facebook twitter youtube google plus linkedin

Five Reasons Train Travel Is Still The Way To Go

Five Reasons Train Travel Is Still The Way To Go

By Paul Marshman  

These days, most travel involves a trip to the airport, with all its related indignities, followed by several hours spent nibbling pretzels in the discomfort of an economy-class seat. But there’s a kinder, gentler way to travel, the way our parents and everyone else did before the airplane became king: it’s called taking the train.

Those of us not born in the space age still remember the golden age of railroads, when classic passenger trains sped across the country, taking people to their holiday destinations in comfort. There was room to move, time to look at the scenery and chat with fellow passengers. And often there was even a dining car, with white tablecloths and real waiters.

The good news is that those trains still exist, all over the world, and they’re still a great experience. I’ve taken them in many countries, and many of those journeys rank among my greatest travel memories: the Canadian in my home country, climbing through the snow-covered Rockies; the Vistadome in Peru, through the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu; the Tranzalpine in New Zealand, traversing the beautiful Southern Alps.Train  to Puno

In fact, some of the great travel experiences in the world are train trips, like the Orient Express, the Trans-Siberian Railway and India’s Palace on Wheels. Famous plane flights? Can’t think of one.

Here are five reasons taking the train is still the best way to go:

It’s slow: That’s an advantage? Yes: seasoned travellers all agree that slow travel is the way to see the world. From a train window, you can see the country you’ve come to see up close. And if you want to get off and spend some time, there’s a station in almost every town.

It’s convenient: If you live anywhere near a major rail line, you’re probably within a few miles (or kilometres) of a train station. And central stations tend to be right downtown, so there’s no $50 cab ride from the airport when you arrive where you’re going.

Less red tape: Border crossings are a much more civilized affair on the train. Most of the time you don`t even have to leave your seat: show your passport to the border guards when they come through and you’re set to go.

Better food: Long-distance trains still serve real food, sometimes in real dining cars with real menus. Have a leisurely meal, then relax in your seat with an after-dinner drink as you watch the sun set — what’s not to like?

It’s cool: Even if you’re not a train fancier, trains and railways have a style of their own that’s hard to resist. Some of the big-city stations are works of art left over from the last century — or the one before. And these days there are shiny new trains for scenic routes, with domed observation cars and extra-comfy seating.

Train travel isn’t perfect, of course. You can’t cross the ocean in a train car, and some routes can be expensive, especially if you’re travelling with a crowd. But in many parts of Europe and North America, and in more exotic places like New Zealand and Peru, there are scenic train trips that offer great trips across memorable landscapes, and at affordable prices.

Even in the age of the jumbo jet, it’s still possible to travel in the comfort and style of the railroad era. All aboard for the new golden age.

Paul Marshman is a Travel Blogging Specialist.  Being both a Boomer and a world traveler himself, Paul shares travel tips and stories on his popular blog – The Travelling Boomer. You can also follow Paul on Twitter at @Travel_Boomer.

Other Related Posts;

The following two tabs change content below.
Paul Marshman is a writer, photographer and traveler living in Toronto, Canada. Paul is semi-retired from a 30-year career as a reporter, editor and photographer on Canadian newspapers and magazines where his travels have taken him to 50 countries. Paul’s articles have been published everywhere from the Toronto Star to Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel and Paul now shares travel tips and stories on his popular blog – The Travelling Boomer.

Latest posts by Paul Marshman (see all)