June 2nd, 2014


Sleeper trains

As those who know me will know, I try to avoid flying without a good reason; it's the worst thing most westerners do to the environment. So, with the exception (see above under "good reason") of my regular visits to aviva_m, which, sadly, are too far and/or expensive to do overland on a continuing basis, every time bar two (plus South Africa, which was piggy-backed to being sent there by work) I've been abroad since 2007, I've travelled by train at least one of the directions, with destinations including Nice, Amsterdam, Dublin*, Paris, and Cologne via Brussels in addition to the below.

* You can get train fares between anywhere in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, which include the ferry crossing. My ticket was from Dun Laoghaire to London Euston and cost just £30.50—for gornisht, as my father would say.

The problem with this is that train journeys eat up precious leave time. The solution is to do them at night, when you're not missing anything. So I have taken sleeper trains, over the last few years, to Madrid (en route to Gibraltar), Rome, Verona (en route to Venice) and Girona (en route to Barcelona).

† Ignoring the other problem, which is that train travel is disproportionately expensive. If I were in charge, governments would tax short-haul flights and use them to subsidise train journeys over the same route, to make the train journeys more attractive.

Which is why I'm a little upset to discover that "the Paris to Madrid sleeper service, which ran for over a century, was scrapped last year with little fanfare."

Oh well, the good news, I suppose, is that I managed to make use of it before it went away. And in the meantime, I can go back to waiting for an environmentally-friendly means of aviation to be decised. But I've a suspicion I might be in for a long wait.

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