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For those arranging a Ski Holiday by Train

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Following on from this thread

https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=147888

For those considering arranging a Ski trip by train, I came across this site ; looks to have a lot of useful info ; e.g. live train times, how to get between stations etc

https://www.snowcarbon.co.uk/


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Thu 13-06-19 9:40; edited 2 times in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Hi @albob do you go by train? I have a feeling that it was you that put me onto "Seat61" and "Deutch Bahn" websites.
Me and the misses love going by train now.

Last year took the train to Zell Am See, it took an overnight stop at Salzburg but it was a great way to go rather than the plane.

This year I got to the EoSB by train by taking the Train to Zurich, spending a couple of days there and met with the Lardy bus at Geneva Airport.

We have had a couple of stress issues with missed connections and also a Platform change, but overall its a great way to go.

Next up, we're taking the train to and from Cannes in a few weeks it will be be a little more expensive but I see it as a sort of adventure.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
A useful site. A little London-centric though. For example, to join the Alpen Express for Austria it says:

Quote:
To join to the Alpen Express from the UK, you take a Eurostar to Brussels, and then an ICE train to Cologne, where you can have dinner before boarding the Alpen Express.


But the Alpen Express goes through Amsterdam. So, if I were wanting to join the Alpen Express I would look at using the Hull-Rotterdam ferry- then using a local train to take me to Amsterdam. If I lived near Newcastle, I would use the Newcastle to Amsterdam ferry.

The resorts it lists is not really comprehensive -perhaps they pay to be in the list. However, they are probably enough for finding a resort near a listed one. For example, in train terms, unlisted Les Deux Alpes is near listed Alpe D'Huez - the Grenoble hub is good for both. And the information on buses is good, too.

Even so, it is a site I will bookmark.
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@DrLawn, Do I go by train - No, (not skiing anyway), my brother in law put me on to the Seat61 and the Deutsche Bahn sites. I have shared them on here before

@achilles, London centric, indeed, but isn't nearly everything !


Last edited by You need to Login to know who's really who. on Thu 13-06-19 10:02; edited 1 time in total
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
useful site, thank you. I always wonder though, how do the prices compare? Bar the Friday train to Serre Chevalier are there any other resorts you can get to on an over-nighter?
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@LittleBullet, pretty much anything in Tirol and western Salzburgerland works very nicely by overnight train. Leave London Friday mid-afternoon, change Brussels, get a sleeper from Cologne mid-evening, and wake up Saturday morning in Innsbruck (or slightly earlier in Wörgl/ Kufstein if you wanted to head East). Plenty of excellent, easy, and well-integrated local trains and postbuses connecting to a huge choice of Austrian resorts - it would be easy to be skiing by Saturday lunchtime in St Anton, Obergurgl/ Sölden, Kuhtai, Stubai, Zillertal, SkiWelt, Kitz, Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Zell, Bad Gastein, Zauchensee...and the rest!). Seat61 will give you all the info you need, or check out Austrian railways (OeBB) NightJet website for their international sleeper services.
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@LittleBullet, I'm trying to cut down on my flying so seriously considering getting that overnight train to the SiPOB this year with 3 friends. Basically a private couchette and 2 extra days skiing for not much more than a cheap flight and a hire car. Probably better sleep than getting up for the 6.30am red-eye from Gatwick too.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@albob, thanks for this - interesting reading

@achilles, thanks for the idea of a ferry. I've emailed Daniel who runs Snowcarbon and he's going to have a look at how ferries might match up with such trains. I look forward to seeing the results as I'd much prefer to take the train, preferably without losing ski days
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@nbt, rail access to the Hull ferry is not bad, but (unlike Harwich) it does leave you with a short taxi ride to the ferry. I think there is also an infrequent bus. You can park near the ferry, of course - but that rather goes against the grain of this thread Smile
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@achilles, kind of, but for me it's more about "not flying" rather than "going by train"
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Perfect thread, thanks for highlighting that link... I hate flying (scared Laughing) plus, it means I get some green points from wife for not flying (she's massively into reducing our wastage, co2 footprint, stopping flying etc).

