Europe by Train: Relive the past, discover the future

Rail travel is the best and most convenient way to see Europe. Comfortable, easy and no high gas prices or reading maps. Europe by train is a delight. Photo: German high-speed rail

CHARLOTTEAugust 18, 2012 — Europe by train.  When most Americans think of traveling through Europe they often think of renting a car, but trains are a strong alternative.

The master Danish storyteller Hans Christian Andersen wrote that “to travel is to live” and the famed novelist Somerset Maugham stated that “the good traveler has the gift of surprise.

They couldn’t have been more accurate, for no matter how often you travel, every journey is unique — an opportunity that unwraps an array of adventures.

Trains recall a golden age when a pair of rails were a pathway to discovery; parallel lines converging in the distance, momentarily unified in a single time and place that is a carousel of sights and sounds.

Rails speak to us. They echo glimpses of the past as they whisper visions of the future. The nostalgic bygone era when giant steam locomotives chugged through the countryside with the clickety-clack of steel against steel, and the haunting sounds of lonesome whistles in the night, has given way to modern, streamlined machines that streak across the landscape. Yet trains remain suspended in time, evoking feelings of romance and adventure.

Though the trains of today are fast and efficient, there is also a unifying depth they bring to travelers and their destinations that is difficult to find in other forms of travel.

Planes fly over countries. Trains pass through them.

Cars keep your eyes fixed to the highway. Trains allow you to relax and observe the ever-changing panoramas that pass by your window.

Trains bring together a cross-section of cultures. They allow you to mix and to mingle with fellow travelers who share a similar wanderlust spirit, presenting the world in human terms by touching a crossroads of an international community.

In Europe, trains are especially appealing because they provide access to a wide array of people from differing cultures, languages and traditions within just a hundred miles or so.

European trains take you through living postcards; a magical blend of great cities, quaint villages, castles in the sky, majestic waterfalls, seductive beaches, serene lakes and much more. It is a journey through history; a journey into discovery which lies beyond every bend.

The joys of rail travel do indeed reflect a simpler day, yet, in a way, they are a poetic paradox. The mixture of modern, high-speed trains that are fast, efficient and comfortable blends gracefully with sensations created by each changing scene that here, somehow, time also stands still.

Europe is a vast network of rails that links the heritage of each destination and makes them accessible. It is a precision operation designed with people in mind to ease arrivals and departures by offering frequent and regular service as well as many other techniques to assist passengers in getting where they want to go.

Diversity is the key to European trains. There are hundreds to choose from; fast trains, leisure trains, day trains, overnight trains and, even, luxury trains. It all translates to a customized method of travel catering to individual needs and lifestyles.

The range of options allows freedom and independence to establish one or two base cities and take day trips from there; to move to and from various locations with the flexibility of personal whims.

Europe’s high-speed rail systems are among the best in the world. Today they travel so rapidly that they can transport you faster than an airplane on most trips of three and a half hours or less.

A railroad track is an invitation to discovery and trains are a serendipitous in motion that encompass a montage of life and a collage of lifestyles.

Trains have an aura about them. The result is a limitless treasure chest of variety and wonder that the European rail systems have harmoniously unified to embrace the character of the continent. It is all part of the phenomenon that is the romance of the rails.

To board a train is an event; a happening. This is no ordinary exercise, for once seated comfortably by a window, you are encapsulated in a modern time machine that glides over steel pathways to the next great chapter of your itinerary.

 European trains are a procession of time and place; events leap off the pages of history, yet remain alive with the tempo of today. Here is an opportunity for access to a diversity of nationalities and perspective that personify every journey and that go beyond guidebooks, bringing your personal odyssey to life.

Here is where the excitement of train travel gathers momentum and fulfills its destiny. This is the “rail” way of travel; a pair of parallel lines heading off in the distance, with the promise of an unparalleled experience.

Traveling by train is easy and convenient. The system is designed that way. All it takes is a bit of planning, preparation and a little common sense to become a veteran explorer as you make tracks through Europe.

If Hans Christian Andersen and Somerset Maugham were alive today, surely they would agree that “to travel is to live.   (

Peabod is Bob Taylor, owner of Taylored Media Services in Charlotte, NC. Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club which creates and escorts customized tours to Switzerland, France and Italy for groups of 12 or more. Inquiries for groups can be made at Taylored Media has produced marketing videos for British Rail, Rail Europe, Switzerland Tourism, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council, the Finnish Tourist Board, the Swiss Travel System and Japan Railways Group among others. As author of The Century Club book, Peabod is now attempting to travel to 100 countries or more during his lifetime. To date he has visited 69 countriesSuggest someplace new for Bob to visit; if you want to know where he has been, check his list on Facebook. Bob plans to write a sequel to his book when he reaches his goal of 100 countries.


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Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor has been travel writer for more than three decades. Following a career as an award winning sports producer/anchor, Taylor’s media production business produced marketing presentations for Switzerland Tourism, Rail Europe, the Finnish Tourist Board, Japan Railways Group, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council and the Swiss Travel System among others. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club ( and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.


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