The train experiment: 1500 kilometers business trip by train – possible?

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I like trains as a means of transport. I also like high service level. As I travel a lot to our headquarters in southern Germany (Freiburg), the environmental consciousness has really caught up on me. For a long time my reasoning has been that it’s not practical to use the train instead of flying the 1500 kilometers. However I would really judge this statement as dishonest as I haven’t tried it. So, with the knowledge about the bad climate effects I decided to do an experiment:

“Do one of my common business trips to Freiburg with the train instead of flying”

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After the trip and conclusions
We will probably get a refund for the night train I missed. This section include my own personal reflections.

Booking

·         It must be easier to reserve train tickets and also get them electronically, at least a pdf in an email
·         It’s too expensive to motivate going by train instead of choosing the flight – 3 times as expensive
·         It must be possible to decide for seat reservations so you could sit beside a colleague and work

Comfort

·         To work on the train is much more comfortable than on a plane. More room for computer and also electricity available by the seat in all the trains
·         If the train is crowded (which it was between Copenhagen and Hamburg) the comfort is fairly bad especially if you sit in a place for 4 persons with a table in between
·         Night train comfort was very good even though the bed is maybe too short for a taller person

Service

·         Train between Copenhagen and Hamburg did not have a restaurant but this was compensated by       the fact that the boat between Denmark and Germany had restaurants
·         Luggage check in not possible
·         When the problems occurred the interest to help the passengers completing their journey was way too low not only on the train but also in the Hamburg train station – here the train companies should have a better cooperation that aims to help passengers to get to their final destination

Environment

·         Trains in Sweden run on 100% renewable energy
·         The train in Denmark was a diesel train
·      In accordance with DB the electric trains has the following mix:

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So what about the future?
All in all I still like the trains as means of transportation but two things really bother me concerning doing more international business trips with the train:

1.       Service level is too low in everything from booking the trip to actually helping passengers
2.       Price is too high

Also the time it takes to travel 1500 kilometers should be possible to shorten by increasing the capacity, performance a reliability of the trains. My trip had an average speed of 68 km/hour. Increasing the average speed to 100 km/hour would mean I could instead leave at 3 in afternoon from Linköping and be able to be in the office the morning after which in my eyes would make it an appealing alternative to flying so see this as my request dear politicians and train companies but don’t forget the passengers and their needs.

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