For me, the increase in cost is worth it for me not being petrified of turbulence & the stress leading up the flights.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
"I think there is also an infrequent bus...." There is a bus, but it is very infrequent.. ! :: twice a day, once in the AM - ferry/station ; once in the PM - station/ferry
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@achilles, access to the P&O terminal at Hull may not be too bad from the rail station, but at Rotterdam it is very poor indeed. 50’ in a taxi, or a 15’ taxi ride followed by two trains totalling 90’. And you’d have to be retired, or least not bothered about travel time taking up ski time, for the total ferry-sleeper journey times to make sense - would be faster to go via daytime Eurostar from Scotland or N England and connect onto Austria-bound sleeper, than spend a night on North Sea ferry (whether from Newcastle or Hull) then a second night on sleeper. But for those not bothered about time spent travelling (and at times I greatly enjoy it myself), the ferry-train combo is definitely a great journey.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Inboard, thanks - your points look sensible to me. It is quite a time since I travelled on the Hull Rotterdam ferry - I remembered I enjoyed it each time. Whether I ever went by foot, rather than taking the car is another matter. I do recall going by foot on the Harwich - Hook of Holland route. It worked out OK. Quite a while ago - like last century!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Travelled to La Plagne this season via Eurostar changing to TGV in Paris. Found snowcarbon very helpful in our planning including changing stations in Paris and would highly recommend the train as a method of travel from London to the Tarentaise. We paid c.£135 for a return ticket in early January. Add in Tube, Metro and Altibus fare from Aime Station up to the ski area for a door to door price of c.£165 which was broadly similar to what we could find for flights to Geneva and shared transfer to the ski area.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
There is a bus from the Ferry terminal to Rotterdam Station, but takes a while (25 mile journey!)

I've always enjoyed the Ferry journey (normally go to Zeebrugge), its when my holiday starts.. Smile
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@achilles, Harwich-Hook is certainly nicely convenient for foot/ train passengers - we had a fab trip to a Mittelrhein wine festival last summer, train Edinburgh-St Goar via the overnight sailing Harwich-Hook. Very civilised indeed. But I should shut up now as that's getting rather off-thread!

Of course another ski holiday option could be daytime trains from Amsterdam, having taken the Newcastle boat, but you can't rely on getting to Amsterdam Centraal until c1100 so you'd realistically only consider getting as far as Munich or Zurich that evening, hence still another overnight before reaching the snow.

Btw, I totally agree with your original point about snow-carbon being rather London-centric.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
ah thanks @albob, I didn't know about that - useful.

the ferry is a great way to start the holiday
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Harwich-Hoek was brilliant when it was the fast ferry. Train stations at both terminals, right outside the door.
Amsterdam is a bus to the main station. I imagine the same is true at Hull, Rotterdam too.
But Harwich-Hoek is so close to London that it'd probably be easier going via Eurostar for most, unless the ultimate destination is NL or bits of Germany, Denmark etc.

2 nights each way though for the Newcastle and Hull ferries, followed by train to Austria. Not the most efficient way, but then for some it's a holiday, and the travel is part of the holiday. Which is why I take those ferries going the other way for MTB trips.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
marksymoo wrote:
Perfect thread, thanks for highlighting that link... I hate flying (scared Laughing) plus, it means I get some green points from wife for not flying (she's massively into reducing our wastage, co2 footprint, stopping flying etc).

For me, the increase in cost is worth it for me not being petrified of turbulence & the stress leading up the flights.


If you haven't done it, I recommend the British Airways Fear of Flying Course. Changed my life Very Happy .
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This is the map of the sleeper trains currently run by OEBB (most of the other companies have closed their services but I suspect they might well come back) https://www.nightjet.com/en/dam/jcr:6a8041cb-0131-4ad3-84fd-25154548e5dd/nightjet-streckennetz.pdf . From a UK skiing perspective it is the route from Düsseldorf to Innsbruck that is of interest. There is a straight forward connection from London via Brussels to Cologne where you can get the overnight sleeper to Innsbruck. No need to change stations in either Brussels or Cologne. Should be no problem leaving London early Friday afternoon and waking up in Innsbruck first thing Saturday ready for a day on the slopes. Can do the same thing with trains from Amsterdam to Düsseldorf.

