WHITE PLAINS, NY — Multiple new high-speed rail projects under construction in Europe this year are making for faster and more convenient connections for Europe-bound clients.
Rail Europe, the largest distributor of European rail products worldwide, offers a number of high-speed rail tickets and passes along with a dedicated agent website where agents can review product details, and participate in pre-recorded and bi-weekly live training courses, ‘Europe on TRAC’. Agents can become certified as a Europe Rail Expert, a France Rail Expert or a Swiss Rail Expert with Rail Europe’s exclusive online training courses.
Agents can book for their clients via the site (agent.raileurope.ca), or connect with Rail Europe via its customer care centre by phone, or live chat on the website.
Among Europe’s new rail lines, with many already operational or scheduled to begin operation in the next 12 months, are:
St. Gotthard Base Tunnel
Regular service of trains began in the new St. Gotthard Base Tunnel, the largest and deepest tunnel in the world, in December 2016. This engineering feat took 17 years to complete, tunnelling under the Alps to connect the north and south of Europe. Swiss Federal Railways travels beneath the mountains in just 20 minutes, connecting Zurich and Milan in three hours and 30 minutes.
Paris – Rennes
In spring 2017 a new train route in northwest Brittany will begin operation, reducing travel time between Paris and Rennes to one hour and 25 minutes – up to 30 minutes faster than the current train trip between the cities.
Paris – Bordeaux
The trip to the southwest of France will also be more swift and smooth. The Tours-Bordeaux route is currently under construction and scheduled for completion in mid-2017. Once complete, the trip between Paris and Bordeaux will be reduced from three to two hours. La Cité du Vin, Bordeaux’s museum celebrating wine from around the world, opened in 2016, offering a new look at the gastronomy of France.
Berlin – Munich
A new route is underway to connect two of Germany’s “magical cities,” Berlin and Munich. Set to be completed in December 2017, trains will travel along the route at 300 km per hour, shortening the journey to just under four hours. Previously the trip between the two cities took more than six.
Madrid – Asturias
With a new northern Spain high-speed rail line opening soon, it will be possible to travel directly from Madrid to Asturias, where clients can explore the cities of Oviedo, Gijón and their surroundings.
The train currently reaches the city of León, but to extend the line to the northern region of Asturias, Spain must complete construction of the complex ‘Variante de Pajares’ tunnels. The Pajares tunnels will be the fifth largest of the world, the third deepest and the second most complex after the Gothard Tunnel.
The Madrid-Oviedo route currently takes five hours in by train, but once the high-speed route begins operation, the journey will only last three hours and 15 minutes, while the Madrid-Gijón route will only take three hours and 30 minutes.