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6 Myths That Only People Who Travel by Train Can Relate To

6 Myths That Only People Who Travel by Train Can Relate To

Of course travelling by train is great. You can enjoy the scenery, you are not polluting the environment, you are more relaxed, and you can enjoy a snooze without killing anybody in the process!

But there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about train travel that you no doubt have heard about. There are some wonderful aspects about train travel but also some challenges. As a dedicated train traveller, you will have no problems in relating to these.

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1. You are generating more greenhouse gases than automobiles.

Back in 2008, Randal O’Toole of the Cato Institute claimed that trains were contributing more to greenhouse gases than people thought. Amtrak (the US rail network) came back and stated that trains are more energy efficient than cars by about 30%. They are also more efficient than planes by about 14%. You don’t even need to mention the fact about not littering downtown parking lots with parked automobiles with all the pollution and congestion they bring.

2. Your fellow passengers are always polite and quiet.

In an ideal world, this would certainly be the case. But let’s do a reality check. I find that people shouting on their cell phones is almost intolerable. You dream about Japan where passengers actually adhere to the notice to keep their mobiles on silent mode. It is also good to note that Amtrak have introduced quiet cars on their network.

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Back in Europe, some passengers dump their bags on seats and you have to ask them to remove them so that you can actually get a place to sit. Now, if you had taken the car, you could have avoided all that hassle.

3. You are not producing any clean energy.

All the critics say that trains are not so eco friendly as people think. Let me tell you about Greenrail which will help trains to generate cleaner energy as they pass over the new type of sleepers (also called “ties”). Up until now, sleepers were either made from wood or pre-stressed concrete and they needed a lot of maintenance.

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Italian engineers have developed Greenrail which will use old tires and plastic to make the sleepers. The wonderful thing is that through a piezoelectric system, the trains produce electricity as they pass over the sleepers. Engineers estimate that Greenrail sleepers on a 100 km stretch of railway could produce up to 1.25MWh an hour. This system has already been patented in 148 countries. Where there are no ways of recycling old tires and plastic, this will transform trains into a new source of green power.

4. You know that trains are always reliable and on time.

Unfortunately, even if you are the most ardent train fan, you cannot get away from the fact that delays, breakdowns, weather conditions, and strikes are all going to put a gremlin in the works sooner or later. The Italians say that delay times are always displayed in minutes, so that you can while away the time calculating how many hours that really amounts to. The Japanese, on the other hand will go to extreme lengths to apologize to their 22 million clients when their trains are a few minutes late. Even if a train is five minutes late, passengers are entitled to a “delay certificate” to show their employers when they arrive a little late for work!

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5. You are destroying farmland by using high-speed trains.

Let’s take California as an example. The population is set to grow to over 60 million by the year 2050. If modern rail road connections are not made, there will be an urban sprawl, new freeways to cover 3,000 miles and five airport runways. All this would cost in the region of $100 billion. Just think of the impact that would have on the environment. Building high-speed rail corridors is a much better solution for everybody.

6. You are not really saving any money by travelling by train.

This is not true at all. Let us take Italy, where I live, as an example here. Lots of high-speed trains connecting all the major cities, downtown to downtown. The service is fast and unbelievably cheap, if you book in advance. Just think that you can cover Rome to Florence in one and a half hours for $21. Think about not having to get to the airport, the awful check-in and security procedures, and you need never worry about parking your car. You save an incredible amount of time, as well.

You can’t beat the train.  It is still the cheapest and most relaxing form of transport available. Amtrak allows you to carry on 200 lbs of luggage free. Now try getting that amount checked in on a flight!

Featured photo credit: Local train (for local people)/hairyeggg via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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