Unprofitable Project: Europe’s High-Speed Rail Network ‘Slow, Expensive And Ineffective’

Europe’s high-speed rail network is a slow, expensive and “ineffective patchwork”, according to a report from the EU’s spending watchdog that criticised costly projects often driven by politics rather than need. The report by the European Court of Auditors found that trains rarely operated at full speed. They ran on average at 45 per cent of the line’s potential velocity and only two examined reached an average above 200km/h. None was above 250km/h. “Average speed so far below the design speed raises questions as to sound financial management,” the ECA said. The lines in question were in six EU countries and covered 5,000km.The report predicts that member states will miss the EU target of having 31,000km of high-speed rail track by 2030, as part of the bloc’s effort to move travellers from road to rail. There was 9,100km of track at the end of 2017, with another 1,700km under construction.
 

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The basic problem with high speed trains is that only a small minority actually want to get from one city centre to another. Most travellers live in suburbs or smaller towns and they first have to get to the high speed station. That's where you need to spend the money.

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Countries do not coordinate their network, high-speed trains stop at small cities that do not warrant the time loss, there are cheaper gains of speed by improving the regular tracks between those smaller cities, etc. But, high-speed rail network is excellent solution.

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This can't be true. I was assured that the nationalised railways of Europe were a model of efficiency.
 

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There is more to cost than just the numbers (environmental, wasted time in congestion on roads, rail and airports etc) that need to be understood. It shows the folly of the EU politics though, more money should have been spent first of all on the congested parts of Europe and then the periphery, not vice versa.  
 

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So conclusion is: Governments wasting money, planning poorly, and executing terribly? What's new in this story?

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"Slow, expensive and ineffective' Great description of how EU looks today... 

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