In 2022, I (Harry Brennan) started Train X Europe as a flight-free travel blog and planning service for Europe. I've been an avid fan of traveling by train for a while, starting with my first long-distance solo train trip in 2008 (well, if you can call Bodmin to Oxford via Dawlish "long-distance"). 


During the pandemic, I had a lot of time to think about just how unsustainable flying and driving are. At the same time, I was browsing maps of Europe, exploring long distance trains, and making plans for flight-free trips from Edinburgh. As I discussed this with others, I realized there was a demand for this kind of information.


More and more of us want to avoid flying - there's no shortage of reasons. Carbon emissions, the unpleasant environments in airports and onboard plans, waiting in security lines, and many hidden expenses. However, it doesn't mean that switching to alternatives is easy. One reason people stick to flying is the tempting simplicity of going straight from A to B in one leap.


While flying isn't always that simple either, it's certainly true that flight-free travel takes some practice: there's no EasyJet or RyanAir for flight-free travel. While the number of  flight-free options is finally growing, this comes after years of steady decline. Sleeper trains used to connect France and Spain, or Denmark and the Netherlands; ferries used to universally connect directly to express train services; we used to have something called the Trans Europe Express .


Left to right: Photo showing the view from a SNCF night train, June 2022; A Nightjet in Nuremberg at 5am; A SJ sleeper arriving at Hamburg Altona

That said, things are finally improving. Green City Trip and European Sleeper are now running new night trains from the Netherlands. OEBB run more Nightjets than ever , and are leading Europe in building newer models of more comfortable rolling stock. France and Ireland are now creating rail-sail tickets to encourage ferry use, and many countries have imitated Germany's transformative €49 Deutschlandticket .


For planning your own flight free travel, there's great resources like Seat 61 . Better still, Byway  offering organized package trips which are fully flight-free. What my trip planning aims to do is fill in the gaps around these other travel services . Discussing routes and showing off travel tips on the TXE blog and on social media, while providing a simple and cheap kind of travel planning. More than just doing all the research yourself from scratch, but not booking a package deal like bigger providers.

I hope you find TXE useful and enjoy your travels. Don't hesitate to get in touch with questions or suggestions!

-Harry B.