PS As far as I know no ban on booze on the OEBB sleepers Smile
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Love the trains, we went to Budapest by train for a weekend a few years back, stopping off in Vienna for 24 hours on the return. On our return fabulous late lunch in the hills overlooking Vienna, supper was a picnic on the train from Vienna to Cologne with wine bought on the train, breakfast at a cafe in the shadow of Cologne cathedral, lunch at a super restaurant beside Brussels station then on home to St Pancras, about 24 hours from leaving Vienna. Am tentatively planning a train trip to Austria towards the end of January
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Very seriously looking at using the train for our next trip, perhaps the Nightjet to Austria or a day train to Switzerland as outlined on seat61.com

I did ring up railbookers (one of the sales channels mentioned on seat61) to do a quick price check for the Nightjet service at Easter. They quoted a figure about double what I had expected as given how far in advance this was I hoped cheaper fares were still available. They did say they could book it now which perhaps accounts for some of the premium as normally the booking window you can access for rail doesnt seem as far out as this.

I did another check with http://www.rail-canterbury.co.uk/ (which I think I had come across somewhere else on snowheads) who then came up with figures more in line with what I had expected/hoped to find.
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@ster, that is curious (re Easter booking). Currently on night jet website (which is in English as well as German) booking horizon extends to mid-Dec. Never heard of travel agents having access beyond the horizon! I wonder if they just sit on your cash until they can book? Seems odd tho.
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I did question it as I thougtt it unusual and they said they could. But as the price quoted was crazily high I didnt so dont know if they really could, or just held your money and booked later when they really could and blamed ticket systems for you not getting tix when u paid.
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Not sure why you would use an agency to book either OEBB trains (Nightjet) or DB trains (ICE from Brussels to Cologne). Both have English websites which are easy to use and offer the cheapest prices. You might find that it is worthwhile buying a DB Bahn Card which offers 25% (or more) discount on DB trains and also discounts on non German trains for journeys partially in Germany (not sure if that applies to Nightjet). Details here https://www.bahn.com/en/view/offers/bahncard/bahncard.shtml?dbkanal_007=L04_S02_D002_KIN0059_FLYOUT-ANGEBOTE-BAHNCARD_LZ01.

You can get a 3 month "trial" card which is probably worth getting even for one return journey. Given this is a subscription service you need to make sure you send a written cancellation at least six weeks before the finish date (best do so as soon as you get the card) assuming you dont want to keep it.

PS just spotted this "You may use the following transport services:
ICE, IC/EC, IC Bus (reservation required), ÖBB Nightjet (reservation may be required), local trains (IRE, RE, RB, S-Bahn).
" so yes it is valid for use on the Nightjet services.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
The Nightjet is the only way to travel! I did the Eurostar-ICE train-OEBB Nightjet in the Feb half term with the kids to St Johann im Pongau; leaving on the Friday and arriving in resort early Saturday morning, and then leaving Saturday evening the following week allowed 8 days skiing.

The previous Easter we took the car in the Dover-Dunkirk ferry, drove 30 minutes to Ostend and then trains down to Visp for Saas Fee. A bit of hassle on the way, as someone committed suicide under the Ostend-Brussels train we were on, which meant a 3.5 hour delay and a day full of missed connections. We had to get authorisation to travel on the Thalys train Brussels - Cologne (different company) in the DB office at Brussels, which took 45 minutes to arrange. But we got to Saas Fee late the same evening in any case.

The booking window for winter& spring OEBB and Deutschbahn train comes sometime in November, to align with the annual European train timeable change on December 13th. No agency can buy a ticket before then. As @munich_irish says, there is no point using an agency as you can easily book yourself when the window opens. If you want an idea of the price, OEBB Cologne - St Johann im Pongau ticket in a 3 bed sleeper compartment was €189 each way- I don't think it made any difference that it was an adult + 2 children - it would be the same price for 3 adults (or 2 adults). Couchettes would be a bit cheaper.
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I’m currently researching my options for a January trip to Austria. Also seen some recent publicity for the Alpen Express which intrigues me. Early investigations seem to suggest a straight forward overnight train into the Austrian Alps with many resorts served. The initial departure point is Amsterdam so an obvious option would be the new Eurostar service there or my local airport, Norwich, serves Schipol direct with KLM in about 45mins. I’m now looking at a third option. About 7 or 8 years ago we did a family trip to Holland using the Stena Rail and Sail. One inclusive ticket price for local train, overnight ferry to The Hook, straight off the ferry onto a train and also then train to anywhere in Holland. Initial searches look promising cost wise. With the option to have already paid to get anywhere in Holland I’m thinking of selecting a Dutch departure point close to the German border to bring the Alpen Express price down a bit as well. Times work well although obviously overall takes longer, but with two good nights sleep. Train departs Norwich around 8pm on a Thursday, arrive Holland around 6.30am, all day to get across Holland leisurely, train leaves Amsterdam around 7pm so pick up late Friday evening near Germany.Train even has a bar and disco! Arrival ski resorts throughout Saturday morning. Skiing by afternoon. Return train out of resort late Saturday evening so nearly 8 full days skiing from a weeks accommodation. Back same route home by Monday lunchtime.
Anyone any thoughts, knowledge or experiences?
Also welcome suggestions on resorts as Austrian knowledge very sparse.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I use https://www.thetrainline.com for my european train journeys. For some reason I have yet to fathom it does not calculate for journeys originating from within the UK apart from London.

