Letter: Take the fast train

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Sir: If there is "growing disillusion with high-speed trains on the Continent" (letter, 18 May), why has Europe's most recently launched high- speed train service, linking Paris and Brussels, been so successful? In the first quarter this year traffic was 72 per cent up on 1997 thanks to completion of a TGV line in Belgium, cutting the journey time to 85 minutes. This should take rail's market share between the two capitals to 48 per cent this year.

Why too are high-speed lines under construction from Rome to Naples, Florence to Bologna, Hannover to Berlin, Cologne to Frankfurt, Madrid to Barcelona and Lyons to Marseilles? Growing enthusiasm would seem a more accurate description.

MURRAY HUGHES

Editor, Railway Gazette

Sutton, Surrey

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