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Rail travel

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A British InterCity 125, the world's fastest diesel train, races through the English countryside.

Rail travel includes everything from heritage steam trains to high-speed bullet trains, from sightseeing or dinner trains to the convenience of speed as a means of modern transport.


See Tips for rail travel if you have never been on a train or your last trip is some time in the past

Railroads emerged in the 19th century, as the first widely available means of fast land transportation, and has put its mark on most countries and cities, even before the rise of the automobile. In Russia, the Trans-Siberian Railway was the only coast-to-coast land transport until a Trans-Siberian Highway opened in the early 21st century; in Canada, the country was unified only by rail until the Trans-Canada Highway was completed in 1961.

The availability and quality of rail infrastructure varies greatly between countries. While countries such as Germany and Japan have an excellent rail network both in and between cities, passenger rail service in the United States has fallen far behind its road network, and some countries are completely devoid of rail.

Rail travellers might encounter timetables and information being available in local languages only, poorly translated information or hard to understand ticketing requirements.

Public transportation networks are usually made up of local rail services, together with urban rail systems, such as streetcars and rapid transit, as well as buses.


  • Tourist trains
  • Public transportation: Comprehensive list of all Metro, elevated rail, light rail, streetcars etc
  • Rail air alliances - While trains and planes often compete, sometimes airlines and railways cooperate. This article deals with this rather new phenomenon
  • Sleeper trains - Once the preferred and virtually only way to reach many places, it is still a good way to get around in style and sometimes surprisingly cheaply
  • High-speed rail - The most modern form of rail travel, capable of travelling at more than 250km/h. Often faster than flying for medium distances if one takes into account the time it takes to get to the airport and clear security.
  • Enthusiast rail travel - For people who are interested in rail transport of all forms




North America[edit]



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