Kids playground inside trains

While 'Le Monde' [big french newspaper] was publishing a 'no kids zone' article two weeks ago, we were in Switzerland and discovered a whole kids playground inside their train. A proper family dream on wheels.

Exploring the moon as an astronaut, diving into a jungle wilderness or experiencing the world of dinosaurs – there is no boredom during a train ride in Switzerland. All InterCity double-deck trains are equipped with a jungle style family coach marked “FA”. Mid-upper deck, these offer a playground with fanciful jungle motives for children to play and frolic around as much as they please. Additionally, exciting board games such as “Jungle Hunt” and “Snake Game” have been installed on the upper decks of family coaches. The playing pieces for those board games can be obtained from SBB restaurant/bistro.

We took the train from Visp to Geneva, a 2+ hours long trip. Saying that it was the best trip we ever took as a family would be an understatement. Of course both our kids [almost 5 and 3 years old] spent their entire time playing; entirely 'lost' in their imagination; making friends with other kids too. Bonus point: they spent so much energy that they completely fell a sleep during the second part of our trip, another 2 hours long train trip on the french side of the border.

As for Mathilde and I: we enjoyed a real discussion during the whole time; without interruption. Which is something that doesn't happen frequently these days -- I'd almost argue that one of parents superpowers is to entertain a serious discussion with a million interruptions [to answer questions, to suggest something, to draw, to call out the kids etc.].

It reminded us our time in The Hague, in this restaurant with great food for parents and the best playground possible for kids [plus space]. I wonder: why isn't there such spaces in 10x more trains across Europe? Especially in France, a country so proud of its trains and network.

Of course, the playground itself takes approximately 16 seats. We've seen around 5 kids enjoying the space 'in full speed' at the same time. I'm aware you could have sold these seats to more people but (a) kids paid for their spots too (b) the kind of 'economic lost' for around 10 spots is largely offset by the level of comfort enjoyed by passengers in the rest of the train. We've seen some adults inadvertently stepped in this family coach, realised where they were [even with headphones on] and just went on to another coach. Everyone's happy.

Making something 'kids welcome' is pretty easy. It might take up a bit of space sometimes but in many other context, it only involves some pens and paper, colorbooks, a few toys. Kids don't need much to feel at ease, activate their imagination and boom: you're contemplating life at its fullest.