A polder way to travel

Tim Newman has ridden the train through the Netherlands, and he approves:

The Dutch railway system is run more along the lines of a metro than a national rail network. You don’t really need to see what time trains arrive, you just turn up and get on the next one. And almost every other train goes to or through Amsterdam. Of course, the Dutch have a lot of things in their favour to assist with this: a very small country, only a handful of cities, one national train company, no pesky tunnels restricting train heights, nice straight lines across nice flat land, etc. But even so, the Dutch made sure they didn’t fuck it all up as most countries would have done. For sure, the Brits would have conspired to ensure getting from Amsterdam to Eindhoven would have taken three trains, the first being undersized, the second leaving from somewhere near The Hague and costing a fortune unless you booked two months in advance, and the third running via Antwerp and taking as long as the flight into Holland.

Amtrak riders (both of them) are even now writing their Congressmen.


  1. fillyjonk »

    4 July 2012 · 7:47 am

    Of course, there’s the little problem of the size of the Netherlands relative to the size of the U.S….

    I do use Amtrak for as many long-haul trips as I can. Partly because my claustrophobia doesn’t kick in on a train, but these days, also because I don’t need a free pelvic exam with my ticket.

  2. Nicole »

    4 July 2012 · 9:51 am

    The one and only time I took Amtrak from KC to St. Louis the trip there took longer than it would have to drive and on the trip back we got sidelined 15 minutes from my station for 2 hours. They wouldn’t let anyone off who wasn’t scheduled to get off there or I could have gotten a taxi to my car…

    It was nice to be able to read and stretch out, I’ll give it that. But sharing the tracks with commercial lines that get priority over passenger makes for a long trip that you can’t really plan for being picked up at the station after since you have no idea when you’ll actually arrive.

  3. Tatyana »

    4 July 2012 · 10:08 am

    you read Tim?

  4. CGHill »

    4 July 2012 · 10:44 am

    Found a link to him at your place, and decided to follow up.

  5. Tatyana »

    4 July 2012 · 11:24 am

    Well worth it. I am glad.

  6. Roger Green »

    4 July 2012 · 11:28 am

    Actually, I’ve had decent success from NYC to Charlotte, tho the NYC to DC on the Acela (which I’ve taken but once) was WONDERFUL

  7. McGehee »

    4 July 2012 · 12:07 pm

    I don’t need a free pelvic exam with my ticket.


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