Has helped me travel from Bali to Jakarta, through Thailand, Namibia, and with the TransSib.
A labour of love. So I wondered how one can support the guy, and was amazed that the only thing he asks for is donations to UNICEF in his name, see link below. Kudos kudos kudos.
edit: And to add, I love the site! I've used to plan many trips to and between France, Spain, Estonia, Sweden and Denmark.
> Is the site a hobby or a business?
> Seat61.com is a personal website, started as a hobby. It's grown and grown, and became my full time occupation in September 2007. However, I'm not a company or a travel agency, just an individual with knowledge that others might find useful. All the information on the site is provided free of charge to users, to help people make journeys by train or ship instead of flying, affordably, comfortably and safely. The site generates income through affiliate schemes, and this supports the site, helps fund my travel habit (...er, I mean research, of course) and buys me the occasional bottle of my favourite Chateau Musar...
(Not sure what to think of that... doesn't strike me as huge. Maybe front page HN is not as "viral" as I thought?)
> Has helped me travel from Bali to Jakarta, through Thailand, Namibia, and with the TransSib.
"TransSib" here is the Trans-Siberian Railway, travelled via the eponymous train. You may know: Siberia is in Russia – as is most of the journey via the railway.
And yes, there is support for travel data in Russia: https://www.seat61.com/Russia.htm
The site clearly has a link to rail travel in Russia on the first page, and clearly any international train site worth it's salt is going to have one of the most famous train journeys of all time on there (indeed it's got it's own page)
So clearly the parent wasn't talking about the site covering Russia as a subject.
Absolutely right. The site also forgets to mention that crossing France by train is also often even faster than doing it by plane.
Sure, the actual high speed travel part is faster on a plane but :
- train stations are usually inside the city so you don't need to add 30-60 minutes to your travel just to go to them, not to mention the same amount of time after landing.
- you can arrive at the train station 5-10 minutes before the train leaves.
- once the train stops, you can just disembark in a couple of minutes. You don't have to wait for a bridge to be deployed and everybody in front of you to get up.
On top of that, you have way more space in a TGV than any plane, a nice view of the country and even wifi.
I lived and worked in the South coast of France for a couple of years while my family lives in the North of the country.
Each time I had to visit, I just took a train. It was a way better experience.
I've tried doing the same trip via bus and it was a nightmare, mostly due to me not being able to sleep on bus seats but also bumpier ride & I can't as comfortably read on a bus as on a train.
Additionally there is no high speed connection directly between Vienna and Berlin (it would have went through the Czech Republic which is probably the reason?), if you want that you have to go via Munich which negates a lot of the speed benefit vs taking the direct but lower speed route via Prague.
All around frustrating situation considering these 2 large cities are not all that far apart geographically.
Also, book early for better train prices.
Makes me wonder what I am doing as a corporate cog in the wheel.
I've also researched all sorts different train rides, like the journey from Shenzhen to Urumqi and the trans-siberian, neither of which I've gotten to (yet!).
His concise monthly European rail news is also great: https://www.seat61.com/news.htm
Got a first class ticket from Kolkata to Gaya (why not, was cheap and it was my first time in India). The attendants were very kind, unusually so, and it was only after getting off the train that it finally clicked why one attendant kept saying with a loving smile, "gips, gips" -- he wanted a tip like I'd given one of the other attendants! (who was able to speak basic English and asked for a tip)
It was a nice journey, though the Gaya train station at 4AM, nothing prepares you for that, weaving through 500 homeless people sleeping on the ground; emerging from the mass of humanity to inhale the thick, dusty, diesel saturated air, on the way to Bodh Gaya, the Bodhi Tree, the birthplace of Buddha's awakening -- welcome to India :)
For rail fanning /trainspotting in India, there is a fantastic community at irfca.org.
On the return from Bodh Gaya the midnight train to Varanasi was delayed...by 5 hours. Being the only foreigner I was concerned for my safety, but then realized the safest place was down on the ground with everyone else, and definitely not wandering outside the station.
Whenever I go to a country I spend some time on seat61 looking up the local train system. For a number of systems without websites, seat61 is the place where you can find the information about what trains go where before you get there and it’s just slowly (actually surprisingly quickly, all things considered) populated as people find out various pieces from ticket agents on site or physical boards posted at stations and email bits and pieces in.
To that end, us Brits don't have a very high opinion of our rail system (reliability, punctuality, price) so it does make me wonder how bad it must be in the US.
I know it's a typo, but I've always thought that would be a cool form of travel.
Someone make a golden statue of this guy.
It depends how sensitive you are. I get nauseous when reading even on relatively smooth inter-city trains.
We're left depending on the few people who have the time/energy/money to produce labors of love and charities like this. Beyond that, we're left with centralized superplatforms.
