Traveling by train provides ease and comfort along with scenic natural beauty on many routes through the countryside. Arriving in a city or town by train offers advantages over both air travel and driving. If you fly, you need to find your way from the airport to the town center because airports are generally located outside a city or town. If you drive, you have to find a safe place to park your car. On the other hand, the train drops you in or near the center of town, the usual location for train stations. Just grab your bag, walk out of the station, and you’re there.
List all the places you would like to visit on the trip. Rate the places in order of importance to you and decide how long you intend to spend at each stop.
Scan the railway map to see what stations have railway lines running between them. Make a preliminary list of the order of stops based on the way the stations are connected. For example, if Springfield has no direct train to Milltown, you may have to stop in Branchburg to change trains. Plan to see Branchburg between Springfield and Milltown.
Check the times that the trains run between all your chosen stations. Some trains run only once a day or a few times a week. Be sure to read the legend and all the symbols next to trains of interest for special information.
Make a tentative schedule of trains using your order of stops and the times the trains run. The logistics will probably require you to eliminate some stops or change the order or number of days you spend at each stop.
Use a major city as a hub when possible. If you stay for several nights in your hub city, you can spend the days venturing out to explore smaller stops in the surrounding countryside. This is particularly useful if there is no clear progression from town to town of the places you would like to visit.
Purchase tickets ahead of time for any trains that require reservations or advanced ticket purchase (see Resources below).
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