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Eurostar Ski Train service will not run in 2020/21

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

was trying to establish, in the posting above, if anyone has contemplated chartering a Eurostar Ski Train?
And the cost of doing this


If there is as much demand as some seem to suggest I'm sure it's possible. The petition has 4500 signatures which could comfortably fill a few trains. Are people willing to pay double price to cover it running at 50% capacity?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I am sure @admin can arrange a good deal for one the bashes snowHead
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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?
@boarder2020, except a lot if people who sign probs wont use it.
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Davina Goldballs wrote:
I was trying to establish, in the posting above, if anyone has contemplated chartering a Eurostar Ski Train? And the cost of doing this.


I have a vague idea that this is what someone used to do with the ovenight ski train that used to run from Calais to Bourg St Maurice? Hired the train, plus some coaches to take people from a Dover car park via ferry to Calais station, and provided some additional staff for the journey?
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Quote:

@boarder2020, except a lot if people who sign probs wont use it.


That was my point wink much easier to sign a petition than put your money where your mouth is. I suspect Eurostar know what they are doing. Too much uncertainty and low demand mean the service is not worth running.
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@boarder2020, agreed
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Alastair Pink wrote:
Davina Goldballs wrote:
I was trying to establish, in the posting above, if anyone has contemplated chartering a Eurostar Ski Train?
And the cost of doing this.

It's an idea based on something that happened about 180 years ago: the foundation of the huge (in its heyday) Thomas Cook package travel business, which was originally based on getting numbers of people from A to B by block-booking tickets on the then revolutionary steam trains (including, I believe, trips to the 1851 Great Exhibition in London's Hyde Park).



Indeed, the idea of privately chartering a train is nothing new - I seem to recall that when Sherlock Holmes started his train journey from London Victoria to the Continent in "The Final Problem" his arch enemy Moriarty 'engaged a special' to chase after Holmes. Madeye-Smiley


When I was 16 we went on a Diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes by train. Our train was indeed privately chartered. We got a train to Folkestone, then a ferry to Boulogne, and another sleeper train to Lourdes. Great fun, shame about the religious stuff that happened somewhere in the middle of it, but the french bars and the train was great.
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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!
Hells Bells wrote:
Great fun, shame about the religious stuff that happened somewhere in the middle of it, but the french bars and the train was great.


I can see you had your priorities right..... Laughing Laughing
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It's possible in theory to charter a train although in practice, not particularly easy as rail companies are not renowned for 'playing well with others'.
Rail Europe are, I understand, a wholly owned subsidiary of SNCF so already have a head start.
They used to run a specially chartered train from Calais to Bourg Saint Maurice.
Once the Eurostar was up and running, Rail Europe used to run a specially chartered train from Gare du Nord
Trains to BSM didn't normally leave from GDN as it's on the wrong side of Paris - essentially, it's like trying to get a train to Manchester from Victoria. But the GDN departure provided the Snowtrain clients with the convenience of not having to cross Paris with bags, to switch stations.
to Bourg Saint Maurice.
For a short while they even ran both services alongside each other.

I used both these services quite often. In fact, if the train was offered as an option, it would positively sway me toward that deal.
They were always busy, packed even. A generally fairly young crowd but there were older people and often families too.
The one oddness was that, while most of the couchettes were filled to the max with 6 occupants, there were always a couple of coaches that appeared to be virtually empty.
As I used the service more and got more familiar with the system, I learned that while the full carriages had been allocated to tour operators, the empty carriages were being held back for sale direct to the public by Rail Europe. "Aha" I thought, "If they've always got excess space, go direct to source, cut out the middleman as a group and get a better deal." But no, the prices Rail Europe was charging were eye-watering compared to the tour ops and they would not negotiate, even when I tried to get a deal for a larger group. In fact both they and Eurostar would redirect bookings for groups of 9 or more to a different booking service, who charged a higher group rate Puzzled
In my experience, a huge proportion of those who experienced the train, loved it and would subsequently regard it as a preferred option. Usually much of my group would not have been on the train to the Alps before, so by actively discriminating against groups, the rail companies were in effect shutting out an invaluable source of new business.

