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No matter how many airmiles one has racked up, or indeed how at ease one is with flying, there is an inevitable relief that follows the words: “the turbulence we have been experiencing should stop within the next 10 to 15 minutes.” Well, having spent the last hour or so being bounced about the troposphere by a storm somewhere over central Spain, I am bathing in the comfort of the captain’s every syllable.

The uneasy silence that accompanies these episodes of severe turbulence have sent me reminiscing about the soothing, gentle chimes of train journeys. The up-close-and-personal view of the snow-capped mountains of southern Switzerland, the diligent ticket inspection of train guards on my Copenhagen morning commute, the voyeuristic glimpses of private lives as you whiz by suburbs; trains really are magical, aren’t they? And it’s looking like these mechanical snakes will be soon be dominating travel.

Many readers have likely come across the trendy Scandinavian terms poised to redefine how we travel. ‘Flygskam’, meaning the shame of flying, and ‘Tagskyrt’, translated to train bragging, are both gaining traction with growing numbers of people, who now shrug off the skies in favour of the veritable railways. Most of those jumping on the anti-flying train (pun fully intended) are doing so for environmental motives, and there’s good reason for it. According to the European Environment Agency, at 285g per passenger kilometre, air travel is by far the greatest emitter of CO2, with rail travel being on the other end of the scale as the most sustainable (producing some 14g of CO2 per passenger kilometre).

Even without the grounding force of environmental guilt, rail travel is experiencing a second renaissance. As travellers look towards more experiential travel, trains are offering the ideal means of getting around. There is no hiding that train journeys take longer than flying, but that is exactly the point. The journey is not simply the means to get to the holiday destination, but a component part of the holiday itself. From the majesty of train stations, to the panoramas and vistas as you chug along, there is little surprise eager travellers are being captivated by the inherent romance of rail travel.

For convenience too railways reign supreme. Stations tend to sit in the heart of towns and cities, unlike their airplane cousins whose space-hungry runways force them on the outskirts, or beyond! Lengthy and intrusive security checks are non-existent, as are luggage limits. Granted, rail networks are frequently plagued by delays, uncomfy seats, and inflated prices. But then again, so are flights…

So, as you plan your holidays for 2020, why not hop aboard the growing trend and travel by rail?

To inspire you, the team here at Nustay is putting together some itineraries for the best rail holidays this year – watch this space!

 

Words by Jeremy Sacramento