France to favor trains over domestic air travel

France has been given the green light to ban short haul domestic flights.

The European Commission has approved the move which will abolish flights between cities that are linked by a train journey of less than 2.5 hours.

The decision was announced on Friday. The changes are part of the country’s 2021 Climate Law.


I have traveled on high speed links throughout Europe, but the best usage of the technology was demonstrated to me in China when we decided to take one on the 1,500 km trip from Beijing to Shanghai. The train ride was about five hours and I figure the point-to-point time was about the same as flying (when you figure in the time it would take to get out to the airport two hours early, wait for our luggage and then get back into town by taxi. The process was extremely organized with separate waiting areas for each train - running along that route every 20 minutes. The trains were clean and for less than the cost of economy airfare our seat was the equivalent of a business-class rail seat. On shorter “Europe-sized” routes, the savings in time (and pollution) are even more persuasive.

We, in the US, (other than for commuting) rarely consider taking a train for a trip of more than an hour or two.

Cool link:

How China's high-speed rail network got built so fast | CNN Travel.

The world’s most populous nation has – by some distance – the world’s largest network of high-speed railways. No fewer than 37,900 kilometers (about 23,500 miles) of lines crisscross the country, linking all of its major mega-city clusters, and all have been completed since 2008.

Half of that total has been completed in the last five years alone, with a further 3,700 kilometers due to open in the coming months of 2021.

The network is expected to double in length again, to 70,000 kilometers, by 2035.

With maximum speeds of 350 kph (217 mph) on many lines, intercity travel has been transformed and the dominance of airlines has been broken on the busiest routes.

By 2020, 75% of Chinese cities with a population of 500,000 or more had a high-speed rail link.



For my mother’s 70s birthday party 12 years ago my sisters took a train from Boston to NYC. My parents and I from Hartford to NYC. We took in a musical and a few meals. Had a great weekend.

The country keeps finding people who do not want to spend on trains. People who have no idea what they think or do or mean in life but love to save money. It is costing the rest of us.


In California they don’t mind spending money. The high speed rail project from SF to LA was sold to the public as costing $20 billion. Current estimates are over $100 billion.

"The California project is still technically up and running, but it is so far behind schedule that it has yet to lay a single mile of track, despite 14 years of work and about $5bn spent.

“California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, is no longer talking about the 500-mile stretch from LA to San Francisco, because the projected price tag has skyrocketed far out of reach. Instead, his office is focusing on a 172-mile segment connecting a handful of medium-sized cities in the flat agricultural Central Valley.”




One off projects have 6 to 7% inflation rates. Currently that is common for factory widgets but most of the time factory widgets run an inflation rate of much more like 2% which is what the FED targets.

The one offs go out of reach if not done on the sooner side. Supply side putzing around has cost us all over the country. The delays are very expensive. We have never saved any money with supply side econ.

The bigger thing to watch is how demand side econ makes these projects more affordable again relatively speaking. I get the ignorant pressure not to do them and delay them will remain. And those blocking progress in our economy will continue to menace our nation with delays building up the expenses.

Why would demand side economics make these projects and more relatively less expensive to…??? the size of our GDP? Because the growth in the GDP is much better with demand side econ.

Yes all those lies about demand side that you swallowed. Amazing you listened to complete liar and think the loser strategy of supply side econ sounds smart.

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I don’t think that’s true at all! NY recently spent close to $5 billion on the first part of the 2nd Avenue subway expansion. That’s about as much as Paris spent in the last 15+ years on their excellent Metro!

So it seems that we ARE willing to spend money on transportation projects.


Yeah thirty years later now that we have moved into a demand side econ period. Amazing how the dumbies no longer call for supply side econ any longer.

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Consider the Shiny-land “thought leaders”. I remember seeing Sean Hannity bellowing that mass transit was a big gummit conspiracy to take away people’s “freedom”.



Sean Hannity is a massive liar to fool people into dumb things.

Tucker Carlson is an even bigger liar.


And, as DesertDave would remind us, they are some of the most popular “thought leaders” in Shiny-land.


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That does not amount to much. If our goal is not amounting to much tune in.

Perhaps TOO MUCH money.
Please peruse the 2 links below.

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And in Minneapolis:

"A plan to close the yawning budget gap for the $2.7 billion Southwest light-rail line was put in motion Monday, but the proposed infusion of $211 million still would not be enough to see the troubled project to completion. The Metropolitan Council’s Transportation Committee on Monday unanimously recommended moving $111 million to the Southwest project, most of it taken from federal COVID-19 relief funds…

“The budget maneuvers would give the state’s most expensive public works project a much-needed financial boost, permitting construction of the 14.5-mile line to continue into 2024.”

$2.7 billion/14.5 miles = $186 million/mile

Does Covid travel by light rail?


I remind us all of supply side econ’s failings and budget cuts and voices of disapproval for needed projects.

Today the Millennials and Zs are pushing to get things done. We are in a period of demand side economics. The country over the decades to come will be getting much wealthier.

But there is always 2023…a fly in the ointment.

I don’t know about most people, but I wouldn’t vote for any rail project that cost $2 billion for 10 miles.


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The big question is why, if Europe, Japan and China can do it, how come we cannot? Map of trains in US, and in Europe.


Japan and France have a long tradition of investing in railways; the Chinese thought it was a good idea and followed their example without a second thought.
But France is not Europe, you should not generalize.
On the other hand, instead of importing Halloween, Black Friday and Starbucks, etc (which I consider unnecessary, to say the least), Europeans could have imported other positive things from the US.
Coming back to your question, it probably wasn’t considered necessary to invest in railways. I couldn’t tell you why and I don’t see any other explanation

Anyone ever add up, in current dollars, the value of the massive land grants the government made to the Union Pacific and Central Pacific to build their east/west line?



In two words: population density.

In two maps:
The US and Europe overlaid on each other.

The population of all of North and Central America translated to Europe. The two populations are very close, so the comparison is quite apt.

(Image taken from here - a pretty good article on it’s own: What if Europe and North America switched populations? - Big Think

Very roughly, to get the same population density, you’d need to put the entire population of the US into Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.

It’s easy to forget how densely populated Europe really is. Or, from the other point of view, how spread out the population is in the US.

Just one example - the distance from Moscow to Paris is slightly less than the distance from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Rail service should work pretty well on the fairly densely populated US East Coast. And that’s where there is some passable passenger rail service. Across the Great Plains and the Rockies and into the desert Southwest, there simply aren’t enough people to make long distance rail service worthwhile.



The US highway system in today’s dollars is in the tens of trillions of dollars. The gasoline used above and beyond rails is in the trillions of dollars.

Not sure how you are saving $10 billion. Just because get to see the figure does not mean you have much of the story or an informed opinion.

Adding…the cars burned out are in the tens of trillions of dollars above and beyond commuter policies we could have.