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Old August 19th, 2007, 02:12 PM   #21
Jaeger
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Top Ten European Short Rail Breaks

All aboard for the weekend

Ditch the plane for the train and travel Europe with a clear conscience. Train travel expert The Man in Seat 61 lists his top 10 short breaks by rail and our accompanying interactive guide shows you how to take them


Mark Smith
Guardian Unlimited
November 29 2006

http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/200...ss&feed=travel


Take the train ... and enjoy the spectacular scenery of
the Scottish Highlands. Photograph: Britain on View

Cutting down on short-haul flights and travelling by train could give a new lease of life to your travels as you rediscover a more relaxed and civilised way to go, where the journey becomes part of the fun. Here are my top 10 destinations for long weekends or short breaks from the UK by train.


Barcelona and Figueres

Head south from London on the 3pm Eurostar to Paris. There’s just time for a vin rouge in a Parisian cafe before boarding the “trainhotel” to Barcelona. Dinner in the diner, a night snuggled in fresh clean sheets in your sleeper, fresh croissant and coffee in the trainhotel’s cafe-bar, and before you know it you're in central Barcelona, arriving at 8.30am on Saturday.

After a weekend rambling on the Ramblas, gasping at Gaudi and tasting the tapas, the 9pm trainhotel on Sunday night will get you back to central London at 11:55am on Monday. For something different, leave the trainhotel at Figueres, two hours short of Barcelona, find a cafe for breakfast then check out the remarkable Salvador Dali museum. You can visit Dali’s equally remarkable house on the coast at Cadaques a few miles away by bus or taxi.

Eurostar to Paris starts at £59 return, trainhotel fares start at £50 each way in a four-bed sleeper, £75 each way in a two-bed sleeper. There are no airport taxes, no extra to pay to get to and from remote airports, and morning arrivals and evening departures mean a smaller hotel bill than when you fly.


Venice and Verona

For sheer romance, few European cities compete with Venice, and there's no more romantic way to get there than by sleeping-car.

Take a lunchtime Eurostar to Paris and climb aboard the Stendhal overnight sleeper to Venice. There’s a restaurant car for dinner with views of rural France swishing past in the moonlight, sleeping-berths in couchettes or more comfortable private sleepers, and an arrival across the causeway into central Venice at 9.30am the next day.

Eurostar to Paris starts at £59 return, fares from Paris to Venice start at £26 each way with a basic couchette for £104 each way in a two-bed sleeper. This can easily be made a two-centre trip, combining a stay in Venice with a day or two in Verona, with its Roman amphitheatre and pleasant piazzas.



Dublin

An ever-popular short-break destination, it’s easier than ever to reach Ireland the relaxed and traditional way, by train and ferry. The combined train-and-ferry fare from London to Dublin is £24 each way. Believe it or not, that’s the regular fare with unlimited availability, see sailrail.co.uk. Cheap fares are available from any British station to any Irish station. For example Oxford to Dublin is £24 each way, Manchester to Dublin £20 each way, Norwich to Cork or Galway £39 each way.


Berlin and Colditz

Leave Waterloo on the 6pm Eurostar to Brussels, then switch to a modern German sleeper train which will whisk you overnight to the newly-reborn capital of Germany. A knock on the door next morning announces coffee and croissant delivered to your compartment, in time for a city-centre arrival at 8.30am.

For something different, head south to Leipzig (an hour and a quarter) and visit the infamous castle at Colditz, an hour beyond Leipzig by bus. German Railways (0870 243 5363) offers inclusive Eurostar-plus-sleeper train fares from around £79 each way with couchette, or £95 each way in a two-bed sleeper.


Prague

The same 6pm Eurostar and sleeper to Berlin make a convenient connection with the EuroCity train to Prague. It’s a relaxing scenic ride along a pleasant river valley with lunch in the restaurant car, arriving in Prague in early afternoon. The sights of Prague are all the more special when you’ve made the effort to get there overland. Berlin-Prague starts at £23 each way.


Rome

The Eternal City is as alluring as ever. Take a lunchtime Eurostar and change in Paris for the Palatino sleeper train to Rome. Linger over dinner in the restaurant car, retire to your sleeper or couchette for the night, and wake to a classic Italian landscape. You’ll catch glimpses of the dome of St Peter’s as the Palatino skirts the city and arrives at the Stazione Termini in the heart of Rome at 9.40am.

Eurostar to Paris starts at £59 return, fares from Paris to Rome start at £26 each way with a basic couchette or £104 each way in a two-bed sleeper.


