At times, we’d rather you take the train. While high speed rail is extremely expensive to build and therefore unavailable to many nations, there are several existing high speed rail networks around that offer excellent connections between urban centres in China, Europe or Japan. We will focus on Europe on this article.
Let’s face it, for North Americans, rail is not a popular choice. Air travel is so convenient and accessible that most of you will not even consider the rail option. The lack of infrastructure for 186mph (300kmh) trains does not help either. In Europe, however, it is a different picture. Rail is so competitive that it has over 90% market share on certain routes, such as London-Paris.
So when, why and how should you book a train ticket? High speed rail is generally competitive against air travel on routes under 5 hours. Think that although trains are slower than aircraft, you do have to make your way to the airport, check-in, go through endless security checks, wait to pick-up your luggage when you arrive, etc. All of that takes time. Trains offer the advantage of speedy boarding and city centre to city centre connections. Paris-London for example takes 2h 15min by train. By plane it takes about 1h, but that is without taking account the time to get to the airport, checking-in…
The key to rail travel is to BOOK EARLY. If you leave it too late, airlines are usually more price competitive. Another often overlooked advantage of trains, is that the luggage restrictions are much less severe than with air travel. You will know what I’m talking about if you have been charged for overweight luggage. Punctuality is also strong, with Eurostar for example claiming over 95% of trains arriving on time. Find me an airline that can match that. And did I mention that it is so much better for the environment to travel by train?
However good train travel may be, do not underestimate the ability of airlines to undercut train prices. For that reason, we will start to compare cheap rail as well as cheap flights on a selection of European routes over the next few weeks. We will be giving you more choice than anyone else out there so that you can get the best deal out of your travels in Europe.
Here is a small selection of routes we will soon be adding to our flight search:
Keep checking our site for more updates.