Route

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The easiest way to describe our route is with the T-Shirt design. If you want the fine detail, including the train codes and mileage etc, it’s all below. The features are just loose ideas, and, of course, the train times are all subject to change, some of them have done several times already during the planning phase.   (and yeah, if you know what you are talking about, we know that’s a dumbass engine to choose, we’ll get a more appropriate one before printing). For a more descriptive analysis of the route, see the posts inserted to the list of place on the places page.

**STOP PRESS**

The Zurich-Barcelona Elipsos sleeper is no more.  We are therefore going to go via the Oberalp after St Moritz and the Arbula, and end up in Geneva for 1am where we will sleep (hopefully at the nice cheap City Hostel). We then get to go picnic shopping in Lyon before making our way to Limoges via Vierzon for the Paris-Barca sleeper.

Earlier: Istanbul is cancelled on account of the train not running there, we get Skopje and Sarajevo and some groovy train tracks as a replacement.

And here’s an attempt I made using the InteRail map I ripped off but had to glue together, I guess it’s really the Great Tripodular European Railway Challenge

Day 1 – Saturday July 6th 2013

Train 1 –  EST 9216 – 373 km – duration 2:36
08:57 London St. Pancras International
12:08 Bruxelles midi Eurostar

12:25 Bruxelles Midi
12:38 Brussell Centraal

walk past,. and though, the chocolatiers, then through GP and on to A La Bécasse for about 13:15. 1 hour in there, and then shop at the 3 shops. bakery, fromargerie, charcuterie and offie.
tram 3 or 4 back to Midi from Bourse, every 5 mins, takes 5.  Leave GP area at 15:00.
tram cost 1.80 € if bought in advance, 2.50 if bought on the tram. the midi-centraal train will be free.

Train 2 – THA9339 – 212 km – duration 1:54
15:52 Bruxelles Midi
18:16 Amsterdam Centraal

Feature: Just over an hour to get the Dutch Gin, then back on the train. (Bella Bella, Prins Hendrikkade 100A, 250m from the station entrance, turn left and walk along the “promenade”)

Train 3 CNL40447 – The Borealis1333 km – duration 15:01
19:01 Amsterdam Centraal
Day 2, Sunday, July 7th
10:07 Koebenhavn H

Feature: It will be wonderful, but brief. You should be able to do at least some sight seeing in 3 hours though. We’ll be getting the harbour boat bus we hope, and visiting Meyers deli in Magasin du Nord for the picnic supplies.

Train 5 –   R1056  -353 km – duration 3:45
13:32 Koebenhavn H
17:17 Göteborg Central

Train 6 – R 398 – 350 km – duration 4:03
17:47 Göteborg Central
21:45 Olso S

Feature: Not much.

Train 7- NZ405 – 553 km – duration 7:55
23:05 Oslo
Day 3 – Monday,  July 8th
07:00 Trondheim

Train 8 – D471 – 674km – duration 9:50
07:38 Trondheim
16:37 Fauske

Bus
16:50 Fauske
21:29 Narvik

Feature: Summer Solstice (nearly), watch the midnight sun, all night, 140 miles inside the Arctic Circle

Day 4 – Tuesday July 9th

Train 9 – IC 95 – 437 km – duration 7:11
10:15 Narvik
17:14 Boden Centralstation

Train 10 – NZ91 – 688km – duration 11:23
17:29 Boden
Day 5 – Wednesday July 10th
06:30 Stockholm Central

Feature: Breakfast in Stockholm.

Train 11 X2 525
dep Stockholm 08.21
arr Copenhagen 13.23

Train 12 EC 234
dep Copenhangen 13.44
arr Hamburg hbf 18.16.

Train 13 ICE 893
dep Hamburg 19:07
arr Berlin at 20.48.

Day 6 – Thursday July 11th

Feature: Berlin Night-Life

Train 15 – EC177  Jan Jesenius – 192 km – duration 4:41
12:46 Berlin Hbf (12:53 Südkreuz)
17:26 Praha hl.n.

Feature : Velkopopovicky at the Black Ox, groovy clocks, more beer, etc.

Day 7 – Friday July 12th

Train 16 – EN477 Mertopol – 370 km – duration 6:25
00:01 Praha hl.n.
06:32 Wien Westbahnhof (Meidling at 06:07)

Feature: 1 1/2 hours to get across to Südbahnhof via Stephen’s place.