Anyway, Rail Europe, observing that the tour op carriages were full, while theirs remained empty, took the wise step of adapting to copy the successful model of the tour ops.... actually no, of course they didn't: they blamed the tour ops for making their own prices look high and stopped contracting out whole carriages to them. The result: a huge drop-off in Snowtrain passengers and the subsequent rapid closure of the service.

I've always enjoyed train travel to the mountains (I've done France, Switzerland and Italy), and consider it superior to flying in various respects including environmental, comfort and social. I tried, at various times, from the early days of snowHeads to promote the concept and steer folk in that direction, but frankly, the train companies, beyond 'not helping' have (seemed to) actively discourage any attempts to steer new business toward them so after a while, U just kinda give up trying Confused

I would love to see any and all Snowtrain services survive and thrive but I'm afraid I don't feel particularly optimistic about it.
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I asked Eurostar if they planned to run a combined ticket via Paris this year coming and got this response. I had asked customer services but they just wouldn't respond hence I mailed the CE. They would like to but situation fluid!

Quote:

Thank you for your e-mail to Mike Cooper our Chief Executive, on whose behalf I am responding.

I am sorry that my colleague was not able to answer your question. I appreciate this must be frustrating for you.

To be honest it is a very difficult question to answer with any certainty in the current situation. We are currently running a reduced timetable and can not really comment on what this will look like next year. In theory yes there will be this option as there are connections from Lille or Paris, none the less this will depend if SNCF open the routing to us for the next ski season and if it then matches with one of our trains, which at this point we are regrettably not able to confirm.

We can currently book onward destinations including the SNCF trains on our website, so I would say that this will more than likely be an option and you will be able to purchase the whole route in one payment, none the less I can not guarantee this I am afraid.

SNCF release their trains 90 days before travel so if this is an option then this would be bookable 90 days before your inbound trip.

I am sorry I have not been able to answer your question in any details, however I hope I have been able to explain everything for you.
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@thefatcontroller, and people wonder why we fly...
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rob@rar wrote:
@thefatcontroller, and people wonder why we fly...


Yep. its very frustrating.....
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
thefatcontroller wrote:
rob@rar wrote:
@thefatcontroller, and people wonder why we fly...


Yep. its very frustrating.....
I'll say. Even in a normal year not being able to book a French train until 90 days out sucks, and this year with so much uncertainty it's anyone's guess what might happen. Meanwhile, I've booked some flights for Jane and me taking advantage of the BA sale for some decent prices, plus our Eurotunnel crossings for December. I'd like to use the train more often as for me the price & convenience make it a good way to travel, plus the lower carbon footprint is a bonus. But why do the train operators make it so difficult to book?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Davina Goldballs

About ten years ago I called a contact at E* about the possibility of chartering a train to BSM for early season staff transport instead of using coaches. The response was along the lines of "the selling price would need to generate the same profit that a train would make doing London-Paris-London for 18 hours". Coaches London to resort plus ferry bookings worked out a lot less expensive.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
ecureuil wrote:
Davina Goldballs wrote:
I was trying to establish, in the posting above, if anyone has contemplated chartering a Eurostar Ski Train? And the cost of doing this.


I have a vague idea that this is what someone used to do with the ovenight ski train that used to run from Calais to Bourg St Maurice? Hired the train, plus some coaches to take people from a Dover car park via ferry to Calais station, and provided some additional staff for the journey?


Yes, that's the way Crystal used to operate the Calais train
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I don't believe it was Crystal who chartered the train though. I think they along with various other tour ops, just booked carriages on trains chartered by RailEurope, who themselves were a self-managed subsidiary of SNCF.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Historically, I suspect that on Saturday mornings the SINGLE TRACK line from Albertville to BSM is operating pretty much at 100% capacity. Similarly on Saturday afternoons/evenings in the opposite direction.
The result of this is that in future when SNCF want to add a TGV service they will take the vacant E* slots and I suspect that E* will have difficulty reclaiming them.
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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?
@admin
Sorry, alcohol wash on the memory - Crystal only had part of the train.
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Nemisis wrote:
Historically, I suspect that on Saturday mornings the SINGLE TRACK line from Albertville to BSM is operating pretty much at 100% capacity. Similarly on Saturday afternoons/evenings in the opposite direction.
The result of this is that in future when SNCF want to add a TGV service they will take the vacant E* slots and I suspect that E* will have difficulty reclaiming them.

