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French Night Trains coming back ?

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
A rare positive outcome of the Covid19 epidemic in France is that there's been renewed interest in and traveling on the few remaining Night Trains, to the point that the French President has promised revival and reinvestment.

There are reports that the famous Train Bleu Paris-Nice Night Train might be revived "by 2022" (i.e. they're aiming for this year or next) -- and of interest to pilgrims, so may the Paris-Tarbes "Palombe Bleue" in the same time frame :cool:
 

Galloglaigh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Lycra tribe.
CF (2017/8), VF (2018/9), Old Way (2020), VFnS (2020), CP (rebooked) (2021), VdT (ToDo)
Interesting and amusing. Billions of euros being spent in France in upgrading rail while in Britain, there is a promise to get £50 to have your bike fixed.

I think I'll be moving soon.
 

malingerer

samarkand
Camino(s) past & future
cf (2), de la plata, cp. (2003 -2018)
Interesting and amusing. Billions of euros being spent in France in upgrading rail while in Britain, there is a promise to get £50 to have your bike fixed.

I think I'll be moving soon.
I don't even have a bike! Wonder if i could use it as a deposit on a tricycle as used by elderly shoppers? :)

samarkand
 

SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
Sweden-Belgium also.

Brussels to Vienna already back in operation.
 

Stroller

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2015), Frances (2016)
There used to be a good night train from Calais to Narbonne via Toulous and Brive. Couchettes only in four berth carriages and bring you own food. They even carried cars. Happy days.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
OMG ... I hadn't heard about it.

Hands up all who have travelled on the Vienna-Ostend-Express (now defunct).

And I barely dare to think it ... could the passenger ferry come back??? 🤔🤭
My first trip to mainland Europe was Dover - Ostend in 1961 and it felt so exotic: cigars, diesel and coffee. Friteries and bateaux of moules. Sadly the terminal on the UK is now incredibly busy with cruise liners so not sure foot passengers would get a look in although perhaps if they reintroduce the Golden Arrow?
🚂🚃🚃
 

CWBuff

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
in Planning stage: Frances (SJPdP --> SdC) & Finisterre "2021" ... (GOD WILLING!)
in 1974 I went Bratislava - Vienna but I was too young to pay any attention as to what train did the family take.
We were in a 4-berth sleeper thats all I remember :oops:
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances , Pamplona Burgos august 2018 Burgos to Santiago 19 /04 to 20/05/2019
A rare positive outcome of the Covid19 epidemic in France is that there's been renewed interest in and traveling on the few remaining Night Trains, to the point that the French President has promised revival and reinvestment.

There are reports that the famous Train Bleu Paris-Nice Night Train might be revived "by 2022" (i.e. they're aiming for this year or next) -- and of interest to pilgrims, so may the Paris-Tarbes "Palombe Bleue" in the same time frame :cool:
And may be ‘ La Puerta del Sol’ El
Night train Paris Madrid which had to stop at the Spanish border in Irun to adapt to the width of the Spanish rails which were different
A rare positive outcome of the Covid19 epidemic in France is that there's been renewed interest in and traveling on the few remaining Night Trains, to the point that the French President has promised revival and reinvestment.

There are reports that the famous Train Bleu Paris-Nice Night Train might be revived "by 2022" (i.e. they're aiming for this year or next) -- and of interest to pilgrims, so may the Paris-Tarbes "Palombe Bleue" in the same time frame :cool:
I took several times in the 70’s La Puerta del Sol which was a night train between Paris Austerlitz station and Madrid Chamartin!
In Hendaye the train had to stop
To change the width of the boggies for the Spanish rails but it was done quickly and you were not even awakened
It was great ! You left Paris around 20pm and arrived in Madrid at 8 am ! I wish it could exist again !!
 

jirit

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2007,
Via Francigena Italy, 2008,
Jakobsweg Austria 2010,
Camino Frances 2011,
Le Puy to Lourdes 2012,
Via de la Plata 2013,
Future:
Ökumenischer (Via Regia), Germany,
Lycian Way, Turkey
Night trains in Europe are universally interesting and fun - have travelled this way a number of times, each a memorable experience.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
It all sounds like great fun having this nostalgic way to travel resurrected, but I must be missing something here. I don't see how people being all cooped up together breathing recycled air for days on end in sleeper cars is an improved option over flying to your destination. I don't see how it provides any better protection against covid transmission.
 

CWBuff

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
in Planning stage: Frances (SJPdP --> SdC) & Finisterre "2021" ... (GOD WILLING!)
No recycled air @Camino Chrissy
The windows in the sleeping coupets and in the hallways can be opened
Besides what covid in XX century?
🙄
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
No recycled air @Camino Chrissy
The windows in the sleeping coupets and in the hallways can be opened
Besides what covid in XX century?
🙄
Hmmm, in the heat of summer, open windows would most likely not be enough to stay comfortable...in cold weather they would need to stay shut. I'm sure there is some type of air flowing through those trains...just saying.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
It all sounds like great fun having this nostalgic way to travel resurrected, but I must be missing something here. I don't see how people being all cooped up together breathing recycled air for days on end in sleeper cars is an improved option over flying to your destination. I don't see how it provides any better protection against covid transmission.
Days on end ?

