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October 27 2017
UK skiers planning on visiting the Austrian Alps this winter will be delighted with the news that they can now take a train from London all the way to the doorstep of many of the country’s most popular resorts.
The new service, described in detail in this Telegraph article, will require the passengers to change twice on their journey – once in Brussels and then in Cologne – after embarking the Eurostar at St Pancras International.
The lengthy trip, however, is made easier by the fact that the last leg is an overnight stay on the OBB Nightjet – a luxurious train which offers its customers fresh meals, draught beer and comfortable, cabin-style beds.
The service, which arrives in the Tirol region at 8:30am, runs both ways and is available every day during the ski season. The Nightjet stops at Kufstein, Worgl and Innsbruck, all of which are a stone’s throw away from some of Austria’s biggest and best skiing hotspots.
The Tirol Tourist Board’s head of marketing, Holger Gassler, welcomed the development and also expressed his hope that train journeys to the heart of Austria’s slopes may yet become even more straightforward for British passengers: “We hope in the future to establish a direct service from Brussels, which will make train travel much easier for UK skiers”. These plans, which should also create plenty of work for rail job recruitment agencies in Austria and beyond, would doubtless be welcomed by ski operators and holidaymakers alike.
This positive news goes some way towards balancing out the disappointment of Eurostar also announcing that there will be no London-Lyon service operating during the 2017/18 ski season.
Although officials have not ruled out reintroducing the journey in years to come, it is claimed that there is currently not sufficient demand amongst the UK public to justify the running of a service which dropped passengers conveniently nearby a number of popular French resorts.
Mark Smith, who runs the Seat61 rail guide website, suggested that Eurostar’s decision may have been short-sighted, noting that “The falling pound might make it more difficult to fill an 800-seat train, but Eurostar needs better marketing and closer integration of fares and ticketing to popular destinations”.
Image Credit: Alexander Savonin