High speed trains could be preferable to planes

A recent survey by Silverail Technologies has found that in the future passengers may prefer travelling long distance over land by high-speed rail, rather than by plane.

With air travel becoming increasingly tedious, costly and frustrating, it is no surprise that travellers are looking for an alternative. Though high-speed rail is enormously popular in Europe and Asia, receiving more than $200 billion of investment worldwide, and $53 billion from the Obama administration it is possible that passengers may prefer both the comfort and convenience of trains over planes.

Enormous manufacturers are lining up to sell billions of dollars of rolling stock to train operating companies vying with each other for control of the global networks. And the investment in infrastructure is in the trillions.  Rail travel emits 90% less CO2 than air travel so climate change has made some difference to customer demand, but the fact of tightened airport security and enormous delays has pushed up the point of change from air to rail from a 3 hour journey to a 6 hour one.

In other words, whereas once it was quicker to fly between destinations which involved a 3 hour rail journey, now it is quicker to travel by rail for journeys lasting up to 6 hours.

In a recent poll of global travellers by SilverRail Technologies, the world’s first global rail ticket technology platform, the answer is a resounding ‘YES’ with 90% of respondents saying they would like to see rail options displayed alongside flights when searching for travel.

79% said they would choose train over plane if high-speed rail options existed.

61% indicated they would choose rail over air if the cost was the same or better.

The results reveal that travellers are considering total travel time, that is getting from door to door, and the full travel experience when choosing mode of transport.  86% of people surveyed said they would accept having the entire time from door-to-door be longer to avoid the process of checking in, security and boarding. With the hassles of long lines, airport security and baggage fees being a great concern.

There are currently over 12,000 kilometres of high-speed rail under construction, with China leading the way and planning a high-speed rail network that would link Singapore to London via China.  With trains getting faster and more efficient, and most major stations located in the centre of cities, that are themselves linked with major domestic transport services, plane travel over all but the longest distances may become less attractive to passengers.

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