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What are the advantages & disadvantages of rail?

Updated April 17, 2017

With constantly rising gas prices throughout the country and the premium cost of air travel, transportation by train can be a welcome alternative for many. Travelling on the rails can include both advantages and disadvantages, however. For example, passengers might be forced to decide if the tranquil scenery is worth the often bumpy ride.

Advantage: Inexpensive

Travelling by train can be one of the more cost-efficient means of transportation. Cars are expensive to buy and maintain, not to mention the high cost of gas. Depending on the distance, aeroplanes are often an even more expensive option due to the price of an aeroplane ticket and added fees. Carrying additional luggage can be quite costly on an aeroplane as well. However, train tickets are often much easier to come by and the price most often remains at a flat, consistent rate. Checked and carry-on luggage are free on the train.

Advantage: Convenient and Comfortable

While not all train rides are the same, most can prove to be an enjoyable experience. Many trains have snack and bar cars. Depending on the length of the ride, sleeping cars may be an option as well. Additionally, trains provide the opportunity to walk around and socialise, which breaks up the monotony of a long trip. A train ride can also offer its passengers a pleasant view, further increasing the potential enjoyment level.

Disadvantage: Lengthy & Unreliable

Depending on the distance that needs to be travelled, train rides can prove to be a very time-consuming form of travel. While often more expensive, aeroplanes are a much faster way to go if time is an issue. Additionally, trains are often subject to congestion and delays, prove them unreliable at times.

Disadvantage: Ambience

While train travel may offer a great scenic view outside of the car, the environment inside the car may not be as peaceful. Depending on the train, seats can be close together, preventing the rider from possessing much space of his own. Additionally, since passengers are free to roam through the cars, the noise levels can be annoying. Also, train rides are often quite bumpy, making it more difficult to enjoy a peaceful rest.

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About the Author

Helen Van is an experienced writer who has been writing quality content articles for over six years. She serves as a high school English teacher in Tennessee and has been published in a variety of local publications including AllYou.com. Helen has a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in teaching from the University of Memphis.