They're not the Trans-Siberian Express ...

Being cooped up together breathing recycled air is also something that happens on airlines or TGVs, not these Night Trains. (I do still miss the old-style French day trains though, the ones with restaurant cars -- I still fondly recall one leisurely three-course meal with a nice bottle of wine + extras and a good book that kept me occupied for about three hours on one journey)

The huge advantage of these Night Trains, apart from generally being extremely cheap (prices in France start currently at 19€ 2nd & 29€ 1st Class on reclining seats, more if you get a bunk), you get to spend your day in Paris (for example) with a nice meal or whatever, then instead of paying for your hotel and rushing to your TGV in the morning, you sleep during your journey, breakfast at the other end, then have another day at that end.

As for Covid19, it's not going to kill everything forever ...

(once the Paris-Nice and Paris-Tarbes are reinstated, I could well contemplate night train to Paris > Day in Paris > Night Train to Paris > local transport to Lourdes > Lourdes > SJPP > Compostela for future Caminos) -- the old Nice-Irun Night Train was stopped years ago ... :(
 

CWBuff

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
in Planning stage: Frances (SJPdP --> SdC) & Finisterre "2021" ... (GOD WILLING!)
Hmmm, in the heat of summer, open windows would most likely not be enough to stay comfortable...in cold weather they would need to stay shut. I'm sure there is some type of air flowing through those trains...just saying.
Yes but you need to remember that in Europe folks are not used to A/C the way we are
Open windows in the summer is totally normal and winter is no problem either
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Well, you all know best since you have personally experienced them in the past. What do I know? Apparently not enough about sleeper trains.
I hope we all get to travel again soon without worry, no matter our choice of transportation.
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
Yes but you need to remember that in Europe folks are not used to A/C the way we are
Open windows in the summer is totally normal and winter is no problem either
No offence meant, but you seem to be making the common generalization about Europe. You are right that up north where I am, we generally do not invest in A/C, it would be a waste of money and energy as on average we would only need it a few weeks a year (if at all). And open windows in winter? – yes, but only for short periods to get some fresh (?) air in unless you like to freeze your butt off.

In the southern parts of Europe, (southern Spain, France, Italy, Greece) A/C is widely used.
 

Bristle boy

If not now...when? If not you...who?...........
Camino(s) past & future
2019
My first trip to mainland Europe was Dover - Ostend in 1961 and it felt so exotic: cigars, diesel and coffee. Friteries and bateaux of moules. Sadly the terminal on the UK is now incredibly busy with cruise liners so not sure foot passengers would get a look in although perhaps if they reintroduce the Golden Arrow?
🚂🚃🚃
A bit of useless information...my grandfather was the guard on the last journey of the Golden Arrow and we rushed back to see him on "Blue Peter"..
 

CWBuff

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
in Planning stage: Frances (SJPdP --> SdC) & Finisterre "2021" ... (GOD WILLING!)
No offence meant, but you seem to be making the common generalization about Europe. You are right that up north where I am, we generally do not invest in A/C, it would be a waste of money and energy as on average we would only need it a few weeks a year (if at all). And open windows in winter? – yes, but only for short periods to get some fresh (?) air in unless you like to freeze your butt off.

In the southern parts of Europe, (southern Spain, France, Italy, Greece) A/C is widely used.
No offence taken and to clarify
1. I was talking in general about Europe of late XX Century (I do not think AC was "popular" at the time, but you might know better)​
2. I was talking about opening the windows while on the train. Done it myself plenty of times even in the winter (yes for a reasonably short period of time least I freeze my nose off - before my butt :rolleyes:)​
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Yes, I guess sticking that part of the body out of the window would come naturally- but these days you’d never know 😁
I believe that's called "mooning"...your caboose!😛
 

CWBuff

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
in Planning stage: Frances (SJPdP --> SdC) & Finisterre "2021" ... (GOD WILLING!)
Just to go off to the side a little....
On my bucket list (not in any particular order)
Trans-Siberian (Moscow - Vladivostok)​
Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (be it that original OE is no longer running)​
Philadelphia - LA (obviously need to do changes\connections but seems the least resistance would be overnight to NOLA and then 2 nights to LA)​
Alaska Railroad​
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I've always been interested in the train going from Chicago all the way out west to Glacier National Park. I've been twice by car and it's a very long haul.
Been on a day train with a glass dome roof between Fairbanks and Anchorage...stunning mountain scenery with a dome roof! Ironically I never saw a bear or other animal along the way.
 

Ekelund

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
“It’s your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.” Rumi
A rare positive outcome of the Covid19 epidemic in France is that there's been renewed interest in and traveling on the few remaining Night Trains, to the point that the French President has promised revival and reinvestment.

There are reports that the famous Train Bleu Paris-Nice Night Train might be revived "by 2022" (i.e. they're aiming for this year or next) -- and of interest to pilgrims, so may the Paris-Tarbes "Palombe Bleue" in the same time frame
This is great news - I would rather go on a train than fly. So what if it takes longer time, it is a great experience. Gives you time to think and contemplate where you are going. And so much better for the environment.
 

