grow, not shrink.

    I can’t accept a changing world? Well, it seems you can’t accept that your opinion is not the only correct one.

  28. Guirizano,
    has the cost of your desalinated water been going down for the last 20 years – thought not.

    Being economical with the truth again – face to face visits have been plummeting thanks to video conferencing.

    The essence of your posts on this thread are that you have got used to getting somewhere at a certain speed and your simply not prepared to see that time getting longer and the convenience of your travelling reducing – I think that is an acccurate description of your mindset, which has nothing to do with my opinion or anyone elses.

  29. It’s not my desalinated water Stuart, as I’ve already mentioned – I don’t live on the Rock. I don’t know what the cost of desalination has to do with it (sorry, was that me repeating myself)? Do you even know if the cost of drinking water in Gibraltar has gone up or down in real terms? I’ve asked that question of you before, but you have not answered it. I guess you thought you might dodge the question with a “desertification” red herring. Didn’t work though – the Rock is surrounded on three sides by salt water? If any thing sea levels will rise, so there will be MORE water for them to distill!

    Show us your evidence that business travel is crashing and burning. As far as I can make out – and I try to read as widely as possible – it is as healthy as ever.

    Oh, and please stop putting words in my mouth. Where did I say I was not prepared to see my journeys getting longer or less convenient? Where exactly? I completely agree that in some cases speed and convenience will reduce. In others it will improve. My money is on it improving in MOST cases, not reducing. Oh and as I’ve mentioned before, air travel GROWING rather than shrinking is the more likely scenario. That’s not just my opinion, it’s fairly obvious from the FACTS. India and China have not even started yet!

    HS rail will be another of probably more options, but not the only one and it is no panacea. That’s a perfectly reasonable analysis based on the FACTS.

    Oh, and allow me to distil down the essence of your posts, since you have so kindly done it for mine: Your opinion is the only one which counts; all others are invalid and don’t let the facts get in the way.

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