Bloomberg Article: "Watch Out, Airlines. High Speed Rail Now Rivals Flying on Key Routes"


It’s common sense that planes are faster than trains in terms of speed however this article (link below) by Bloomberg is stating that High Speed Rail (HSR) is starting to “tamper” with regional air travel specifically in Europe and Asia. The article claims that travelers would choose to take the train on trips up to 621 miles (539nm/999km), after that people would choose to fly for it’s flashier speed advantage. As I don’t want to bore you all I will be finishing quickly with my thoughts and personal opinions.

  1. As much as I love air travel and despise HSR I feel that a lack of competition for short hops can lead airlines to become major monopolies.
  2. Here in the US I don’t feel that rail travel pose that much of a threat to air travel because there aren’t many high speed rail lines and the few lines that do exist have major speed restrictions.
  3. In Europe and Asia low cost carriers (eg: Ryanair, Air Asia, Easyjet, Peach etc) can try to attract travelers with lower fares
  4. Most regional routes (at least here in the US) are ment for passengers to fly from a smaller city airport and connect onto a slightly longer flight so rail travel won’t pose much of a threat here
  5. Rail travel looks more attractive in Europe since most people live near a city center HSR station people can just walk to a station take the train to a station closest to their destination and walk to their final destination instead of driving to the airport ,checking in, going through security ,waiting for any delays, flying, and getting to their final destination by mass transit or driving.

As a little side note Amtrak has started an aggressive ad campaign in 2017 aiming at flyers and drivers .


in the US, planes will always dominate over the trains because there is no government-operated rail system that is actually good.

In Europe though you have Eurostar, TGV, and I can’t remember the Italian one.


What about Amtrak? They are government owned


When was the last time you had the choice between Amtrak and flying, and legitimately chose Amtrak?


Amtrak hasn’t been so healthy recently and most of their HSR lines (eg. Acela) have major speed restrictions


I was not saying that Amtrak is better, I was just saying they were government owned


From Seattle to Mount Vernon in Washington. Mostly because it was cheaper and had WiFi. It was relatively comfy too compared to a DeHaviland beaver


I’m not meaning like a short flight. I’m meaning like across the country.


The trains are also pretty nice because they drop you off in the city. If you take a plane (which I would personally prefer) You then have to ride another bus/train to get into the city.


Anything along the northeast corridor with the exception of maybe BOS-DC Amtrak is better. It’s much cheaper and more comfortable.

NYC-DC is 3hr 15min on Amtrak, city center to city center, it’s shorter and cheaper than flying.


That is in East Coast. If you are arguing just the East Coast, then yes Amtrak is going to win every time. I am talking Coast to Coast. San Francisco to New York City. Would really spend 3 days on the rails or 5 hours in the air?


That’s exactly why trains are popular in Europe, because the major cities are very close together.


And cause they know how to use trains effectively. In the US Amtrak is usually the best between DC and Boston and that’s it.


I think everyone here would prefer a plane lol, and it is true train stations drop you off in a City, some airports do that already, and have links to subway or bus systems that are easy to use and work with the same payment system (e.g NYC MTA busses and Subways)


Having been on the high-speed rail in China, I must admit that it is a fun and comfortable ride. Better than an airplane? HECK NO. I doubt that we’ll see high-speed-rails in the U.S. because:

  1. Amtrak would go out of business (which is funded by the govt. already)
  2. There is little room to build these tracks
  3. Basically number 2 again except in cities like NYC and DC it is exemplified.


My mother always travels between NY and DC and I don’t think she ever flown that route before just because flying takes longer and is much more expensive.