Europe train journeys
Europe Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
March 6th, 2008 – by: ClearSkies
A large display board inside the train station gave us a list of destinations available from that station, departure times, and from which track the train will depart. Once outside, we found that each track is numbered and has its own display board showing the train's destination, departure time, train operator, and perhaps a short list of the major stops in between.
We started our short European tour in Prague, Czech Republic, and our first train took us from Prague's Holesovice Station to Vienna, Austria. Since many European cities have more than one train station, it's important to know which one to use for your next destination.
Just like an airliner, you can purchase either a 1st or 2nd class fare. The train cars are plainly marked with either a "1" or a "2" that indicates where you may sit according to your fare class. We were traveling on 2nd class tickets, but I strolled through the 1st class cars during the journey to see what they were like. I had already noticed that the fare difference wasn't that large between the two classes, and the difference in accommodations was likewise not that dramatic. The main difference was perhaps more room between rows and slightly larger seats.
In Vienna, we arrived at Wien Sudbahnhof (south station), and departed for Salzburg the next day from Wien Westbahnhof (west station). Either station can be reached via Vienna's subway system (U-bahn).
From there, it was on to Munich and then Frankfurt, where we caught our flight back home. All along our route we noticed the strict punctuality of the European train system. I made a special point to notice the clocks at each station where we stopped along the way, and if the itinerary that came with our tickets said we'd arrive at 16:05 and leave at 16:12, then that's exactly what we did (well, perhaps give or take one or two minutes). This meant that the change of trains that we had to accomplish between Munich and Frankfurt was easy, even though we had only ten minutes to leave one train, find our new track number, then become settled on the other train before it left.
Each train we were on had food service, and I assume every train has similar offerings. This includes a wide range of drinks (beer, soft drinks, and juices), and snacks such as sandwiches, chips, and candies. A food and beverage cart would often be brought through the passenger cars which had a sampling of items that are available in the dining car. Feel free to eat at your seat. Several areas had seats facing each other with a folding table in between.
Train travel in Europe is leisurely, comfortable, and allows the traveler to see Europe's postcard countryside along the way.
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