Sweden Wants to Revive Europe’s Overnight Trains

While changes in the travel industry have tended to pressure night trains off the market, it’s clear that there is still some appetite for them among travelers. When Germany’s Deutsche Bahn halted its night services in 2017, Austrian Federal Railways took over some of the key routes. The takeover has proved to be a success, with passenger numbers on the services …rising from 1.4 million to 1.6 million between 2017 and 2018, a rise in profits, and talk of expansion. Meanwhile, well-established leisure services such as the London-to-Scotland Caledonian Sleeper continue to thrive.

The overnight train services remain popular because many people actually like them. The duration of travel, of course, is usually far longer than by plane, even when layovers and security are factored in, but there are other compensations. Generally scheduled to leave late evening and arrive before the working day begins, night trains offer the possibility of sleep and more leisurely travel compared to an early-morning rush to the airport. They can also be reasonably priced: On the Vienna-to-Berlin night service, for example, a one-way ticket with a reclining sleeper seat starts at €29 ($32.50), a couchette (a four- or six-person compartment whose bunks fold down into comfortable seating during the day) at €49 ($55), and a single-berth sleeper with private toilet and shower at €139 ($159). If the trip saves you the cost of a hotel room, many people seem to be noting, that’s not a bad deal.

So while the outlook seemed bleak just a few years ago, Sweden’s plan arrives at a time when the sector’s fortunes seem to be brightening once more.

…Getting more people on the rails can only have a positive effect in reducing the carbon footprint of international mobility.

Sweden Wants to Revive Europe’s Overnight Trains – CityLab

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Andrew Yang is out to save the American mall

 At one time the US was home to  …2,000 [malls:] climate-controlled, multi-level, windowless and flanked on each end by well-lit department stores. There are just over 1,000 indoor American malls alive today, with analysts putting the number of mall closures within the next five years at between 20 and 25 percent.

,,,Yang’s policy would fund struggling malls with matching grants and tax incentives to the tune of $6 billion. Investing in and revitalizing dead malls doesn’t just mean bringing retail back; he’s also a big believer in transforming and repurposing malls into “[o]ffices, churches, indoor recreation spaces, anything we can do to keep these spaces vital and positive is an enormous win for the surrounding community,” reads his campaign site. Mall closures, Yang tweeted last month, “have a disastrous effect on local property values.”

…Abandoned malls are what the Congress for the New Urbanism coined “greyfields,” as reported by CityLab, for the seas of parking lots that surround them. Yang’s campaign pledge to transform vacant malls into multi-purpose spaces is right in line with New Urbanism’s architectural and urban planning movement to create mixed-use, “live, work, shop, play” centers, …(ICSC) found that 78 percent of US adults would consider living in such a center.

Democratic debates 2020: Andrew Yang on universal basic income and saving malls – Vox

A more flexible version of this plan, one that doesn’t necessarily envision “high-end” mixed use, would be very interesting.

What to do if you think your TSA screening crosses a line | Condé Nast Traveller India | International | Experiences

Both Liz and White have documented claims of their complaints to the TSA. Only White says she received a response. “He was very kind. He was very patient,” she says of the investigator who called her after reviewing video footage of the screening. “But he also told me he wouldn’t be able to tell me what happens either way. So [the complaint] just kind of went into the ether.”

What to do if you think your TSA screening crosses a line | Condé Nast Traveller India | International | Experiences

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Senate to Amtrak: Explain What You’re Doing To Rail Passenger Service In Kansas

Long-running frustration about Amtrak’s willingness to keep a rail passenger line running through remote parts of the country has politicians threatening to block new directors to the agency.

…In February, Congress gave $50 million for upkeep of the route to Amtrak to keep the line working through September. Last year, Amtrak proposed replacing service from Dodge City to Albuquerque with buses, but the federal budget prohibits the use of buses to replace long-distance train service along the route.

In early April, a group of 11 senators sent Amtrak a letter demanding more detail about its plans for the Southwest Chief and how, more broadly, it decides which long-distance routes are worth operating.

…Over the last year, Amtrak has removed ticket agents from many stations. But Assistant City Manager for Dodge City Melissa Mccoy said the city employs staff at its train depot.

“We have few options in terms of public transportation,” McCoy said. She said ridership jumps with tourists in the summer.

Without the Southwest Chief route, McCoy says some Dodge City residents wouldn’t be able to travel long distances.

“We have a lot of working class folks, and they have limited income,” she said. “Amtrak provides them a way to visit family and go on vacation and without that they might not have it all.”

Senate to Amtrak: Explain What You’re Doing To Rail Passenger Service In Kansas | KCUR

 

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