High-speed trains offer the convenience of a quick, quiet ride in modern train cars, and gets you from place to place with maximum efficiency and comfort. High-speed trains run on special tracks that keep them quiet, or have special suspension to keep them running smoothly on regular tracks. These trains travel at upwards of 150 miles per hour. They usually run direct routes to major European cities. Rail passes cover most high-speed trains. In the cases where high-speed travel is not covered, rail passes allow discounts on fares. A supplement or reservation fee is required for travel on most high-speed trains.
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The following are a list and description of the major High-Speed rail lines:
For more information on high-speed trains in Italy, click here.
Eurostar England - France - Belgium
This is the most well known of the high-speed trains. The Eurostar travels at speeds of up to 300kmh (186 mph) on high-speed lines, and covers the distance between London and France in 3 hours. In addition, the Eurostar travels to Brussels, Calais and special ski locations. Eurail passes are not valid on these trains. However, Eurail Pass holders do pay a reduced fare of 75% of full price in 1st class, or 65% in 2nd class.
Thalys is the most common train between Paris and Amsterdam. Ticket and Eurail Pass holders are welcome onboard and only pay a small extra fee. Passes must cover the entire sector of travel.
ICE Austria - Germany - Switzerland
At a top speed of 280kmh (174mph), the ICE trains connect major German cities on 7 lines at hourly intervals, including some that go to Switzerland. ICE trains have in-seat video screens, integral audio system, plugs for laptop notebooks and telecommunication zone areas for clear cell-phone reception as well as public payphones. Panoramic lounges are also available. Ticket and Eurail Pass holders are welcomed with no extra charge. Reservations are not required, but encouraged for groups and during peak periods.
TGV Belgium - France - Switzerland
This train is the fastest of the high-speed lines, with record speed of 515kmh (320mph). A new extension has been added to the TGV lines for June 2001. TGV Mediterranee, will reduce travel time from Paristo, Marseille, Avignon, and Montpellier. Eurail Pass and Ticket holders are welcome and pay only the reservation fee.
X2000 Sweden - Denmark
X2000 is a high-speed train that travels on existing tracks and travels from city center to city center at speeds of up to 200kmh (124mph). Ticket holders are accepted with a reservation fee. First class economy passengers receive free coffee, tea, a Swedish newspapers, and radio and music channels. Eurail Pass holders are welcome in 1st and Economy class with a reservation fee.
Thello: France - Italy
More information can be found here.
Tickets are not valid on these trains. Eurail Pass holders are accepted, but must pay a supplemental fee. Holders of a Youth Pass are accepted in "tourist" class only. A reservation is necessary.
Cisalpino Switzerland - Italy - Germany
Cisalpino is a high-speed train that travels on existing tracks. Tilting technology keeps trains running smoothly and efficiently. Eurail Pass and ticket holders are welcome and pay a small supplemental fee.
Eurail Pass holders are accepted and pay supplemental fees for the following: Barcelona-Valencia, and Barcelona-Alicante.
Talgo Triana Spain
Eurail Pass and Ticket holders are accepted and pay a supplemental fee.
Ticket and Eurail Pass Holders are accepted in 2nd class. First class travel requires an extra supplemental fee in addition to a 1st class Eurail Pass. Reservations are necessary.