Brussels and Amsterdam

Inclusive fares from London to Amsterdam start at £69 return, by Eurostar to Brussels (two hours 15 minutes) and the hourly InterCity train on to Amsterdam (three hours). You can break your journey for up to 24 hours in Brussels, making it possible to hop a Friday night Eurostar to Brussels for some moules et frites in the Grand Place, then move on to Amsterdam at your leisure on Saturday morning. A Sunday afternoon train from Amsterdam will get you back to London on Sunday night.


Munich and Salzburg

If you're a fan of The Sound of Music, head for the hills around Salzburg. The 5.40pm Eurostar to Paris connects comfortably with the excellent German sleeper train to Munich, arriving at 9am the next day. A connecting EuroCity train will get you to Salzburg by 11am.

German Railways offers inclusive Eurostar-plus-sleeper train fares from London to Munich, from around £79 each way with couchette or £95 each way in a two-bed sleeper. Munich-Salzburg is about £19 each way.


Krakow and Auschwitz

Leave London on Thursday evening taking the Eurostar and sleeper to Berlin, then take the EuroCity train Wawel from Berlin across Poland to Krakow, arriving Friday evening. Spend Saturday exploring Krakow and its royal castle, Sunday visiting the museums at Osweicim, better know by its German name Auschwitz, an hour to the south by local train. Take the Sunday-night sleeper from Krakow to Berlin then comfortable high-speed trains back to Waterloo arriving on Monday night. A worthwhile plane-free long weekend.


Highlands of Scotland

Last but by no means least, don't forget how beautiful our own country can be. It doesn’t get much better than the Highlands of Scotland, and the Caledonian Sleepers (firstscotrail.co.uk) are easily the most romantic and time-effective way to get there from London and the south.

Leave London late on Friday night and you’ll be in the heart of the Highlands first thing Saturday morning. Bargain berths start at £19 each way complete with a bed for the night, regular apex fares start at £107 return. The scenery you’ll see from the Fort William sleeper is perhaps the best in Britain.

• For more information on travelling Europe and the world by train visit www.seat61.com

Last edited by Jaeger; August 19th, 2007 at 02:19 PM.
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Old August 19th, 2007, 05:10 PM   #22
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So the extension from Waterloo is complete!
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Old August 19th, 2007, 07:07 PM   #23
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So the extension from Waterloo is complete!
Waterloo will no longer be a Eurostar Terminal, and a new high speed line has been constructed running through Kent up to Ebbsfleet near Dartford, then across to Stratford in East London and from there to the new Eurostar Terminal at St Pancras. The scheme has cost over £5 Billion, with major tunnels under London, and new bridges etc across Kent, as well as totally new high speed track.

Waterloo is to be used for trains coming in from Kent.
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Old August 19th, 2007, 07:28 PM   #24
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I think this is excellent news, for some people it takes 2 hours to get into london for work alone

what is the distance between london-paris and whats the top speed for this train?

also where in paris does this train go is it city centre or far away?
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Old August 19th, 2007, 07:35 PM   #25
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Gare du Nord is in the center.
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Old August 19th, 2007, 09:01 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asif iqbal View Post
I think this is excellent news, for some people it takes 2 hours to get into london for work alone

what is the distance between london-paris and whats the top speed for this train?

also where in paris does this train go is it city centre or far away?
London is around 211 miles from Paris.

http://www.mapcrow.info/Distance_bet..._Paris_FR.html

The trains go from city centre to city centre.

The trains have a top speed of 186 mph on the track, although they have to slow down to go through the tunnel and on city approaches.

Link to High Speed 1 Website - http://www.highspeed1.com/consumerpage.php?page=hs1













Last edited by Jaeger; August 19th, 2007 at 09:10 PM.
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Old August 20th, 2007, 04:22 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaeger View Post
London is around 211 miles from Paris.

http://www.mapcrow.info/Distance_bet..._Paris_FR.html

The trains go from city centre to city centre.

The trains have a top speed of 186 mph on the track, although they have to slow down to go through the tunnel and on city approaches.[/url]
If the distance is 340Km (211 miles) and it takes 2H15 it averages 151 Km/h which is actually slower than the UK's existing non-HSR link between London and Newcastle which is 440Km, fastest time 2H39, average speed 166 Km/h. Most services on that route take 2H50 to 3H00 but this is still just as fast as London-Paris on the new HSL.
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Old August 20th, 2007, 04:47 PM   #28
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The route isn't as the crow flies though - it's fairly circuitous as it heads east to Lille, followed by south west again.

There was talk for a while of a direct route from Paris to Calais via Amiens (they were very annoyed about no Eurostar/TGV link, and Haute Picardie TGV is a complete flop - no Eurostars either). This direct route would knock another 20 mins off the London time, so 1h55.
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Old August 20th, 2007, 05:14 PM   #29
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Ah, ok, so what's the distance as the track goes?
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Old August 20th, 2007, 06:50 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cle View Post
The route isn't as the crow flies though - it's fairly circuitous as it heads east to Lille, followed by south west again.

