Sunday, 28 November 2010

Overnight rail service

It is not uncommon for travelling business people to take a flight the evening before an early meeting the next day, and stay over in a hotel at the destination. I think this use of travel/accomodation presents a real opportunity for rail, as the slower speed of rail can be negated by combining the travel and accomodation in a high quality sleeper service.

The passenger would, as with the flight, board the evening before. Dinner would be served in a spacious and comfortable (contrast with aeroplane) dining carriage. The passenger would then retire to their cabin where they could take a shower, work at a desk, or watch a movie on the TV. The passenger would then go to sleep for the evening. In the morning the passenger would return to the dining carriage for a lovely breakfast. And then, most importantly, the passenger would arrive refreshed, in the heart of the city, ready for his/her meeting.

  • Cost (no separate accomodation)
  • Time (no need to travel from the airport to the hotel on arrival or again the same morning)
  • Comfort (trains can afford to be more spacious and therefore more comfortable than aeroplanes)

  • Although the train will be much more comfortable than the aeroplane for the travel, it is likely to be less comfortable than a hotel
  • It may not be possible to have a gym in the train (and certainly not possible to have a swimming pool)
If the person was travelling only for the day, they may wish to return by plane due to its superiour speed. If this is the case, an integrated travel company (or network) would be needed. The alternative is that the person boards the train again in the evening, and is returned to their home city in time for work the next day (again refreshed and in comfort).

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