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Passenger Trains > What is it like to have really good access to passenger trains?


Date: 04/19/24 10:03
What is it like to have really good access to passenger trains?
Author: HogheadMike

I like to write on Quora from time to time and just made a really extensive post about my experience riding high-speed trains from city to city in Italy.  It was the only mode of transportation I used for almost a month.  Some travel inspiration, and also some comparison to our abysmal passenger rail system here in the US.  Enjoy!

https://railroadrefugeetravelwanderlust.quora.com/https-qr-ae-psoZ7B-2


 








Date: 04/19/24 12:04
Re: What is it like to have really good access to passenger train
Author: RevRandy

Awesome story to read - I lived for half of 2001 in Venezia and traveled totally by train. Always a delight. Thank you



Date: 04/19/24 12:54
Re: What is it like to have really good access to passenger train
Author: bobs

I haven't visited Italy (yet) but I have been around parts of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, England, and France and had similar experiences with the train systems, both local and high speed/long distance.

Germany instituted a €49/month pass that includes all local bus systems and local train routes (not InterCity Express [ICE] or InterCity [IC] trains).  Unfortunately it isn't set up for tourists as the only way to purchase it is via a direct withdrawal from your bank using your IBAN number, which US banks don't support.  France was planning to implement a similar pass this year, but I don't know if it happened. 

Germany's operator, Deutsche Bahn (DB) has a smartphone app that makes planning a trip and buying tickets simple.  It includes up to the minute status on trains which is useful because Germany's system is overcrowded and trains often run late.  Your train may be canceled, as has happened to me several times.  Simply get on the next one, or devise a different routing, even if your original ticket was train-specific.  There is a manned DB information booth at pretty much every station with helpful, multi-lingual people who can help you with repairing a disrupted trip. Imagine trying to do any of that with Amtrak!

The app even has a page showing the consist of your train, which car numbers are where in the consist, and where to stand on the platform at your station to be close to that car upon arrival.  Electronic displays at the platforms also show the consist sequence and platform location.  On the train, in car displays show the next stop and all connections, including local bus, subway, and tram connections, with up-to-date delay information.  The system is very well integrated.  French, Swiss, UK and Austrian trains have similar features.



Date: 04/19/24 13:04
Re: What is it like to have really good access to passenger train
Author: symph1

And let's not forget Japan. Bullet trains (Shinkansen) all aver the country with frequent service; Limited Express service, which is also fast and comfortable, where the Shinks don't go; and tons of local services all over the country.

And China has build a high speed rail rail network that's incredible.



Date: 04/19/24 15:04
Re: What is it like to have really good access to passenger train
Author: RMD23

Really enjoyed your Quora post.  From experience, I heartily concur with your assessment of travel (and sightseeing options).  Definitely got me itching to plan my next adventure in Italy.  Be safe!



Date: 04/19/24 17:33
Re: What is it like to have really good access to passenger train
Author: Northeaster

Absolutely one of the best travel write ups I have ever read....great job and thanks for posting it.



Date: 04/19/24 18:10
Re: What is it like to have really good access to passenger train
Author: colehour

I lived in Rome from 2001 to 2007. While Rome's transit system (ATAC) has its problems, you could use any mode of public transportation for an inexpensive ticket. This included bus, streetcar, subway, and heavy rail. My annual ATAC pass cost about 250 Euro -- good for unlimited travel on ATAC.

They were working on high speed rail when I was there. I recall traveling by train between Florence and Rome in an hour and a half. It was impressive watching us easily overtake the cars on the autostrada that paralleled the tracks.



Date: 04/19/24 18:11
Re: What is it like to have really good access to passenger train
Author: ChrisCampi

Many thanks Mike for your fine write up. I'll be heading there in July and look forward to experiencing much of what you've shared. The hardest part may just be returning home....



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