As we come out of the pandemic, we face a global financial crisis, and rising energy costs that have forced us to rethink business travel in favor of more sustainable travel. While train travel is not always cheaper, it can often save a lot on your carbon footprint. In fact, according to BBC News, a train traveling from London to Madrid emits 43kg (95lb) of CO2 per passenger by train while the same journey by plane would emit 118 kg (265 kg). That is to say, train travel has less than double the CO2 emissions.
So, now you know why many are choosing to get going via train, let’s take a look at the top 10 routes you should consider for your next European business trip.
5 Advantages of train travel for business travel
- It’s way more efficient and faster
- Avoid waiting time spent in airports and in transportation to and from the airport
- You can work from the train while you travel
- Avoid costly transportation to the airport
- Cut down on time needed prior to departure
Must-visit train travel destinations in Europe
Paris is extremely well-connected to other European countries and cities via train making it a great choice for business train travel. High-speed rail travel will allow you to get to London in 2h15, Brussels in 1h25, Frankfurt in 3h and Amsterdam in 4 hours. How’s that for convenience? In addition, it’s a major business hub, hosting the world’s top 500 corporate headquarters and producing the highest GDP in Europe. Plus, the city also has the highest R&D expenditure in Europe with a total investment of 19.802 billion euros.
London, even after Brexit, still remains an important European capital for business travel and a synonym for big business, and one of the world’s leading financial centers. It is very accessible by train with the Eurostar fast train servicing Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam from the St. Pancras International Station. London is consistently one of the most popular destinations for business travel, and is the most popular for US business travel, with Germany falling shortly behind. Whether you have a corporate visit, a client meeting, training, a conference or an event, London has the infrastructure necessary to support your trip.
The German capital is one of the largest cities in Europe being 9 times the size of Paris, and an important economic hub in the heart of Europe. The city has incentivized start-ups and new businesses giving them great conditions, especially for the creative and technological industries. This makes Berlin a great destination for business train travel because it is well connected with the rest of Europe.
For example from the UK to Berlin, you can take the Eurotunnel. Departing from London St. Pancras International you can arrive in Berlin in about 9 hours. Consider the St. Pancras station is in Central London, and you avoid expensive taxis or transportation to get to any of the major airports, plus time and traffic, and you arrive in central Berlin Hauptbahnhof ready to go to your business meetings.
Amsterdam is a major international hub for flights, but it’s also easily and conveniently reached by train. For example, Amsterdam to London by Eurostar can take just 4 hours to the city center; Amsterdam to Paris Gare du Nord has a connection every hour or two, allowing you to arrive in approximately 3h20 minutes from city center to city center – way more practical than traveling by plane where you have to be at the airport 1.5 to 2 hours ahead of time. Or travel to Brussels by train in under 2 hours with fares costing as little as €30. Train travel for business travel to Amsterdam is a great option.
As the second largest city in Germany and the “Gateway to Germany” thanks to its strategic international port, Hamburg has an international airport and four major train stations, making it easily accessible from anywhere in Europe and abroad. Train travel to and from Hamburg is easy, with trains from Berlin taking around 3 hours, and a train to Frankfurt taking a little under 4 hours. Hamburg is also well-connected with major European capitals like Paris, London and Amsterdam.
Hamburg is currently undergoing a revitalization of its port area with urban planning and architecture designed to grow this destination for business and leisure travelers alike. Meetings and incentives already draw a crowd of 3.5 million attendees each year with 2 million overnight stays (both domestic and international). This makes Hamburg a great destination for business travel, especially if you are looking for a place to host meetings in destinations easily reachable by train.
Vienna is a leading destination for meetings due to the fact that it’s compact and easily accessible. With great meeting infrastructure and transportation within the city, it’s a great choice for business travel by train. All long-distance and international trains arrive at Vienna Hauptbahnhof station. From there you can easily travel to Zurich, northern Italy, Munich, Berlin, and other major cities, making it an easy choice for train business travel.
Frankfurt is an international business city in Germany that is very popular for international trade fairs, meetings and events, hosting more than 100 large scale events annually. It is especially popular in the international banking industry, serving as a hub for business travel to other areas within Germany. The city receives 3.5 million people per year, with half of those being international visitors. With a direct train to Marseille, Milan, Brussels, Amsterdam and many other major European cities, Frankfurt is a perfect destination for business travelers.
Madrid is an emerging business and travel hub, with 15% of tourists visiting for business, and receiving one million corporate travelers yearly. Business travelers can easily access the Spanish capital by train, with a high-speed train to Paris, Bordeaux, Brussels, Amsterdam, Luxembourg and other major business capitals.
Switzerland’s capital of commerce, Zurich, is home to Swiss banks, insurance companies, and a stable workforce, making it a popular destination for corporate travel. With 30% of people passing through the Swiss capital being business travelers, it’s no wonder why: easy train connections to Paris, Milan, Brussels, Bruges, and other major cities.
Brussels is the de facto capital of the European Union, and the administrative center of Europe, making it an important business travel destination. It is very well-connected via train as a result with direct trains to London, Paris, Strasbourg, Amsterdam and other important business hubs. Belgium has the third densest railway network behind Switzerland and the Czech Republic, with 3,600 km of railway lines with 80% being electrified. This makes traveling to Brussels by train not only easy, but also a great sustainable option.
Business train travel in the USA
We’ve talked a lot about train travel for business travel in Europe, but what about in the USA? You may wonder: why doesn’t anyone in the USA travel by train? This is because the United States lacks high speed rail, and typically it takes longer and is more expensive to take a train than to drive or fly due to a lack of funding and investment on behalf of public officials. With limited time and tight schedules, train travel for business travel in the US is not typically a good option.
While typically business trips will be conducted in the US using flights or cars, one of the advantages of traveling by rail in the US is the fact that it gives you the chance to work and shorten delays at the airport. With New York City being the business travel capital of the country, you’re in luck if you choose to travel by train because business train travel is possible especially in the East Coast.
On the East Coast, distances are shorter and trains are more reliable, with an ample selection of routes like Washington DC to Maryland, New York City to Vermont or Washington DC to New York, New York City to New Jersey and more routes of interest for business travelers. In fact traveling by train from Washington DC to New York by train cuts down on travel time as opposed to by traveling by bus. 3hr20 mins vs 4h30 mins.
Should you use the Amtrak route planner in the US?
Amtrak is the main national railroad passenger corporation in the US. It operates in 46 of the 48 continental United States, starting in 1971, and owning 623 miles (1004 KM) of railroad tracks. The bulk of the services are used on the East Coast traveling from Boston to Washington D.C via New York City and Philadelphia, and Virginia, with Chicago Union Station and Los Angeles Union station being the other two busiest stations, making the Amtrak route planner a great tool for planning your business train travel in the US.
Train travel for business travel will continue to become more popular with rising fuel prices, and for the fact that it proves a sustainable option for business travelers. It saves time and is more efficient, making it a great alternative to plane travel.