Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Joy of Relying on the Austrian Railway Network






In many countries around the world, the very use of the words ‘joy’ and ‘relying’ when attributed to their national rail network will probably be one of the biggest jokes you are ever likely to hear! However, when it comes to using the rail services in Austria, this really is not the case.
Every time I have been lucky enough to travel to this gorgeous Alpine country, I have made a point of travelling somewhere or other on their rail network. Whilst it may not be the cheapest in the world (nor the dearest for that matter!), the reliability of the services are seriously hard to beat in most other countries.

To be honest with you, Austria never had it easy when it came to building their national rail network in the first place: after all, the country is shrouded by towering mountains; but this definitely hasn’t appeared to have deterred them in any way. Even in the Tyrol region and other mountainous states of the country, you can rest assured the network covers the largest local towns and cities. 

As far as the trains are concerned, much of the rolling stock is actually quite old, but these are gradually being replaced with newer and more comfortable coaches. Some of the seating areas can be like travelling back in time several decades, but I found that this only added to the charm of using the train in Austria.

There are also fantastic international services to neighbouring countries: I travelled to Munich, in Germany, for example. If you are booking trains to destinations outside of Austria, just make sure you stick to the services you originally booked. This is a lesson I learnt the hard way, when I had to pay a large ‘fee’ for not having stuck to my original reservation on the way back from Germany.

In a country where you can take a glance at a train timetable and pretty much guarantee the service will run on time, physically relying on the Austrian railway network really should prove to be an absolute joy! To plan and book your trip, here is the link to the official Austrian Rail Network website: http://www.oebb.at/en/index.jsp