Here’s Why You Should Consider Taking More Trips on High Speed Rails Than Flights

Here’s Why You Should Consider Taking More Trips on High Speed Rails Than Flights

Want a journey that promises extra spacious legroom, comfy seats along with zero turbulence problems? Then switch out that flight for the high-speed rail on your next trip!

When was the last time you sat on a train to travel from one city to another, or even one country to another?

In the process of planning our holidays, we tend to instinctively think about air-travel and furiously google for the most affordable and convenient flights. After all, the emergence of more budget, no-frills airlines has only made this even more attractive. Still, it seems like most of us have been sorely neglecting one mode of transport  – the High Speed Rail (HSR).

Image credit: tansaisuketti

Although not the first of its kind, a recent news article has rekindled my enthusiasm for taking the train over the plane. Not only have HSR services been increasingly able to compete with flights in terms of their prices, but they have also managed to close the gap in terms of travelling time. Across certain popular routes, train ticket prices are consistently lower than that of planes and can shave off about half an hour from journeys (London to Brussels, New York to Washington DC, Tokyo to Osaka). Definitely a worthy competitor!

Image credit: Herbert Ortner

What gives the HSR even more of an edge is the proximity of train stations to the city (budget airlines tend to land at secondary airports far from the city center), and the increased environmental benefits of not burning jet fuel. According to The Guardian, an average domestic flight will emit up to 29 times more carbon dioxide than a high speed electric train for the same journey. That’s a lot of greenhouse gas…

Image Credit: John Seb Barber

Other than these objective benefits, my own personal experiences on the train have made me a convert. Aside from the numerous short train journeys I have been on, I’ve also been on the Taiwan HSR (Taipei-Kenting) and Eurostar (London-Paris). On both trips, I realised that:

  1. The anxiety that I tend to get before taking a flight is gone
  2. The seats tend to be wider and more comfortable – more personal space!
  3. Since I actually get to enjoy scenic views through the window, not having an entertainment system is perfectly fine.  
  4. A lot of time can be saved by not clearing airport immigration (and standing behind people who did not pack their carry-on bags properly)
  5. Even though there may be a bit of rumbling from time to time, there’s NO TURBULENCE!

Need I say more?

I do get it though, many times going to the airport and getting on a flight is a climatic experience in itself, and sets you up for the adventure ahead. In addition, it is indisputable that airlines offer plenty more routes than HSRs, and can take you just about anywhere in the world. Still, with even more developments for HSRs in China, Japan and Europe, as well as for international rail services like the Trans-Siberian Railway, no one knows the extent to which train services will evolve into next.

Next time you’re planning for a trip, check out if a HSR, or other train options that might be available to you. Trust me, there’s a lot more you get to see from your train carriage than from an airplane window seat.

About Author

Lydia Lee
Lydia Lee

A linguistics student, Lydia suffers from the occupational hazard of thinking too much about the quirks of language. She yearns to see more of the world and its people, and cannot wait for her next adventure to soak in more beautiful sights and sounds. Before she can do that again, her perfect day would include taking a slow walk, having a warm cup of coffee, and being immersed in a good book.


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