All you need to know about ski holidays by train

Waiting for March and April train booking

Sat 05 January, 2013

A lot of skiers – perhaps you  - are waiting for booking to open in the Corail Lunea sleeper trains from Paris to French ski resorts.

The Corail Lunea trains have a big advantage over the direct overnight Eurostar Ski train (which is already on sale) because they have couchette beds (the Eurostar direct overnight train only has reclining seats).

Normally, Corail Lunea train journeys can be booked 90 days ahead. That would mean currently being able to book dates for early April. But trains for dates beyond early March have still not opened for booking.  This isn’t on just one route, but across many.

SNCF, the French train company, sometimes holds trains off sale while it waits to confirm engineering works in the region.  If you phone Rail Europe (the UK booking arm of SNCF) and speak to its call centre, staff may say that “we don’t know whether these trains will run” or “it is likely these trains will run, but they just haven’t gone on sale yet.” 

The uncertainty is frustrating, but three things bode well:

  1. It isn’t just on one route but on many (geographically separate routes) that you can’t book tickets in March and April.
  2. If there were planned engineering works in these routes they would already be registered by this time.  But none have been.
  3. The journeys are listed in the Thomas Cook rail timetable, which is published only once schedules have been decided.

The likelihood is that a backlog of trains to load just means that the trains you want to travel on haven’t been loaded.

So what is the best thing to do?

  1. Check our Ski Trains Price Check page, which is regularly updated, and shows you, on key routes and dates, at a glance, which trains are already on sale.
  2. You can also check the Rail Europe website on the dates you want to travel, every few days.
  3. You could book the Eurostar-to-Paris portion of your journey, to take advantage of lower Eurostar fares on sale now.  But generally we would advise that it is better to wait until the whole journey can be booked.

And remember, if for any reason, you overnight train didn’t run you could travel daytime by train instead.  But it does look like the overnight trains will run. They do every year, they are scheduled to run. It is just a bit of a waiting game, in terms of booking.