"Who should suppose we had been flying at such a rate, and shall
take wing again directly?"
The question was asked by Charles Dickens in an article he wrote
about a train trip from London to Paris in 1851.
"...Paris in 11 hours. It is so well done that there really is
no hurry," he noted in his story called "The Flight."
Dickens describes the Kentish countryside and his fellow
passengers as the South-Eastern Railway Co. train makes its way
toward the channel ferries. Once across, passengers boarded another
train to Paris.
Today, tourists and business travelers book the Eurostar train
from London to Paris and follow nearly the same path as the one
Dickens traversed nearly 150 years ago.
On the English side, Eurostar is not exactly high speed. In
fact, it is almost comical to experience the difference between the
rails on either side of the channel; smooth and sleek on the French
side, click-clack on the English.
Fortunately, the scenic landscape of Kent still lends itself
nicely to the slower pace.
That pace, however, will become a thing of the past.
The British government announced that its bond issue to finance
a high-speed rail link between London and the coast raised $2.8
billion -- enough to start the project and to begin doling out
Once completed in 2006, the link will shave time off the current
three-hour journey between the capital cities.
You gotta wonder what Dickens would say to that.