Europe's rail system often complementary to air - not the alternative

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It has become somewhat de rigueur in Europe to propose that rail travel should be an enforced substitute for air travel domestically and even on short haul international routes, even if it means legislating for it. 

Last year a CAPA sister publication, the Blue Swan Daily, published an article in which one Norwegian politician was quoted as proposing that an actual cap should be placed on air travellers, which seems to be taking things to a different level again.                  (https://blueswandaily.com/could-the-number-of-flights-per-person-be-limited-norway-is-leading-the-way-on-this-radical-thinking/).

That article ended with the observation: “The cat is out of the bag now. Environmentalists all over the world…will read this and…in no time what might appear to be a rather strange proposition is absorbed into the public consciousness and quickly grows”.

Perhaps France's National Assembly Member, François Ruffin, read it, because he announced plans to submit a legislative proposal on 03-Jun-2019 aiming to limit domestic air traffic that is able to be replaced by rail. The proposition is currently co-signed by 14 other MPs.

"It is high time to land. Our targets for reducing carbon emissions are incompatible with the growth of air transport, or even with its being maintained. It's up to us to join the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and other European nations that take this issue seriously", Mr Ruffin stated.

But, across Europe, while rail is often a boon to travel, the reality often is that trains are complementary to other surface and air travel systems and do not represent a holistic alternative solution.

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