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Europe Railway Map

Map of Europe Railway

Trains are a convenient mode of short, medium and long distance travel across Europe. Western and central Europe has a dense and widely used railway network spanning the entire continent.

For short distances, European trains are fast, reliable and frequent. For longer distances they can be preferable to flying for several reasons. Trains have more spacious and comfortable interiors, may offer scenic routes, and do not require long waits at security like at airports. They usually run more frequently as well, and take their travellers to railway stations located in or very close to city centres, whereas airports, especially the ones that budget airliners fly into, can be up to 100 km away from the city centre, requiring expensive and time-consuming connecting services. Ultimately, many people may choose the train over the plane for the feeling of romantic travel they provide.

Trains are flexible in modern day society, the opportunities for destination travel in Europe are endless. Virtually any town larger than about 50,000 inhabitants has a railway station with frequent connections. The towns that aren't served by trains have good bus connections that are normally integrated with the railway system - railway stations normally also serve as hubs for local buses. Transfers are fast and convenient all over Europe; you rarely need to wait longer than 2 hours for a connecting service.

The quality, speed and price of train travel depends on the country, Western European countries generally offering higher speed and more luxurious trains at higher prices than Eastern European countries. When bought on the spot, trains tickets can be more expensive than cheap flights over the same distance, but this difference may disappear when the tickets are booked in advance. Not to forget the costs to get to the airport. Train travel is getting faster every year through the construction of new high speed lines which travel up to 320km/h (200 mph), and upgrading of conventional lines to 200 km/h (125 mph). Especially Germany, France, Belgium and Italy have extensive high-speed networks.

The one problem with rail travel is security. Railway passengers need to be alert about pickpocketing and luggage theft, especially on crowded commuter trains. Since baggage isn't screened, there is also the remote danger of terrorism, though the rarity of such attacks in Europe should not cause worries to the occasional traveller. Another problem with rail is overcrowding. Increasing numbers of commuters in Europe are switching to rail travel to escape congestion on the roads, and it is often impossible to find a seat in 2nd class at rush hours. Still plenty of seats often remain in the 1st class, and some travellers choose to stay there in such situations even though they have a 2nd class ticket. Although not strictly permitted, one often gets away with it because tickets are less frequently checked during periods of overcrowding. Overcrowding is especially common in urban agglomerations such as South-East England, Benelux, The Ruhr region, and the Po Valley.

All trains have coach seating or often labeled as 2nd class in the local language. Most long distance trains travelling from one large city to another large city will have first class seating too. In some countries, such as the Netherlands, France and Germany, trains have so-called "silent" compartments, where you're not allowed to make noise or use mobile phones.

The only trains that have sleepers are trains that will take until the next morning to reach their final destination like the Amsterdam to Warsaw, Munich to Berlin or the G?teborg to Narvik route.