The Discount Airline Model Is Coming for Europe’s Railways

Ryanair and EasyJet transformed low-cost continental travel. With ever more passengers opting for low-cost carriers such as Ryanair and EasyJet, Europe’s old-guard airlines have been shaken to their core—forced to slash prices, stick passengers with fees for everything from baggage to beer, and in some cases even declare bankruptcy. Soon, rail operators such as France’s SNCF and Germany’s Deutsche Bahn AG could face a similar shake-up as Europe pushes for competition in passenger train service. Lower fares could attract “millions of new passengers,” says Jacques Gounon, chief executive officer of Getlink SE, the company formerly known as Eurotunnel that manages the English Channel Tunnel. Getlink already runs a car-and-truck shuttle through the tunnel and is considering a discount high-speed service that would challenge Eurostar International Ltd., which now offers the only high-speed passenger service through the tunnel, with fares often topping $510 for a London-Paris round trip. The European Union has ordered countries to open all commercial train services to competition by 2020—and experience says that’s likely to have a dramatic effect. 

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What about a combination? :) Take discount airline to pleasant transfer hub; take the train rest of the way...

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Getting from place to place in Europe is very easy. Discount airlines and trains. And everything in the EU is a domestic flight or train:) The problem is the further destination...

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I would never fly if the US had a train system as wonderful as the EU. Amtrak is the 19th century

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1 minute ago, rainman said:

I would never fly if the US had a train system as wonderful as the EU. Amtrak is the 19th century

This is how the upper deck in dining car in Finland looks like. Perfect.

image.png.93b484894fec132d700b4ca1ccc2d3f4.png  .

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20 minutes ago, Petar said:

Getting from place to place in Europe is very easy. Discount airlines and trains. And everything in the EU is a domestic flight or train:) The problem is the further destination...

Friend of mine told me that he's lost one hour counting for passport checks on the train from Budapest to Zagreb. And both Hungary and Croatia are in the EU . Why

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Just now, franco said:

Friend of mine told me that he's lost one hour counting for passport checks on the train from Budapest to Zagreb. And both Hungary and Croatia are in the EU . Why

Because Croatia is not in the Schengen zone ... They applied in 2015, not yet granted of Brussels...

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the train network is quite good, but very expensive at this point compared to Ryanair/Easyjet. Next to that, European integration of train networks goes very slow... we're already struggling in Holland to up the frequency of trains to Belgium, but our railway system is already way overstretched

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8 hours ago, franco said:

Friend of mine told me that he's lost one hour counting for passport checks on the train from Budapest to Zagreb. And both Hungary and Croatia are in the EU . Why

Because Budapest and Zagreb are coping with large amounts of 'refugees' and illegal immigration and are trying to crack down on this.

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8 hours ago, rainman said:

I would never fly if the US had a train system as wonderful as the EU. Amtrak is the 19th century

Actually, the steam trains of the very end of the 19th century and the early third of the twentieth were far superior to anything offered today.  Those trains regularly ran at 100 mph and competing railroads went toe-to-toe in competition for bragging rights on the fastest service. The Pennsylvania RR had the Broadway Limited  (NYC to Chicago via Philadelphia)  and the vaunted New York Central ran the 20th Century Limited and the Commodore Vanderbilt, fast service NYC-Chicago via the Hudson River Route and Buffalo-Cleveland. The NYC developed the "Hudson" class of locomotives, steamers set up as 4-6-4 wheel arrangement, a super-fast engine widely adopted by other railroads; they would blow the pants off anything built today. 

A little nostalgia for the fast trains of yesteryear:

1375254074_4-6-4Hudson.PNG.7dd43380bb55fbd4647ecd1786ace6c6.PNG

The American trains also ran all-Pullman trains, where the motive power was provided by the host railroad but all the passenger cars and staff were of the Pullman Company.  The Pullman Cars were built in Philadelphia at the massive Pullman workshops, and Pullman ran their special sleeper trains, with superb dining service, on railroads all across America.  Even as late as 1950, the New York Central fast Chicago service boasted trains as streamliners, blazing fast:

 

1140080515_NYC20thCenturyLimited.PNG.dbf57b0660c1b5445c8d04de5823e3a2.PNG

And these were seriously nice trains:  lounge cars, observation cars, diner cars, bedroom sleepers, roomette sleepers, everything you could want!  

America will never see these fast trains again, unless the Federal Railroad Act deregulates the railroads and requires train companies to let competitors run on their rails - and gives priority to passenger service over freight.  Sorry, is not going to happen.  Oh, well. 

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Earlier this year the wife, my son and I got the train from London to Edinburgh which didn't take much longer than flying when you take into account security and getting from home to the airport and airport to hotel. 

Much better than flying - and nice scenery particularly when you get into Northern England and southern Scotland. 

Price wise a little more expensive than the cost of flights and taxis at either end

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