High speed trains are awesome. This week I had a business meeting on the Continent. I walked to St. Pancras Station (30 minutes from my flat) to catch the Eurostar, a landbound rocketship that hits 250-300kph on parts of the journey and averages about 200kph.
The ride itself was incredible. Compared to a North American experience, the rails are completely smooth – no expansion joints or other cracks, and the tracks must have been laid much smoother because there’s almost no side-to-side shuffle like what you would get on a GO train. The tracks were banked such that you couldn’t even feel corners, and a lot of the time it didn’t even feel like we were moving.
The chunnel was 20 minutes of still, quiet darkness. That’s the other thing – this train is quiet, much quieter than a car or airplane, even at peak speeds. And the process of entering/exiting the train was seamless, much more civilized than queing up at an airport.
I think trains like this are a tough sell in North America, which is a pity because they’re awesome. Train > plane > car.
Two hours and one chunnel after St Pancras I was in the land of Tintin, 11% alcohol beer, chocolate [not pictured], peeing statues, and ads with peeing statues in them:
We went to the meeting and were back at St. Pancras by 6:15 and I was home by 6:45. Just a typical day at the office (well, OK, an awesome acceptable day).