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Snowtrain

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Top of the morning to you all!!
Please could someone tell me about the snowtrain etc. Are there beds for overnight trips? There don't appear to be beds on the Eurostar.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Here's the link for the snowtrains which oddly doesn't mention beds anywhere. But does gives prices and availability. But I'm sure from previous threads there are couchettes on it. Try the search engine erica2004, or wait for 1st hand knowledge.
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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?
There are 4 choices for overnight travel to the French Alps by train.

The direct O/N Eurostar. This is a sitting service with no sleeping facilities but it does leave late on Friday (about 8PM) and arrives earliest of the options (about 6AM)

The Traditional Snow Train from Dover. This is the most hedonistic option, inclusive of the ferry over, people pickup their beer on the boat and party their way to the mountains. There are sleeping facilities but this is the one that's notorious for the party animals keeping u up all night. Very very amusing experience if u have the patience (or the earplugs) for it.

The Chartered snowtrain service via Paris. This consists of the Eurostar from Waterloo at about 4:30PM to Paris, a 2 hour stopover for dinner at Gare du Nord and a sleeper train to the Mountains (arr 7/8AM). Luggage is looked after by the tour op while u go find a restaurant. The bar can be busy on the way down but it's not the mayhem that the Dover train is.

The Scheduled sleeper service via Paris. Usually slightly cheeper than the chartered trip, it easily offers the most flexibility. With this u get to Paris by Eurostar then make your own way from Gare du Nord to Gare d'Austerlitz (9 stops on the orange metro line). The sleeper from G d'A is the most civilised of all the sleeper trains since it has the fewest Brits on. There are also options for upgrading from a 6berth couchette to 4 berth for little extra cost or even to a double cabin, though I believe that's quite a bit more.
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Does it not go from Gard Du Lyon anymore...??

I would be thinking about Eurostar to Paris and then catch SNCF or TGV to the Alpes. The charted snow train from the UK only goes to BSM but you can go to St Gervais for Chamonix etc.

I find the prices cheaper if bought in France, ie I once caught the TGV from St Gervais to Paris for 70eu, but check first...
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Gare de Lyon is across the river from Austelitz, some trains do leave from there but the regular overnight sleeper train La Tarentasie goes from Gare d'Austerlitz. Although it goes through to BSM, it drops off carriages at various stops, so you can go through to Grenoble for example or get off at Albertville. Your best bet is to contact RailEurope directly rather than try and fight your way through SNCF's website
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Only the daytime trains to the Alps go from Gare Du Lyon. All the Night trains go from Gare d'Austerlitz.
TGV is really a daytime option because, naturally, it does the journey a lot quicker and there are no couchettes on it.

There are a whole host of daytime possibilities too inc. going Via Lille rather than Paris but I've not used these myself as I like to sleep my way there and get the extra skiing in.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
admin wrote:
Only the daytime trains to the Alps go from Gare Du Lyon. All the Night trains go from Gare d'Austerlitz.
TGV is really a daytime option because, naturally, it does the journey a lot quicker and there are no couchettes on it.


Puzzled Are you sure? On Saturday, Decmeber 27th last year, we caught the overnight TGV from Gare Du Lyon to Bourg Saint Maurice. It left at about 22.45 and arriverd in BSM at sbout 07.00 Sunday morning. There were no couchettes just the usual seats. Also quite a mix of Parisians and Brits on our carriage - a fabulous experience in anticipation of the week ahead! BTW the tickets were from Eurostar who provided an all-in return from Waterloo to BSM (the return was a First Class straight through from BSM to Waterloo - fresh croissants anyone?) 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!
Are you sure Puzzled I thought the TGV could do the trip far quicker than that. Those times are pretty well exactly what the sleeper train does, which is quite definitely not a TGV. Perhaps there are regular O/N sitting services from GDL but the sleepers are from GDA.
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admin wrote:
Are you sure Puzzled


ermm... Yes wink

It was definitely a leisurely journey down to the Alps - it would usually take half that time....but TGV it was.
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erica2004, we've done both the eurostar and the snowtrain (to Paris via eurostar, then from paris on the snow train to Bourg St Maurice).

The snowtrain was like a party train, complete with beer carriage and loads of partying people i.e. don't expect to get a good nights rest in your couchette! If you take the cheap option like we did, you get a tiny couchette with 1.5 foot-wide beds and very little room for things like skis - you have to put large luggage on the floor and risk people trampling on them. Couchettes hold 6 people so if there are say 4 of you, you'll get a couple of strangers sharing with you (although they won't be strangers for long seeing as how 'cosy' it is!!) wink

However, our reason for taking the snowtrain is that you get to the resort overnight and arrive very early in the resort so you get a good days skiing in. The snow makes up for any rough night you've had! snowHead

Earlier this year we tried the Eurostar from London to the station closest to Meribel the name escapes me at the moment). We went first class. It was like being on an aeroplane - you got a constant supply of food and drinks delivered and a reclining seat to sit in. This wa the alternative to standard class in which you have a fixed seat and you have to buy your own food. Smile
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Quote:
Earlier this year we tried the Eurostar from London to the station closest to Meribel the name escapes me at the moment). We went first class. It was like being on an aeroplane - you got a constant supply of food and drinks delivered and a reclining seat to sit in. This wa the alternative to standard class in which you have a fixed seat and you have to buy your own food.


