Fast trains with pointy ends.

A German Inter City Express (ICE) train prepares to leave Brussels Midi forming the 16.28 to Frankfurt, taking us on the first leg of our journey to Florence.

The route between Brussels and Frankfurt is gradually being converted to new high speed track allowing speeds of 250kph. Of all the European high speed trains I find these the most comfortable.

Also running from Brussels are the Thalys trains, providing a high speed service to Paris and northern Germany. They are very similar to the French TGV. 

Italy also has its high speed trains. This is a Euro Star service about to leave from Milan on its way to Rome and which will deposit us in Florence.

These are fast and comfortable but for some reason we found them harder work than the other European trains. For a start they are always very full, even though they are very long by British standards with twelve coaches on most trains. The main problem is that they are very noisy. Italians seem to talk incessantly on their mobile phones, or loudly to each other and are constantly on the move through the train. Compared to the serene quiet of a German train, or the Cisalpino services across the Alps you are more pleased when the journey is over.

Bathed in early sunshine a TGV leaves Nice with a morning service to Paris. The train will amble westwards along the coast, a very pleasant journey, at normal speeds until it reaches Marseilles where it meets the high speed line and can accelerate.

A high sped train for Stockholm waits at Copenhagen for its passengers to board.

A Eurostar set at St Pancras.

A French Eurostar train at the Gare du Nord.

A TGV train for Paris arrives in Dijon. A significant moment because a few seconds before, the lens cap from my camera had fallen off and rolled off the edge of the platform.

A TGV at full speed south of Dijon. The foreshortening effect of the camera making the track look like a roller coaster.