This week the UK joined the ranks of many other European countries as it unveiled its first domestic high-speed rail service. The 140 mph Japanese-built Javelin trains will be slightly more expensive to ride than their slow-poke counterparts, but they will drastically cut down on journey times.

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For example, a train ride from London to Ramsgate is reduced from 81 minutes to half an hour, and an Ashford to London trip is cut down from over an hour to 37 minutes. Such time-saving trips come at a price–a 7.3% increase in the case of some off-peak fares. But hopefully, the short trips times will still be attractive enough to dissuade commuters from driving.

Eventually, Britain’s high-speed rail network will expand even further. Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently announced a $32 billion investment in railway infrastructure, and a North-South high-speed rail network is planned in the coming years.