Travelling by train is becoming an increasingly popular way of getting around both for trips in Europe and beyond. We examine the many reasons that travellers of all ages and budgets are forsaking air travel in their droves in favour of rail journeys.
Image: Jakob Montrasio
Experience is the key reason for most travellers, and the thriving activity of the average train carriage gives so many opportunities to meet locals and really experience the culture. That is of course to say nothing of the chance to gaze out of the window and admire the view, something that can be a little unrewarding at 30,000 feet! Train travel offers a level of comfort which is prohibitively expensive when it comes to air travel. Leg room is generally ample, and a small supplement pays for a bed for the night on many services. This tends to compare very favourably with economy class air travel, even on a very good airline. Train travel also tends to be a great deal less stressful than a visit to the airport. Getting through security can be a mission in itself, and heaven forbid that you accidentally try and carry a bottle of water through in your carry on luggage.
It’s startlingly obvious that trains are slower than planes, but you may be surprised at the level of time saved by city centre to city centre travel. With most airports well out of town and a requirement to be at the airport at least two hours prior to departure, the total journey time on a short-haul flight can actually end up being similar (or at times even more) than making the same journey by train. There is also the additional cost of trips out of town to and from airports, especially with budget carriers that often use airports huge distances from your actual destination. With train travel there is also the added bonus that a need to change trains on the way to you destination can often pop in an extra destination to you trip, for example a night in Paris when on your way to Milan.