High-speed rail, already kicking ass (in Europe), is set to kick much more ass (in Europe):

Last July seven operators banded together to form Railteam, an alliance that is working to create a seamless, high-speed network across a large swath of Western Europe. Functioning much like an airline alliance, Railteam is setting up a common reservation system that’s set to begin operations in 2009. It is also helping member railways coordinate their schedules to reduce layover times. A frequent-traveler program will even be offered — another page from the airlines’ playbook.

Grist relies on the support of generous readers like you. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations matched!

For now, Railteam does not include operators in Italy, Spain, Portugal or Central Europe, where high-speed rail is less developed. But that could change in the next few years. Spain is set to complete a high-speed, Madrid-to-Barcelona link in 2009. And Pépy predicts that within 15 years it will be possible to travel by high-speed train all the way from Paris to Bratislava, Slovakia.

Meanwhile, in America …

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.