Bristle boy

If not now...when? If not you...who?...........
Camino(s) past & future
2019
This is great news - I would rather go on a train than fly. So what if it takes longer time, it is a great experience. Gives you time to think and contemplate where you are going. And so much better for the environment.
It is indeed great news. I am looking at the night train from Euston to Perpignan..a little jaunt for the future...and the Pyranees too.
So much slower and infinitely more enjoyable. Next year it's on.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
It all sounds like great fun having this nostalgic way to travel resurrected, but I must be missing something here.
There is a certain fascination and romanticism about night trains (actual sleeper trains and not trains that run at night) and they bring, for many, also nostalgia. I got curious why we are discussing this. It's apparently because the French president Macron said something. In an interview a few weeks ago he said this:

We are going to redevelop rail freight on a massive scale, night trains, small train lines, because it allows us to reduce our [CO2] emissions.
(On va redévelopper le fret ferroviaire massivement, les trains de nuit, les petites lignes de train parce que ça permet de réduire nos émissions).

In Europe, sleeper trains and many many railway connections and railway stations in small towns have disappeared over the last decades because freight has been moved from trains to lorries (just-in-time concept) and hotels and flights have become so affordable if not downright dirt cheap for consumers and because governments have been forced, for a number of reasons, to abandon financial support for their railways systems which had been nationalised in most European countries and that are now privatised or semi-privatised. Night trains/sleepter trains have made a bit of a comeback recently, like the Brussels-Vienna connection, but it predates the Coronavirus health crisis.
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
I don't see how people being all cooped up together breathing recycled air for days on end in sleeper cars is an improved option over flying to your destination. I don't see how it provides any better protection against covid transmission.
As a matter of fact, people don't travel massively right now, at least not in those European countries that have been the most affected by the Coronavirus health crisis. Because of the crisis, some people prefer trains over flights now in contrast to their earlier preferences. I certainly do. I think even those who have read the articles and seen the videos about airflow in restaurants may prefer a train compartment over a flight cabin. I am certainly among these people. I don't want to sit too closely to strangers. On a modern train - at least on the ones I know and prefer -, you are just so much further away from the next passenger as a rule and certainly currently where the long distance trains and high speed trains are not fully booked. I noticed that on the German high speed trains you can see online whether more than 50% of seats have been sold on a given section and many tickets are not bound to a train, as plane tickets are, so you pick a train that suits you best on short notice.

Apparently, on the sleeper trains, currently only 4 places are sold in the 6 bed berths as a rule. And you can book a cabin for your family only, or for 2 persons only or even just for 1 passenger and it is still affordable.
 
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kelleymac

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017, April 2019.
I've always been interested in the train going from Chicago all the way out west to Glacier National Park. I've been twice by car and it's a very long haul.
Been on a day train with a glass dome roof between Fairbanks and Anchorage...stunning mountain scenery with a dome roof! Ironically I never saw a bear or other animal along the way.
I've taken the train from Syracuse, NY to Portland, Oregon, with my two boys a number of time. It's overnight from Syracuse to Chicago, then (after a day in Chicago), it's 48 hours to Portland. Once we stopped at Glacier and went camping for two weeks. It's a great way to see the country and meet people. :)
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Because of the crisis, some people prefer trains over flights now in contrast to their earlier preferences.
Because of the virus crisis and until it's permanently on the downswing, people should limit travel to keep it from spreading. I find it hard to believe the corona virus cannot be spread back and forth on a sleeper train.
For those of us who do not live in the EU or UK, train travel in Europe is a moot point as we have no option to use the trains you speak of until we take a dreaded flight first.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
or those of us who do not live in the EU or UK, train travel in Europe is a moot point as we have no option to use the trains you speak of until we take a dreaded flight first.
Yep, about 80% of our discussion about the current and/or imminent future situation in Spain and other European countries is about issues that are moot for about 90% of the forum members. 😀

I pulled these percentage out of thin air, btw. Coronavirus-free air, I hasten to add. 😀
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Yep, about 80% of our discussion about the current and/or imminent future situation in Spain and other European countries is about issues that are moot for about 90% of the forum members. 😀

I pulled these percentage out of thin air, btw. Coronavirus-free air, I hasten to add. 😀
We need some empathy!😛
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
We need some empathy!😛
My "😀" icon in my previous sentence was supposed to refer to the fact that we are posting and discussing this stuff about what is currently going on, will soon be going on or should be going on in Spain and elsewhere in Europe, and not schadenfreude that the majority of forum members are excluded from experiencing it first hand.

