High-speed rail in Europe: Analysis and typology of international connections

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Year of publication 2023
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Journal of Rail Transport Planning & Management
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Economics and Administration

Web Journal of Rail Transport Planning & Management
Doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jrtpm.2023.100419
Keywords High-speed rail (HSR); international service; operational system; rail supply; typology; Europe
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Description High-speed rail (HSR) currently represents a rather fast-developing transport system in Europe. Although it links multiple countries together through infrastructure, the development of a comprehensive and international network of HSR services is not as smooth and effective as some authors believe. This paper completes two different research gaps present in the current geographical research on HSR. First, we turn our attention from infrastructure issues to trains/services and their operational characteristics, and second, we shift from domestic to international services. The main aim of the paper is to analyse international HSR lines based on geographical conditions and answer the research question: does a compact offer of international connections exist in Europe? The research is based on the quantitative analysis of 1,094 rail connections from the European Rail Timetable (2019) on 72 international lines operated by HSR units and partly using HSR infrastructure. The potential of a gradually emerging international network of HSR for international transport has not yet been fully exploited. Especially when planning HSR in the eastern part of the European Union where countries are geographically smaller, HSR cross-border services are a feasible necessity. The results show there were six different types of international high-speed connections covering the following shares of services: the European metropolitan core (with its 53.2% share documenting the existence and importance of the “Blue Banana”), two groups confirming the role of common language areas with services in Germany–Switzerland (14.4%) and France–Switzerland (11.2%), other lines (9.1%), and finally two groups corresponding to the role of tourism in the case of lines to southern France (7.1%) and summer and winter seasonal lines (5.0%).
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