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Favourite foreign rail scene

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Harbornite

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We've had recent discussions about foreign wagons in the UK, and favourite European locomotive's and Multiple units. I thought it would be worth discussing what our favourite overseas railway networks are. For me, it would be Germany, Poland and the USA, although I've only experienced the first one in person.

What are your thoughts?
 
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J-2739

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Great idea for a thread! My favourite networks are the USA, Japan and Germany.

USA- Although fallen behind in recent years, it still boasts a large network and its scenic railways are hard to beat.
Japan- I like complex, busy networks and you don't get one any better than Japan.
Germany- Same with above, also has some of the best trains running its networks.
 
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Harbornite

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Great idea for a thread! My favourite networks are the USA, Japan and Germany.

USA- Although fallen behind in recent years, it still boasts a large network and its scenic railways are hard to beat.
Japan- I like complex, busy networks and you don't get one any better than Japan.
Germany- Same with above, also has some of the best trains running its networks.

What the USA excels in is railfregiht, they still move large quantities of it, although there has been a recent downturn in coal traffic (like in the UK). The amount of class 2 and 3 railroad companies over there is impressive.
 

J-2739

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What the USA excels in is railfregiht, they still move large quantities of it, although there has been a recent downturn in coal traffic (like in the UK). The amount of class 2 and 3 railroad companies over there is impressive.

Yeah, if there's one other thing that impresses me about the US network is by the fact that road freight hasn't put the rail variety to sleep.
 

Tim R-T-C

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Watching American freight trains is hard to beat - the sheer size and power of them is amazing and the beautiful remote locations you can get to, to see them is unrivalled.

I do like the Dutch networks, the yellow livery is more interesting than most and they do have a nice variety of unit types as well as a good amount of loco-hauled stock still doing the rounds.
 

Techniquest

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Depends on what you're looking for! If we're talking about metro systems, there's one clear non-UK winner for me in my experience. That's Stockholm's Metro, there's nothing quite as clean, efficient and modern as the lot Stockholm runs. Yes there's a couple of bits that are still being tidied up, but there are extensions being completed and more proposed. The art on some of the stations is quite impressive too!

The Netherlands' national network is my mainline foreign network winner, in terms of efficiency and passenger-friendly things like the PIS. The trains are comfortable too, which is even better. There's also the novelty for UK visitors of double-deck stock which are quite fun too.

In terms of enthusiast fun mind, Belgium was my winner based on the 2013 visits I made. I suspect however that's all changed, the AM08 stock will probably have wiped out the more interesting (but worn out) EMUs. The older locos may well have been replaced by now too, I have to admit I've not looked or kept myself up to date on happenings over there.
 

rg177

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Germany's network is amazing but has a tendency to fall over quite a lot, much like the UK.

I quite like the Lisbon Suburban Network in Portugal, and the Lisbon Metro is a small but efficient beast, with countdowns to next trains in seconds being very useful.

Worst was Spain. Don't get me wrong, I loved bashing the network but something didn't feel quite right. Staff were at times blatantly horrible and deceitful, the constant armed security giving dirty looks to passengers on the suburban lines, and the nonsensically thorough security check just so I could travel on a regional train to Seville from Málaga just created a rather unpleasant atmosphere.

Sent from my F3311 using Tapatalk
 

WestCoast

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Switzerland (SBB and others) is definitely one of my favourites, it's the whole package; very dense, tidy stations, superior reliability, connects well with other forms of transport, has a wide variety of stock including lots of DDs, plus a range of extraordinarily scenic lines to explore. Only downside is that it can be quite expensive, but that's Switzerland in general.

They're all good at different things though. The Netherlands wins for frequency, it's like the whole country is one giant metro! Belgium wins in terms of value for money (by Western European standard). Germany has fantastic variety and coverage. France and Spain have great high speed networks. Italy feels pretty unique. And so on.
 
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Robertj21a

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It has to be Switzerland, with Germany second.

There's some good tramway systems too in many countries.
 

317666

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Switzerland is a fantastic all-round network, the only downside if you're a visitor to the country (without a railpass) is the expensive fares (but they're in proportion with the cost of everything else there!).