There was talk for a while of a direct route from Paris to Calais via Amiens (they were very annoyed about no Eurostar/TGV link, and Haute Picardie TGV is a complete flop - no Eurostars either). This direct route would knock another 20 mins off the London time, so 1h55.
Cheers cle

Here's a wiki link to the proposed route via Amiens -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGV_Picardie
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Old August 20th, 2007, 07:00 PM   #31
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Hello everyone!

I'm From Toronto, Canada and this march break(what we call it in Canada..where we get a week of in march) im going to London and Paris with my school! I CAN'T WAIT..I've always wanted to go to those two cities...I'm in grade 11..my third year of high school...and were going in a group of around thirty with 3 teachers...We're flying to Paris with Air Canada..staying 4 days in Paris then taking the Train to London(Chunnel I presume?) and staying 3 days there..We're then flying back to Toronto with British Airways...So this new high speed train will be in effect when I come right? I'm so excited about this trip especially because its with my friends! We're going to the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, all the Cathedrals, Versailles, Champs-elisais,arch de triomphe(w/e),and more..then in london..st.pauls cathedral, parliament buildings, stonehendge and plenty more i can't remember...cant wait! BYE.

AleE..
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Old August 20th, 2007, 08:05 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ale26 View Post
Hello everyone!

I'm From Toronto, Canada and this march break(what we call it in Canada..where we get a week of in march) im going to London and Paris with my school! I CAN'T WAIT..I've always wanted to go to those two cities...I'm in grade 11..my third year of high school...and were going in a group of around thirty with 3 teachers...We're flying to Paris with Air Canada..staying 4 days in Paris then taking the Train to London(Chunnel I presume?) and staying 3 days there..We're then flying back to Toronto with British Airways...So this new high speed train will be in effect when I come right? I'm so excited about this trip especially because its with my friends! We're going to the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, all the Cathedrals, Versailles, Champs-elisais,arch de triomphe(w/e),and more..then in london..st.pauls cathedral, parliament buildings, stonehendge and plenty more i can't remember...cant wait! BYE.

AleE..

Sounds like a great trip.

Take some pics, if you have time
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Old August 21st, 2007, 05:58 AM   #33
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I wish Amtrak in the States wasn't so expensive...it's cheaper to fly anywhere.
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Old August 21st, 2007, 09:01 AM   #34
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thats if you book 3 month in advance and if you are lucky
Not quite true. You should check this up yourself before you make such judgements. I tried booking a week from now, and could get the low fares.
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Old August 21st, 2007, 09:15 AM   #35
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Where is this located in London?
15 minutes walk from Oxford Street.
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Old August 21st, 2007, 02:08 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ale26 View Post
Hello everyone!

I'm From Toronto, Canada and this march break(what we call it in Canada..where we get a week of in march) im going to London and Paris with my school! I CAN'T WAIT..I've always wanted to go to those two cities...I'm in grade 11..my third year of high school...and were going in a group of around thirty with 3 teachers...We're flying to Paris with Air Canada..staying 4 days in Paris then taking the Train to London(Chunnel I presume?) and staying 3 days there..We're then flying back to Toronto with British Airways...So this new high speed train will be in effect when I come right? I'm so excited about this trip especially because its with my friends! We're going to the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, all the Cathedrals, Versailles, Champs-elisais,arch de triomphe(w/e),and more..then in london..st.pauls cathedral, parliament buildings, stonehendge and plenty more i can't remember...cant wait! BYE.

AleE..
Yes, the new high speed link is beginning operation from November 18th this year if my memory serves me correctly...

Have a good time!

And by the way, stone henge is not in London.
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Old August 21st, 2007, 09:38 PM   #37
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Yes, the new high speed link is beginning operation from November 18th this year if my memory serves me correctly...

Have a good time!

And by the way, stone henge is not in London.
Yes I'm not stupid...It's outside of London..but we're taking a bus FROM London to Stone henge...I'm not some ignorant American!
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Old August 22nd, 2007, 01:18 AM   #38
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I wouldn't bother, it's just a bunch of rocks and there are bloody motorways either side of it...
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Old August 22nd, 2007, 01:36 AM   #39
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Yes I'm not stupid...It's outside of London..but we're taking a bus FROM London to Stone henge...I'm not some ignorant American!
Im American and knew that Stonehenge wasnt in London. Its quite obvious when its in a freaking huge ass open area.
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Old August 22nd, 2007, 04:00 AM   #40
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I wouldn't bother, it's just a bunch of rocks and there are bloody motorways either side of it...
Well it's too late now lol I cant not go it's in our iternary
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