I am full of empathy for your plight, @Camino Chrissy. This is time for a heart icon, let me see where they are. Here: 💕
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
Yep, about 80% of our discussion about the current and/or imminent future situation in Spain and other European countries is about issues that are moot for about 90% of the forum members. 😀

I pulled these percentage out of thin air, btw. Coronavirus-free air, I hasten to add. 😀
So it's true that, on average, 85% of facts are made up on the spot then? ;)
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
Just to go off to the side a little....
On my bucket list (not in any particular order)
Trans-Siberian (Moscow - Vladivostok)​
Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (be it that original OE is no longer running)​
Philadelphia - LA (obviously need to do changes\connections but seems the least resistance would be overnight to NOLA and then 2 nights to LA)​
Alaska Railroad​
Get hold of Paul Theroux's "The Great Railway Bazaar" and the follow up "Ghost Train to the Eastern Star", sit back and be prepared to be transported to a different age.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
A bit of useless information...my grandfather was the guard on the last journey of the Golden Arrow and we rushed back to see him on "Blue Peter"..
As children we lived along the railway route from Victoria to Dover and would often see the Golden Arrow at Victoria Station. At Sydenham Hill where we lived the line plunges into a mile long tunnel and the trains used to sound their whistles to alert workers in the dark (these were steam trains!). Often we'd stand on the station footbridge waiting for the Arrow to power through. Mum always knew where we'd been as we'd come home reeking of coal smoke

1596111023468.png
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
It is indeed great news. I am looking at the night train from Euston to Perpignan..a little jaunt for the future...and the Pyranees too.
So much slower and infinitely more enjoyable. Next year it's on.
We all have pipe dreams. I love France, too. If 2021 proves a "good year" regarding covid, I hope to fly non-stop directly into Paris for the 3rd time to start another pilgrimage from there. Of course, that would be in addition to heading back to Spain to complete the plans that were foiled this year.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
Plans were mooted for a tour of Europe this summer using an Interrail Pass but this can be put back indefinitely.

Imagine travelling with bottles of liquid larger than 100ml; hiking poles; Swiss Army Knives secreted in rucksacks (though there's a rumour you're not allowed on a Swiss train without at least one); leg room and a seat designed to take a human being rather than designed to make the maximum profit.; maybe, just maybe even a rice cooker . . . .

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one . . . .
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
maybe, just maybe even a rice cooker . . . .

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one . . . .
😅...I love that Beatles' song, Jeff.
Robo and his wife will be there in a heartbeat...providing they can get to your neck of the woods from Australia covid-free.
Yep, I love to day dream, too. My night dreams are never pleasant...mostly just weird. 🤔
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
I have twice takien night trains on finishing Caminos, once from SdC to Madrid (2002 IIRC), and from Madrid to Bayonne (change for Toulouse in the morning after a breakfast at the café opposite the station)-- the latter train featured a shower for my compartment, and I took one on leaving, and the other just before Bayonne (because I could).

An Irish friend with whom I share a birthday, now just retiring from a notable surgical career, was conceived in the Paris-Lyon night train. She shared this rather private family information with her flatmates when she was in medical school at Trinity, and was thereafter known to them as Wagon-Lit, a nickname still used by old friends, still to her annoyance, and still to the puzzlement of her offspring.
 
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Bristle boy

If not now...when? If not you...who?...........
Camino(s) past & future
2019
As children we lived along the railway route from Victoria to Dover and would often see the Golden Arrow at Victoria Station. At Sydenham Hill where we lived the line plunges into a mile long tunnel and the trains used to sound their whistles to alert workers in the dark (these were steam trains!). Often we'd stand on the station footbridge waiting for the Arrow to power through. Mum always knew where we'd been as we'd come home reeking of coal smoke

View attachment 79654
Another bit of useless...at the ends of their careers both my Grandfather and uncle were the station master at Dover Priory.
This is such a nice thread and has brought back some happy memories for me.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Another bit of useless...at the ends of their careers both my Grandfather and uncle were the station master at Dover Priory.
This is such a nice thread and has brought back some happy memories for me.
We all need a little happiness in these unsettling times, that's for sure.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I've taken the train from Syracuse, NY to Portland, Oregon, with my two boys a number of time. It's overnight from Syracuse to Chicago, then (after a day in Chicago), it's 48 hours to Portland. Once we stopped at Glacier and went camping for two weeks. It's a great way to see the country and meet people. :)
After I graduated from high school I took a train by mysel from Savanna, Illinois to Minneapolis, Minnesota to visit a friend. It had a glass dome and looked out along the Mississippi river bluffs the whole way...my first trip alone and a great memory!
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
This week in the Guardian.

This would be a good opportunity for European railways to improve inter-European train travel. As things are now, there is very little (if any) coordination/cooperation between the train operators in different European countries. If you think you can just hop aboard a train in say Oslo, lean back and relax, enjoy a good meal in the evening before retiring to your private cabin with bathroom, have a good night’s sleep and step out at say Barcelona well rested the next morning, well, I think reality will prove to be a disappointment. You would probably be looking into 35-50 hours of travel, 6-8 changes of train or more (in the middle of the night) either having to run with your luggage to catch the next connection, grabbing a junk-meal on the way or wait for hours in in the night in deserted stations for the next train – and for all this pleasure you’d probably have to pay 2-4 times the amount than that of a plane trip. Each to their own, but personally I can live without that kind of ‘romance’ and I believe there is much room for improvement in inter-European train travel.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
This week in the Guardian.