Except that they didn't really overlap. The overnight Eurstar service arrived in Bourg St Maurice at around 06:15 (when very few other services were running), and departed again at about 09:30. Then the Saturday day tain arrived at around 19:00, and didn't leave until about 22:15, when other services had pretty much ceased.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
ecureuil wrote:
Nemisis wrote:
Historically, I suspect that on Saturday mornings the SINGLE TRACK line from Albertville to BSM is operating pretty much at 100% capacity. Similarly on Saturday afternoons/evenings in the opposite direction.
The result of this is that in future when SNCF want to add a TGV service they will take the vacant E* slots and I suspect that E* will have difficulty reclaiming them.

Except that they didn't really overlap. The overnight Eurstar service arrived in Bourg St Maurice at around 06:15 (when very few other services were running), and departed again at about 09:30. Then the Saturday day tain arrived at around 19:00, and didn't leave until about 22:15, when other services had pretty much ceased.


Also the inbound Eurostar took a different route to the homebound from around Lyon, the journey home as 45 mins shorter. Past Lyon the train has to go very slow at times due to ends and it reverses direction in Albertville. If you want 1st off you sit in the back on the train in Kings Cross.
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@thefatcontroller, or St Pancras wink
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@chocksaway, pedantic Very Happy Very Happy
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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!
thefatcontroller wrote:
@chocksaway, pedantic Very Happy Very Happy


@thefatcontroller, given your rail related username and its position of authority I would have expected you to name the correct station.... Wink NehNeh
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@Alastair Pink, I go by tube stations and it’s always Kings Cross\St Pancreas Very Happy Toofy Grin
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chocksaway wrote:
@thefatcontroller, or St Pancras wink


Seats are also allocated so you don't have an option of where to sit.
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@stewart woodward, you can amend your seat choice on line
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
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There is talk of SNCF running a service from Eurodisney station to BSM. You can go direct from London to Eurodisney so one change by crossing platforms rather than the whole of Paris.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@davidof, I'd heard but looking for confirmation: does the Thalys service to BSM from Amsterdam stop at Lille? That could be another option.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
thefatcontroller wrote:
@stewart woodward, you can amend your seat choice on line


Shhh Smile
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Arctic Roll wrote:
@davidof, I'd heard but looking for confirmation: does the Thalys service to BSM from Amsterdam stop at Lille? That could be another option.


Lille would be a good choice of interchange but Thalys don't go there at present
No idea what service they will run next season.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
davidof wrote:
There is talk of SNCF running a service from Eurodisney station to BSM. You can go direct from London to Eurodisney so one change by crossing platforms rather than the whole of Paris.


Not every Eurostar stops there though. Seeing the response I had above from Eurostar there is a desire to run an indirect service but as SNCF don’t announce trains until 90 days before departure they can’t do anything at present.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
thefatcontroller wrote:
davidof wrote:
There is talk of SNCF running a service from Eurodisney station to BSM. You can go direct from London to Eurodisney so one change by crossing platforms rather than the whole of Paris.


Not every Eurostar stops there though. Seeing the response I had above from Eurostar there is a desire to run an indirect service but as SNCF don’t announce trains until 90 days before departure they can’t do anything at present.
Does any Eurostar train stop there, except for the "Disney Train"? I recall going through the Marne La Vallee station (the proper name for the station at Disneyland, if you're looking for it on a train map) on the way back from BSM, and last time stopped at the station as the signal was red but we were warned not to try to disembark. On the way to BSM I think we've taken a different route, so go nowhere near Marne La Vallee. Given that the ski train and the Disney train both seem to have very high load factors, I'd guess it would mean an additional service for Eurostar if they wanted to have an indirect service to the Alps, joining with an SNCF train at Marne La Vallee? Coupled with SNCF not releasing tickets until 90 days in advance makes the uncertainty over the whole enterprise so large I might as well book flights now while the prices are reasonable.
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