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In 2022, the trains that changed the way we travel

In 2022, the trains that changed the way we travel

In 2022, the trains that changed the way we travel

CNN) — Everyone enjoys a good train ride, and the world did rail enthusiasts proud in 2022 with new routes, new operators, and a new need for speed around the world.
From a night train from Austria to the Italian Riviera to the new semi-high-speed line across Laos, from a luxurious trans-African odyssey to a new Swiss train that can “jump” rail tracks, and even the United States finally getting the thrill of the tracks, here are some of our favorite train travel moments.
GPX Rougemont is a Swiss supertrain.
MOB
Switzerland’s Golden Pass Express, or GPX as it’s known, made its debut in December 2022, connecting Montreux, Gstaad, and Interlaken with special panoramic trains that change height and wheel gauge to slip between the varying lines. The nearly four-hour journey passes by classic Swiss lakes and mountains. Previously, the journey required two train changes.
Laos moves at (semi) high speed.
The new semi-high-speed route through Laos is part of a long-term project between Beijing and Bangkok.
The new semi-high-speed route through Laos is part of a long-term project between Beijing and Bangkok.
Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images/Cao Anning
This year’s big news in Laos was the semi-high-speed train connecting the capital Vientiane with Boten, which borders China’s Yunnan province. It passes through popular tourist destinations such as the karst-studded Vang Vieng, the eco-tourism hub Luang Namtha, and the lovely former royal capital Luang Prabang. It is part of a larger plan to connect Beijing to Bangkok and even Singapore in the coming decades.
The Elizabeth Line is transforming London.
The Elizabeth Line has changed how people get to and from London.
The Elizabeth Line has changed how people get to and from London.
Getty Images/Jim Dyson
Getting from Heathrow Airport to central London has long been a tiresome hour-long Tube ride, an expensive taxi ride, or an equally expensive trip on the Heathrow Express train.
The Elizabeth Line, which opened in May after a $25 billion and four-year delay, connects Reading and Heathrow in the west with Abbey Wood in the southeast and Shenfield in Essex in the east.
It’s a faster, more comfortable ride with several stops in London. Bond Street, the final station, opened in November, along with through-routes from the west (initially passengers changed at Paddington). The final schedule will be released in May 2023.
Spain has emerged as Europe’s competition hub.
Iryo is Spain’s third and fourth high-speed network company and brand.
Iryo is Spain’s third and fourth high-speed network company and brand.
Rober Solsona/Europa Press/Associated Press
What could be better than a single national high-speed rail network? There are three of them. With the November launch of iryo, a new high-speed competitor owned by major European players including Italian operator Trenitalia, which has brought its popular Frecciarossa trains to the line, Spain gained (sort of) a fourth.
It is the country’s third operator and fourth high-speed brand. Iryo will begin by traveling from Madrid to Barcelona via Zaragoza and then to Valencia via Cuenca. Seville, Malaga, Cordoba, and Antequera connections will begin in March 2023, followed by Alicante and Albacete in June.
Relevant information
Hydrogen-powered trains lead the way in Germany on Europe’s new train routes for 2022.
14 Coradia iLint will launch passenger service on the world’s first 100% hydrogen-powered route.
14 Coradia iLint will launch passenger service on the world’s first 100% hydrogen-powered route.
Alstom
Not a new railway line, but a new way to travel on them — In August, Germany opened the world’s first train line powered entirely by hydrogen. The line in Bremervörde, Lower Saxony, transports 14 hydrogen trains propelled by fuel cells.
The hydrogen trains (the Coradia iLint model) were to be fully integrated with the existing diesel rolling stock by the end of the year.
The Hellenic Train has arrived in Greece.

