February 27, 2024

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Will My Next Trip Be by Train Instead of Plane?

2 min read

Train lovers and travelers concerned about their carbon footprint have a lot to choose from this year — especially in Europe. While some European governments are mulling short-haul flight bans, many passengers are already opting for rail, where new connections are numerous.

Nightjet, part of the Austrian federal railway, ÖBB, started running a sleeper train between Berlin and Paris in December, while the French rail operator, S.N.C.F., started overnight service between Paris and Aurillac, in south-central France, the same month. Sleeper trains between Paris and Vienna and Paris and Nice are also already in service. And the Italian rail operator Trenitalia has recently started running a weekly high-speed connection between Rome and the station serving the Pompeii archaeological park.

Other new European connections include a sleeper service between Brussels and Prague, coming in late March, and an overnight train between Brussels and Bratislava, Slovakia, expected late this year or early next. Trenitalia is also working on high-speed service between Paris and Barcelona, with a possible connection to Madrid, as well as a direct link between Milan and Ljubljana, Slovenia; no start date has been set for either service.

Looking for a luxury experience? The Orient Express La Dolce Vita will offer itineraries through Italy beginning in November. Backed by the French conglomerate Accor, the service will emphasize design and fine dining, and will take visitors to places like Palermo, Portofino, Rome and Siena.

Asia-bound travelers also have luxury options with two new itineraries on the Eastern & Oriental Express. Each route starts and ends in Singapore and takes travelers on a three-night trip through Malaysia. In March, Japan will offer extended bullet train service from Tokyo to Fukui prefecture, home to a 13th-century Buddhist temple, coastal cliffs and a dinosaur museum.

In the United States, Amtrak’s new fleet of high-speed trains could soon enter service in the Northeast Corridor, although no start date has been set. The trains will reach 160 miles per hour, up from the current 150 m.p.h.

As of last month, Brightline — a privately owned intercity operator — has been running 16 round-trip trains every day between Orlando, Fla., and Miami. Looking ahead, Brightline is planning a high-speed route between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, a project that won $3 billion in federal support late last year. Organizers hope the service will begin in time for the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

Paige McClanahan

2024-01-18 10:00:55

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