Global Rail re­nais­sance

Train travel has its own unique chal­lenges, but there are new so­lu­tions com­ing down the line

Business Traveler (USA) - - SPECIAL REPORT - By Mark Rowh

When it comes to busi­ness travel in the US, rail­roads are sel­dom the first op­tion that comes to mind. But promis­ing new de­vel­op­ments are in the works which may prompt road war­riors to raise rail’s pro­file. Of course pas­sen­ger rail ser­vices have long been highly de­vel­oped in Europe, and China is rapidly catch­ing up. But even within North Amer­ica, the ben­e­fits of rail are be­com­ing more ap­par­ent.

Cer­tainly rail de­vel­op­ment is a hugely ex­pen­sive propo­si­tion, and change comes slowly. But even set­ting aside fu­ture pos­si­bil­i­ties such as Elon Musk’s high ve­loc­ity tube train, cur­rent im­prove­ments in tech­nol­ogy and in­fra­struc­ture are bring­ing en­hanced op­tions for busi­ness trav­el­ers.

“Es­pe­cially in Europe and also in Asia, there is sig­nif­i­cant de­vel­op­ment go­ing on,”says Tom Drexler, di­rec­tor of rail and ground travel at Amadeus, a provider of IT so­lu­tions for the global travel and tourism in­dus­try. “Coun­tries are in­vest­ing a lot of money in high-speed in­fra­struc­ture and other im­prove­ments.” The re­sults may make rail more at­trac­tive than it has been in the past.

Ac­knowl­edg­ing that air is clearly dom­i­nant, Drexler says that when it comes to some con­nec­tions get­ting from Point A to Point B, rail can ac­tu­ally be the pre­ferred op­tion.“Rail is a re­ally se­ri­ous al­ter­na­tive to air travel,”he says“It’s some­thing that has to be put on the radar screen of peo­ple man­ag­ing busi­ness travel.”

Along with adding routes and field­ing higher-speed trains, the in­dus­try is de­vel­op­ing sup­port­ing tech­nol­ogy that is play­ing a big part in im­prov­ing the rail travel pic­ture. The con­tin­ued de­vel­op­ment in stan­dard­ized dig­i­tal in­fra­struc­ture is bring­ing new lev­els of ef­fi­ciency to global rail, ac­cord­ing to Ami Tay­lor, se­nior di­rec­tor, global travel man­age­ment and ac­count de­vel­op­ment at Sil­verRail Tech­nolo­gies. “For the first time, this makes it sig­nif­i­cantly eas­ier and sim­pler to plan, book and pay for rail travel book­ings from any­where to any­where,”Tay­lor says.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.