Edited by Robin Hickman, Moshe Givoni, David Bonilla and David Banister
Chapter 20: High-speed trains and spatial-economic impacts: a British–French comparison on two scales: intra- and inter-regional
High-speed trains (HSTs), bringing unprecedented time-space shrinkages in the second half of the twentieth century, have been termed ‘The Second Railway Age’ (Banister and Hall, 1993), giving a new meaning to Colin Clark’s verdict on transport as ‘the maker and breaker of cities’ (Clark, 1958). HST can potentially trigger wider impacts at multiple spatial levels. This chapter focuses on the wider effects of HST at inter-and intra-regional scales in the European context. Inter-regionally, HSTs offer competitive centre-to-centre accessibility over medium-to long-distance journeys in competition with air and conventional rail. Thus, HST services can greatly enhance inter-regional connectivity between major regional cities. And, as they successfully replace short-haul flights, HST services increasingly need to make good airport connections with long-haul flights, as successfully demonstrated at Paris Charles de Gaulle, Amsterdam Schiphol and Frankfurt International airports. Intra-regionally, since HSTs can inter-operate on conventional tracks, they can potentially run at lower speeds to serve smaller sub-centres within a wider regional territory. The development of HST networks has coincided with the profound economic restructuring of European economies away from manufacturing and into the knowledge economy (Hall, 2007), placing a premium on major agglomeration economies for very high-valued ‘knowledge economy’ activities, while others decentralize into ever-spreading ‘mega-city regions’ (Hall and Pain, 2006). Although HST offers a major opportunity to reshape spatial-economic development, uneven development between places has increased.
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