European Rail Timetable: Route of the Month

Issue 9: November 2014 - Overnight to Komatipoort (Table 4400)

Susanne Kries and Nicky Gardner, editors of Hidden Europe magazine have travelled further afield this month, the first Route of the Month to be outside Europe. They take the overnight train from Johannesburg to Komatipoort close to the border with Mozambique. The article is found on page 35 of the November 2014 European Rail Timetable. Click here to buy your copy.

At present the Komatipoort train service runs on Wednesdays and Fridays departing from Johannesburg at 18h10. A sleeper berth costs in the region of £20 per person and a "sitter" from just £11 per person. Bedding is available on board at a cost of R70.00 (roughly £4) per unit. Breakfast and dinner can be purchased on board. This route is only for the adventourus, we have been advised that the service is extremely unreliable and not suitable for international tourists. As South Africa is so far from home you may prefer to book this journey as part of a tailormade holiday rather than as a ticket only booking. For more information about tailormade holidays please visit www.ffestiniogtravel.com. If the Business Express sounds more your sort of train then we can book that for you too.



Issue 8: October 2014 - Borderlands: Saxony and Bohemia

The recent opening of a new rail route over the Czech-German frontier tempted Berlin-based travel writers Susanne Kries and Nicky Gardner, editors of Hidden Europe magazine, to travel south to Bohemia. These cross border journeys are on timetables 1141, 1116, 1122, 854 and 1117. The article is found on page 35 of the October 2014 European Rail Timetable

For most of the routes suggested this month a Sachsen-Böhem Ticket is ideal.



Issue 7: September 2014 - Madrid to Salamanca

Susanne Kries and Nicky Gardner, editors of Hidden Europe magazine, hop on a Media Distancia train in Madrid to ride over the hills to Salamanca. The journey is found on timetable 679 of the European Rail Timetable, EC273, named Avala. The article is found on page 35 of the September 2014 European Rail Timetable

In September 2014 there are seven Media Distancia trains spaced through the day, from 8:30am to 9:13pm. A single journey costs £22 per person in second class, including seat reservation, but excluding cover charge.

Issue 6: August 2014 - Budapest to Belgrade

Susanne Kries and Nicky Gardner, editors of Hidden Europe magazine, ride a rail route taken by Leon Trotsky in 1912. The journey is found on timetables 1295 and 1360 of the European Rail Timetable, EC273, named Avala. The article is found on page 35 of the August 2014 European Rail Timetable

In August 2014 the direct train, EC273 leaves Budapest Keleti at 1305 and arrives Belgrade at 2050. Snacks and drinks are available on board the train. The return working is EC272 which departs Belgrade at 0645. A supplement is payable, and reservations are compulsory on the return journey, though not from Budapest to Belgrade. A single journey costs £36.50 per person in second class, including seat reservation, but excluding cover charge.

Issue 5: July 2014 - Fast train to Reading

This month the editors of Hidden Europe magazine have chosen the classic Great Western route out of London. The journey is found on timetables 115, 130, 131, 132 and 133 of the European Rail Timetable. The article is found on page 35 of the July 2014 European Rail Timetable

In July 2014 trains leave London Paddington every few minutes for Reading. On a weekday Off Peak tickets are valid after 09:20am departure but between 4pm and 7:15pm please check as many, but not all, trains between these times are considered Peak times. Most trains take 22 to 30 minutes, but you may prefer a slower "stopping" service such as the 12:27 departure. An Off Peak Single ticket costs £17.60 per person in standard class but the return is only £17.70!

Issue 4: June 2014 - Table 547: The Bernina Railway

This month the editors of Hidden Europe magazine have chosen one of our favourite scenic railway lines, the Bernina Express. The timetable is found on timetable 547 of the European Rail Timetable. The article is found on page 35 of the June 2014 European Rail Timetable

In June 2014 the Bernina Express leaves Pontresina at 09:52am, and arrives Tirano at 2:22pm. The return working leaves Tirano after a break for lunch in Italy at 2:04pm and arrives in Pontresina at 4:16pm. Alternative Bernina Express services depart at 11:31am and 3:31pm from Pontresina and 10:03am and 3:14pm from Tirano. It is also possible to start your journey in Chur or St Moritz. The cost for making a return journey from Pontresina to Tirano is approximately £62.30 per person in standard class with reserved seats in the Panoramic car, first class is approximately £93 per person. A single journey is half the price of a return journey. If you have a Swiss Pass the reservation for the Bernina Express costs approximately £11.50 each way, but there are plenty of regular slow trains as recommended by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries that don't need reservations.

Issue 3: May 2014 - Table 2285: Slow Boat to Iceland

For the first time the editors of Hidden Europe magazine have chosen a boat trip rather than a train trip as the Route of the Month. They use the Smyril Line to travel from Hirtshals in Denmark to Seyðisfjörður in Iceland. These ferrys are found on timetable 2285 of the European Rail Timetable. The article is found on page 35 of the May 2014 European Rail Timetable. Click here to buy your copy. There are no railways in Iceland, but details of the buses serving major settlements can be found on timetable 729.

In May 2014 the Smyril Line ferry leaves Hirtshals on Saturdays at 10am, calls at Tórshavn in the Faroe Islands at 5am on Monday morning and arrives Seyðisfjörður at 9am on the Tuesday morning. The cost for a foot passenger making a single journey including a couchette berth and two meals is approximately £210 per person. Other meals can be prebooked at the time of purchase. Although you will need to call us on 01766 772050, or email us at dan.may@ffestiniogtravel.co.uk to book a ticket for this journey many other ferry routes can be booked directly on our website.

Issue 2: April 2014 - Paris to the Mediterranean with the PLM

The editors of Hidden Europe magazine explore the classic Paris - Lyon - Méditerranée (PLM) route, along which a journey is still possible using long distance regional services without the need for an advance seat reservation. These trains can be found in timetables 351 and 371 of the European Rail Timetable. The article is found on pages 34 and 35 of the April 2014 European Rail Timetable.

In April 2014 the journey on classic trains, rather than TGV services, departs Paris Bercy at 0923 (0938 at weekends) and arrives at Lyon Part Dieu at 1444. Depart Lyon Part Dieu at 1520 and arrive at Marseille St Charles at 1854. The cost for a single journey in standard class starts from around £90 including ticket and our cover charge. The same journey in a first class seat would cost from around £134. Reservations are not possible on these trains, and if using an InterRail pass no further bookings are required.

Issue 1: March 2014 - Table 60: Berlin to Budapest

Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries of Hidden Europe magazine spend a day on train EC171 Hungaria. The article is found on page 35 of the March 2014 European Rail Timetable.

In March 2014 the Hungaria departs Berlin Hbf at 0646 and arrives into Budapest Keleti at 1835. The return EC170 leaves Budapest Keleti at 0925, arriving at Berlin Hbf at 2115. The cost for a single journey in standard class starts from around £41.60 including ticket, reservation and our cover charge. The same journey in a first class seat would cost from around £70.25. Return tickets cost twice the price of single tickets.

If you wish to find out more about European rail travel or if you would like to book a ticket please don't hesitate to contact us direct on 01766 772050 or email dan.may@ffestiniogtravel.co.uk.