A very encouraging and nice article, but for now everyone is told to avoid public transportation if at all possible. I believe sleeper trains are public transportation and resurrecting them is all good and well...at a later date, no matter how promising the article is written.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
and for all this pleasure you’d probably have to pay 2-4 times the amount than that of a plane trip
Turga, I just took a quick look online and it seems you are correct in what you are saying. The low cost EU/UK airlines are a far better deal and get you where you need to go "quick as a wink".
 

SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
A very encouraging and nice article, but for now everyone is told to avoid public transportation if at all possible. I believe sleeper trains are public transportation and resurrecting them is all good and well...at a later date, no matter how promising the article is written.

Masks here mandatory on public transport.
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
get you where you need to go "quick as a wink".
Many years ago as a young student, I travelled on Interrail through Europe with some friends for months and that was fun, but those were the days and I wasn’t going anywhere in particular. Quite different from today’s desire for ‘a certain amount of comfort’ and, more often than not, the need to get to a particular place quickly and efficiently. :)
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
for now everyone is told to avoid public transportation if at all possible
I can't say that I know the rules in every European country but I think what you say is no longer accurate. I checked one country: The general official recommendation is to avoid situations when there are many passengers, to travel as much as possible outside of peak hours, to try to give each other space, to take the next train or tram if the one that's arriving looks busy.

I know that the public transport operators in some countries are requested or obliged to run their full program even when that means that trains and busses are fairly empty most of the time and run on deficits.

Based on my albeit limited personal observations in two countries, nearly every passenger with very few exceptions wears face masks on public transport, and they are pretty compliant with other recommendations like really waiting until everyone is off the train or tram or bus before embarking.
 

SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
I can't say that I know the rules in every European country but I think what you say is no longer accurate. I checked one country: The general official recommendation is to avoid situations when there are many passengers, to travel as much as possible outside of peak hours, to try to give each other space, to take the next train or tram if the one that's arriving looks busy.

I know that the public transport operators in some countries are requested or obliged to run their full program even when that means that trains and busses are fairly empty most of the time and run on deficits.

Based on my albeit limited personal observations in two countries, nearly every passenger with very few exceptions wears face masks on public transport, and they are pretty compliant with other recommendations like really waiting until everyone is off the train or tram or bus before embarking.

Last week a friend visited me, using public transport. He paid an extra fee for the pleasure for first class. Was the only passenger in that compartment. He said that no staff passes to check your ticket either. Although most people buy their ticket online or through an app some passengers buy a paper ticket and controllers try to avoid touching stuff.

Ah this thread makes me so nostalgic. Thinking of my youth and the Interrail passes....


I was supposed to be walking a month ago on the Aragones and I intended ( like last year ) to take the TGV from Brussels via Paris to Somport.
Another sign of class on the French high speed trains : gentle but firm signs to put your cellphones on silent. I just love it!
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
He paid an extra fee for the pleasure for first class. Was the only passenger in that compartment
Ditto! Three passengers in our first class compartment recently where seats are are even more spaced out than in 2nd class (I usually travel 2nd class).
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I hope we are able to "get our pre-covid lives back" as soon as possible so we can enjoy any mode of transportation we choose without fear! I have nothing else to add...
 
Camino(s) past & future
October (2021)
I've probably taken 20+ cross-country trips on Amtrak here in the US, and the air-circulation in the sleeper cars is more comfortable than in the coaches (where even there, there is more room than on an airplane). The windows don't open, unlike Europe, but I know the Amtrak train goes through my town everyday currently, so they are finding some way to spread people out.
In any case, traveling by train has always given me time to adjust to new time zones and such.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
most people buy their ticket online or through an app some passengers buy a paper ticket and controllers try to avoid touching stuff
Yep. And on my long distance train recently, no food or drinks were served in the dining car and no staff came to offer steaming hot coffee to passengers seated in the compartments. No free newspapers for 1st class passengers. I knew all this beforehand, of course ☺. As few close interactions with others as possible and as few stuff to touch as possible.
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Get hold of Paul Theroux's "The Great Railway Bazaar" and the follow up "Ghost Train to the Eastern Star", sit back and be prepared to be transported to a different age.
The Great Railway Bazaar has special meaning for me. I put together a story recently about things acquired while travelling and an unusual edition of that book that I found in Burma/Myanmar is the first of them:
Four Objects, Four Stories: Dreaming about Travel in the Age of Coronavirus

1*co8O1HtxrRHo4Uxmuj9bMw.jpeg

I haven't read Ghost Train to the Eastern Star but I know it's a recounting of the same trip 30+ years later, so I'm not sure why I haven't sought it out yet. Maybe I should!
 
