Every visit must come to an end eventually, so I packed my bags and boarded a Swiss railways train to Milan. For decades, this route was operated by Cisalpino dual-current trains which were replaced in 04 by new Alstom built Astoro high velocity sets. Luxurious and silent, these tilting trains provide high speed service to Italy and Germany on key routes such as the Bern to Milan section I rode.
Once in Milan, I connected to the Trenitalia set called a Frecciarossa (red arrow) co-developed by Alstom and Hitachi. These sets of the 1000 series are as fast as TGV’s albeit far less silent than their French counterparts. It all starts with the tracks as the Italians used some pre-existing rail that rattles and creaks, while the French built new. In either case it’s a vast advantage over what we have on the North American side.
In my vast rail experience, I can attest that the amazing thing about European trains is their simplicity of use and the simple fact that a few hours aboard will transport you anywhere you wish to go. From Italy to France; from Spain to anywhere in Europe and even to the UK via the Eurostar tunnel under the English Channel, trains go city center to city center efficiently and fast. In this aspect of efficient transportation, Europe is decades ahead of the US. Not to mention the affordability and the environmental benefits of no carbon transportation for the masses. Go trains!