For many travelers, travel time is the main reason for choosing the plane. People often think that flying is much faster than the train, but at short distances it does not make much difference now, if you count the travel time to the airport and the waiting time for departure.
For example: expansion Schiphol is not necessary
By improving alone the existing rail, the international timetable and the ticket service, the number of train passengers doubles for 31 European destinations. This means that some 89,000 short flights at Schiphol can be canceled each year. This is shown by a study by engineering firm Royal HaskoningDHV commissioned by Greenpeace NL and environmental organisations. If international train travel is improved, the expansion of aviation in the Netherlands is not necessary at all.
Investing in high-speed trains saves half of CO2
But it can be even better. With a good European high-speed network, CO2 emissions on the researched routes are reduced by more than half. The Amsterdam-London route stands out, almost all travelers (85%) would opt for traveling by high-speed train. This means that improving this single train connection every year can prevent many flights and CO2 emissions: nearly 1 megaton of CO2 per year. That is not just a stroke of luck, but a necessity for meeting the climate agreements in Paris.
Train can even be faster than plane
That investment doesn’t just generate climate gains. With a truly European high-speed network, trains from city center to city center are even faster than planes for 25 of the 31 destinations. From Amsterdam you can go to Brussels and Düsseldorf in just over one hour, Frankfurt in two hours, Paris in two and a half and London in less than three hours. If investments are made in a truly European high-speed network, even 133,000 Schiphol flights can be saved. That sounds fantastic! But then politics has to get started.
You have to get a fair choice
The biggest competitor of the European high-speed network are the unnaturally low prices in aviation. That must also be addressed. Cas van Kleef, campaign manager Greenpeace: ‘By setting flights free from tax on kerosene and tickets, people now get an unfair choice. The aircraft, the most climate-unfriendly transport option, is made the most attractive and affordable one by the government. This is of course the world upside down. It is time that the governments make real climate choices and chooses the train.’