Train 17 -REX 2510 –  aprox 74 km – duration 1:06
08:21 Wien Südbahnhof (or Simmering at 08:25)
09:27 Bratislava-hl.st

Feature: 20 mins on the platform

Train 18 – EC 273 Avala – 214 km – duration 2:45
09:50 Bratislava hl.st
12:35 Budapest-Keleti pu

Feature: Siklo, Cog and Children’s Railways, trains 22, 23 and 24, or may be we’ll just do the castle and then spend the rest of the time at the food market.

Train 19 – EN 473 – Ister Express – 857 km – duration 15:50
19:10 Budapest-Keleti pu
Day 8 – Saturday July 13th
12:10 Brasov

Train 19a -
16:00 Brasov
18:30 Bucuresti Nord Gara A
Day 9 – Sunday July 14th
09:10 Sofia

Train 20 – 451 – 537km – duration 9:25
23:30 Bucuresti Nord Gara A
Day 9 – Sunday July 14th
09:10 Sofia

Bus 2, Sofia  to Skopje

Feature: 4 hours in Skopje.

Train 23 – #334 – 491 km – duration 6:03
Skopje 20:10
Day 10 – Monday July 15th
Belgrade 05:43
Feature: Burek and Yogurt for breakfast.

Train 24 (no 31) – 431 – Belgrade – Podgorica
Belgrade 09:10
Uzice 12:52

bus to Sargan Vitasi

Train 24a – Sargan 8
Sargan Vitasi 14:22
Mokra Gora 15:48

bus to Sarajevo

night in Sarajevo
Day 11 – Tuesday July 16th
Train 25 –  391 – 193 km – duration 3:47
Sarajevo 07:05
Ploce 10:52

bus 2, Ploce to Split (~ 2½ hours)
Feature: hang out on the Adriatic
Train 26 – D 824 – 423 km – duration 9:08
Split 21:18
Day 12 – Wednesday July 17th
Zagreb 06:26

Train 27 – EC 158
Zagreb 07:25
Sevnice 08:38

Train 27a – R2258
Sevnice 10:35
Ljubljana 11:57

Train 28 – R2404 – 64 km – duration 1:15
Ljubljana 12:50
Jesenice 14:05

Train 29 – R4213 – 89 km – duration 2:10
Jesenice 14:35
Nova Gorica 16:45

Train 30 – R 2468 – 152 km – duration 2:16
Gorizia Centrale 17:40
Venice 19:56
Feature: Sun set is at 9pm, sunrise 5:30 am. We are in the original tourist attraction

Day 13 – Thursday July 18th
Train 31 – ES 9421 – 523 km – duration 3:43
13:57 Venezia Santa Lucia
17:40 Roma Termini

Feature: 5 hours in the eternal city.

Train 32  – ICN 1910 –  855 km – duration 7:51
23:04 Roma Termini
Day 14 – Friday July 19th
06:55 Milano Centrale

Train 33 – R2554 – 156 km – duration 2:30
08:20 Milano Centrale
10:50 Tirano

Feature: The Bernina Express is one of the worlds great train journeys. Actually most of Switzerland’s narrow gauge falls into that category, but the Graubünden stuff is done without a rack, and is all the more crazy for it. The picture I’ve ripped off for the banner above is on the way up out of Italy at Brusio. The whole ride is gob smacking. We will be getting a super picnic supplied by Peck in Milan for the job.

Train 34 – R1648 – 61 km – duration 2:41
11:27 Tirano
14:08 St Moritz

Feature: St Moritz!

Train 35 – RE 1152 – 104 km – duration 1:59
15:02 St Moritz
16:52 Reichenau-Tamins

Train 36 – 70 km – RE 1248

17:05 Reichenau-Tamins
18:11 Disentis/Muster

Train 37 – 55 km – R 859
18:14 Disentis/Muster
19:22 Andermatt

Train 38 – 20 km – R 664
19:48 Andermatt
20:03 Göschenen

Train 39 – 116 km –  IR 2294
20:08 Göschenen
21:51 Zürich HB

Night Zurich
Day 15 – Saturday July 20th

Train 40 – 332 km – IC 712
08:32 Zürich HB
11:15 Geneve

Train 41 – 168 km – RE 96562
11:29 Geneva
13:22 Lyon Part Dieu

Train 42 – 550 km –  TGV 6626
17:04 Lyon Part Dieu
19:02 Paris Gare de Lyon

Train 43 – EN 477

22:08 Paris Austerlitz

Day 16 – Sunday July 21st
09:43 Barcelona Estacion de Franca
Feature: Even if you’ve been to Barcelona half a dozen times, I’m sure there’s something you can do in 5 hours that you haven’t done yet.

