Taking the train through Italy is quicker, more efficient and more comfortable when taking the InterCity (IC) Train than the Regional Train, but the speed comes with a price tag. Each traveler must decide for themselves whether the faster travel time is worth the extra cost. Traveling between Rome and Naples, Italy recently, I tried both types of trains and made a comparison.
When making the decision between the fast train and not-so-fast train in Italy recently, the decision was summed up nicely by my hosts. My cousin endorsed the fast train, saying that the fast train from Naples would get me to Rome in one hour and ten minutes . Her husband, somewhat wryly, pointed out that the regular train would get me there in two hours.
Upon my arrival to the Rome airport, I took the regional train into the city of Rome and then had to take another train from Rome to Naples. I was given the choice between the Regional and InterCity trains, each of which ran approximately every hour. The price for the Regional Train was about 15 Euro (about $17 US) , compared to about 45 Euro (about $55 US); so I selected the less expensive option.
Although I usually enjoy train travel, the trip on the regional train was not comfortable. The seats were padded, but the train was crowded so I had to sit in a section with five other people. The train was crowded and the temperature was overly warm. Although the train was air conditioned, the frequent stops and opening doors let the sweltering August heat into the train. An attendant walked through the car with beverages and snacks, but he passed by so fast hat I could not catch him. My perception of the trip was probably influenced by the fact that I had just traveled cross-Atlantic on an overnight flight and got lost in the Rome train station. Overall the trip on the regional train was not bad, but it was not great either.
I selected the IC fast train for the return trip from Naples to Rome. The train was located on the track directly across from the ticket counter, which was a bonus for my weary feet. . There were several first class cars and I was dismayed when I accidentally stepped into the first car and the conductor told me to go back outside and walk to the second class cars.. I explained that my luggage was heavy and I would prefer not to have to lift it in and out of the train again. He allowed me to walk through the first class cars to second class. I must have looked like I knew what I was doing, because a family followed me, right on my heels.
Between first and second class was a refreshments car, with attendants selling snacks and beverages. When I finally made it into second class, the very first seat was available and I grabbed it. . The rest of the trip was without incident. The seat was roomy and very comfortable. The air conditioning worked and felt refreshing. Sitting next to the window, I was able to take snapshots of the beautiful scenery in Italy. I could have gotten up for refreshments, but with signs cautioning not to leave baggage unattended, I did not want to take the chance on leaving my things alone.
The train arrived in Rome and there was not mad dash to get off the train before it started again, because the train was at its destination for a while.
When selecting the type of train to take between cities in Italy, the traveler must decide whether comfort, efficiency and speed are worth an added cost. There really is no right or wrong answer, it is an individual decision.
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