Trains Across Europe

The Rebekka Project

You all remember Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir? How could you forget a last name like that? Over 3 years ago, I met her in Iceland and did a post called “Rebekka in Action“, in case you have not heard of her…

Anyway, Rebekka has a new photography project, and she’s accepting donations for people that want to be part of it.

Daily Photo – Trains Across Europe

The Europeans are so lucky to have a semi-functional train system. I’m sure many of them find reasons to complain, but to me, it’s all pretty awesome. The idea of a working train system is pretty foreign to Americans.

This notion that you can get on a train in one city and then hop-skip your way to another city is kind of a novel idea to us! If you’re in Houston, for example, and you decide to go to Dallas, then “getting on the train” isn’t even one of the things that crosses your mind. I don’t know that much about the passenger rail system in the US, and I guess that means its in pretty dire shape. Without even asking, I can almost guarantee our biggest passenger rail service is subsidized by the government. And that, of course, means that I am personally paying for something that I know nothing about.

I’m reminded of this when I go to Europe and can get on a train in Montpellier and end up here, in Barcelona. And not only that, but the train stations are all pretty interesting to explore.

Trains Across Europe The Europeans are so lucky to have a semi-functional train system.  I'm sure many of them find reasons to complain, but to me, it's all pretty awesome.  The idea of a working train system is pretty foreign to Americans.  This notion that you can get on a train in one city and then hop-skip your way to another city is kind of a novel idea to us!  If you're in Houston, for example, and you decide to go to Dallas, then "getting on the train" isn't even one of the things that crosses your mind.  I don't know that much about the passenger rail system in the US, and I guess that means its in pretty dire shape.  Without even asking, I can almost guarantee our biggest passenger rail service is subsidized by the government.  And that, of course, means that I am personally paying for something that I know nothing about.  I'm reminded of this when I go to Europe and can get on a train in Montpellier and end up here, in Barcelona.  And not only that, but the train stations are all pretty interesting to explore. - Trey Ratcliff Read more here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

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  • Susan

    Cool shot of the trains Trey – all golden and beautiful reflections – traveling the trains in Europe must be the way to go – it all sounds so organized – especially with a good phone! Good luck on the Webinar tomorrow!

  • Shaun

    You did better than I did. Took the train from Barcelona to Zaragoza. Tried to get a snap in the Zaragoza station, only to be accosted by what I’m still not sure was either a rentacop or local police. Either way, she was bigger than me ..

    Beware that the spanish treat their rail system with most of the same security as air travel :(

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/fullcex/ Filip Farag

    I think you should see metro stations in Dubai! … I am surprised you didn’t visit Dubai yet. Many things to be photographed there! Love the composition in this one, I don’t know why but it feels right to me! Golden ratio for sure. I’m afraid I still don’t get it fully.

  • http://kirantarun.com/lens Kiran @ KiranTarun.com

    Most cities in US are pretty much spread apart from each other. Hop on a train the next time you visit NYC :)

  • zubin sethna

    hello Trey, glad you like the European rail network.incidentally the French rail network is probably the most heavily state subsidised in Europe.without state subsidies the networks would not be financially viable.take the U.k.even with state help, private companies keep wanting to shut down less profitable lines.travelling costs would be prohibitively high without them.there is something to be admired about state organisation of certain utilities.
    love your photos.keep up the good work. zubin

  • http://none Louis

    Euro Pass on the trains was about $300 for 6 months. These train stations are a great reminder of my youth when In Europe traveling on a shoe string.Spent a year in Europe at a cost of $5-00 a day in 1971 $3-00 for hotel $2-00 for food. Never had a camera but will never forget what I had seen. My head is full of photographs hehe! Total cost for that year i came back to South Africa with $40 out of $2000. Thanks for bringing back memories.

  • foosion

    Nice shot.

    >>I can almost guarantee our biggest passenger rail service is subsidized by the government>>

    Most of our transportation is subsidized by the government. Driving is very heavily subsidized – highways built by the govt, zoning regulations usually force developers to include lots of parking spaces, below market pricing for on-street parking.

  • Simon Morris

    Grand looking station Trey – I like the steel structure of the roof, wonderful complex detail!
    I think most country’s rail system is heavily government/state subsidised these days – I guess cheap air flights have had an impact on how people travel too… this, coupled with today’s busy lifestyles, folk just want to get from A to B as soon as possible. I never used the UK’s rail system much when living there however, most of my friends and family that do, often comment on how unreliable and extortionate it is!
    Talking of railways – I’ve always wanted to travel on the Swiss system… incredibly reliable, almost as good as their watches by all accounts! You’ll have to check ‘em out when you’re there… can’t be long now, how’s the itinerary going? :-)

  • http://flickr.com/fullcex Filip Farag

    Simon – You mean Glacier Express?

  • http://www.stuckincustoms.com Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks all!

    Yes Filip – I need to get to Dubai. Also, I’m gonna try this Glacier Express on the Swiss rail system soon!

