If you ask me what’s my first choice of transportation while traveling in China. My answer would be a train. We have various trains at different speeds and prices. And the coverage of railways is very broad. Normally you can take a train any place you want.
A train is not just the first option for me but also for my German friends. The great thing about traveling by train is that you have spacious room compared to cars or busses. You can stand, you can sit, and you can even go to the bathroom. However, it seems that trains are not the top choice for Americans. Americans prefer planes and cars. If an American decides to travel by train in the U.S., he must be a unique independent traveler. If you’re interested, you can read the following article, Riding the train across the USA: An antiquated mode of travel?
In the U.S, trains are operated by Amtrak which is a government-owned corporation. I’m not sure, wether there are other private companies doing railroad business in the U.S. In Germany, however, they do have both private and public tracks. The biggest is the government-owned Deutsche Bahn. There are about 300 other private rail companies, such as Abellio or Connex. You can find more about it under “Liste deutscher Eisenbahngesellschaften.”
There are debates about privatization of „Deutsche Bahn, and some say Private Bahn – bessere Bahn. Of course, if it goes private that will cause more competition, which would encourage companies providing better services to the clients. But for me, I can hardly imagine that. Nevertheless, the train is an important public transportation means and if it goes private it might cause national security problems and puts private interests before the common good. Maybe I’m just paranoid.