On the right track 火車旅行最稱心

更新時間 2014年 1月 27日, 星期一 - 格林尼治標準時間11:27
High-speed TGV trains

All aboard: a high speed train is about to depart

Vocabulary: travel 詞匯: 旅行

Why do we always want to go faster? I am talking about travel. We want our cars, trains and planes to get us to places quicker. This century, there's been a rise in high-speed rail travel as people have seen the benefits of this form of transport.

I love train travel and have experienced the efficient and fast trains that operate in France and Japan. The acceleration and top speed of these trains is impressive, the space and comfort on board makes it comfortable and the ability to see something out of the window means, according to me, it beats air travel any day.

Spain recently joined the railway revolution with its AVE ultra-modern high-speed train that has a top speed of 310 kilometres per hour. Its service from Madrid to Barcelona took 20% of passengers away from Spain's national airline. In Japan, a magnetic train is being developed that will run at 500 kilometres per hour.

This has shunted rail travel in Britain onto the slow line. It has one high-speed line from London to France - HS1 - but now it is planning to construct a new line called HS2 which will connect London with the north of England. The UK government's transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, says "This is essential to actually make sure that our great cities are connected and we get the right benefits for the United Kingdom."

But not everyone agrees. The idea of fast train travel may appeal but not if it's going to be built in your back yard. It's controversial: people are arguing over the benefits and cost of having shorter journey times, less traffic on the roads and more capacity on the rail network.

John Kelleher, who is a farmer and lives on the proposed site of the new line says, "they're not taking into consideration the amount that HS2 will destroy on its construction and route through the countryside." Some people are worried the financial and environmental cost will be too high to save just half an hour on a journey.

But other countries have shown that high-speed rail is good for the economy. It has helped poorer parts of the country, reduced the need to fly and has made train travel cool. For me, there's nothing better than sipping a cold beer and watching the world go by from the comfort of a train seat - in fact if it's that good, what's the rush?! Maybe I will stick with the slow train.

Quiz 測驗

1. True or false? Trains, planes and cars are types of transport.


2. Name a country mentioned in the article which has high-speed trains.

France, Japan, Spain.

3. How many high-speed rail lines are there in Britain?

It has one high-speed line from London to France - HS1.

4. According to the article, where would you not be happy for a new railway line to be built?

If it is built in your back yard.

5. What do some people fear a new railway line would destroy?

The countryside.

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