I’m writing this on a train from Zurich, Switzerland to Stuttgart, Germany. As I look at the window the quietly rolling countryside of northern Switzerland, I was thinking again how great travel around Europe can be by train. This morning, I checked out of my hotel, took a couple escalators down from the lobby, and walked onto a train. Ten minutes later, I got off again, walked 100 meters to another train, and in three hours I step off in Stuttgart. No packing bags for security, no liquid restrictions, no checking bags or baggage fees, no waiting around for hours for connections, you just get on and off when and where you want (assuming you have the requisite tickets or rail, pass of course). You can even get up and walk around, use the restroom, or eat at a restaurant at any time, no seat belts, no turbulence, it’s just a completely different experience. Oh, and don’t forget the scenery!
Except in a few specific corridors, along the East Coast and the North East mostly, we don’t have (practical) train travel in the US. This is unfortunate, especially as air travel gets worse and worse, with packed planes, overloaded air traffic systems, and tired and overworked crews. Maybe over time, if this continues, there will be more interest in trains in the US, but I’m sure that people will just start driving more instead…until our bridges start falling down, as that’s the next big issue we face with our aging road system.
Ah well, I’ll just enjoy this while I can, most of my travel in the coming months will be in North America, so who knows when I’ll get to ride more trains in the near future…
Do you ride trains? Where and how is the experience?
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