fsnews.it/Thanos Kartsoglou
This year, Italy’s world-class trains have really spread across Europe. Following the December 2021 launch of the Frecciarossa service from Milan to Paris, Trenitalia, the lead company of the Gruppo FS’s Polo Passeggeri (passenger hub), launched a domestic French service between Paris and Lyon in April 2022.
The company then traveled to Greece, where it launched Hellenic Train, a new Greek rail operator for passengers and freight. It has introduced electric trains on the busy Athens-Thessaloniki route, which takes just under four hours, and it also operates urban and suburban lines around the capital.
Thailand’s ‘floating’ train is only temporary.
Due to high water levels, Thailand’s ‘floating train’ is a one-time event.
Due to high water levels, Thailand’s ‘floating train’ is a one-time event.
Reuters/Jiraporn Kwang Kuhakan
Rising water levels allowed Thai passengers to ride on a “floating” train across one of the country’s largest reservoirs in November.
The train departs Bangkok for Lop Buri province, where the water has reached the very top of the Pasak Jolasid dam. The train even comes to a complete stop once it reaches the halfway point, allowing passengers to jump out and take selfies in this unexpected waterworld. The train is scheduled to run until February, but tickets were already sold out through the New Year by November.
The Italian express has arrived in beer country.
The new night train from Vienna and Munich to the Italian Riviera and Cinque Terre (pictured).
The new night train from Vienna and Munich to the Italian Riviera and Cinque Terre (pictured).
Adobe Stock/Stevanzz
BB’s new night train, which debuted on December 11, whisks you from the snowy cities of Austria and Germany to the mild Italian Riviera, or vice versa.
Starting in La Spezia (the starting point for the Cinque Terre), the train heads north up the coast of Liguria, calling at Genoa and Milan before passing through Lake Garda to Verona, saying goodbye to Italy at Padova and entering Austria at Villach. It splits here, with one half visiting Austria and Germany, stopping in Salzburg at 6:49 a.m. before arriving in Munich at 9.20 a.m., and the other half staying in Austria and continuing to Vienna.
There was previously a night train between Vienna and Milan; the new route extends it beyond the Italian fashion capital.
A Scandinavian night
SJ’s new EuroNight train travels from Stockholm to Hamburg, Germany.
SJ’s new EuroNight train travels from Stockholm to Hamburg, Germany.
Adobe Stock/rudi1976
Sweden is the birthplace of Europe’s “flight shame” movement, and Swedish operator SJ has capitalized on this with its EuroNight night train from Stockholm to Hamburg, which began service in September. It departs around 5.30 p.m. from Stockholm and makes a lengthy stop in Malmö before continuing through Denmark and arriving in Hamburg before 7 a.m.
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The launch date for London’s new ‘Super Tube’ has been revealed. America joins the rail revolution Amtrak’s new Acela trains will debut on the Northeast Corridor in 2023.
Amtrak’s new Acela trains will make their Northeast Corridor debut in 2023.
Amtrak
Let’s face it: the United States lags far behind the rest of the world when it comes to train travel, so increasing the speed on a popular stretch is big news.
Amtrak’s infrastructure upgrades in June allowed its Acela trains to reach speeds of up to 150 miles per hour in the relevant section of the Northeast Corridor in New Jersey. Sure, the section between New Brunswick and South Brunswick is only 16 miles long, but it’s a good start.
Amtrak will debut next-generation Acela trains capable of speeds of up to 160mph on the Northeast Corridor in 2023, replacing older rolling stock.
An African adventure
The new Copper Trail route begins with a bang at Victoria Falls.
The new Copper Trail route begins with a bang at Victoria Falls.
Rail Tours in Rovos
For those with the time and money, Rovos Rail launched the Copper Trail in July, slicing through four Sub-Saharan African countries and covering nearly 2,000 miles on a hyper-lux train.
The 15-day luxury trip begins in Zimbabwe at Victoria Falls and travels north through Zambia, then west through the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Angola, where it concludes at Lobito on the Atlantic coast.
Day trips to national parks, an elephant sanctuary, and walking tours of towns and cities, including Huambo, Angola’s second city, fill the gaps. It is, of course, as beautiful as it is expensive; prices for 2023 begin at $13,600.
France: Look to the future
On September 9, 2022, invited guests and journalists attend the presentation of the new SNCF TGV “M” next generation high-speed train at the Alstom plant in La Rochelle, western France.
On September 9, 2022, invited guests and journalists attend the presentation of the new SNCF TGV “M” next generation high-speed train at the Alstom plant in La Rochelle, western France.
AFP/Getty Images/Xavier Leoty
In September, French railway operator SNCF unveiled the TGV M, its next-generation high-speed train, as more of a taste of the future than a true debut.
The Alstom-built double-decker train with a longer, more aerodynamic nose will debut on the Paris network in 2024 before spreading across the country. The trains are larger and more accessible to passengers with disabilities.