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Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
i liked the trans siberian but it does take a little while. Express is rather a generous word for the average speed it achieves. I spent three weeks from central France to the north of Myanmar although I did have a few stopovers on the way. Even so, it takes sixteen days actually on a train, river boat or bus which is sixteen times longer than going by air. it's also a lot more expensive, largely because of the visa requirements. Fastest trains on the journey? French and Chinese. Most comfortable? First class sleeper in Thailand. Hardest seats? Myanmar. Slowest? Local train in Poland.
Best train food? Vietnam.
Oh, and on another occasion I sailed across the Atlantic. Even slower. 35 days including four days in Madeira, from France to Brazil. So flying is not actually essential but very useful.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
i liked the trans siberian but it does take a little while. Express is rather a generous word for the average speed it achieves. I spent three weeks from central France to the north of Myanmar although I did have a few stopovers on the way. Even so, it takes sixteen days actually on a train, river boat or bus which is sixteen times longer than going by air. it's also a lot more expensive, largely because of the visa requirements. Fastest trains on the journey? French and Chinese. Most comfortable? First class sleeper in Thailand. Hardest seats? Myanmar. Slowest? Local train in Poland.
Best train food? Vietnam.
Oh, and on another occasion I sailed across the Atlantic. Even slower. 35 days including four days in Madeira, from France to Brazil. So flying is not actually essential but very useful.
Barbara, it sounds like you have had a very full and interesting life of travel!
 

Galloglaigh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Lycra tribe.
CF (2017/8), VF (2018/9), Old Way (2020), VFnS (2020), CP (rebooked) (2021), VdT (ToDo)
@jungleboy and @Barbara

What are your health secrets of travelling all those miles and not catching anything? Apart from sea sickness that is.
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
No secret, really. I eat street food, as one I like to try new things, and two, it's cooked fresh in front of me. i drink whatever the locals drink, if it's either hot or out of a sealed bottle (or beer on tap) I avoid tap water in countries where the hygiene is dubious, also raw seafood.
Seasickness never lasts more than 36 hours. Ginger biscuits are good.
I try to avoid mosquito bites, but I don't take anti malarial drugs as a routine unless it's a very high risk area. Long sleeves and trousers, Deet on exposed skin. Silk sleeping bag liner and possibly a mosquito net, depending on where I am. I keep vaccinations up to date but don't expect them to give 100% protection.
That's it, really. No need to be paranoid.
 

Bristle boy

If not now...when? If not you...who?...........
Camino(s) past & future
2019
No secret, really. I eat street food, as one I like to try new things, and two, it's cooked fresh in front of me. i drink whatever the locals drink, if it's either hot or out of a sealed bottle (or beer on tap) I avoid tap water in countries where the hygiene is dubious, also raw seafood.
Seasickness never lasts more than 36 hours. Ginger biscuits are good.
I try to avoid mosquito bites, but I don't take anti malarial drugs as a routine unless it's a very high risk area. Long sleeves and trousers, Deet on exposed skin. Silk sleeping bag liner and possibly a mosquito net, depending on where I am. I keep vaccinations up to date but don't expect them to give 100% protection.
That's it, really. No need to be paranoid.
Sometimes it isn't that the local water is unhygienic...it is that your gut and your metabolism isn't adapted to the bacteria present. I can get a reaction to drinking another countries tap water that the locals don't and vice versa. Whatever it is "Don't drink the water"
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
Sometimes it isn't that the local water is unhygienic...it is that your gut and your metabolism isn't adapted to the bacteria present. I can get a reaction to drinking another countries tap water that the locals don't and vice versa. Whatever it is "Don't drink the water"
That's interesting. I havn't experienced that myself but yes, it seems logical. I wonder how different it has to be?
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
In Spain and most European countries I have had no problem with drinking the water. On the Caminos I bring two sturdy horrid plastic water bottles and refill them as needed at a bar or at potable fountains only...disposing/recycling them at the end. At home I never use plastic. In Mexico and a few other places I only buy pre-bottled. Sometimes upset stomachs can be the food, too. Believe me, I know. 🙄
 

Bristle boy

If not now...when? If not you...who?...........
Camino(s) past & future
2019
That's interesting. I havn't experienced that myself but yes, it seems logical. I wonder how different it has to be?
Well I'm no scientist and I'm guilty of just repeating something I was told years back.
When l'm in France the French have drunk.their tap water. My French friends are reticent in drinking ours. I think.its just a question of what your body is used to.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
That's it, really. No need to be paranoid.
Amen. Common sense goes a long way.

I think.its just a question of what your body is used to.
Ummm...sometimes the tap water IS undrinkable. Mine here in Yangon, for example. I don't even brush my teeth with it.

That said, there's definitely something to the adjustment hypothesis.
 

Bristle boy

If not now...when? If not you...who?...........
Camino(s) past & future
2019
Amen. Common sense goes a long way.


Ummm...sometimes the tap water IS undrinkable. Mine here in Yangon, for example. I don't even brush my teeth with it.

That said, there's definitely something to the adjustment hypothesis.
Years ago our beer was developed because our water was undrinkable.
One thing I would be wary of is drinking the water on any public transport...unless it came in a bottle.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
And not just in France.

