2022 summer struggles

  • 28 August 2022
  • 3 replies

I'm genuinely curious are other people having as much issues as I am with booking trains/reserving seats and there being train strikes or construction or this dumb thing with sending paper tickets? 

I've had a nightmare of a trip because I have no experience with european summer and wondering if it's always this busy and messed up??? 

3 replies

Userlevel 6
Badge +9

I am sorry to hear you have had a bad experience.

I have just finished my first experience after my pre-covid pass was extended. Because of that I had plenty of time to research and booked some key trains well in advance. As soon as the issues of Summer 2022 started appearing we even booked German ICE trains rather than turn up and go.

Thankfully, in the main, it worked like clockwork for us, but there were many very busy trains on our 2000 mile journey from Sicily to the UK.

I thank the community for all the tips that eased that experience, but I do agree that  this Summer seems abnormal as we all recover from Covid.

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

This is indeed the summer of discontent for train travel-and in fact not even for these iron monsters on the rails-also all airports cloggedup and jammed, and in many countries many services in all types of transit cancelled due to serious staff shortages and also train repairs not possible due to parts lacking and unavailable. Plus the sudden pent-up demand now that most covid rules have been done away with and people seize their chance to go, before it maybe gets bad again.

And yes-this also makes that the situation is rife for trade-unions to lay on strikes, as they have the upper hand now. And often they have been set on no rises in wages during covid-and now the price explosion/inflation hurts.

Here in DE=Germany there was/is till 31/8 the supercheap 9€ monthly-and this also pents up demand extremely on some routes-and hardly at all on others

Userlevel 5
Badge +5

Indeed, my experience was also marred in comparison to many other super pleasant years.

Booking trains and reservations have always been a bit of a hassle, but were very important this year due to the extremely high demand. I never knew it as bad as this year. The last minute travellers, I pity them this year.

Summertime usually is synonymous with construction works on the railway, but usually it’s announced quite well in advance. Had a bit of issues with the random trips, not planned days, because of this, but okay to work around. Not more problems than usual.

Although everything was well planned on our trips and the big connections were neatly reserved, with enough buffer and back-up. But there were several issues. We almost always had to fall back to back-up options… Never happened before.

Especially Germany was annoying to travel through. Enduring troubles with the ICE with several cancellations due to staff shortages, huge crowds due to the 9-euro ticket, and the extremely high temperatures also had their effect on the punctuality and reliability of many services, or airconditioning broke down (in the nightjet).

Although some countries handled the heat remarkably better than usual, like Belgium.

Also crowding was dreadful, several trains didn’t want to leave because they were to full (Germany, Slovenia). Endless delays and missed connections as a consequence. And plenty of lost leisure time.

Okayish to deal with for experienced railers, but for first timers or the less prepared this must have been a very bad experience. Dreadful publicity for international rail. There’s so much more room for improvement for proper international rail, but it just stays with words instead of proper investment.

The strikes were annoying, but we could dodge them quite well in the UK. Long live the flexibility of the pass. But we had to cancel the Caledonian sleeper though, and lost a day of holiday. And had to spend it on less comfortable trains because of it. And you got extra stress to ensure we could make it to our Eurostar, instead of the usual holiday chillness.

What was a bit surprising, is that the strikes happened in countries that are usually not known for big strikes or union actions. The massive inflation, staff shortages and soaring energy prices sow social discontent. The most neoliberal countries in Europe, mainly UK and NL were more hit than the usual strike prone countries (like France or Italy) in my experience. Guess that proper social rights isn’t bad to keep a decent service up and running and more turbulent economic times.

But on the other hand, the situation in airports wasn’t much better, and road traffic was also very bad, especially in the “changeover weekends”, also much more than usual. The post corona travel urge was noticeable on all travel modes.

In summary a very intense rail-summer, hopefully next years will be more relaxed. I’m adament on avoiding the high season though, for the next coming years. Never again, I want a pleasant and relaxing trainride. Not go to the gates of purgatory to get to your destinations.