Deutsche Bahn (DB) has presented a study on the expansion of high-speed rail in Europe. The study, which was conducted in collaboration with other European rail companies, calls for a tripling of the high-speed rail network by 2050.
The study, titled "Metropolitan Network," proposes a network that would connect all 230 metropolitan regions in Europe with a high-speed rail service. The report suggests that this would give around 60% of Europeans direct access to high-speed rail, with the study highlighting possibilities for expansion in areas where there are no fast rail links currently.
Michael Peterson, member of the management board for long distance passenger transport at DB said: "A tripling of high-speed rail traffic in Europe is possible. Once the infrastructure is in place, millions of people on the continent will benefit from attractive connections and faster travel times. The rail countries in central and western Europe, and even more so in southern and eastern Europe, will enjoy the advantages. According to our calculations and simulations, this will result in faster travel times on entirely new corridors and via new traffic hubs on rail."
To achieve this goal, it would require building and upgrading 21,000 kilometres of track across Europe to allow trains up to the speeds of 300 km/h to travel across the network, significantly reducing the travel times between some of the key European cities.
The study suggests, for example, the journey from Paris to Berlin would be reduced from four hours to two hours and 45 minutes. The journey from London to Madrid would be reduced from nine hours to five hours and 30 minutes.
The study also found that the expansion of high-speed rail would have a number of environmental benefits. It would reduce carbon emissions by 1.2 billion tonnes by 2050, and it would also help to reduce traffic congestion on roads and highways.
The study has been welcomed by environmental groups and by the European Commission.
"The European Commission has set ambitious targets for the expansion of high-speed rail, and this study shows that these targets are achievable," said Frans Timmermans, European Commission vice-president for the European Green Deal.
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