From yesterday's Guardian UK
I am not sure how much safer it would be to travel in a shared couchette with
others for a longer period of time than traveling on a cheap airline flight? Maybe it would be safer to buy two or three seats on a a basic airline for yourself when on sale. I would think the air filtering system on newer planes is better than most trains?
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I am not sure how much safer it would be to travel in a shared couchette with
others for a longer period of time than traveling on a cheap airline flight? Maybe it would be safer to buy two or three seats on a a basic airline for yourself when on sale. I would think the air filtering system on newer planes is better than most trains?
I agre with your thoughts as that's what I'd been attempting to wonder about and suggest, too, but most do not agree with me and I have no experience on a sleeper, so I've let the majority rule.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
There is no rule here, and it isn't necessary to come to a consensus on this. There are many unknowns, different opinions and different ways of managing risks in our lives.
Well to say "the majority rules" was just for me, really just a figure of speech I used, but it aptly describes it from my perception. The gist has clearly been that the majority of Europeans (not all) have taken an opposite view to mine...and rightly so, I suppose. They are ones who have had experience on EU sleeper trains, so they are the majority. My point is that I am not going to continue pushing a point I know less about than they do, but @Marbe2 expresses the same concern that I had.
EDIT...My concern was about air quality, and confined spaces with others for longer stretches of time regarding the potential spread of covid...until it is eradicated.
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Well to say "the majority rules" was just for me, really just a figure of speech I used, but it aptly describes it from my perception. The gist has clearly been that the majority of Europeans (not all) have taken an opposite view to mine...and rightly so, I suppose. They are ones who have had experience on EU sleeper trains, so they are the majority. My point is that I am not going to continue pushing a point I know less about than they do, but @Marbe2 expresses the same concern that I had.
EDIT...My concern was about air quality, and confined spaces with others for longer stretches of time regarding the potential spread of covid...until it is eradicated.
Even if the train reduces the second class couchettes from six to four bunks, there is no way, IMO, it allows for appropriate distancing? Albergues are not allowing pilgrims to sleep in the top bunks. I could possbly see two persons in a usual 6 person couchette, but no more...and not me! Ventilation-wise, I do not know enough about filtration and air flow on trains, except to say, that I have been on many a train in a couchette with europeans who frequently refuse to have the window open. And often the aircon is minimal at night. Consequently, there is no way in hell I would share a couchette with strangers during covid. And, for that matter, if I were blessed enough to be able to do a camino sometime in late 2021, there is no way I would sleep in a dorm either, since my age would put me in the be at risk category. Just sayin!
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Most of the discussion on this thread has been about the joys of train travel during normal times, with some discussion of the precautions currently in place for day trains. I don't see anyone advocating for night trains and couchette bunks during Covid times. I don't think there are opposite opinions!
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Most of the discussion on this thread has been about the joys of train travel during normal times, with some discussion of the precautions currently in place for day trains. I don't see anyone advocating for night trains and couchette bunks during Covid times. I don't think there are opposite opinions!
Please forgive me if I don ‘t get your point? Was not the title of this thread

French NIGHT trains coming back?
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
@C clearly, yes, a few were going down memory lane, myself included. It seemed to me that many were showing enthuiasm regarding the linked article that was showing sleeper trains being resurrected soon and in fact a few are now operating. I did not get the impression there was any caution shown about watching and waiting, but instead a few spoke of using masks, open windows, and having your own sleeper car...as if that is a guarantee at this time. I don't think it is.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Please forgive me if I don ‘t get your point? Was not the title of this thread

French NIGHT trains coming back?
But that'll most likely be in 2021 + ; even though the few remaining Night Trains have seen increased numbers of passengers.

Part of the renewal is from a general push to revive rail versus road for both people and goods transport, for the carbon stuff -- which makes more sense in France than in other countries, due to the nuclear energy.

As to the increase in current passengers and ventilation stuff, passengers on these trains are better separated and better ventilated (with outside air, not just recycled internal air) than on an aeroplane or indeed a bus.

As to bunks, well, the truth is that most passengers use the reclining seats instead (as I would, the bunks being too short for me) -- and under Covid19 conditions, only half of the seats can be in use at any time, so you'll have nobody sitting next to you. And the reports I've seen suggest that many people using a couchette have ended up sleeping alone.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
I don't see anyone advocating for night trains and couchette bunks during Covid times.
But in fact, there has been increased use of them in France versus aeroplane travel during these times, as many people seem to think they're a less perilous option than the more crowded day trains and aeroplanes.

So that some in France are indeed advocating for precisely that, although most places in these night trains are reclining seats, not couchettes.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
I did not get the impression there was any caution shown about watching and waiting, but instead a few spoke of using masks, open windows, and having your own sleeper car...as if that is a guarantee at this time. I don't think it is.
Night trains are making a comeback in some parts of Europe like Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France, Nordic countries to name a few, and in other parts they've never gone out of existence like in Italy apparently and no doubt in other countries. The reasons for this comeback are manifold. Right now, there is an increased interest in train travel including night trains because it's summer and the holiday season (some night trains operate only during the summer season) and because Covid causes changes of behaviour patterns and holiday patterns. Train operators report that offers for private compartments or private cabins in night trains find increased interest. And since trains are currently far from fully booked, train operators even have offers such as booking a whole compartment for 1, 2 or 3 passengers at very attractive prices. In fact, that's one thing I learnt in the context of this thread and having a look at actual night train sites: how attractive these prices are. I see that there are even concepts in modern night trains like single cabins of the "pod" type.

