Training through Europe

Been spending a lot of time looking at train options for our trip.

We have 3 main train components in our plans. The first is from London to Paris. Second is Paris to Berne and lastly the train journeys through Switzerland.

The rail networks throughout Europe are quite extensive [for example, here is Switzerland’s] and very well run and maintained. They also compare very favourably to air travel. A vast difference to the Australian rail network which is abysmal by comparison. Once you start looking at train options, there is a wealth of information of varying usefulness out there. Many sites are just fronts for travel agents or ticket agencies and don’t give to a lot of pricing information unless you go through their booking process.

The official rail websites for France and Switzerland [www.sbb.ch] on the other hand were very useful for getting timetable and ticket price information. The Swiss one in particular was extremely good. Give it your starting point and your destination and it will tell you all the connecting journeys required as well as produce a map of your journey. Very useful but a little dry on useful details on the best options.

By far the best site I found was an independent site called The Man in Seat 61 [www.seat61.com]. Started as a hobby this site is amazingly full of detail. He discusses the best options for travelling by train, including when and how to buy your tickets, details of what you will see on each train journey, photos of the trains, inside the trains and the stations, when and where to change trains, whether to get a rail pass or not, seat maps on some services and details of the food and other services available. Full of links to the various official train sites and ticketing agents. I used this site extensively to get up to speed with the options available to us and recommend it as a first point to visit for anything to do with train travel in Europe.

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