I love trains and train travel. Here in Canada we have the big trans-Canadians, the likes of VIA Rail (for passenger traffic), CN Rail (commercial) and the special more touristy (but very elegant and expensive) train companies (like the Rocky Mountaineer). Being on Vancouver Island on the Pacific Coast unfortunately we lost our last Island train service a while ago, but in the process to re-establish a new VIA RAIL route from Victoria to Courtney, North Island.

When in Europe (or for that matter elsewhere, wherever I can find trains service) I always take the train. It is sort of an addiction. In Europe with those millions of passengers it is a very fast sort of exercise, run down, run up, run to the platforms, hopefully find quickly where the waggon is in which I had reserved a seat. My advice: Always reserve a seat in advance; and try to get special rates or tickets in the country you travel. Do not buy your expensive rail passes in North America. I always found somebody kind enough to help with suitcases in case the station has no elevator. When I grew up in Europe we travelled a lot by train (and of course there were also those wonderful city trams, now mostly replaced by buses).  In the 1960s I had to take the train from Munich all the way to Zagreb, at that time it was still Yugoslavia. [ NOTE. After World War II Zagreb stayed the capital city of the Socialist Republic of Croatia within Yugoslavia. ]. The Soviet presence felt everywhere. [ NOTE. The introduction of the railroad to Zagreb in the 19th century was a key factor in the development of Zagreb, as was the addition of Zagreb to the Oriental Express schedule. ].  One of the longest train rides I ever made during that period. Days, no seats, I had to sit on my suit case at one end of ,a waggon. Munich, Bavaria through Austria, Czech, Roumania, then Yugoslavia. Soviet presence at all of the train stations where the train stopped. Today the trip can be done overnight. Not during those days with the older regional trains. Comes to mind the real old traditional local trains out of London, UK, during the end of the 1950s, seats in plush velvet.

I put together several slide shows of train stations and trains for the period from 2001 until 2012. One of the most impressive trains today is the ICE 3, Germany’s DB high-speed trains. [ http://www.railfaneurope.net/ice/ice3.html ] . VIA RAIL passenger service across Canada, little tip: put on some warm clothes and socks. The train between Montreal and Quebec has strong air conditioning, quite cold. One of the most beautiful train stations is the Gare Du Palais of Quebec Ville, Quebec, Canada. A veritable castle.