Why I choose to travel by train over plane

I am often asked why must one choose to travel from Delhi to Chennai via train when one can afford to travel by air.

The first argument is that it’s approximately about the same cost as the cost of travel by air (that is if one travels by Rajdhani) However, who said one has to travel by Rajdhani! And who said one has to travel by the AC coach!

There are so many other cheaper options, and sleeper class is in a very fundamental way better than the AC class. You can have your head out of the window, as you are traveling to the beautiful green heavens on Earth. Having the breeze hit your face is much better than being closed in an AC compartment.

After all, train travels are wonderful opportunities for rejoicing the beauty of the interiors, of the farms, of the moon and the skies!

The second argument is that the travel by train is inefficient. It makes you burn two work days when you travel all the way from Delhi to Chennai!

That’s not true either.

When you travel by air, you arrive an hour and a half early and spend your time in security checks. Then you board the flight, in whose take off, the air fills up your ears, making a lot of us feel dizzy. Now you are in the flight for 2 hours, in which you can work, if you so want to, but it hardly happens. Its too short a period to get in the rhythm and get any real work done. (However, you can. Its not like you just cannot.)

On the other hand, in a train, you can simply just get in with only a simple security check. Yesterday I reached the station at 3:55 for my train which was at 4pm, and I got in!! And you can actually get real work done in 1.5 days of being on the train. If one does not have internet, then it’s the perfect time for reading the book one has been wanting to read for long. But well, one is most likely to have internet (I am on the train and if I did not have internet, I would not be making this post!)… And with jio sim, one can smoothly work on the internet as well. I have been reading The Ideal of Human Unity, replying to emails that were kept on Hold for long, and also plan to write an article, which generally was postponed for there was always something or the other which was more important.

Essentially, travelling on the train gives us that extra day in the week which we have been wishing for ever since we were kids.

And of course, it’s a great opportunity to meet people, if you are kinds who’s rather talk than be busy with one’s work and books. One and a half day is a long enough time for a lifelong friendship to begin!

Not to mention the other benefits such as “not feeling guilty for eating while travelling” that one gets by travelling on the train. On the airplane they charge you 100 bucks for a cup of tea. Either you drink it feeling miserable about it or do the extra hard work of preparing meals to have on the airport!

And, and, and (I am not done yet :P), travelling by train is a better choice for the planet. It is true that by my not travelling by air, the flights would not stop. But it is also true that by us choosing trains over the airplane, trends could change, the world could change. Air travel is one of the biggest causes of carbon emissions (2nd after the internet I guess). Anyway, the exact numbers do not matter. The larger point does.

And it’s not as if we make a blanket mental rule – say no, no to air travel. It has, of course, facilitated connectivity in the world. And it’s a welcome invention. But in these times of sustainability crisis, we can choose, whenever we can, to go for the alternatives that are better for the planet.

And well, as I tried to present above, it is better for our experience of life, and work productivity too!

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