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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.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.However, this is not the time to get lyrical about the pleasures of long-distance train travel.

It gets you anywhere, anytime, and it's much more fun and interesting to travel by train than by air.

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.

A look at European railway history shows that the choice for the elite high speed train is far from necessary.

Earlier efforts to organize speedy international rail services in Europe accompanied affordable prices and different ways to increase the speed and comfort of a rail trip.

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