From our correspondent and with permission:
Angela and I have just come back from a trip to Oberammergau. We went via high speed train from St Pancras to Brussels and then again from Cologne to Munich and Munich to Worgle.
The fact of the matter is that “high speed” is a fabrication. Although the trains were seemingly capable of travelling beyond 200 mph NEVER ONCE did they do so, (there is a speedometer in a communal area so you can tell). In fact they never got near it, the fastest was something less than 150 mph and each journey was subject to inexplicable delays when the trains just stopped for twenty to twenty five minutes or so, with the result that at each destination we were late in arrival. The trains themselves were not particularly comfortable, with no air conditioning and insufficient luggage space for anything other than a brief case or small bag. It was actually a joy to get back on the Chiltern Line at Marylebone where the train was on time, clean and with air conditioning.
Quite why the high speed trains never reached their potential I do not know, (economy, noise, safety???) but it would be interesting to find out.
With the best will in the world for the life of us we simply could not see why our existing networks cannot be upgraded (the Chiltern Line is already spending over £250,000,000 doing just that) rather than spending a huge amount of money, which as a country we are told we do not have, and simultaneously destroying a vast amount of our beautiful and irreplaceable countryside for the sake of speed which in so far as France, Belgium, Austria and Germany is concerned is a lie and a fallacy and actually not required.
From this it transpires that not only is the business case a complete nonsense but the reality of High Speed Trains is equally so.