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Great Days Out

The Parsley Sidings Tips of where to go in 2017

LanguedocLiving, Feb 4

I no sooner suggested in my last notes that I could not review all of last year’s railway books, when the first to be released in 2017 landed in my letter box. ‘Night Trains –The rise and fall of the Sleeper’ by writer and TV presenter Andrew Martin, now this is a very well written account comparing yesterday’s night trains with what’s on offer today.

Andrew has chosen his most recent journeys well. He makes comparisons as to what is on offer now and what was on offer up to the mid-1970s. The introduction is long but a very good read, he then goes on to write chapters on The Blue Train, The Nordland Railway, Paris – Venice, The Orient Express, The Sud Express, and the Berlin Night Express. Thoroughly recommended; published by Profile Books ISBN 978-1781255599

If you plan a holiday starting with a train journey it will probably start somewhere in this new region of Occitanie.

So as Italy, Spain and Switzerland are all within a little less or a little more than a four hour journey by train, then you takes your pick.

In simple terms, to go to Spain. Hop on the 1016 RENFE AVE out of Béziers every morning, it stops in Figueres, Girona, Barcelona, Tarragona Camp, Zaragoza and Madrid.

To go to Italy pick up an Intercité to Marseilles, from there take a TGV to Nice where you can either spend a night, or travel on via Ventimiglia to Genoa, and beyond. There are now two trains a day operated by the Italian company called Thello

For Switzerland, the land of lakes, and mountain railways, grit your teeth and take a train to Lyon where you change on to a TER to Genève, and after that Switzerland is there with welcoming arms. Why grit your teeth? Simply because Lyon Part Dieu station is not the easiest to find your way around, and now has more trains that it was designed for, hence delays and last minute platform announcements.

There is also one other option and that is to fly from Montpellier to Bale in northern Switzerland with Easyjet.

Further afield is Portugal, and the city of Entrecamento houses a wonderful railway museum and not a million miles north east of Lisbon. A port tasting in and around Porto is not to be missed; you can fly from Carcassonne to Porto with Ryanair on Sundays from late May throughout summer.

Austrian Railways OBB) have now increased their offer of destinations using their RailJets, Munich, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Salzburg, Linz, Graz, Zagreb and Zurich. All these trains offer three classes of travel, priced to suit everyone’s budget. OBB have now taken over the overnight sleeper trains abandoned by German Railways DB and provide both sleeping berths and couchettes. They are marketed as Nightjet. They have extended the number of destinations on offer.

Go to their website it is available in English

by Chris Elliott 

Photo 1 is is a Newrest-Wagons-Lits new sleeping carriage, and photo 2 is an OBB (Austrian Railways) Railjet Express Train.

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