European Train Travel: Working on the Railroad

CATE GILLON / GETTY IMAGES

As any of the millions of young people who have roamed the Continent with a pack on their back and Eurail pass in hand can attest, there is something quintessentially European about traveling by train. Or was. European airline deregulation 12 years ago has turned hopping on a plane into a bargain-basement no-brainer. Thanks mostly to the increased competition, improved services and lower prices spawned by regulatory liberalization, air travel in Europe grew at an average annual rate of 4.5% between 1995 and 2005. Over the same period, the total number of miles traveled by all rail passengers chugged along at...

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