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On train travelling and Kashtan

Geplaatst op: 14 September 2012 | Geen reacties
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I love travelling trough Europe by train. Yes, in a few hours you can fly easily to any destination in Europe, but what’s more convenient than just stepping into a train, read a book and see countries passing by and landscapes changing?

Some people will say it costs too much time. However, when you travel to relative closer destinations, it doesn’t have to cost more travel time, for example when I travel to Berlin by train (direct connection, ~5h) vs.  by plane (2 hr train to airport, 2hr slack and being on airport prior to departure, 1h flight and time to get to city centre). And those hours in the train are without queuing security checks, and so on. Though, there crying babies might still be there 😉 For longer destinations, one should consider the night trains that run trough Europe, besides the daily long distance connections Entering a train in the evening and waking up in for example Zürich, as I did a few times, saves you a night and will give you an early start of the day in the city of your destination. From the Netherlands and Germany, many night trains are available. This however brings me to the in my opinion main reason why few people (relatively to the amount flying) use long distance trains: because they don’t know about it and because information about them are unclear and ambiguous. Of course, in the end most information can be found, but to attract more people than the experienced traveller the information should be easy to find. Quite some night trains run from The Netherlands, even all the way to Moscow, but the website of the Dutch Railways doesn’t mention them, the NS Hispeed website only mentions a few of the connections. The trains can be booked by phone, but that’s not going to help you if you don’t know about it. What also makes it hard is to make a good comparison of prices, especially when you are planning to take a long distance train that covers multiple countries. Different booking/reservation systems and periods make it hard to find a price estimation let alone book the trip itself.

If you are still enthusiastic about the idea of booking a trip trough Europe by train, a few tips:

  • Check the website ‘The Man in Seat Sixty-One‘ a very good up-to-date website about the many train trips possible in Europe, including prices and example schedules. Trips and connections are planned with starting point London, but nevertheless it’s still very useful.
  • Wikitravel can offer useful advice about connections, check the ‘Getting in’ section of country pages.
  • Use the Deutsche Bahn railway planner, as it can show you connections in even the most exotic European countries. For booking and prices you need to check the website of the local railway company or the sources listed above.
  • I didn’t buy it yet, but it seems that the Thomas Cook European Rail Timetable is useful!

On a related train travel note, it seems that the “Kashtan” Berlin – Kyiv connection will be discontinued starting from October 2013. There is a train running from Berlin all the way to Ukraine? Yes! And that sounded pretty amazing to me, so I added it to my travel to-do list, but unfortunately now it will be discontinued. However, there is still a connection Warsaw – Kyiv so with that and the Berlin – Warsaw connection, I can still travel to Ukraine with two train changes for now. Item remains on the to-do list.

Happy travelling

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AlexanderPeters.nl

Welcome! On this blog I post stuff that might be interesting for others or just random posts on daily life stuff. Some of my posts are in English, maar soms ook gewoon in het Nederlands, net waar ik zin in heb. Enjoy!

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