How long can you handle being on a train?

How long can you handle being on a train?


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    95

Purple Orange

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Many people like going on a long train journey, seeing the scenery pass by and a chance to relax, even read too. Yet how long is too long?

For me 3 hours is the most I can really handle. After 2 hours I will probably be feeling bored. After another half an hour I will be more than ready to get off. After 3 hours I will be feeling restless and frustrated.

What will amplify those frustrations is if I know there is a faster route involving a change, allowing me to stretch my legs and get away from the feeling of being cooked up in a tin can.

What is the right length of time for you and how long is too long?
 
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Iskra

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It depends on the type of train, facilities and passenger environment.

I couldn't spend too long on a packed Northern 150 with limited legroom, space to walk around and no refreshments.

But, I've happily spent all day doing the Highland Chieftain London-Inverness or railtours in 1st class and could stay there happily all day. Also done 22+ hours on European sleepers and found that absolutely fine too.
 

ac6000cw

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I've been on a few 2-3 day American train journeys with only 10-20 minute 'leg stretch' breaks off the train during servicing stops (refuelling/crew changes/buffet & restaurant car re-stocking) - very spacious passenger accommodation though. Also done some pretty lengthy European train journeys, both daytime and overnight.

On the other hand (as Iskra aludes to), 2 hours on a packed 150 can get too much...
 
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Bletchleyite

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It sort of depends. I've done MKC to Edinburgh via Brum without a break and it was pleasant enough in 1st (or Standard priority seats), as well as all the way through from Liverpool Lime St to Bletchley in a 350/1 (extra legroom table seat with the laptop to get some work done). I've also done the Canadian which is 5 days, though the station stops tend to be long so you can get off and walk around. I've also done Paddington to Penzance all the way and back and that was OK. However I very often split up a North West to MK journey at either Manchester or Birmingham for food and a wander around.
 

Purple Orange

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Yes I agree with the notion of the environment you’re sat in being a factor. I’m sure I could happily do the Orient Express if I’m getting the full works treatment, but from a UK rail perspective 3 hours would be max for me.
  • 3 hours for a long-distance TOC
  • 1 hour for a commuter train
  • Pacers, may their soul burn in hell, there is no time I have been willing to sacrifice. In fact I’ve taken a longer journey just to avoid getting a bad back on their bus seats.
After that, it feels like endurance.
 
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It very much depends on the comfort factor. Seating comfort, legroom, noise levels, type of train, cleanliness, number of people etc. 30 mins in a rammed Northern 150 on a summers day is plenty thanks. Winding through Scotland on a railtour with good seating, refreshments, nice people etc is a pleasure that I could 'endure' for hours. First class on a Pendolino from Euston to Runcorn is great, steerage in smelly, rammed Voyager from Euston to Chester not so great.
 

yorksrob

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I've put 4 - 5 hours - I love a long train journey, but for anything longer I appreciate a change of trains somewhere to stretch the legs.
 

Mikey C

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It depends on the type of train. I answered 3-4 hours as that's based on being in standard class in a normal, fairly crowded open saloon, where you literally sit there for the whole journey

It's a massively different experience if you're on a longer distance train with friends in your own compartments, or in Amtrak style trains with a viewing lounge, dining car etc. where you're not stuck in one seat for the whole journey

I find when flying that I start to get really twitchy/cramped after 5 hours
 

Melancholia

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For me it depends on the type of train I'm on. Having done Aberdeen to Penzance on a 220 for nearly 14 hours (was delayed a bit), in first class due to a well worth it weekend upgrade, I would probably do it again.

But on any of the new trains, such as 800/802s, my limit on those is about 2-3 hours.
 

Purple Orange

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Flying to the east coast of the states I can do ok as far as New York or Boston, without feeling like I’m getting fed up. Perhaps it is the effort v reward aspect.

For me it depends on the type of train I'm on. Having done Aberdeen to Penzance on a 220 for nearly 14 hours (was delayed a bit), in first class due to a well worth it weekend upgrade, I would probably do it again.

But on any of the new trains, such as 800/802s, my limit on those is about 2-3 hours.
Wow. No chance could I sit on a XC for that length of time. Surely your experience of that must be a rare!
 

lxfe_mxtterz

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I put 4-5 hours - I could probably last quite a bit longer on a nice, intercity train with comfortable seats, a buffet, etc. such as a Class 390 or Class 91 and Mark 4s. For, say, a Northern sprinter, however, 10 minutes is more than enough for me!
 

greatvoyager

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Flying to the east coast of the states I can do ok as far as New York or Boston, without feeling like I’m getting fed up. Perhaps it is the effort v reward aspect.


Wow. No chance could I sit on a XC for that length of time. Surely your experience of that must be a rare!
I’ve done that journey in standard and was fine.
It depends on the train, but usually I only care about getting to the destination rather than how long it takes.
 

Ianno87

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Wow. No chance could I sit on a XC for that length of time. Surely your experience of that must be a rare!

I think my Voyager record is 5 and a bit hours Manchester Piccadilly to Plymouth (and return a few days later). Sitting at a table seat helped!

Most other Voyager trips I've done tend to be 2-3 hours or less.
 

