EUROPE, April 13, 2013 –
Thanks to modern rail technology, traveling by train through
In 1964, when the hoopla of the Tokyo Olympic Games over and the world departed, the crowded island nation waved good-bye and went back to work. But something was different. Something remained. Something had changed the world of transportation and travel, forever.
In Japanese they are known as Shinkansen, but to the world they became commonly known as “bullet trains.”
Due to concerns about population density combined with rising costs of gasoline, countries like
Commercial high speed trains in many countries currently reach scheduled speeds of 186-mph while some of
Countries with less revenue to devote to infrastructure or that are not large enough to support the extensive lengths of dedicated track necessary for high speed rail services, ingeniously developed the concept of tilting trains. While tilt trains do not travel at the super speeds of their faster cousins, they have the advantage of being able to operate on existing rail lines.
Another innovation, which has also been incorporated into modern French TGVs and German ICEs (Inter City Express), is double deck trains which provide added passenger capacity along with the high speeds.
Technological advances in conventional high speed rail travel has made the long awaited dream of connecting the
The project officially opened in May, 1994 with the 31.4 mile underwater rail tunnel linking
Private companies have also gotten into the high speed rail marketplace. Known as “the Big Red Train,” Thalys unites Benelux countries (
Even a small country like Switzerland, which has no need for high speed rail of its own because of its size, has cleverly negotiated alliances with France, Germany and Italy to utilize their rapid train services between the bordering countries. The result has been a tourism boom for all four destinations by providing easy access for visitors.
Several other countries in Europe also have extensive, growing, high speed rail services, particularly
Ground transportation is frequently the last thing travelers consider when planning a trip. For Americans, renting a car is often the first consideration and, indeed, at first glance a rail pass may sometimes seem expensive by comparison. But when you consider the high cost of gasoline in Europe, the convenience of going city-center to city-center by rail, the hassles of reading road signs and finding parking, the advantages of having accessible food and restroom services and the ability to sit back, relax, read a book or paper, work at the computer, enjoy a nap or simply stare out the window at the passing array of panoramas, a European rail pass is a bargain.
Even with supplemental fees for some high speed rail services, the convenience of traveling between many European destinations of relatively short distances, or the ability to do day trips that were once regarded as impractical, has changed the face of travel forever.
It is now considerably easier, in many cases, to base yourself in a city without changing hotels every day. Not only does it save time from packing and unpacking, it allows more opportunities for sightseeing or shopping and fewer hassles of constantly being on the move.
High speed trains in
For now, consider using
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Peabod is Bob Taylor, owner of Taylored Media Services in
Inquiries for groups can be made at Peabod@aol.com 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 71 countries. Suggest 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. He also played professional baseball for four years and was a sportscaster for 14 years at WBTV, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte.