Trains, trains, trains…

I think I’ve discovered that I really like trains. They seem to be so predictable and you feel like your not wasting as much natural resources as driving a private car or taking a taxi. I’m also cheap and taxis outside of Hong Kong are really expensive. In the last 2 1/2 weeks, I rode a total of 10 different train lines. Here’s a recap and my awards…

  1. Hardest Train to Get Off (as everyone tries to get on without waiting for you to get off) – MTR (Hong Kong Subway)
  2. Most Convenient Way to Get to the Airport (you check your bags in town before boarding) – Airport Express (Hong Kong)
  3. Most Canadian (you can get on the train without a ticket. silly trustworthy Canadians) – Skytrain (Vancouver)
  4. Most On Time (I love the down to the minute schedule) – Metra (Chicago)
  5. Best Value for Money (16.5 miles to the airport for $2.25USD) – CTA ‘L’ (Chicago Subway)
  6. Most Sheep and Rolling Hills (that stretch from Manchester to Sheffield) – Transpennine Express
  7. Best WiFi (surfing the web from Sheffield to London) – East Midland Trains
  8. Ugliest Interior (the material on the seats looks like your grandma’s couch) – Tube (London Underground)
  9. Longest Undersea Rail Tunnel (under the channel from London to Paris) – Eurostar
  10. Most Likely to Get Pickpocketed (or at least it felt liked that as I was packed in the train like a sardine) – Paris Métro

p.s. I did push my luck and tried for an 11th train ride. I decided to take the RER (Réseau Express Régional) to Charles de Gaulle Airport. It started off of o.k. with the receptionist at the hotel giving me some simple instructions to get to the train. After figuring out how to buy the special ticket from the French-only vending machine, I was on my way. When I arrived at the train platform I was immediately worried whether this was the right place. After trying to speak to a few people, I came to understand that there were some lights that light up that tell you which stops that the next train will stop at. All settled, I just need to wait for the train with the CGD stops lit up. Train 1 goes by… train 2… train 3… and so on. To make a long story short, the train to CGD were not running that weekend and the French speaking announce explained to all of the French speaking passengers that they need to head to the Mitry stop and catch a shuttle bus. Now this where I really thought the French people were great. The train was packed. I had my luggage with me. The doors were about to close and I was in a panic that I couldn’t make it on the train. A kind gentlemen grabs my arm, pulls me and my luggage up and pushes me into this ultra-packed train car. After riding a few stops crushed against a number of people the train started to clear out. Lo and behold, I made it to the airport finally and made it home.

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