I began my train journey on 7 September 2023 to Milan and the European Respiratory Society Congress. The journey would take me through Copenhagen to Hamburg, with an overnight train to Zürich and from there across the Alps to Milan. 

It was really easy to work on the trains through Sweden, Denmark and Germany. The internet connection (mobile data) worked acceptably for my needs for the majority of the Uppsala–Hamburg leg. It was a little unstable, so digital meetings or streaming would likely not have worked so well. 

I had booked my own sleeper cabin for the leg between Hamburg and Zürich. The cabin had a surprisingly high standard, with its own toilet and shower. It was great to be able to take a shower in the morning after being on the move for 24 hours!  

Poor internet connection, beautiful route

Workplace on the trainFollowing a change in Zürich, the journey continued over the Alps. The internet connection was almost non-existant for this stretch, so I was really pleased that I had prepared and downloaded a few of my files locally onto my computer. 

Due to a problem in a train tunnel in Switzerland, the train had to take a longer scenic route between Zürich and Milan. It was an incredibly beautiful route that offers fantastic views of towering mountains, tiny Alpine villages and huge mountain lakes. I did some work of course, but in all honesty I spent most of the time taking in the view from my train window. After around 30 hours’ travel, I arrived at Milano Centrale at the scheduled time. 

The conference took place over five intense days. Afterwards, it was time to board the train once again for the return journey to Uppsala. This time, the route went through Berlin as there were no spaces on the night train between Zürich and Hamburg. The detour to Berlin extended the trip by a couple of hours, which felt a bit sluggish. Changing trains in Copenhagen also proved to be pretty stressful, with just one minute’s margin to catch the next train.

Possible to work on the trains

At the time of writing and recently returned home, I can state that it is indeed possible to undertake business travel through Europe by train and that working on the trains is possible for the most part. I’ve put together some tips below for those considering taking the train to a meeting, conference or other event in Europe as part of their work.