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There’s good news for skiers who love travelling by train – and want extra time on the slopes. A new sleeper train route to Austria now offers the chance of two extra days’ skiing on their holiday.
The journey begins with a Eurostar from London to Brussels, followed by a change of platform to take a Thalys or ICE train from Brussels to Cologne. From there, you board an ÖBB NightJet sleeper train, travelling overnight to arrive in the heart of the Tirol at around 8:30am the following morning.
The service runs every day of the season in both directions, and by using this route, skiers can travel and wake up minutes from the villages of popular resorts in the Tirol region. The train arrives first at Kufstein station – from there it’s a 30-minute journey by bus or taxi to resorts in the huge SkiWelt ski region, such as Söll, Scheffau, Ellmauand Going.
Ten minutes later the train calls at Wörgl, close to resorts such as Hopfgarten, Westendorf, Kitzbühel-Kirchberg and St. Johann in Tirol. Next, at Kufstein, you can alight for the resorts of the Ski Juwel area such as Alpbach and Niederau as well as those in the Zillertal valley, which include Mayrhofen and Hochzillertal. The train’s final stop is Innsbruck, home of Kühtai and other resorts.
“We love that British skiers now have the additional option of travelling to their favourite Tirolean resorts from the UK by train, so we are really pleased with this new Nightjet service via Brussels and Cologne with the Eurostar and the Austrian railway ÖBB,” says Holger Gassler, head of marketing at the Tirol Tourist Board. “We hope in the future to establish a direct service from Brussels, which will make train travel much easier for UK skiers.”
The restaurant carriage on the ICE train CREDIT: DANIEL ELKAN
Skiers may be familiar with the Eurostar service, but fewer will have sampled the spacious carriages of the ICE train or enjoyed the restaurant carriage, serving draught beer and freshly prepared hot meals on china plates.
On board the NightJet, skiers can choose from six-berth and four-berth couchettes, or the two-berth compartments with their own ensuite shower and washing facilities. Travellers receive a light breakfast with tea or coffee in the morning. Fares for the return journey from London to the Tirol start at £215 per adult in a six-berth couchette.
A six-berth couchette on the NightJet CREDIT: MAREK KNOPP/ÖBB
It’s bad news for skiers on a different route, however – Eurostar has announced that it won’t run its London-Lyon service for this coming winter season. This is a blow for those wanting to travel to a wider range of ski resorts in France, particularly with the direct Eurostar Ski Train selling out for February half term this year within a record three hours of going on sale.
Eurostar’s rationale for dropping the service this season was limited demand, although the company doesn’t rule out reinstating it in future years. The service via Lyon was particularly useful for resorts such as Les Gets, Avoriaz, Saint Gervais, Alpe d’Huez and La Clusaz.
This article first appeared on www.telegraph.co.uk
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