In America, where high speed rail is more of a pipe dream than anything else, I’m used to people gushing over the European rail system. And up until now, I had no complaints. I’ve enjoyed the train from Paris to Brussels, through Holland, and through Spain. But the train ride from Berlin to Prague was a rude awakening.
The standard comfortable train car has two rows of two seats each on either side of the train with an aisle down the middle. Comfort level may range from how cushy the seats are to how much legroom you have, but at a minimum, you only have one person next to you. The Berlin-Prague train featured mini compartments with SIX seats jammed together, with three seats facing the other three. Leg room was non-existent.
Oh my God. As soon as I saw our seats, my heart sank. I had high hopes for sleeping/doing work on the four and a half hour ride. Instead, we spent the ride smushed together with four strangers, thinking: Are we there yet? Are we there yet? ARE WE THERE YET?
Pictures from Seat 61
I blame myself for not researching the train ride more, though it never even occurred to me that any long-distance European train would be anything other than the standard two-by-two layout. Had I known what we were dealing with, I would have happily paid extra for first class seats and saved ourselves the four-and-a-half hours in train hell.
The moral of this story: Always check what kind of train you are getting.
I absolutely understand what you write about.On the other hand it is kind of funny, as Czech old trains (I do not know if your train was Czech or other company, but it doesn’t matter) were only compartments and they were for 8. 4 facing 4. Everyone was used to it, Compartments dor 6 were for first class only :-). And when I travl and I have to go (as we call it) the airplane style train (the one you prefer)I always complain that I would prefer to have the compartment (can be empty, just for your family and you share it with just 5 people, not 30 :-)). The lack of the leg place is dependent on the size of your body and size of the body that sits in front of you, but that definitely is not very big. Yes, I remember climbing all over the strangers legs from the window to the isle :-). It is more or less what you are used to and what do you prefer.
Anyway, I am sorry for your experience and that it is not the only think you will remember from Prague (as Prague is not responsible for it :-)).
Enjoy it here! K