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.

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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 …

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