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/adrian_world/ Adrian World

    Howdy Trey, Europe has great train systems because they all belong to and are run by the governments. They are not subsidized–they are run by the government. Speaking of Houston-Dallas. Visit the Houston Astros and think about the stadium and the history of the parks neighborhood. Then look at the T-Bone speed rail project connecting Dallas-San Anton-Houston. Billions of dollars! The problem is that not only in Texas everything is bigger, in the whole country everything is way bigger than in Europe. Just look at Austin and the new Metro Rail. Great if you live close to the rail system and work downtown. Imagine how much money it will take to build a decent train system in Austin.

  • http://timetotakepictures.blogspot.com/ Keith Moyer

    The train system (Amtrak) in the U.S. is subsidized by the government. Yes, we are all paying for it (those of us that pay taxes)even though most of us do not use it.
    Nice shot today!

  • Gail in Montana

    Great photo of the train station, Trey. Love the colors. Thanks, Keith, I was trying to think of our rail system here, Amtrak. They are trying to bring it to more places here in Montana, too. Right now it’s up on the highland, going to the Glacier Park area. I think it follows Hwy 2. It would be nice to have a grand railway system here to get from point A to point B. With the cost of gas, even if it goes down a little, it would be a great blessing.
    Have a great day, all. And Happy Mother’s Day in case you don’t post tomorrow to all the moms!! :-)

  • Simon Morris

    Filip & Trey – yes, the Glacier Express is an absolute must… I recently watched a documentary series called ‘Swiss Railway Journeys’ on SKY’s ‘Travel Channel’ – granted they were recorded in the early 90’s however, the rail network in Switzerland looks and runs amazing! Definitely on my list of things to do whilst en-route to visiting family in the UK… hopefully next year ;-)
    Link to series: http://www.travelchannel.co.uk/series-info.asp?series=Swiss%20Railway%20Journeys&ID=9

  • http://www.christinastetlerphotography.wordpress.com Chris

    Trey – The train system on the East Coast isn’t bad and many use it. I’m from the Philly area and people travel between NY, Philly, Baltimore, and DC all the time on Amtrak. While there are glitches here and there, it’s actually pretty well used. And going from 30th Street (Philly) to Grand Central (NYC) sure beats driving in NYC traffic!

  • http://www.laskowitzpictures.com Ray

    Trey, why don’t you fund Rebekka. With your constant marketing, surely you have deep enough pockets to cover her shooting and production expenses.

  • http://www.stuckincustoms.com Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks all – interesting to hear about all these other rail systems… thanks for the feedback

    Ray – I did donate some money – but most charitable stuff goes through Team Stuck In Customs at http://www.kiva.org/team/stuckincustoms

  • http://www.danroads.com Dan

    Another great shot Trey! I need to get some ‘Indoor’ HDR’s as all of mine are mainly outside..

    We had some pretty mad storm here in the south of the U.K…. So, Obv I got the camera out and decided to snap away… Check out the video and pics I got here if you can :) : http://danroads.com/photography2/2011/05/lightning-night/

    Also, I’d love it if you could all spare 10 seconds and go to this facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/printshop.com.mt and like it, then go to this image posted on FB: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=118341724914113&set=a.117775451637407.27960.107050166043269&type=1&theater and ‘LIKE’ that too… I entered it into a comp and realllly want to win :D. Appreciate it much! Thanks
    Dan

  • http://www.danroads.com Dan

    P.S Nice to see you’ve added the new ‘SPAM’ function, Awesome!. Hope you don’t mind me posting links everywhere :S :D
    Thanks!

  • http://www.stuckincustoms.com Trey Ratcliff

    Dan – no problem at all – I approved it just now – whenever anyone puts over 3 links in a comment, it goes into a holding pattern! :)

  • Andy Bird

    I love travelling in Europe on the train. My first experience of it was in 2006 when me and a friend were in Germany for the Football (or soccer) world cup and were travelling from Fankfurt to Kaiserslautern via Mannheim. We got in the ice train which was filled with what looked like hundreds of dead bodies which were infact drunk Swiss football fans who had been celebrating a win from the previous day and were heading to their next deatination. I’m not kidding when I say that it looked like a crime scene, those guys had drank SOOOOOO many beers – absolutely astonishing.

    We used the train when we wee in Houston in 2009 and were pleasantly surprised – we were only going from the Astrodome to Downtown Houston but it was still miles better than what we have in Scotland – our public transport is either too expensive, completely inefficient or an absolute eyesore.

    Europe beats us all hands down – great image!

  • Joseph

    Best high speed train systems in the world belongs to the Japanese. Exceptionally clean stations and trains. Very, very rarely “late”. Riding the Shinkansen bullet train is pure delight.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/fullcex/ Filip Farag

    Andy – I would love to see some shots of the Swiss! :)

  • http://www.myuglyphotos.com/ Ryan Sexton

    You have to love mass transit, I wish more cities in the US had it. I can understand your Point of view. Unless you don’t live in few select cities, mass transit is pretty much non existent here in the US. A bus once an hour doesn’t count in my opinion. Trey do you ever get stopped by the authority’s taking these photos of foreign transit systems?

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/35422436@N06/ George Green

    Trey, I’ve been to Europe, seen and used the trains. Awesome! Of course they are subsidized by the government also. This country needs more trains for long and medium distance travel. I fear that one day not to long in the future, fuel costs will be so high for airlines, that air travel will be obsolete except for the wealthy.

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