The train from Bangkok to the Thai/Cambodian border was one of the most wonderful trips I ever took. I watched movies until late at night at a mall movie theater, slept a few hours in the station, and tok t 5:55 train, watching rice paddies pass by for hours...
And there's no way I would have done it without https://www.seat61.com/Cambodia.htm#Siem%20Reap
The general info is googlable, but it helped my choose a seat that was facing forward and positioned in the middle of a window. A very relevant information for me and my wife wanting to observe the world while traveling. And an information that we wouldn't be able to google.
I learned about it years ago here in HN I believe. It would be hard to find by myself googling something like this too
Now I'm an adult and living in England I always have gone by plane (about 3 times a year). I'm definitely going to try travelling by train+ferry now as it seems to cost about a third of what I would normally pay for a plane. Seems much less stressful too.
Interestingly since it was only used infrequently the locals knew when the big trains were coming and would basically build their own mini motorised platforms to zip up and down the line. Two sets of wheels on axles, a bamboo "raft" that sat on top of them with a hole towards the back where a motor ran a chain down to the back axle.
I rode on one circa 2008, because it was a single line, if you met someone coming the other way you basically had to disassemble the entire thing (which probably took less than a minute) and then re-assemble once they'd passed.
It's still slow. And not completely safe; multiple cases of some dude sleeping on the tracks and the train went over them also there was a derailing. But I guess compared to the crazy regional highway traffic it still is safer. Also a great way to see the countryside.
Edit: it does (https://www.seat61.com/international-trains/trains-from-Lisb...), just that the country's not listed where I expected it to be.
I vastly prefer taking the train from Lisbon to Porto for business, since I can work and prepare during the trip, with the following caveats:
- Mobile data coverage along that particular line is spottier than a cheetah, with more gaps than a croc's denture and slower than snails. On-board Wi-Fi is even worse.
- For some reason CP (the Portuguese train company) refuses to service the power outlets on 1st/2nd class cars, which means it's a toss-up as to whether you'll have enough battery to work on the train.
This has been going on for years, but I still prefer taking the train to a cramped (and noisy) flight.
But then again I found looking out the window and/or chatting to my travel companion far more entertaining than using my mobile phone!
However, the train company bought hideously expensive 3G equipment to install on some cars that they never bothered to maintain. If they did and upgraded them, the on-board WiFi would be better than having the phone try to talk to a base station through the train car.
Regardless, mobile connectivity in Portugal is, by and large, pretty good, although ai can’t wait until I can stop using MEO and go back to Vodafone to get stable voice calls on urban streets (their dropped call ratio is through the roof, and me and my colleagues have trouble with voice calls every day).
Sad that many of these international sleepers have recently shut down.
ÖBB took over Deutsche Bahn's sleepers, which coincided with the retiring of the last sleeper train from/to the Netherlands (bugger me). But their service does seem to be working pretty well.
I missed an opportunity to travel from Milan to Paris by Thello's sleeper train due to the railway strikes in France this year, unfortunately.
I really wish the EU or collaborating national governments would invest more in sleeper train services by taxing flights. It's much more sustainable, and the real kicker is this: yes, a train takes longer, but in a sleeper train you just wake up with a complimentary breakfast early in the morning in the middle of a city hundreds of kilometres from where you started.
DB going out of sleeper service was so sad. At least ÖBB took over some of it with their NightJet service and are replacing the rolling stock with newer cars, so is Caledonian Sleepers in the UK. Hopefully Trans Metropolitan will begin service as well to take over some of what was abandoned by DB.
Why? If sleepers are so desirable, then the market should support them.
My only complaint is that for most of Europe there's a lot of "how to get there from London", which is fine if you're coming from London or elsewhere in the UK, but I'm flying in from the USA. But this complaint is a bit American-centric.
I wish you hadn't posted it, though, I'm not going to get any work done this afternoon.
I've been building a mobile app for quick and convenient public transport departure lookup in Switzerland, which is doable because there's a free, well-documented public API. Since it's fairly popular, I thought about extending it to other countries, but as mentioned above, the API landscape looks super heterogenous and spotty.
I used it to plan a trip around Europe and the information about how to travel between given stations, where to buy tickets, what to buy (even what side to sit on to get the best view!) made my trip significantly less stressful to plan.
Marketers: I hate your stupid, empty landing page.
Then it kept going, and going, and going with a wonderful set of recommendations, images, descriptions, a nicely edited video etc
What a great website!
So impressed that it's been kept not just running, but up-to-date and so well written (enjoyable to read)
The existence of a functioning rail network is a big draw for me when I'm planning a backpacking trip. I'm much less likely to be ripped off for the ticket, there will be some sort of timetable, and little risk of being taken to someone's brother's shop in case I want to buy a carpet. Most importantly, it's usually at least an order of magnitude safer.