High Speed Train

I am in a Thalys TGV right now, on my way to Brussels where I'll spend the week-end. TGV is usual acronym for Train à Grande Vitesse (High-Speed Train). Thalys TGVs are international high-speed trains using tracks in France, Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands. Part of the tracks is shared with Eurostar trains that go from Paris or Brussels to London via Lille and the Chunnel — the Channel Tunnel — and with French domestic TGV trains. Thalys trains are red, Eurostar are yellow, French domestic TGV are either orange or iron grey.

Through the window pane, I watch the scenery flash by. Travelling that fast is somewhat magic, even more than taking a plane: no need to reach an airport outside the city, fewer controls, no waiting time. I arrived to the train station five minutes before the departure, showed my ticket to the collector, went to my seat... a few minutes later the train was racing along through the countryside at 300 km/h.

I'll be in Brussels one hour and twenty minutes after I left downtown Paris. Beyond Brussels, the main cities Thalys trains reach are Antwerp, The Hague, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Liège, Aachen and Cologne... yet I won't go there today.

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