Train 44 – AVE 3150 – 621 km – duration 2:30
15:25 Barcelona Sants
17:55 Madrid-Puerta de Atocha

Feature: The locals will only just be getting out of bed by the time we have to leave, but that means you get a peaceful evening to enjoy, It’s high summer, the capital should be awesome.

Train 45 – HOT 332 – Lucitania – 630 km – duration 9:16
22:25 Madrid-Chamartin
Day 17 – Monday July 22nd
07:41 Lisboa Santa Apolonia

Feature: Tram 28 one way, then  Bica and Gloria funicular trams, and then a tour on tram 28 on the way back.

Feature: We’ll have a mote detailed plan for Lisbon in a bit

Train 46 – HOT 310 – 940 km – duration 14:40
21:18 Lisboa Santa Apolonia
Day 18 – Tuesday July 233d
11:28 Hendaye

Train 47 – TGV 8534 – 805 km – duration 4:01
12:36 Hendaye
18:37 Paris Montparnasse
Metro 2 – Montparnasse to Gare du Nord

Feature: Eiffel Tower

Train 48 – EST 9059 – Eurostar- 492 km – duration 2:16
20:13 Paris Nord Eurostar
21:29 London St. Pancras International

Total Distance = well over 18,000 km,  50 % more than GCIRC. Total trains 47, 3 times more than GCIRC. It will cost about 5 times as much though

23 Responses to Route

  1. Ed says:

    Bravo. I have but two quibbles

    1. why repeat the chunnel? Why not instead start with rail&sail from London to Holland? Best part about that is the full circle wouldn’t be completed until arriving back at Liverpool Street – ie via Circle line from Kings Cross/St. Pancras ideally in full morning rush hour.

    2. Why so little Germany? Dortmund? That place is dead. Where’s Berlin? Munich? Dresden?

    • Lester says:

      Speed is of the essence dear boy. There used to be a hydrofoil from Rotterdam but I think all that’s gone now. I’ll go check.
      I did have Berlin in at one stage, the only reason we went to Dortmund, which is in the wrong direction obviously, was cos there was an appropriate night train, but I’ll have another look. There’s no Austria at all, not even in transit, but Berlin deserves at least a brief stop, it’s open 24×7. I was amazed we could get right round in 15 days. We’ll get more takers if we can limit it to that. We’re probably only going to have enough time for a very quick beer in Germany though.
      On the subject of “refreshments”, we should get the relevant hooch defined for each stop, everyone should bring their own shot glass and a purveyor of said tipple be identified.

      • Lester says:

        OK, there is a Berlin option, but it’s had core. Get in at 23:11, then leave from Ostbahnhof at 3 minutes to bloody 5!.
        There are cheapy student type options of course in the capital, I stayed in one at the start of my Swiss odyssey, so it wont work out any more expensive than getting a sleeper for the night, though you’d only get 4 hours kip at best, So we can give the option of going out clubbing in Berlin, with a crash pad for anyone who is flagging already, . You also get 11 minutes in Dresden at 7 in the morning for your trouble. I dont suppose we can get Indian style platform service with a German angle, beer and sausages for breakfast ??.
        I’ll add it in to the sched as a clubbers diversion.

    • Lester says:

      Would you be appeased with 7 hours in Cologne. I’ve never been there and all of humanity have been to Amsterdam. The Thalys train costs a whopping 35 englaisi to Amsterdam, and while it’s a scorching sexy red, if we leave Paris at noon we can be in Cologne for a quarter past 3 and get the same train to Kobenhavn.
      That’s as good a stop as we get anywhere other than Narvik and Istanbul.

  2. Ed says:

    genius. I once had a crazy layover in Cologne. The serve all the beer there in small cups, probably 1/3 of a pint. The idea is that it needs to be drunk cold. The guy just comes continually until you tell him to stop. The problem is you have no idea how much you’re drinking, since you’re not used to the volume. Anyway, I just sat there watching the game. All was fine until I stood up and realized I have had way too much. Barely made my train.

    Book it!

  3. Re day One. The Betjeman Arms at St Pancras opens at 09.00. Might make a good RV.

  4. Every now and then BBC4 shows a programme in which Betjeman dawdles through Norfolk by train, examining the architecture of wayside stations. Not just for train nuts.

