Having taken over 71 trains in all Europe with the Eurail Global Pass over the past 3 months, I consider myself pretty knowledgeable on how trains work, which ones are good, and which ones are plainly bad. So, while many train companies offered pretty exceptional train rides, none of them offered the “perfect” train (even though a few came extremely close). So, why don’t I create what I think would be the perfect European train by picking the best of all the rail companies?
So, this is how my perfect European train would look like:
- It would have BIG panoramic windows like some of the Swiss SBB trains to let you appreciate the beautiful landscape, which in their case, includes the Alps!
- It would go as fast as the Italian FrecciaRossa trains of TrenItalia. The fastest I traveled was 300 km/hr! When you go from Milan to Rome in three hours, that’s fast! Spain’s AVE came as a close second place in speed. (In reality, the AVE, the German ICE, and the French TGV are faster, with the TGV being the fastest in Europe with up to 321 km/hr, but on the routes I took, the fastest was FrecciaRossa)
- It would have FREE wi-fi like the Norwegian NSB trains (even the regional trains!). Seriously, all these other countries should catch up on their wi-fi. FrecciaRossa also had wi-fi, but it was not free.
- It would have the route from Oslo to Trondheim, from Zagreb to Split, and from Vienna to Innsbruck, which had the most beautiful sceneries that included snowcapped mountain ranges, waterfalls, rivers, endless greenery, lakes, small beautiful villages, and lots of farms. In my opinion, these were the most impressive, varied, and inspiring sceneries I saw from a train while in Europe.
- It would have the customer service from Spain’s RENFE. Ok, this one really, really surprised me. But, the Spanish were the friendliest with their customer service, both on the train and on the station while making my reservation. (Update: It has been brought to my attention that the Spanish customer service actually sucks. Well like I said, I was really surprised by the exceptional service. Maybe I was lucky. So, I will nominate a good runner up, which is Norway’s NSB.)
- It would have the hotel-like sleeper cabin from the TrenHotel (created by Spain’s RENFE), which runs in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, and Switzerland. This little cabin does compare to a small, but nice hotel room.
- It would have the online service and route selection from Germany’s Bahn. The Bahn does connect you with almost all European countries. And now they have a very useful free app that can help you with timetables and routes in almost all Europe!
- It would serve the snacks served in the FrecciaRossa in Italy. Ok, this is only for first class, but they were nice dolce o salato snacks with a drink.
- It would show you the conductor’s cabin view like the trains from Netherlands. Actually, is a Bahn train, but I took it from Netherlands to Germany. How fun is it to see the conductor doing his job and to see the track in front too?! It’s the closest you can get to operate a train!
- It would have the interior design of the Italian FrecciaRossa, the French SNCF, and the German Bahn. These three are all different, but they do an effort to make your journey more pleasant with a well-designed environment (mostly on first class).
- It would have the most comfortable first class seats like the Italian FrecciaRossa, and second-class seats like the French SNCF.
- It would make buying a ticket as fun as the Norwegian train going to Hell.
- It would have free reservations like the Greek TrainOSE trains.
- And last but not least, it would depart from these beautiful and interesting train stations: Keleti Railway Station in Budapest, Liège-Guillemins in Liège, Milano Centrale in Milan, Gare du Nord in Paris, and Estação do Oriente in Lisbon.
Overall, I would have to say that if I had to pick one or two favorite trains, they would be tie between the Norwegian NSB and the Italian FrecciaRossa.
Now, have you traveled by train in Europe? How was your train and train ride?