There are essentially three different kinds of trains that one can take to get from place to place in Europe – or I suppose anywhere else, for that matter. These are, in ascending order of speed and “fun factor”, 1) your basic urban “tram”, as it is known in Geneva; 2) your somewhat more exciting regional commuter-type rail train; and 3) your super duper “don’t blink or you’ll miss it” bullet-type train. In this post, I hope to give you a first hand look at what it feels like to ride each one of these trains.
First, the basic tram. I thought about taking a video from the inside of a moving tram, but then figured that most people have ridden an urban tram or a bus, which feel exactly the same. I’ve featured Geneva’s tram system in a couple of posts, including the recent hard hitting exposé on the flattening effect of a Swiss coin when it is run over by a tram. Here’s another look at Geneva’s version of the tram pulling into the station near our apartment.
Major European cities all have their own version of the tram. Here is a photo of the tram in Nice, France. As you can see, its a little snazzier than the Geneva design.
Next, the commuter rail. I thought it would be more interesting to actually show what it feels like to ride in the commuter rail, so I made this video, which I shot on the ride home from Coppet along the shore of Lake Geneva where I had been birthday cake shopping earlier that day. I think we were traveling at about 60 miles per hour.
And finally, the high speed train from Geneva to Paris. Again, in a effort to convey what it feels like to ride in the high speed train, I shot this video as we were on our way to Paris. There was a TV monitor in our car that registered speed, and on the straight and flat segments, we got up to 296 kilometers per hour, which is equivalent to about 180 MPH. I had never been on a high speed train before, and was anxious to see what it would feel like. We got to Paris in about 3 hours,