Trains allow you to travel in safety and comfort, and their old-wordly charm sets them apart from more mundane means of transport. They pollute less, rarely suffer from weather delays and won’t give you jet lag. You can talk to your companions, read a book, or have a snooze. If the scenery palls you might go for a stroll, have a meal in the dining car, make friends in the bar or watch a movie…
Even better from the backpackers’ point of view, trains are very cost-effective compared to other modes of transport, especially if you use an unlimited ticket, such as Interail (Europe) or North America rail passes.
It may also be a novelty, especially for families with children, who are usually fascinated by trains. It’s often easier to care for small children on a train than on a plane or car trip.
Some people go by train solely for the amazing views en route or relish the extra time it takes, giving them an interval alone on either side of a holiday or business trip.