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Still in Training

April 21, 1991

While it was wonderful to read your "Choo-Choo Special," I was sad to see that in this otherwise excellent edition, the lead story, "Train Travel Is Back. But Can It Ever Be the Same?" by James Hill, was sadly misinformed in regard to European train service. The statement, "While the French have the spectacular TGV, which travels at speeds up to 180 m.p.h., other European lines are getting shopworn and thus less attractive" is particularly deceptive.

Perhaps Hill is unaware of recently developed Eurocity service with 90 name trains with the highest standards of passenger accommodation and catering services, as well as high-speed trains in service or under construction in Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Germany and much new equipment for more conventional trains recently added in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

I also take exception to his further statement: "Once the European Community deregulates air fares (surely today the highest in the world), watch for more deterioration in European rail service."

New high-speed rail services are not only competitive with air travel (Paris to Lyon trains carry 75% of non-auto trips), but are being constructed with private financing. In my observation, European services are becoming more attractive and more competitive, particularly with air travel.

BRUCE WOELFEL

Aptos, Calif.

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