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As an example, let's have a look at the route which I cover most often: from Barcelona, Spain (where I live) to the Netherlands and Belgium (where I grew up).
It is now possible to travel all the way from Barcelona to Amsterdam by high speed train, a trip of 1,700 km.
You can still travel cheaply by low speed train between Paris and Amsterdam -- over the same route that was covered by the .
But you have to be very patient: the trip takes 7 to 8 hours and you have to switch trains 5 to 6 times (Paris-Maubeuge-Jeumont-Erquelinnes-Charleroi-Brussels-Amsterdam).
It gets you anywhere, anytime, and it's much more fun and interesting to travel by train than by air.
1 / 2 High speed rail is marketed as a sustainable alternative to air traffic.
According to the International Union of Railways, the high speed train "plays a key role in a stage of sustainable development and combating climate change".
The introduction of a high speed train connection invariably accompanies the elimination of a slightly slower, but much more affordable, alternative route, forcing passengers to use the new and more expensive product, or abandon the train altogether.
As a result, business people switch from full-service planes to high speed trains, while the majority of Europeans are pushed into cars, coaches and low-cost airplanes.