“Sir, I have a very good connection.” It is more expensive by train to Lisbon than by plane

The website 300gospodarka.pl describes the summer experiment. editors decided to go to Lisbon – by train, not by plane. It was a virtual journey. Not so much with your finger on the map, but via the search engines for train connections, ticket prices and available accommodation.

The start was made on Monday 25 July, when the train from Warszawa Centralna to Berlin departs at 06:00. From there you can take the train to Frankfurt am Main, from where there are trains to Paris. From the French capital you travel to the Spanish capital of Catalonia, Barcelona.

Then all you have to do is go from Barcelona to Madrid, from Madrid to Vigo, from Vigo to Porto and from Porto do Vigo. We are already in Portugal, but Lisbon cannot yet be reached from Vigo. We arrive after almost three days of travel (on Thursday, July 28 at 6:19 AM).

We won’t be surprised if you are reminded a scene from Stanisław Bareja .’s film “What will you do with me if you catch me?” We also.

We travel by train from Warsaw to Lisbon in three days. Travel and subsistence costs are PLN 2251 (at the current euro exchange rate). By plane, we reach the capital of Portugal in 4 hours and 15 minutes, and the flight (on Monday, July 25) costs PLN 735.

The three-day train journey from Warsaw to Lisbon is not the fastest connection – the authors were looking for the cheapest connections. According to Google Maps Lisbon can be reached by train in just over a day and a half. We travel from Warsaw to Berlin and from there to Stuttgart. From there a fast TGV takes us to Paris, where we change to Bordeaux. From there we take a train to Madrid, and in it – directly to Lisbon. Again, a bit like Bareja’s.

The journey takes 1 day and 19 hours. There are other similar variants of up to two travel days, but it is a non-stop journey. Also, we have not checked the availability and prices of tickets.

What does this experiment prove? well that European railways do not compete with aircraft. And it won’t change anytime soon.

although The European Union has ambitious plans – it wants to double the use of railways by 2030 and triple by 2050), but the distances are shorter. According to EU statistics, most air travel is flights up to 700 km. A flight from Berlin to Paris emits six times as much carbon dioxide as traveling by train. At such distances, high-speed rail is already competitive, which is much more environmentally friendly.

High-speed trains (French TGV, Eurostar connecting France, London and the Benelux and Thalys connecting France and Germany) can reach speeds of up to 320 km/h. The average speed on the entire route is usually around 250 km/h. at that speed a train from Warsaw to Paris can take six hours, and to Madrid in ten.

Unfortunately, there are no vague plans in Europe to build such an extensive network of high-speed trains. A high-speed line from Paris via Strasbourg, Stuttgart and Munich to Vienna and Bratislava is under construction. The Magistrale for Europe (German Magistrale für Europa, French Magistrale européenne) is expected to be delivered in 2020. For the time being, it is not clear that this could happen before 2025.

So are we doomed to “dirty” planes or a few days of train travel? Not necessarily. An alternative could be … airships.

Spanish airline Air Nostrum placed an order worth more than USD 600 million for 10 airships filled with helium. They are supplied by the British company HAV (Hybrid Air Vehicles). Airships named Airlander 10 will be hybrid (apart from the lighter-than-air helium tank, they also have engines). Their range will be up to 7,000 kilometers and will develop a maximum speed of 200 km / h.

At this speed airships can compete with trainsand even short-haul aircraft. Travelers will also save time by avoiding airports. The Airlander 10 can take off and land from small flat surfaces that do not require special surfacing. For now, HAV plans to launch connections from Oslo to Stockholm and Liverpool to Belfast by 2025. The airships on these routes will replace the slow sea ferries.

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