The 6 types of trains in the world you should know about

Traveling by train is probably the most eco-friendly and low-cost way to explore a continent such as Europe. In case you are planning to do the European trip, where you visit as many countries and cities in two, three or four weeks, because you don’t really have more time and you are traveling on a budget but you still want to make the most out of it, what you need to do is to hop on a train, get to the European country that suits you best and start traveling around the continent by train.

Train tickets are most of the times less expensive than airplane tickets in Europe. Train companies offer lots of discounts depending on your age, and especially if the traveler is a student. Train seats are most of the time more comfortable and have more space than a regular low cost airplane seat and the best part of it, is that you get to see the most beautiful landscapes for free from your train window, as you ride from one stop to another.

For these and many reasons more, Europe is, thus, the best continent to explore by train. Traveling by train makes it easier, you can actually get almost everywhere. You will get to see the most amazing stations and destinations and you can even plan your stay, according to the location of the stations to minimize the time you spend looking for a hotel in the middle of nowhere.

Trains aren’t that complicated to manage in Europe, it’s actually very easy, even if you don’t speak the language of the country or town you are visiting. There is one thing that you should know about trains that nobody really tells you, that sooner or later you will find out, but that is a nice thing to know just for the fun of it and for the good use you can get out of it. That thing you should know about is that there are actually 6 types of trains. Not all of them are useful for passengers but knowing about the existence will make the trip easier for you to plan, especially in terms of time.

Here are the six types of trains you should know about, including the ones you will be able to use in Europe:

Inter-city trains

The Inter-city trains are public transportation trains, therefore they are only available for carrying passengers. These trains offer an express service that covers longer distances than regional trains. They are safe travel trains with limited stops and comfortable seats especially designed for long distances. These trains have land based railways and they also operate on underground subway lines.

Image courtesy of Phil Richards at Flickr.com

Short and Long distance trains

Short and long distance trains are often used for trips between cities and countries. When the distances are long and the trips are made overnight it is very common for people to ride on trains that are equipped with sleeping cars. Dining is also available on these type of trains, which is why they also offer cars designed for this, where passengers can have all the services they need in order to feel comfortable on longer journeys.

Rapid transit

Rapid transit trains are one of the most common trains around the world, made for public and massive transportation. These high-capacity trains are also known as metros, subways or undergrounds. The first one ever built was the Metropolitan Railway which is part of the London Underground, and the largest one is the Greater Tokyo rail System. These type of trains have the capacity of speeding up to 300 km/h. They offer as little air resistance as possible and they have been built with streamlined design.

Trams

Trams are also known as Tramcars or Trolleys and they are very common in European cities. They have comfortable seats for passengers that travel short distances within the cities. These slow public transportation trains run on tracks or lines also called tramways, along public urban areas, mostly on the streets. Tram trains are powered by electricity, usually fed by an overhead pantograph. The name “tram” refers to the wooden beams used for making the railway tracks, around 1873, before they were made of steel.

Image courtesy of kuknauf at Flickr.com

Freight trains

Freight trains are trains that don’t carry any passengers, but instead they carry products or goods as part of a logistic chain. The wagons are actually freight cars that can take bulk material or containers from the shipper’s location to its destination. The goods these kind of trains carry are either solid goods or gasses and liquids. Most of the existing trains in the world are freight trains and their use is only industrial, this means that the majority of the trains in the world are not used for the transportation of passengers but for the delivery of merchandises.

Image courtesy of kuknauf at Flickr.com

Mine trains

These trains have nothing to do with massive public transportation. These trains are special train types that were created for underground mine excavations, mostly rock and coal. They are very resistant, not very big, and they are capable of hauling goods in difficult underground environments.