Seniors: Consider Train Travel

Dec 23rd, 2010 | By James E Becker | Category: Senior Travel

Whether it’s the rumble of the tracks beneath your feet or the wind in your hair that gets you going, the excitement of trains — a travel staple for decades — still appeals to all ages. Seniors, when you’re traveling around the world, it’s good to know that there are public transit systems available to help you get where you want to go. 

The Telegraph in the UK chose these ten trips as the “best train rides”.  Between them, their top 10 carve up the most spectacular scenery on the planet. While several will leave “scorch marks on the plastic” in return for ultimate style and pampering, others, such as the Glacier Express in Switzerland, Japan’s Bullet Train and Mexico’s Copper Canyon Railway, will charge you no more than locals pay when traveling from one town to another.

Looking for the very best train ride in the world according to the Telegraph?  It has to be the Trans-Siberian Rail. As a rule, the Trans-Siberian means the 5,772-mile journey begins in European Moscow and ends up a stone’s throw from Japan in the Pacific Ocean port of Vladivostok. Wow! Want to know just a little more at the TSR?  Check out these two sites and

Without a doubt, the wide windows of a railroad coach serve up better and more accessible views than any mode of transport. Don’t believe it? Just chug into the Swiss Alps, ride through the Australian Outback, or train down the California coast for detailed views into the towns and landscapes that make each place its own.

Of course, something else draws us to the rails. Whether it’s the nostalgic pull of an lost era or the awe inspired by postcard-like views of unfamiliar lands, trains induce a childlike euphoria that makes them the ultimate escape. Top Ten Train Rides is an eleven part series complete with photos and information on each ride.  9 Best Train Journeys in the Worldshould capture your interests if you are a trainaholic.

Underground subway systems offer the convenience of getting where you want when you want without the hassle of having to flag down a taxi or rent a car. In just about all cases, it’s the most cost effective option.  There are some beautiful, modern, and vast rapid transit systems throughout the world. 

I know from experience in Paris and London that le Métro and the Tube both function very efficiently.  The London Underground is Europe’s largest metro subway system and is the world’s oldest underground system (it was inaugurated in 1863). It covers 253 miles of track and transports 976 million people yearly. The Underground is also connected to a variety of rail services to London’s surrounding areas (including the Eurostar to Paris).

The Paris subway system is the second oldest in the world (the initial system was completed in 1900) and aids roughly 1.365 billion people with their daily commutes. Running over 133.7 miles of track and stopping at 380 stations, it has a great amount of coverage throughout the city.  I recall reading years ago that the Russians had stolen the plans for the Paris Métro system and the result was that today the Moscow subway system has the biggest ridership of all metro systems throughout the world, with 3.2 billion riders annually traveling on 12 subway lines to 172 stations. In total, the Moscow Metro covers approximately 178 miles. On an average weekday, the subway itself carries about 8.2 million passengers. 

Road and Travel Magazine has a nice listing of luxury train travel all over the world.  Let’s not ever forget the Orient Express.  Care for a little video footage?  YouTube has some great shots of various trains all over the world.  I have a friend who can not walk through his own basement as it is full of trains on top of ping-pong tables.  My own brother-in-law has tracks all over his back yard and is a full train enthusiast. 

So, ready for a schedule?  Tour Vacations to Go has dozens for you to consider from Budget, First Class, Deluxe and Luxury train tours. The TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse = High Speed Train)in France is a speeding marvel as well. The TGV in a word? Fast. Up to 200 mph fast. And, with Paris as its hub, France’s high-speed rail service also connects to neighboring countries so you can be in Brussels, Geneva, Frankfurt, London and Stuttgart in no time. The TGV holds the world’s record for the fastest train, and that means you’ll experience significantly shortened travel times. On April 3, 2007 the train reached the speed of 574.8 km/h (357.2 mph). That’ll pull the gum right out of your mouth!     jeb

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