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Have you ever been on a high-speed train and, out of nowhere, felt the urge to dip your feet into a nice warm bath while you watch scenery wizz by the window? Most likely your answer is "no," but now you can do just that, thanks to Japan Rail's introduction of luxury foot-baths on their trains this July.
To start, the JR East services will sport the luxury foot-baths for the high season of summer travel. Passengers on the Tokyo to Shin-Aomori route and other cities northeast of the capital will be able to relax while soaking their feet in a traditional bath.
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Brian Sumers - the Los Angeles reporter who covers all things airports - promised us that we would "enjoy" the video below, which he took this week at a ceremony celebrating the groundbreaking of a new light rail line set to go from L.A.'s Mid-City to the general vicinity of LAX. He very specifically wrote "trust me" and then he followed up with "you'll enjoy it."
Brian Sumers fucking lied to us.
Let's discuss, shall we?
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Now more than ever it’s hard to disconnect from things, and that’s certainly the case when you’re traveling about. Thanks to a little bit of connectivity ingenuity now you can even reach out and touch someone from under the English Channel, as mobile phone services are arriving for those zipping between the United Kingdom and France.
Those heading back and forth through the Channel tunnel will soon be able to give a ring to friends and family, as it sounds like 4G service will be arriving. It’s the north tunnel that’s getting the new cellular beams and bits, and this will be the first time you can continue to talk to your grandma as you travel from the island to the continent.
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Your European holiday is about to get a little bit faster, as some new high speed train service is arriving on the continent. Now budget travel isn’t just an option aboard a low cost carrier, as the train might be able to zip you over to where you want to be.
Tickets are now on sale for the TGV train between Paris and Barcelona, and the speedy service should start up on December 15. Travelers can now visit Girona—that's just outside Barcelona in Spain—in just under six hours after departing Paris. Those looking to complete the whole journey between Paris and Barcelona can now do so in around six and a half hours. Connections are even available for those departing from London, as one can get from the UK to Spain in just over ten hours.
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There’s still plenty of summer left, and by that we mean that there are a few days to enjoy the warmer weather as the calendar flips from August to September. For those who call Boston home—or just the Northeast in general—there’s never been an easier way to escape towards Cape Cod and the islands. Thanks to the CapeFlyer you can skip the traffic jams, and that’ll especially be the case during the upcoming holiday weekend.
The new train service has been doing its thing since around Memorial Day, and it will continue to do so through Columbus Day. Once aboard the train you can enjoy all the usual train stuff including the chance to grab some snacks and beverages, and they’re even beaming some free WiFi throughout the cabin. Feel free to bring you bike along too—as well as your kids—as both of them are permitted to ride for free.
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We didn’t take a ride aboard Amtrak last month, but we might have been the only ones. Apparently the nation’s favorite train had a nice hefty boost in ridership last month, so they must be doing something right.
It seems that Amtrak often gets a bad rap regarding what it does wrong and never what it does right. However, in July the numbers seem to speak for themselves. The train beat its own best records, as Amtrak announced that more passengers took a trip in July than during any other month in the company’s history. In case you’re interested in the numbers, it sounds look almost a cool three million—2.9 to be specific—rode the rails during July of 2013.
Did someone say cake?
What better way to mark an anniversary than a giant cake shaped like a train? Specifically one shaped like a train that takes you from Central London to Heathrow Airport? We really can't think of any better way.
Set-up in Paddington Station, the 4-meter (just over 13 feet) cake celebrates the 15th birthday of the passenger train that makes the city a whole lot more accessible to travelers from far and wide. Since its inception, the zippy rail service has brought 60 million happy passengers back and forth to the airport.
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Riding the US rails just got a little bit better, as Amtrak is reaching into their pockets to pay for a little bit of a technology upgrade.
Travelers must be enjoying the WiFi and other in-train offerings, so the decision has been made to boost the connection options and speeds in hopes of attracting even more in-train WiFi fans.
Amtrak leans on cellular carriers to grab their WiFi signal, so we’re sure there will still be some dead spots or other areas where things aren’t ideal. Still, we can’t really complain given the price—WiFi is free aboard Amtrak.
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Just in time for the Olympics, it looks like the Heathrow Express is scoring some swanky new trains. In case you aren’t familiar with the train service, the Heathrow Express connects travelers and tourists from London-Heathrow right over to Paddington Station close to the city’s center. It’s a little expensive at £18 each way, but, if you need to get from the airport into London proper in just 15 minutes it’s pretty much your best option.
The new trains cars are designed to look a little more like a rolling business class lounge rather than just a nonstop commuter train. In total, they’re spending around £16 million on upgrading interiors, seats, and everything else—both inside and out. The updates started rolling down the track earlier this month, and things will continue to be refreshed through the first part of next year.
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For a long time the only high speed train option in Italy was the state-run Trenitalia. Sure there are plenty of trains that can get you between Rome and Venice in like four hours or so, but there were often complaints about service and quality along with also this and that. A little competition might be just what the Italian train system needs, and that’s where Italo comes in to play.
Late last month the country’s new—and private—high speed train service finally hit the rails, and they’re planning to connect pretty much all the tourist and business hotspots throughout the country. Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori is the company behind the new trains, and if all goes according to plan you’ll be zipping through the countryside at around 190mph. Soon enough the trains will be connecting nine different cities at like twelve different stations.
If Atlantic City can have the direct ACES train from NYC to the east coast's gambling mecca, than why can't Las Vegas get itself a similar direct train service from LA? Well, the quick answers to that is to point out that flights between LA and LV are affordable and quick, and many more people in LA have cars to drive themselves, unlike the population of New York City.
Still, a couple companies (like DesertXPress) out there are looking to venture into the a Vegas direct train, and the flashiest idea comes from X Train. The X train will renovate railcars and use existing right-of-ways on the tracks to launch their service in 2011, with the goal of enveloping riders in Vegas before they even reach Vegas. Think railcars outfitted as bars, sports lounges, gaming rooms and private salons.
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If you’ve ever flown through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport you have probably taken a ride on the underground train that ferries passengers from one concourse to another. Technically it’s not really a train, but according to the airport it’s an "Automated People Mover." Regardless of its official title, the thing is celebrating its 30th birthday with a little contest.
The airport isn’t totally thrilled over the train’s lack of identity, and they’re using the power of social networking to help it get one. They’re launching a Name The Train contest, and they’re asking everyone to help out. We’re assuming they prefer a nice and pretty name, so frequent flyers that have missed their flights due to the train should probably not share their choices. However, our experience with Atlanta's Automate People Mover has been pretty positive, even if it’s usually a little hot and a lot smelly.