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      March 2014 > All aboard, with Kylie Anderson

All aboard, with Kylie Anderson

More and more people seem to be asking about travelling to their holiday destination by rail. Here, one of our rail experts, Kylie Anderson, explores the advantages, highlights a few potential pitfalls and dispels a few myths about the joys of reading timetables.

“Don’t laugh,” says Kylie, “but there’s nothing I like more than delving into a rail timetable to try and find the most practical and economic route between A and B. I may be a little masochistic, but the more complicated the better and I get great satisfaction from being able to give advice on journeys that might otherwise seem impossible!

To the uninitiated, timetables might, at first glance, appear to be a nightmare particularly in this day and age. I know there are other websites you can use, but with myriad private and national companies competing across Europe and no integrated network, the information you get can be scant, to say the least. Unravelling the mysteries of each country’s timetable is like delving into the dark arts and solving a great puzzle – but once you get into them and begin to understand their individual nuances and idiosyncrasies, some exciting possibilities can emerge.

Our team is used to booking Eurostar from London to France and onward connections to Holland, Switzerland, Spain and even further afield, but what really excites us is when we get asked to link two seemingly disparate holiday destinations. It’s like throwing down the gauntlet – and there’s nothing we like more than a good challenge! Did you know for example that we can even arrange your rail journey to Mallorca or Morocco, with a little help from a ferry, of course?

Or take the couple who wished to combine our walking holidays in Austria’s Salzkammergut and Piedmont in Italy for a special wedding anniversary celebration. After a week in Austria, we booked them on the train from Salzburg over the scenic Arlberg Pass into Switzerland, a truly glorious journey through classic Alpine scenery. But the best was yet to come.

They then transferred to the Bernina Express (right) for the breathtaking journey through the mountains into northern Italy, passing waterfalls and glaciers en route. On their return they reported that the highlight was ‘the superb tailor-making of the whole holiday by Inntravel staff, bearing in mind it was a special occasion for us. The extra travel they organised at our request met all our expectations – the Bernina was superb and everything we’d hoped for.’”

“But there’s much more to it than that,” Kylie continues. “I also love advising on the little things that can make a real difference, like whether a particular train has a good buffet car or none at all, or the best place to eat while waiting for a connection – if you’ve never been to the Le Train Bleu at the heart of the Gard de Lyon in Paris you’re missing a treat (unfortunately it’s closed for renovations from 30 June to 15 September this summer). Making our customers happy and meeting their requirements is all in a day’s work, even more so when we get comments like this:

As for our most recent trips, the overall success owes a lot to Kylie’s friendly and efficient service in putting together an overall package that worked based on using the best trains available and securing good seats on them. We really appreciated the speed with which she put it all together – the planning of train travel was as usual faultless.”

I’m delighted when customers react in such a positive way – the team here works hard to make your journey as smooth and uncomplicated as possible. We are aware that it’s far easier to book your own flights but the whole process of getting to the airport, queuing, checking bags in and then the flight itself can be far from comfortable. With rail journeys it’s the opposite. It’s a more relaxing process, with smaller queues and no checking bags in. The journey itself is slower, admittedly, but this instantly instils a more relaxed state of mind as you enter a far more civilised atmosphere.

The down side is that cross-border rail travel can be a bit of a nightmare to book. How do you get the best fares? From what date can I pre-book each train? Do I need, or have, to book them in any particular order? It’s at this point that you should talk to us.

Our team will take the hassle out of it and use our knowledge to find the best routes and fares so all you have to do is enjoy the journey. We’re not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ booking engine. For us it’s about finding the right route for the individual: maybe you prefer scenic routes on slow daytime trains through the Swiss Alps, like the Bernina Express; or perhaps you want to travel from Andalucia to Barcelona as quickly as possible on a high-speed train in spacious first-class seating with a meal and a glass of wine served at your seat; or perhaps you enjoy the efficiency and value for money offered by sleeper trains?

Basically, virtually nothing is impossible! There, I’ve said it – so if you want to combine holidays or stop off en route to explore exciting cities like Turin, Bologna, Paris, Lyon, Nîmes, Munich, Madrid or Barcelona, give us a call. After all, summer or winter, travelling ought to be a fun part of the holiday too.”

Posted: 06/03/2014 16:55:35 by | with 0 comments
Filed under: rail, trains, travel

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