As others have suggested to get to Austria it may be better to fly to Amsterdam and get the train from there.
Quote:

A bit of hassle on the way, as someone committed suicide under the Ostend-Brussels train we were on, which meant a 3.5 hour delay and a day full of missed connections

I bet it was a bit more of a hassle for the person under the train.
Quote:

Train even has a bar and disco!

That bought memories of the old ski train from Calais to Bourg st Maurice (and even earlier Calais to St. Anton). The disco car - 60 drunk men and one lone female.
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@Broadsman2020,

As it happens, I saw this just the other day. It covers London to Hamster Jam, via Stena Line. From the very useful seat61.com


http://youtube.com/v/fEokQZz0zr8
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Just had a quick look at the Alpen Express 820 euros for two people return. Think I will fly!
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
nightjet from Cologne is a fair bit cheaper.
From UK, get Eurostar to Brussels, then connecting train to Cologne followed by overnight train to varoius Austrian destinations.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
The Following Season 2020/2021 OEBB NightJet will run services from Amsterdam to Vienna (Via Innsbruck)
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@stanton, Does it stop in Anton?
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johnE wrote:
I use https://www.thetrainline.com for my european train journeys. For some reason I have yet to fathom it does not calculate for journeys originating from within the UK apart from London.

As others have suggested to get to Austria it may be better to fly to Amsterdam and get the train from there.
Quote:

A bit of hassle on the way, as someone committed suicide under the Ostend-Brussels train we were on, which meant a 3.5 hour delay and a day full of missed connections

I bet it was a bit more of a hassle for the person under the train.
Quote:

Train even has a bar and disco!

That bought memories of the old ski train from Calais to Bourg st Maurice (and even earlier Calais to St. Anton). The disco car - 60 drunk men and one lone female.


That brings back memories - the Paris Gare du Nord to Bourg St M when Eurostar started. When did they scrap this? It was great on the way down (although a hangover in La Plagne at 7.30am was less than ideal), not so much fun on the way home ....
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I looked into getting to Meribel by train on 2/2/20 but sadly no Eurostar that weekend. By the time you add luggage to a cheap flight there doesn’t appear to be much difference in price.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I'm investigating the Thello from Gare de Lyon overnight to Italy. I know Admin has done it for the birthday bash- anyone else used it?

We use the Eurostar/SNCF 'change in Paris' option these days for Bourg - already booked for the Christmas week (we're always too late in our planning / agreements for reasonably priced direct Eurostar...).
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Great thread with excellent links! I use the overnight Eurostar “ski train” to get to the 3 Valleys. It goes from London to Moutiers (also stops in Bourg St M). It’s not a proper sleeper service any more, but it’s an uninterrupted overnight journey and if you can sleep in a chair, you will wake up with just a short taxi ride to any of the resorts in the western Alps. It’s much nicer than flying, and you can carry your skis for free.
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Gordyjh wrote:
I looked into getting to Meribel by train on 2/2/20 but sadly no Eurostar that weekend.
Do you mean Sat 1 Feb? Eurostar tickets are available that day.
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Various advice here, and systems which look at booking trough tickets (such as thetrainline) prompt travelling through Paris. Is there any reason why Lille isn't used as the point to switch over from Eurostar to SNCF? At first thought, it seems a lot less hassle. My aim is to go from Lincoln | KX-StPancras | Lille | Grenoble. Maybe I'll figure out why Lille is not a good idea when I have ploughed through the timetable - but has anyone here tried Lille as the switchover?
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