An independent guide to travelling by train in Europe from a train travel enthusiast using 100s of info sources to save you time when planning a journey.
ThereByTrain.com explains how to save money, time and confusion when travelling by train in Europe.
Train Travel Enthusiast
I created ThereByTrain.com fundamentally because I love train travel. To me there a few finer things in life than watching dramatic landscapes glide by from a seat on a train whether the train is ambling up a mountain or rushing along the ground at high speed.
I particularly get a buzz from the anticipation when a train slides out of a station taking me to a fantastic destination that I’ve never been to before, and have always wanted to visit. Which is why I’ve a passion for travelling around Europe by train and hey I admit it, I also adore travelling behind a steam engine, but sadly you won’t find any of those at the front of your train when you’re travelling from one great city to another.
I’m also an online professional with more than a decade's experience of launching award winning websites, so I've decided to combine my professional interests with what I’m most passionate about, train travel.
Experienced European Rail Traveller
My rail trips around Europe have created multiple fantastic memories, but I have also been nearly stranded at Cologne (Koln) station when I missed an overnight train to Vienna, came close to being thrown off a train from Prague because I didn’t know I had to pay a supplement before I boarded, and been left ravenous with hunger on a 9 hour rail journey to Rome because by the time I went to buy a sandwich the counter had sold out of food.
I’ve also spent countless hours online trying to plan rail trips around Europe, trying to work which stations the trains I’m looking for depart from and arrive at, wondering why the information in a printed timetable doesn’t match what I’m seeing online, and most importantly, how to make the most of my trip, working out my optimum destinations and how to have a great experience getting there by train.
A new independent online resource
Therefore I know how daunting planning a rail trip around Europe can seem, whether you want to travel across the continent or within a single country, particularly if you have never been on a train in your destination country before.
Well hopefully it’s not so daunting anymore thanks to ThereByTrain.com. My aim has been to provide at a glance guides to the core information and trip planning/money saving tips to enhance European rail travel.
While planning my most recent rail adventure, a multi-city journey in northern Italy , I began to wish for a central online resource that could tell me the core information I needed to know about travelling by train in Italy. And then with my idea light bulb on maximum power, I began to think it would be a smart move to extend the concept to the other countries in Europe.
There are of course multiple resources that already exist online to assist with rail travel in Europe; timetables, ticket booking sites, guides to rail passes, traveller forums, blogs created by rail/train enthusiasts, Wikipedia, travel agencies, seat61.com for rail travel from Britain to Europe, destination guides etc etc..
Traditional media resources include the invaluable Thomas Cook, European Rail Timetable and Maps and the multiple guide books packed with information for anyone planning a pan-European rail trip with a rail pass.
A new approach to European rail travel
ThereByTrain.com is different, the intention is for the site to be a central resource that collates the relevant information from all these sources so that you can plan rail trips in Europe in minutes/hours rather than hours/days.
A simple idea (hopefully one of my better ones), but following the hundreds (may even be thousands, I lost count a long time ago) of hours that it’s taken to create ThereByTrain.com, I began to realise why a site such as threbytrain.com hasn’t existed before.
Hundreds of hours of research
Naively I thought I could combine the information from the excellent D-Bahn online timetable, some entries on Wikipedia and my own personal experiences and my work would be over. But I soon found that despite my own rail journeys the list of core information that I needed to research seemed endless.
I am now 100% confident that 99.5% of the information on ThereByTrain.com is correct and when I’m not certain of the instances in which additional charges are incurred and seats have to be reserved etc, I have indicated on the site when such information should be double checked at rail stations, ticket offices etc.
The future of ThereByTrain.com
What I’m looking forward to is launching a forum on the site and communicating with the users (should I find any) of ThereByTrain.com, particularly those that can correct me, I want ThereByTrain.com to be as good as it possibly can be.
Planning a journey on ThereByTrain.com
ThereByTrain.com is primarily a rail trip planning tool, which seems to make sense, as finding out the pertinent information before you arrive at a station to board a train, can often save you money.
My key aims include letting ThereByTrain.com users discover how many trains per day travel between destinations, how to distinguish between different types of train on these rail routes, how long the journey will be, is it scenic or on a high speed line, when an overnight train is an option and when it isn’t and how to save money when buying tickets or rail passes.
At the station
When you arrive at a station/destination it will always a very good idea to double check the information on ThereByTrain.com. Train timings can be altered for multiple reasons, often at the last minute due to a problem with the track etc.
If I have one piece of advice I recommend above all others it is to confirm the details of your onward connection, the next train you want to take, when you arrive at your destination. Give yourself peace of mind that your next journey is possible before you head off into the city to experience what you have come to see.
Using a rail pass
For me rail passes are the one of the best facilities available for travel by any means. If you make the most of them they can be fantastic value for money and another of my intentions on therebyrain.com is for more people to be aware of how great they are. When I tell people about my rail pass trips the most common reaction is ‘Wow, that’s amazing, I had no idea you could do that!?’ Rail passes are not only for students taking a pre-university holiday, anyone can get there by train using a rail pass.
I suspect that more people would travel by rail passes if rail travel around Europe didn’t seem so awkward, well thanks to ThereByTrain.com, it’s a lot less complicated than it initially seems. And hopefully that's now true for all European rail travel.
Have a great trip, after trip, after trip…..
Founder of ThereByTrain.com May 2012