NEW YORK -- Following are highlights from a speech on rail travel
given by Heinz Wesner, president of DER Travel in Chicago, at
Travel Weekly's Europe 2000 conference, held on Nov. 30 at the
Marriott Marquis here.
There are many reasons the train is -- and definitely will be in
the future -the best mode of transportation in Europe:Connecting major European cities by high-speed rail makes trips
shorter and more convenient. For example, in only one year, train
rides from Frankfurt to Cologne will take less than one hour,
compared to two hours today.
The travel time by train between the major airports in Britain,
the Benelux countries, France and Germany will be almost cut in
half by the end of next year due to advancements in high-speed
Eurostars, ICEs, TGVs and other existing technical rail wonders
will become even faster, safer and more comfortable.From city to city most train stations are very close to main
hotels, business centers, cultural sites and tourist
attractions.The frequency of train services, especially between cities that
are two to three hours apart, is usually very high. Trains run
every hour or in even shorter intervals.Trains in Europe are running on time.Whenever connections need to be made by train, they can be done
reliably within minutes.In many European countries, you'll find hub-and-spoke
connections linking main lines conveniently to regional lines.When traveling longer distances, overnight trains in Europe
offer comfortable sleeping accommodations.
They leave late and arrive early to allow a full day of
activities or business meetings on either end.New luxury overnight services do exist on many routes, such as
the hotel trains from Paris to Spain or in Germany, the Intercity
Night Train and the City Night Line.
These trains feature hotel-room-like accommodations with
amenities that usually cost less than their [hotel]
counterparts.You can watch the scenery, relax, walk around, have some food
and meet other travelers while on a train. Try to do that in a car
or in a plane.First class seats are usually less crowded than second class --
and most rail passes available to Americans are first class.Only severe weather conditions can change a train schedule,
which is not true of travel by air or car or bus.