Bletchleyite

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I think my Voyager record is 5 and a bit hours Manchester Piccadilly to Plymouth (and return a few days later). Sitting at a table seat helped!

Most other Voyager trips I've done tend to be 2-3 hours or less.

I've done MK-Edinburgh all the way on a Voyager, to me a priority seat (or 1st) is key! :)

Could be unpleasant on a modern air-conditioned train. I fear the best years for train travel have passed.

Pendolino 1st says otherwise...
 

Purple Orange

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I’ve done that journey in standard and was fine.
It depends on the train, but usually I only care about getting to the destination rather than how long it takes.

I think my Voyager record is 5 and a bit hours Manchester Piccadilly to Plymouth (and return a few days later). Sitting at a table seat helped!

Most other Voyager trips I've done tend to be 2-3 hours or less.

The longest I’ve done is also Piccadilly to Plymouth. On the way back I changed at New Street be cause it was the fastest way to get home at the point I arrived at Plymouth station.

While getting to the destination is clearly important, personally I need to get there in the fastest way possible. If that involves a change, it means getting a change. I.e if I’m doing Bristol-Manchester and a XC to Newcastle turns up first, I’m boarding the Newcastle train and get the first service heading north from Birmingham. Waiting for half an hour longer at Bristol for the direct service to Piccadilly isn’t an option.
 

Ianno87

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The longest I’ve done is also Piccadilly to Plymouth. On the way back I changed at New Street be cause it was the fastest way to get home at the point I arrived at Plymouth station.

While getting to the destination is clearly important, personally I need to get there in the fastest way possible. If that involves a change, it means getting a change. I.e if I’m doing Bristol-Manchester and a XC to Newcastle turns up first, I’m boarding the Newcastle train and get the first service heading north from Birmingham. Waiting for half an hour longer at Bristol for the direct service to Piccadilly isn’t an option.

I also apply the mantra if, on a walk-up ticket, if an empty train turns up that requires a change, get on it, as you don't know how busy the next one will be!
 
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Much longer than me. Short haul flying (up to about 2 hours) is pleasant, long haul is horrid.
It depends if you are in a 'Premium' cabin or steerage for me. Long haul can be reasonably pleasant so long as you are comfortable and the atmosphere is conducive to a relaxed and quiet experience. I agree with short haul, 2 hours on a rammed Ryanair/Easyjet/TUI (other budget airlines are available) full of families with young kids is enough.
 

30907

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I put 4 to 5 hours
So did I - the longest single daytime train journey I have done in recent years is Montpellier to Lille.
Again, it depends on the train - eg I would now default to 1st on a TGV because 2nd always loads so heavily, but not necessarily on an ICE or in the UK (mind you, I haven't been on many 80x yet...).
I also find that as I get older I can't manage quite as much altogether in a day as I used to - Shipley to Toulouse was long enough at about 12 hours.
But for night trains/ferries the opposite - I no longer appreciate being woken at crack of dawn!
 

Bletchleyite

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It depends if you are in a 'Premium' cabin or steerage for me. Long haul can be reasonably pleasant so long as you are comfortable and the atmosphere is conducive to a relaxed and quiet experience. I agree with short haul, 2 hours on a rammed Ryanair/Easyjet/TUI (other budget airlines are available) full of families with young kids is enough.

I get bored even in business. The only reason I don't on a train is the constantly changing scenery.
 

D6130

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Again, it depends on the type of train, the environment, the scenery and the company. I think the longest continuous train journey that my wife and I have done would have been eighteen hours on the Narvik-Stockholm sleeper back in June 1999; followed by thirteen hours on the - delayed, as always - Thello sleeper from Paris to Venice. I think my longest daytime journey must have been eight and a half hours from Stuttgart to Innsbruck back in 1983, when I was young, footloose and fancy-free. For the past twenty years or so, my wife and I have been regular travellers on the SNCF Paris-Milano international TGV service which is 7 hours 20 minutes via Lyon Part Dieu or ten minutes shorter via St Exupery. We find this very comfortable and relaxing in first class on the refurbished TGV-Reseau sets but, on the few occasions when we've had to travel second class at short notice, extremely uncomfortable and claustrophobic....not to mention the ridiculously-designed reclining handle under the centre of the second class seats, which catches and bruises the back of your legs every time you get up. Since the opening of the Torino-Milano HSL, we usually now change at Torino, rather than Milano, for Firenze....giving a shorter journey time of just under six hours.
 

bramling

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Many people like going on a long train journey, seeing the scenery pass by and a chance to relax, even read too. Yet how long is too long?

For me 3 hours is the most I can really handle. After 2 hours I will probably be feeling bored. After another half an hour I will be more than ready to get off. After 3 hours I will be feeling restless and frustrated.

What will amplify those frustrations is if I know there is a faster route involving a change, allowing me to stretch my legs and get away from the feeling of being cooked up in a tin can.

What is the right length of time for you and how long is too long?

Two factors for me. One is if there’s someone sitting opposite and taking up legroom. Two in if there’s a Jeremy Kyle family nearby. In the absence of those negatives I’m quite happy to sit on a train more or less indefinitely.
 

Peter Mugridge

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How about a whole week on the trains with six consecutive nights on the Sleepers...?

 

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