2009 - The year of high-speed rail
Monday 28 December 2009
2009 was the year of rail, with new high speed routes opening around the world.
The UK's first high-speed domestic commuter train service began services on June 29, linking London's St. Pancras hub with southeastern Kent and towns like Ashford and Ebbsfleet at 225 kilometers per hour (140 miles per hour). Travel times were cut in half and the trains are expected to be extremely popular with Kent's London commuters.
Freccia Rossa, Italy
The new high-speed link between Milan and Rome went into passenger operations on December 13, capable of reaching speeds of up to 360 kilometers per hour (225 miles per hour) and cutting the journey to 2 hours 45 minutes. Rome to Turin takes just four hours and ten minutes, slashing one hour 30 minutes off the previous time.
Thalys, France/Belgium/the Netherlands
Travelers between Brussels and Amsterdam can now complete the international journey by train in 1 hour 53 minutes. The new high-speed rail, laid between Antwerp in Belgium and Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands, allows Thalys to accelerate to up to 300 kilometers per hour (186 miles per hour), making it one of the fastest high-speed rail links in the world. The speed increase shaved 49 minutes from the current total time between Amsterdam and Brussels and 29 minutes between Brussels and Cologne.
Russia unveiled its first high-speed train linking Moscow and Saint Petersburg in December. It carries around 600 passengers between Russia's two biggest cities in three hours 45 minutes, faster than the four-and-a-half hours the journey took before. The Sapsan, a red and grey train with a price tag of hundreds of millions of euros, travels at speeds of up to 250 kilometres per hour (155 miles per hour) over a distance of some 650 kilometers.
One of the world's fastest passenger links, the Wuhan-Guangzhou line stretches for 1068 km through three provinces, running at speeds of 350 kilometres per hour (220 miles per hour). The link shortens the travel time from over 10 hours to under 3 hours.
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