These are all facts. Or let me be more precise: I am pretty certain that they are facts.

Now what's the point of our threads here, other than to while away the hours? To advocate at every possible occasion that everyone must watch and wait or to explore what possibilities there are to live life under the circumstances? To simply hear what others do and draw one's own conclusions for oneself like ok, that's something I might try, either now or in the near future, or no that's not for me, under no circumstances?

As to air in a train, airflows, mixing of internal and external air in systems on trains night or day, air flowing up and air flowing down, aerosols, virus loads, life expectancy of a coronavirus travelling on an aerosol and life expectancy of a coronavirus travelling in a droplet of watery substance, survival chances in dry air, ability to float in air for an extended period of time, trajectory, speed with which it is expelled and how far it will travel and its chances to hit you right in the eye, mouth or nose etc etc ... I recommend googling! Especially when one has the time. 🙃
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
I recommend googling!
The French train operator SNCF has this and more to say about COVID-19 AND AIR CONDITIONING, in English: A few cases traced to a restaurant in China have prompted researchers to ask whether ventilation systems [in trains] can spread the virus. “No,” says engineer Cyril Verdun, SNCF’s top air conditioning expert.

Of course that addresses only the air that circulates through a wagon - I am not sure about all long-distance/high speed trains but I know that the German ICE trains, for example, have separate ventilation systems for every wagon/carriage/car. It doesn't address the question of the air that another passenger breathes into your face or over your bed. Same issue as with camino albergues ... do you go for shared accommodation or private rooms ... and how much overall space (air volume) and ventilation is there?
 
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arthur1218

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Tortuga
This revival of sleeping cars on the trains might be as well an attempt to find a way for the seniors and those vulnerable to Covid to travel long distance. The vulnerable group could be separated from the rest and travel safe in their little 4-bed compartments. This is something you can't do on the plane, where the air is recycled and has to be shared among all the passengers on board.

Possibly, with the ongoing resurgence of Covid, instead of shutting the entire air travel again, the governments may just choose to permit flying to those who are unlikely to end up in hospital afterwards. For example - if you are over 60 or have underlying conditions, please kindly travel safely on the train in your "senior" car, or even better, just stay at home, since you are not an "essential" traveller.

We have to learn to work and travel during the pandemic without paralyzing the entire economies again.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
For example - if you are over 60 or have underlying conditions, please kindly travel safely on the train in your "senior" car, or even better, just stay at home, since you are not an "essential" traveller.
Oh, as a member of this target group, I'm totally in favour of this, but only under the condition that it includes ALL those older than 60 years, no matter how much money they have or whether they have large airplanes and helicopters at their disposal for themselves and wouldn't even need to take a train. So much non-essential travel going on in this group. 😂

Although, I'm not quite certain of the complete logic of the seniors only car ... does it mean that the over 60s don't infect each other or that it's ok when they infect only each other and not the younger ones? 🙃
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Although, I'm not quite certain of the complete logic of the seniors only car ... does it mean that the over 60s don't infect each other or that it's ok when they infect only each other and not the younger ones? 🙃
This is a hilarious thought!😅
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
So much non-essential travel going on in this group. 😂
What is ’non-essential travel’ anyway? Non-essential for whom? For people like us, travelling to some country to walk a Camino, people going on holiday or going to see relatives far away? – or for the high-profiled business people going to some meeting that they might as well do via video-conference? Well, ask the airline companies whose planes are sitting idle on the ground and who are refunding millions to travelers whose flights they had to cancel. What kind of travel would really be essential? 🙃
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
What kind of travel would really be essential?
This depends on your values, and perhaps on your needs and resources. For me, to cross the country to care for a family member after life-threatening surgery was essential. His only closer relatives were in the United States, without the right to cross the Canadian border. I watched my mind shift from "I am a senior and will not travel by air until I have been vaccinated. I have some savings and will hang on to them to pay for my next camino" to "I can afford to come and to pay for a hotel while I stay with you for your recuperation." For me, the danger to myself of travelling across the country by air was no longer an issue. Fortunately, for me and for him, another family member, closer geographically, offered to house him and care for him after he left the hospital. This family member was concerned about my safery in travelling. So all is well, and ten days after the surgery my brother is recovering well and keeping in touch. For me, having adequate resources and no dependents. this was essential travel. I am very glad that it worked out as it did.
 

caminka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
see signature
Budapest - Venice and Nice - Irún night trains, too, pretty please? those were ideal to travel from here (Slovenia, but also Hungary) to SJPP. just three changes and you were there, well rested and ready to go. really. I disembarked at about 12h, went to the pilgrims' office for my credencial and climbed to Orisson all in the same afternoon. my very first camino. 🚃
 

gerip

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
CF, Burgos to Santiago, May 2019
Ingles, Sep - Oct 2019
Hmmm, in the heat of summer, open windows would most likely not be enough to stay comfortable...in cold weather they would need to stay shut. I'm sure there is some type of air flowing through those trains...just saying.
I remember there was A/C in the couchette cars, at least in Italy. Spain only had it in 1st class sleeper cars, or at least that’s what I was told when I bought my Europass.
 
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