Should I Drive or Take The Train?

Many of us dread driving long distances. The idea of spending hour after hour stuck behind the wheel as one dreary motorway follows another, could be enough to give us second thoughts. We might curtail the journey altogether, or perhaps consider alternative options. Despite the bad publicity often seen in the press, train travel offers advantages that can drastically reduce the boredom, the fatigue and often the time it takes to get from A to B.


Consider this: you’re travelling from Edinburgh to London for a business meeting. You get up at the crack of dawn to travel for seven hours on soulless dual carriageways. For the entire time, you’re concentrating on where you’re going, road hazards, and maintaining a speed that’ll get you there on time. By the time you arrive you’re so exhausted you can barely keep your eyes open when you reach your destination. Conversely, travelling by train allows you to relax, prepare for the meeting, and even get a bit of sleep so you’re fully refreshed and prepared for what’s ahead.


Yes, motorways are functional, but unless you’re a motoring fanatic, you’d have to admit that they’re also rather dull. Variety and points of interest are normally blocked from view, and your world is one of vast swathes of traffic moving in the same direction. Any view there might be can’t be fully enjoyed because of your need to concentrate on the road.

Whereas travelling by train allows you to gaze out of the window for the entire trip. The nature of rails means you’re often slightly elevated, giving you a great view of your surroundings that are rarely blocked by those banks often found either side of highways to protect residents from the noise.


This is another area where travelling by train gives you a great advantage. The average train speed in the UK is over 60 miles per hour, and that includes the slow trains that stop every few miles. If you’re travelling long distances, mainline trains can reach 130 miles per hour – almost double the legal speed limit on a motorway. It means you can travel from Inverness in the Scottish Highlands to London in under nine hours. It’ll take you more than 10 in a car, and that’s assuming there are no traffic delays (which would be a foolish assumption!). If travelling from the north of England, the differences can be even greater – the train from Hartlepool to London, for instance, takes just three-and-a-half hours, compared to more than five hours behind the wheel.

It’s not just longer journeys where going by rail is preferable – train travel might also be the way to go for shorter journeys, as you won’t have to worry about the stresses and expense of trying to park! And when you add the reduced environmental impact of rail travel, for many journeys choosing between train and car is a no-brainer.

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