Monday, March 15, 2010
While we're on the subject of trains, Norway is debating (though it doesn't seem likely to happen) the idea of installing a seat fee for passengers of 100 kroner ($17 USD) on airplanes which would then go towards rail infrastructure. Some opposed to it say in that article that it's too general a fee, and offers airlines no incentives to fly fuller planes (fuller planes = less CO2 emissions per capita) and would just end up as a penalty to them that they can do nothing about.
Putting the debate aside for a moment, the article also has some interesting stats comparing modes of transport with each other:
Since Oslo and Bergen are only 304 km apart, there really is no reason for there not to be a fast rail link connecting the two in terms of distance, though the terrain between them isn't all that hospitable. On top of the terrain, Göteborg/Gothenburg in Sweden to the southeast is a mere 254 km from Oslo, has a larger population than Bergen, would be a larger contributor to inter-European rail (Sweden already has high-speed rail connecting cities like Gothenburg, Malmö and Stockholm), and the terrain is much nicer. The mountainous nature of the terrain between Oslo and Bergen makes the actual journey 500+ km, while to the southeast it's pretty much flat. So (though I know little about Norwegian politics) it looks like cooperating with Sweden on a rail link between the two would be an easier option than slapping a penalty on airlines for a link to Bergen.
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