Rail transportation is all the rage in Europe. The global rail market is expected to reach €185B by 2021, growing at an average of 2.6% annually according to UNIFE’s World Rail Market Study.

Travel agents across Europe are seeing an increasing demand from travelers for multi-modal travel solutions. In fact, Tnooz listed multi-modal as one of the top 7 travel API developments to look out for in 2018!  For those unfamiliar with the term, multi-modal travel means considering multiple modes of transportation for a journey – flight, car, boat, train, and more.   Depending on the traveler’s needs the goal of a multi-modal trip can be to decrease cost, decrease travel time, or to provide a different experience.

For journeys under three hours rail is often cheaper, faster, and less of a hassle than flying.  Trains typically arrive in or near the center of town, allowing your travelers to easily reach their final destination.  Once the chunnel (English Channel Tunnel) was built between London and Paris, 80% of travel between those cities shifted from airplanes to trains.

Rail can be a great option for leisure and corporate travelers alike. Travelers from less rail-heavy countries, such as the United States, may find rail a charming change of pace; the perfect way to get a different view of the country they are visiting. With thousands of rail carriages connected to wifi, business travelers can stay connected while on the move, and forgo the hassle of airport check-in.  In fact, the UK government’s 5G Strategy is committed to “improving (wifi) coverage where people live, work, and travel – including on trains.” Once implemented connectivity for passengers on all mainline routes would be dramatically improved by 2025.

Today Sabre provides access to 50 different rail providers with more than 40,000 rail stations around the world.  One easy way to access a large variety of providers through a single touchpoint is AccesRail.  Their inventory includes 16 brands in 12 different countries around the world, from Germany to Japan and Canada to the United Kingdom. Travel agents on Sabre Red Workspace or our APIs can use carrier code 9B to search AccesRail inventory alongside airline results. This allows agents to easily compare modes of transportation to make the best recommendation for their traveler.