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As a regular long-distance train traveller in Europe, I have to say that the opposite is true.High speed rail is destroying the most valuable alternative to the airplane; the "low speed" rail network that has been in service for decades.Five years ago I promised my readers I would not fly anymore.

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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.

As more and more reliable train routes are shut down in favour of high speed lines, international train travel becomes prohibitively expensive.

Strangely enough, many of these abolished routes are almost as fast, and sometimes even faster, than the new, expensive high speed connections.

Quite a few of these services were even faster than today's high speed trains.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Article also available in French, Spanish and German.

These heavily advertised prices, however, are the exception rather than the rule.

If you buy a single ticket the day of your departure, you pay €206, almost five times as much.

By 2011, when the whole section was equipped with new high speed track, the travel time of the was a fixed amount calculated according to a rate per kilometre.

Converted to the current kilometre charges of the Belgian, French and Dutch railways, a single ticket Paris-Amsterdam over the same route (the blue line) would now cost 66 euro, regardless of whether you buy it two months in advance or right before you leave.

At that time, the route was also covered by a night train which took eight hours.

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