Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Real European Gravy Train

Having got the London Mayor and Assembly elections, not to mention our own local skirmish in Roding, out of the way we can now look forward to the European Union Referendum on Thursday June 23rd. Are we In or Out?

Well, frankly it’s difficult to tell. The arguments on both sides seem to me to be quite facile and it is very difficult to find any objective, evidence based and independent analysis. Indeed the polls are showing that most people do not feel adequately informed on the issue. So it looks like the decision we make will be made on gut-feeling - but then psychologists tell us that most decisions made by humans are made this way, so nothing unusual there.

Anyway, since Barkingside has gone all European and the details of our new Town Square will be exhibited all across Europe in the coming year, and hoping that England will still be in Europe for the football final in July, plus our football clubs in the Champions and Europa leagues come August, not to mention our freedom of movement to access jobs, holidays, and second homes over the channel it is well worth a thought on the mode of transport used to get there and back, assuming we want to come back.

While we are continually told we need a third runway at Heathrow and expansion at London City Airport some very interesting analysis has popped up over here at GoEuro.

It seems, for some routes, it’s quicker by Train and when time = money that’s good value for business travellers, and indeed tourists who get extra time on the beech or in the museum. Indeed the Mayor of Paris came to visit our new Mayor a couple of days ago and it appears she arrived by train. Very sensible.

Some of the 14 connections in the list are:
  • London - Paris by train saves you on average 1 hour 41 minutes.
  • Brussels - London by train saves you on average 3 hours 18 minutes.
  • Brussels - Lyon by train saves you 2 hours 21 minutes.
As they say:
While there’s nothing faster than flying, it seems there’s nothing slower than airports to limit the amount of travel time you actually save. The congested roadways, shopping centre-sized terminals, the interminable lines to check in and pass through security, and baggage claim delays upon arrival all accumulate to make what should be a quick trip a very slow affair. These increasing delays are driving more European travellers to seek alternatives to flying. On these 14 major European travel routes the train gets travellers to their destination faster every time, when waiting time and airport transits are taken into consideration.
And with Stratford International on our doorstep, not to mention it also being a short taxi ride away from Canary Wharf, maybe it’s time to let out counter-intuitive circuits loose and let the train take the strain?

And before “Knowsie” points out the other obvious part of the equation, price, I have tested a few trips. It seems that there is some variation on train prices depending upon when you travel, but much more variation in air price travel with some being more expensive than the train and others less. It depends whether you are strapped for cash and are willing to go for a budget airline and fly on a Sopwith Camel. And obviously the further away the destination the more likely air travel will be faster.

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