In November, Eurostar will begin running from a refurbished St Pancras to Europe over the new fast route. This will be a beacon of railway glamour for Britain, if rather a lonely one, since the new link will be our only high-speed line. The French, of course, have several, and when in April a train ran along the latest one at 357mph, newspapers published lists of earlier rail speed records. Most of them had been set by Britain, and Guillaume Pepy, the head of SNCF, twisted the knife: “At a certain point of time,” he said, “you forgot your own…
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