Clancy says that the train had a 'family carriage with room to park strollers and an enclosed two-story soft play area built into the front of the car.'
For families, traveling by train is usually a strenuous affair, especially with kids, when they impatiently and constantly ask when the train will reach the destination or when kids want to run around when there isn't enough space. However, that's not the kind of experience this family had while traveling on a train in Norway. The family had planned to travel to Bergen, Norway's second-largest city. "Getting there from Oslo requires taking what has been called Europe's most beautiful train ride. It's seven hours through some of the most striking scenery in the world: glaciers, fjords, mountains, and waterfalls. The only catch was that we would need to keep our 8, 4, and 2-year-old children entertained for most of the day on a train," the mother, Kelly Clancy, writes in an Insider essay.
The best part about the Vy train is that it has a playground. The kids were already excited to visit Norway and "the train ride, however, sealed the deal," mentions Clancy. "Even before we left New York, my girls were telling anyone who would listen about the playground train." And that's not it. Clancy shared that the train had a "family carriage with room to park strollers and an enclosed two-story soft play area built into the front of the car." Moreover, "the area has floor-to-ceiling windows so you can keep an eye on your kids from your seats if you don't want to crawl in there with them. Inside are well-worn books; our train had Norwegian, Russian, and English offerings and a TV playing 'Peppa Pig' on a loop," adds Clancy.
Her children got to do what they wanted to. "My son quickly climbed to the second story and curled up in a reading nook, while the girls befriended children from Germany and Taiwan. They exerted their energy climbing up one ladder, crawling through the small tunnel, and back down the ladder at the back of the car," says Clancy.
Meanwhile, Clancy and her husband were able to enjoy some time together. "Traveling this way was a pleasure, in part because my husband and I could sip coffee and enjoy the stunning scenery without hearing every five minutes, 'Are we there yet?'" writes Clancy. The train is created in such a way that children can enjoy a "developmentally appropriate area where they can claim, play, and make friends," explains Clancy.
Thanks to the family car, she shared that they didn't have to worry about their children troubling other passengers. Clancy also shared an instance, "A little Norwegian child overdue for her nap had a meltdown, and her parents got sympathetic nods and grin from every other family in the car."
The train apparently also has a cafe car that sells kid-friendly foods and will warm bottles and baby food. "The delightful attendants won my children over with small kindnesses, including offering them free brunost — a brown cheese that tastes vaguely like caramel — to try. They decided it was an acquired taste but loved sitting in the car and watching the mountains go by before returning to the playground," says Clancy.
Clancy calls the rest of the trip "unforgettable, from a fjord cruise to a hidden troll playground on a mountaintop to sampling every single ice cream shop in Bergen." "Even so, the playground train is still what my kids talk about first. When we arrived back home, they eagerly inspected our subway, only to be disappointed that there's still no playground on the D train here in Brooklyn," writes Clancy.