Editorial: Bullet Trains still Faster than Planes

My editorial to the Bangkok Post, in response to the Thai government's assertion  that air travel was faster than bullet train for the ...

My editorial to the Bangkok Post, in response to the Thai government's assertion that air travel was faster than bullet train for the route from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, was published on 31 July 2010. I argued that once the total time of travel was taken into consideration, taking a plane was still much longer than taking a more conveniently located high speed train.

By Karn G. Bulsuk


In the article ''High speed rail considered'' (Bangkok Post, Business section, July 27) the justification for not building a high-speed rail network between Bangkok and Chiang Mai was that flying would be faster, clocking in at 1 hour, compared to 3 hours on a high-speed train.

The analysis presented is an incorrect assumption of the facts. While it is true that the flight may take 1 hour, it does not take into consideration the time needed to travel to the airport (1 hour), the waiting time at the airport to check-in and disembark (2 hours), as well as the time required to wait for luggage and take a taxi back into town (1-2 hours): a total of 5-6 hours.

If you compare that with rail travel, you will find that most train stations are conveniently located in the city and do not require checking in of luggage or going to the station 1 hour early. As a result, although the actual train is slower, the overall time required is still less than plane travel.

Dismissing a rail network between Bangkok and Chiang Mai, and indeed for any other destination is short-sighted, and does not take into consideration the development opportunities it would bring to every part of the country the rail system reaches.

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Karn Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead: Editorial: Bullet Trains still Faster than Planes
Editorial: Bullet Trains still Faster than Planes
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Karn Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead
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