Responding to Techniquest's post above, Belgium is still interesting. The older EMUs do remain on some secondary routes, as do the 21s and 27s, especially in the peaks. It'll probably really become boring once the new M7 stock is delivered from the end of the decade. It also has incredibly cheap fares, as well as being the densest rail network in the world.

Let me also add a vote for Germany, although timekeeping isn't fantastic, there's still plenty of variety for the enthusiast (unless you're someone who doesn't touch units!), and it's very passenger-friendly in terms of ticketing and journey planning.

Finally, one which rarely gets mentioned is Luxembourg. There's a lot of variety for such a small country, and you can't really go wrong with €4 for a day ticket!
 
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class387

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1. Switzerland
2. Germany
3. Belgium + Luxembourg
4. France
5. Austria
 

Zamracene749

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Czech Republic, no question.

It's pretty cheap, simple to use (no essential reservations apart from the tiny handful of Pendos), it's not usually overcrowded, trains are generally quite frequent, there is a huge variety of stock ranging from ancient to state of the art, there are excellent rover tickets available, the people are friendly and well mannered, the cities and towns are unusually safe to wander/ hang around, the network is massive, nobody minds if u take photos, there are 'global' ie standard priced regular heritage services all through the summer, the rural scenery varies from plains to mountains and the station architecture is nice.

Oh and the beer, which is generally superb, is cheaper than water..... :)
 

Groningen

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On can better say; which traintrack is your favorite.

Nothing can beat Koblenz - Mainz on the left side of the Rhein and Koblenz - Wiesbaden on the right side of the Rhein.
 

30907

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Czech Republic, no question.

It's pretty cheap, simple to use (no essential reservations apart from the tiny handful of Pendos), it's not usually overcrowded, trains are generally quite frequent, there is a huge variety of stock ranging from ancient to state of the art, there are excellent rover tickets available, the people are friendly and well mannered, the cities and towns are unusually safe to wander/ hang around, the network is massive, nobody minds if u take photos, there are 'global' ie standard priced regular heritage services all through the summer, the rural scenery varies from plains to mountains and the station architecture is nice.

Oh and the beer, which is generally superb, is cheaper than water..... :)

I don't like beer, unfortunately, so have to drink MoravIan wine.

That apart, I full second that! Except for the restaurant cars, where Slovakia wins....
 

Techniquest

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Switzerland is a fantastic all-round network, the only downside if you're a visitor to the country (without a railpass) is the expensive fares (but they're in proportion with the cost of everything else there!).

Responding to Techniquest's post above, Belgium is still interesting. The older EMUs do remain on some secondary routes, as do the 21s and 27s, especially in the peaks. It'll probably really become boring once the new M7 stock is delivered from the end of the decade. It also has incredibly cheap fares, as well as being the densest rail network in the world.

Let me also add a vote for Germany, although timekeeping isn't fantastic, there's still plenty of variety for the enthusiast (unless you're someone who doesn't touch units!), and it's very passenger-friendly in terms of ticketing and journey planning.

Finally, one which rarely gets mentioned is Luxembourg. There's a lot of variety for such a small country, and you can't really go wrong with €4 for a day ticket!

Good news on Belgium, I may have to get back over there!

I'd have mentioned Luxembourg, but the dodgy PIS on one of the 2200 double decker EMUs caused me to be festering for 2 and a bit hours in a remote spot in Belgium...Therefore I have unpleasant memories!
 

Quakkerillo

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1. Switzerland
2. Germany
3. Belgium + Luxembourg
4. France
5. Austria

As a Dutchman living in Belgium, I am very surprised by your choice to include Belgium. I personally find the network chaotic, the trains often badly designed (overhauled double-deck trains for regional services and new Desiro ones are okay), and maintenance/construction a shambles. It does boast some nice scenery on some routes, but to me, it shows to much 'glory of the past' which is absolutely not there anymore.

Mind if I ask why you chose to include it?
 

class387

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As a Dutchman living in Belgium, I am very surprised by your choice to include Belgium. I personally find the network chaotic, the trains often badly designed (overhauled double-deck trains for regional services and new Desiro ones are okay), and maintenance/construction a shambles. It does boast some nice scenery on some routes, but to me, it shows to much 'glory of the past' which is absolutely not there anymore.

Mind if I ask why you chose to include it?
Cheap, good frequencies and a good range of rolling stock. Not one of the trains I used when there were cancelled or significantly delayed and I like how they run relief trains in the peaks and touristic period.

