» Trains emerge as favourite mode of transport
Switzerland's Glacier Express. Pic supplied by Swiss Railways

Trains emerge as favourite mode of transport

Train are emerging as the preferred mode of transport for Australian travellers visiting Europe in 2018, according to International Rail Australasia.

The Australian-based global rail pass and ticket sales specialist has revealed that inquiries and bookings for 2018 are already stronger than the previous two years, with customers suggesting they are eager to return to Europe after coming to terms with the unrest of recent times.

“We are finding there’s a trend towards smaller bookings with fewer sectors and it’s likely due to well-travelled customers returning to favourite countries to see them in depth rather than longer itineraries stretching across multiple destinations,’’ International Rail director Jonathan Hume says.

We’re also noticing travellers keen to book trains well ahead of time to guarantee they can move on preferred dates and at convenient times while also ensuring they benefit from the advance-purchase fares which are generally cheaper the further ahead you make reservations.’’

Moreover, with wait times at airports increasing, travellers are opting to forgo a plane ride in favour of a rail journey instead. A 2017 study by Airlines For Europe has revealed travellers can now spend up to four hours queueing in terminals from Madrid to Paris and Brussels to Milan as security checks and understaffed airlines slow the departure process.

The need to pay for costly airport transfers is also ruled out, easily allowing travellers to roam across Europe from one city to the next, whilst enjoying scenic views from the comfort of spacious seats and big windows.

Another advantage is exceptional value for money and the iconic Eurail Pass is still an economical arrangement for those keen on flexibility with a Eurail Global Flexi Pass covering all 28 countries priced from $84 a day.

“They are particularly good value for families or groups of friends and Saver Passes, for two to five adults travelling together, are discounted 15 per cent while children under 12 travel free of charge.”

Those with set travel times can take advantage of the advance rail purchase fares available from most rail companies.

“For example, Italy’s Trenitalia offers super-cheap fares from Venice to Milan from just $29 per person in second class with similar prices from Germany’s DB Bahn and OEBB in Austria.’’

Train travel is about all the possibilities that make a day of travel about the journey rather than the destination.

“The Swiss Scenic trains are a must and the Glacier Express winds its way through the Swiss Alps with incredible scenery along the way, while the Italian high-speed services are also wonderful because they are fast, efficient, and remarkably comfortable, and in first class food and drinks are served to your seat as you whisk through the landscape at over 300 kilometres per hour.’’

internationalrail.com.au