That's good to hear. It was an extra tenner (each way) for first class for us, so jumped at it. Sounds like we'll get more than our money's worth.
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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.
skanky, good move! Bear in mind though people, it's not always just a tenner extra to go up to 1st class. It depends completely on which categories of tickets have sold out. (I believe, on occasion, it can even be cheaper to upgrade to 1st! )But that's because the cheap categories of 2nd class seats have gone not because 1st has got cheaper.)

Snowy, the station u are thinking of is 'Moutiers'.
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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
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
Quote:
skanky, good move! Bear in mind though people, it's not always just a tenner extra to go up to 1st class. It depends completely on which categories of tickets have sold out. (I believe, on occasion, it can even be cheaper to upgrade to 1st! )But that's because the cheap categories of 2nd class seats have gone not because 1st has got cheaper.)


Not quite true. We are going for two weeks. The journey out was £90 for standard and £100 for 1st. The return journey was the same. However the outbound for the middle weekend was the same for standard and £150ish for 1st. The 1st class prices were also different for the day time journies as for the overnights (we going out overnight and back during the day) whereas the standard were the same for every journey. I reckon we got the first 1st class bookings.

I may be wrong, but I assume that if you book via package company, you'll not see this level of variation in pricing, as their brochure prices will have been organised with Eurostar in advance?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I think what you're saying is what I think I was saying but I can't be sure (I think)

Most UK tour ops use the chartered service that goes from GDN and the prices for that are very much more rigid.
When u start booking up your own, u realise just how much variation there can be.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
I think you were saying that the price difference can depend on the variable price of the 2nd (sorry standard) class whereas I was saying that it can also depend on the variable price of 1st class.

I have travelled with the overnight Eurostar with Crystal before, cannot remember the pricing as it was a few years ago.

When you go DIY you start to realise how much variation there is in everything - from actual resorts down to lift pass and rental deal.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
admin wrote:
I think what you're saying is what I think I was saying but I can't be sure (I think)

snowHead snowHead snowHead
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Snowtrain from Dover is great fun, if a bit basic. The big plus is the extra skiing either end of the week. Just go with an open mind (plus earplugs....noise was not that bad). There was a mixed bunch, people like us with teenager, students, couples and families who had 'done' the train when they were younger and were introducing their kids to it. Lots of people to chat to - or not if you don't wish. We would recomend it, take some food and buy your booze on the ferry (if you want some).
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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?
Eurostar has just launched a new 'microsite' for anyone heading out to the French Alps. According to this report in The Times there is a promotional fare of £99 return but I couldn't find any trace of this offer on the site.
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I've tried most of these, and my preference is for one of routes via Paris.

You get a flat bed overnight (unlike Eurostar direct to Alps), the opportunity for a decent dinner in Paris, and you don't have to take pot luck about sharing a carriage with the alcohol fuelled Falaraki brigade on their winter break (the risk with the Snowtrain from Calais).

And to make matters worse with the Snowtrain, you are likely to get the same companions on the way back as you did on the way out....so if the outward journey was hell, you've got the whole holiday to contemplate a repeat experience on the way home. To be fair, it can be fine (the carriage we were in was OK), but there were other carriages on the same train where the noise (including ghettoblasters) and level of inebriation would have stretched most people's goodwill.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Julian T wrote:
You get a flat bed overnight (unlike Eurostar direct to Alps), the opportunity for a decent dinner in Paris...


Yeah, I'd agree with that - we went to McDonalds with the rest of the train passengers. Laughing

I would point out that the couchette beds are just short of 6 foot, are about 1.5 feet wide and the top ones are about 7 or 8 foot off the ground. Did I mention they are covered in slippery plastic too? Remember to hold on tight if (when) one of the party-goers decides to grab the emergency-stop cord in the middle of the night, won't you!! Shocked Very Happy
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david, you won't the SNCF website is hopeless, your best bet is to phone RailEurope and ask for any promotional fares. SNCF have a special offer caled PREMS which enables you to travle on the TGV for as little as £19.00. They do however, sell out very quickly, they're made available 60 days before travel, you can't book them within 14 days of travel. You'd never get them anyway I've always found they're sold out very smartly. I'd be surprised if anyone can get a seat fro travel over Xmas or New Year, I was quoted £450.00 return.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
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I have got the £19.00 (£38.00 return) one way to Paris from Ashford withing two weeks of travel and I used a specialist travel agent to get it. I can't remember the name or number but I will try and find it and post it. I did this last year in Jan
and it is the best way to travel, I think. And the upgrade to 1st class is well worth considering on TGV. As I posted earlier, I was hugely surprised to get TGV from St Gervais to Paris for 70eu but massively shocked to be quoted £178.00 to get fron Paris to Ashford one way...!!!

It appears to be that they charge what they think the market will stand. Apart from paying £100.00 return which I think is very good value which ever service you use I would be looking to pay local rates at they beat most things quoted in England or treasure Island as the motor trade calls us....!!
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