Train or plane – which do you prefer

October 15, 2013

The other night I was having a conversation on Twitter with a couple of travel writers about Eurostar’s new direct London to Amsterdam route, which will be launching the year after next. I said I couldn’t really see the point in going to Holland by train, since it would take me a good hour to get to St Pancras, followed by four hours on the train, compared to just under an hour by plane, but they insisted they’d rather travel by train.

That’s not to say I don’t love travelling by train; I do. One of the biggest attractions, I think, is that you can take as much luggage as you like on board and keep it with you. In fact, some of my favourite journeys have been by train. There was the Big US Trip post-uni when my friends and I took probably every possible train route in the US. What I loved about it was the way each train had its own identity – the train to Las Vegas, for example, was very much a party train, with snacks and cocktails.

I also always enjoy taking the train in Switzerland, because you travel right through Milka chocolate country, with mountains and traditional chalets and green fields and lakes – plus lots of cows with bells. Another favourite train journey was the one No 1 Son and I took across Europe after our plane was cancelled due to fog; I can still remember the sense of achievement we felt at having negotiated goodness knows how many trains in however many countries using our fairly basic knowledge of French and German.

And of course I love taking the Eurostar – particularly to Paris and Disneyland Paris; I still get a kick of arriving at the House of the Mouse. Plus there’s no denying that trains make travelling with kids very easy.

plane on the runway at Heathrow airportI’m a huge fan of plane journeys, though, particularly to the US, when I can just relax and watch lots of movies. Of course it makes it easier at airports if you’re in an airport lounge, and I always prefer turning left when I board, but generally, I’m very happy to take the plane, even if it’s only a short journey.

If I had to choose an absolute favourite mode of transport, though, I would of course opt for ship. For me, nothing comes close to the thrill of seeing ever-changing scenery from your stateroom balcony, or of being out in the middle of the ocean; I love being looking out at the inky blackness of the sea at night, and really, the sheer glamour of cruising.

So… train or plane… (or ship) – which do you prefer? I’d love to know.

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  • Zoe October 17, 2013 at 8:37 am

    This is actually quite a difficult question. I love the idea of travelling by train – it has some romance about it – but in reality all the train journeys I take are hot, crowded, delayed and stressful! I would absolutely love to take the snow train to Switzerland or the Eurostar to Paris or Amstadam, but in reality my money gets spent on planes because it’s quicker.

  • Christine October 15, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Definitely train – but perhaps that’s because most of my recent flights have been with Ryanair or Easyjet! I’d love (and plan) to do the Trans Siberian one day.

  • MummyTravels October 15, 2013 at 9:31 am

    I’ve got to say plane. Travelling by train always has that sense of romance (one day I’d still love to go on the Orient Express) and you do sometimes get those wonderful scenic journeys – plus for Paris, I agree, Eurostar makes so much more sense than flying.

    But for me, nothing beats that bubble of excitement as the plane takes off, and as the ash cloud proved a few years ago, air travel lets me get to so many places that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. Even a trip to the south of France is a major event if you do it by train (and I don’t always want the journey to be the holiday!).

    Plus, after slightly too many rammed, no-seat, hot, cross, delayed train journeys around the UK, the magic has definitely been spoiled for me.