Travel Agent NewsEurope wants to keep travel on track for environmentally friendly journeys.

Travel agents, don’t miss the European train

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Along with its high-speed rail network, Europe also offers slow travel with options such as Swiss steam rail.
Along with its high-speed rail network, Europe also offers slow travel with options such as Swiss steam rail.

Europe’s move to let trains take the strain – replacing short-haul flights – is gathering pace.

France now bans air travel on routes where there’s a train or bus alternative of less than 2.5 hours, a move driven by environmental considerations.
And it’s not just leisure travellers who are rattling along the hi-speed rails in Europe rather than taking to the air.

Europe’s high-speed rail operators are targeting the business travel market after a ‘Green Speed’ merger between Eurostar and Franco-Belgian rival Thalys that increases their networks’ reach and non-stop convenience.

Meanwhile, French start-up Midnight Trains aims to reinvent overnight sleeper trains as a ‘luxury hotel on rails’ experience featuring private suites with their own bathrooms.

The network of luxe sleeper trains would radiate from Paris to more than 10 destinations, each between 800km and 1,500 km from the French capital.

Airlines have taken the hint and are linking up with rail companies to make it easier for travellers to book city-to-city rail along with their air ticket.

Air France and SNCF French Railways have expanded Train + Air, a service which combines train and air travel in the same reservation.

German rail company Deutsche Bahn is due to integrate its services with Spanish airline Vueling while Star Alliance member Swiss already has a ‘Swiss Air Rail’ partnership with SBB Swiss Federal Railways linking Zurich Airport with SBB stations at Basel, Lugano and Geneva.

Swiss will launch a new Swiss Air Rail route between Munich Hauptbahnhof and Zurich Airport in July this year.

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