I have spent much of this hot sweltering summer traveling throughout Europe trying to rev up our business in what is a somewhat tough economy. I have largely forsaken air travel and have spent many happy hours on trains. The highlight was a wonderful journey from Florence to Interlaken along with a couple of Geneva-Neuchatel, and Neuchatel-Zurich trips. The Swiss railroad system is impeccable. It must have a 101% punctuality record. The trains are clean, comfortable and fully equipped so you can use the time productively. Plus the countryside is inevitably spectacular involving lakes, mountains, and vineyards. Brussels and Paris are best reached nowadays by train since you avoid the traffic horrors en route to the airports and leave and arrive in the center of the cities.
I've been watching Hell on Wheels on my ipad telling the tale of the railroad connecting the east and west coast of the US more than 100 years ago. As Shimon Peres said, "What was once controversial, inevitably becomes popular." How long will it be before the US reinvests in rail travel instead of simply adding more runways and more congestion and more hassle?