Ski Train tickets go on sale tomorrow
Tickets go on sale tomorrow morning (Tuesday 6 August) for trains to the French and Swiss Alps. You’ll need to set your alarm early and have your laptop fired up ready if you’re hoping to get seats for peak times – Chrismas, New Year and February half-term.
This season’s Ski Train – the hugely popular Eurostar direct service from the UK to the French Alps – runs from 20th December 2013 until 12th April 2014, with departures on Friday nights and Saturday mornings, returning to the UK on Saturday mornings and evenings.
Tickets are available from 6.30AM via the Eurostar website. Their call centre opens at 8am for telephone bookings.
The journey to the French Alps starts with a 30-minute check-in at either St Pancras station in London or in Ashford, Kent. The route heads directly to Moutiers (for the Three Valleys), Aime (for La Plagne) and Bourg St Maurice (with connections to Les Arcs, La Rosiere, Tignes and Val d’Isere).
From here, it’s just one hour maximum to transfer to resort, unlike the lengthy transfers (up to 4 hours) if you fly into Geneva. Note, however, that if you’re travelling to La Plagne, you need to get to either Bourg St Maurice or Moutiers for the return trip.
Sales of Eurostar tickets for the daytime service to Switzerland (via Lille) also start tomorrow morning.
This extremely popular service was introduced last year, as we reported in an earlier story here. It just involves one speedy connection at Lille, onto a TGV train which stops at Vallorbe, Aigle, Martigny, Visp and Brig, providing easy access to such Swiss resorts as Verbier, Saas-Fee and Zermatt.
The Ski Train is so popular that it is nearly always sold out. But, don’t despair! It is possible to reach the French, Swiss and Autrian Alps by train using regular timetabled services virtually every day in the season.
Why go by train?
Apart from the obvious environmental appeal, there are several advantages: there are no charges for carrying ski equipment; kids have more space to move around; and if you take the overnight train (not recommended for tinies but great for families with older children), you get an extra day on the slopes.
We also find, in many ways, travelling by train makes your vacation last longer – the journey becomes a part of the holiday rather than a means to an end (as with flying) and you don’t have to hang around at crowded airports either.
It would seem that more people are opting to travel by train to the Alps – the fast trains in mainland Europe combined with the efficient services of the Eurostar, French TGVs and Swiss railways provide swift and frequently more seamless transportation than flying.
However you chose to travel – by plane, car or train – here are some handy ideas on how to amuse the kids en route.