    In Brussels I have previously found the King of Spain in the Grand Place to be very good.
    Not, apparently, named for Ashley Giles but somebody else altogether

  5. Kri.st says:

    A few tips:
    – Sezana – Trieste: Don’t take Taxis all the way. Take on down to Villa Opicina and take the tram from there. The Tram in Trieste is quite special.
    – Chur – Geneva: You can be in Geneva 20 minutes earlier if you travel via Bern. More time for you photo shoot there.
    – Don’t assume you’ll arrive on time in Siracusa. It is quite common for trains to/from Sicily to loose an hour on the ferry, and even more in Sicily itself.

    Interesting idea though. I’m tempted to come along…

    • Lester says:

      many thanks Krist.
      it’s mates only, plus people who can actually provide technical help, i.e arent going to be a burden. but that initial contribution already just about qualifies you in the second category.
      re trieste, just looked them up, WOW!, we’d have been really pissed off to have missed that. We’re in a hurry though, although we could get the painfully early 05:55 out of Ljubljana. Do you have a timetable for the tram ?, I guess any one not up to it could get the later train and the cab.
      Chur->Geneva, we ae already via bern, what trains are you looking at ?
      Syracuse: I will be satisfied to get there n one piece, I can live without Pozzallo so I’ll actually be relieved if we miss the train. It’s super tight so by the sounds of it it’s not going to happen.
      I’ve made a VT thread here

      http://forum.virtualtourist.com/discussion-582366-1-1-Travel-0-0-Europe-discussion.html?s=1

      please everyone use that for general stuff.

      • Kri.st says:

        I’m looking at Zürich 20:02 – Geneva 23:04 with a change in Bern. Perfectly doable, and gives you more time in Geneva.
        Trieste Tram timetable:

        http://triestetrasporti.it/index.php?linea-2

        It runs every 20 minutes, and takes about 20 minutes too. I missed it too the last time I was there. Then the Slovenian Railways were still allowed to run to Villa Opicina by the Italians, and we took a taxi straight down to the main station, not knowing about this gem of a tram.

      • Lester says:

        Thanks Krist
        VT seem to think I’m a tour operator and that they dont like the idea of a project specific thread. I can see their point, it’s all about “if we let you”. Anyway, eurotrip are fine about it.

        http://www.eurotrip.com/content/great-circular-european-railway-challenge

        the thing is, wordpress sucks for a discussion.

        I’m in the middle of overseeing some kitchen mods, I’ll be back in a bit but thanks again.

      • Lester says:

        Krist, do you know what time does the supermarket close in Geneva station. I bought some fantastic chocolates there once, but we need more than just choccies.
        We’ll definitely need to stock up on essentials in tirano, but would be good to have stuff for the night train, we’ll all want to party after doing Switzerland’s precision railways :).

  6. Kri.st says:

    There’s an “aperto” that’s open till midnight. However as the station is currently undergoing remodeling (projected to be finished fall 2013) everything can change.

    • Lester says:

      thanks.
      We might, after much soul searching, have to finally ditch Sicily and turn back at Rome.
      Ljubljana 08:12
      Sezana 10:01

      Villa Opicina 11:20 (might make an earlier one but to be on the safe side, we still need to cab it , I canna see a bus)
      Pizza Oberdan 11:40
      if we did get the 11:00 tram we can have an extra hour in Venice,

      Trieste 12:44
      Venice 14:49

      Venice 17:27
      Rome 21:14

      Rome 23.04
      Milan 06.55

      Milan 08:20
      Tirano 10:50

      bugger, there’s a 10:50 out of Tirano that goes to St Moritz, we could have had an hour there. It doesnt matter what you get along that line, in fact as I think I’ve said, you DO NOT want those silly observation cars, they are crap. you want the old carriages with the pull down windows.

      Tirano 12:50
      Chur 17:03

      Chur 17:09 (only in switzerland)
      Geneva 21:15

      It’s bit of a bummer to finally loose sicily, but we’re getting a world class tram in Trieste, plenty of time to do the canal and back in Venice, and enough time to reasonably do Rome without losing someone. AND we get the day back, AND we are certain to make the Bernina (route), and get to sing the champions theme (english 70s TV action drama) while being videoed in front of that fountain.
      do do, di diddly do do, dr didlly do do, der diddly do

      versus a boat train. looks like a no contest

  7. Kri.st says:

    There’s also a train ex Tirano at 11:27 in summer. This train has the added bonus that it carries open observation cars (wheater permitting). You would arrive in st. Moritz at 14:08, and then leave again at 15:02 for a 17:03 arrival in Chur.

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