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Travelling on a Regional Express train
Regional Express trains serve medium-distance routes within a region. Yet, with one or more changes of train, they can be used to devise creative long-distance itineraries. They are ideal for travellers who want to avoid premium long-distance services and do not mind sacrificing speed. Regional Express services are faster than Regional Trains, but not as fast as Intercity services. In Germany, Poland and Switzerland they feature in timetables under the abbreviation RE, but these have equivalents elsewhere in Europe, as for example TER in France or Media Distancia (MD) in Spain. In Italy, these trains are commonly prefixed RV (Regionale Veloce), in Austria REX.
Regional Express services feed into the long-distance network. Many regional trains make short cross-border forays into neighbouring countries (eg. from Austria into Hungary or from Germany to Luxembourg and France), but even on those international journeys these trains still cater mainly to local or regional demands.
Many Regional Express trains offer air-conditioning, but generally they are practical rather than luxurious. They can be single or double-deck trains. In Austria REX services have no first-class seating and a single (Standard) class is also the norm on Spanish MD and Polish RE trains. Prior seat reservation is not usually possible, but there are exceptions. In Spain, MD services must be reserved in advance.
Luggage on Regional Express trains can be stored either in small luggage racks above the seat or under the seat. Some Regional Express trains, notably certain German RE and all Spanish MD services have further dedicated luggage space in each carriage. Bicycles can often be taken on board for a supplement.
Seating and sleeping on Regional Express
Seating in Regional Express trains might be in open-plan double or single-deck carriages or, where older carriages are still in use, in six-seat compartments. The latter are being phased out. In open-plan carriages, seats are arranged in pairs across a central aisle.
Food and drink on Regional Express
Some Regional Express trains, for example in Germany and Spain, have an on-board vending machine where you can buy soft drinks, tea or coffee and confectionary. Of course you can always bring your own food and drink on board.