Europe is well known for its extensive network of railway systems. Because of the way these trains interconnect from one country to another, it is one of the most preferred modes of transportation of travelers.
Since cross-country train rides usually take several hours, it is best that you take a night trip so you can sleep along the way. If traveling by day is your only option, you can make the most out of your journey by taking one of several scenic trains.
The best scenic trains are those that go around Switzerland. Backpackers will have an unobstructed view of the country’s pristine scenery by securing a seat in Switzerland’s Little Red Train. If you want to experience a little history, you can ride the Belle Epoque carriage of the Chocolate Train. Here, travelers are treated to complimentary coffee and some nibblers as they travel from Montreaux to Gruy è res.
Another recommended scenic train for backpackers is found in Norway — It is called the Flam Railway. In its leisurely journey from Bergen to the Flåm station, you will be able to witness incredible mountainous scenery. Due to the train’s sophisticated braking system, it can stop despite the relative steep incline to allow you to take photos of Norway’s landscape.
If you are more concerned on speed and efficiency, then book a seat on ICE, AVE, TGV, or any of the other high-speed train networks. These specially built trains travel at a record 220 mph thus reducing inter-country travel time significantly. Aside from speed, these trains can also provide you with extreme comfort. Most have adequate dining facilities, family carriages, even telephone connections.
Unfortunately, if there are exceptionally good trains, there are those that do not make the mark. Of the several train systems in Europe, many travelers and commuters find that England’s train services leave much to be desired. Travelers’ state that UK trains, aside from having dirty carriages, are usually very crowded and commuters often have to endure traveling to their destination packed like proverbial sardines in a can. Other than being severely overcrowded, UK trains are noted for not being able to keep track of the time. Statistics show that one of five trains are delayed. Though delays are inevitable, what upsets commuters is the fact that some trains are late by hours. Since 27 different train companies operate in the United Kingdom, all with deadlines and performance targets to meet, all their departure and arrival schedules should be coordinated. When a train is late, succeeding travels will be adversely affected.
With the service rates almost double the rates of that of Italy, virtually the most expensive in the whole of Europe, it is no wonder that customers grumble about this as well. Patrons would not mind paying a hefty sum if they receive exceptional service, but if they do not get their money’s worth, expect them to raise a ruckus.
Given all these tips, you may be able to determine which train system you would like to take. Don’t, however, rely only on the information that you can gather from the Internet. Since evaluation of services is very subjective and based on individual perception, you might want to ask others to share their own personal experiences. If you have time, take these trains and see for yourself which one you consider to be the best or the worst.