However, I am speaking from an enthusiast's point of view and have no experience commuting there, or in any other country on my list.
 

WestCoast

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Czech Republic, no question.

It's pretty cheap, simple to use (no essential reservations apart from the tiny handful of Pendos), it's not usually overcrowded, trains are generally quite frequent, there is a huge variety of stock ranging from ancient to state of the art, there are excellent rover tickets available, the people are friendly and well mannered, the cities and towns are unusually safe to wander/ hang around, the network is massive, nobody minds if u take photos, there are 'global' ie standard priced regular heritage services all through the summer, the rural scenery varies from plains to mountains and the station architecture is nice.

Oh and the beer, which is generally superb, is cheaper than water..... :)

Yes it's generally the best Central European network I find, very interesting. I prefer it to Hungary, which doesn't seem as organised.
 

duesselmartin

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1 Switzerland for its amazing engineering.
2 Ireland for its relaxed nature and Nostalgie feel
3 Sweden for its amazing long distances northwards.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Since Germans think Germany has the worst rail system on earth, what do the Germany Fans like about our dirty expensive and late trains? ;)
 

Zamracene749

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On can better say; which traintrack is your favorite.

Nothing can beat Koblenz - Mainz on the left side of the Rhein and Koblenz - Wiesbaden on the right side of the Rhein.

I've still never ridden along the Rhine but it's high on my 'to do' list in Europe. There are loads of gorgeous lines to ride, but to pick a few out I'd say the Ausserfernbahn linking Kempten in Bavaria with Garmisch- Partenkirchen via Ruette in the Austrian Tyrol is an especially nice journey, also the metre guage lines in the Slovakian Tatras from Strba- Strbske Pleso- Poprad are especially pretty in any season!
 

Groningen

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My favorite lines in Belgium are:
Liege - Luxembourg
Brussel - Luxembourg
Liege - Namur
 

WideRanger

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Japan: huge range of rolling stock run by dozens of companies. Everything spotlessly clean and on time, with quirky attention to detail (like the trains on the Keikyu railway that have motors tuned to play a musical scale as they accelerate). Stunning countryside on lines in the mountains. Everyone focuses on the Shinkansen, but even though they are clean and super comfortable, I think they are a bit too clinical.
There's a really stong sense of community. A famous case was a station that was kept open for several years solely to help the only child in the village get to school. Once she graduated and went to university, the station closed.
 

J-2739

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There's a really stong sense of community. A famous case was a station that was kept open for several years solely to help the only child in the village get to school. Once she graduated and went to university, the station closed.

I've seen that story too. I got so emotional reading it :)
 

Gordon

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Switzerland is a fantastic all-round network, the only downside if you're a visitor to the country (without a railpass) is the expensive fares (but they're in proportion with the cost of everything else there!).

As ever with these discussion, it's a matter of what parameters you choose and how you choose to measure something subjective.

Swiss rail fares are not expensive like for like. Nearly all fares are walk-on and if you compare such walk on fares with British walk-on fares the Swiss comes out equal.

As I write this I have compared walk on fares for the next morning. Both journeys are just over 160km.
Geneve - Bern approx £50 for all services
London - Birmingham £89 for nearly all departures except a single oddly cheaper train




.
 

Zamracene749

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As ever with these discussion, it's a matter of what parameters you choose and how you choose to measure something subjective.

Swiss rail fares are not expensive like for like. Nearly all fares are walk-on and if you compare such walk on fares with British walk-on fares the Swiss comes out equal.

As I write this I have compared walk on fares for the next morning. Both journeys are just over 160km.
Geneve - Bern approx £50 for all services
London - Birmingham £89 for nearly all departures except a single oddly cheaper train




.


Just for comparison, similar walk on fare Prague to Ceske Budejovice- 169km- @ £6.00...
 

HMS Ark Royal

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Centraal Station in Amsterdam... There is a little coffee shop upstairs on the platforms that has great views - me and the owner are somewhat old friends
 

WideRanger

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Just for comparison, similar walk on fare Prague to Ceske Budejovice- 169km- @ £6.00...

Last time I travelled on the Mumbai suburban railway, the going rate was the equivalent of 5 pence for 6 miles.

Didn't get a closing door on the train however...
 
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