EUROSTAR SKI TRAIN DISRUPTED BY STRIKES
20th December 2019 | Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Skiers booked on this winter’s first Eurostar train service direct to the French Alps will miss a day on the slopes after timetable changes.
The French strikes have already led to the cancellation of more than a hundred Eurostar services.
Now the first ski train of the season, direct to the the French Alps, has become a casualty of the ongoing industrial action.
The overnight train this Friday has been delayed until Saturday morning, affecting travellers heading to the mountains for Christmas.
One of the big advantages of taking the overnight train is that you arrive in Moutiers or Bourg St Maurice early on Saturday morning in plenty of time to get up the mountain to ski the whole day on Saturday.
The route is convenient for the resorts of Les3Vallees, such as Courchevel, Meribel & Val Thorens, for Les Arcs as well as Tignes and Val d’Isere.
If you make the return trip on Saturday evening the following week, you can fit eight days’ skiing into a week’s holiday.
The mass French transport strikes, which began on 5th December, have now put paid to that for the busy Christmas week.
Skiers and snowboarders due to travel out on the first Eurostar direct service of the winter on the evening of Friday 20th December will not leave London until Saturday morning.
Eurostar has been forced to delay the departure of the overnight night ski train as a result of line closures put in place by the French rail company SNCF.
The company says the return trains a week later are ‘currently planned to run as normal’.
Any changes to the services will be posted on the Travel News page of the Eurostar website.
“Due to ongoing national strike action in France closing some railway lines in the Alps region we have had no option but to change the departure times of the direct night Ski train on Friday 20th December and the direct day Ski train on 21st December,” Eurostar says.
“These unavoidable changes ensure that both trains can still run by avoiding the line closures put in place by SNCF.”
It means the scheduled 1945hrs departure from London St Pancras (2028hrs from Ashford International) on Friday 20th December will leave at 0719hrs on Saturday 21st (0747hrs from Ashford).
The train will get to Moutiers at 1544hrs and Bourg St Maurice at 1629hrs.
The Saturday daytime train on 21st December has also had to be rescheduled.
It will now leave London almost an hour and a half earlier than planned at 0822hrs (0852 departure from Ashford).
It will arrive in Moutiers and Bourg St Maurice shortly after the rescheduled Friday night service.
It will mean a very early start as travellers are being to told to arrive a full two hours before the train is due to leave.
Eurostar says passengers can exchange their tickets for an alternative date or ask for a refund if the new times aren’t suitable.
“We are sorry for the impact this will have on your plans,” the company says.
That’s not much use for those who have already booked their Christmas ski holiday in the Alps.
We wonder whether skiers who’ve pre-booked lift passes for the extra day’s skiing that they won’t now get will be compensated and, if so, by whom?
Will their travel insurance cover it?
Let us know if you’re one of those affected.
THE NEW TIMETABLE IN DETAIL
Friday 20th December 2019 (Train 9096 (19.45) – London St Pancras/Ashford to Moutiers and Bourg St Maurice)
Original departure time: Friday 20th December 9096 (19.45 London St Pancras/20.28 Ashford International)
New Departure time: Saturday 21st December 9096 (07.19 London St Pancras/07.47 Ashford International)
New arrival time of 15.44 Moutiers and 16.29 Bourg St Maurice on 21st December
Saturday 21st December 2019 (Train 9092 (09.45) – London St Pancras/Ashford/Ebbsfleet to Moutiers and Bourg St Maurice)
Original departure time: Saturday 21st December 9092 (09.45 London St Pancras/ 10.28 Ashford International)
New Departure time: Saturday 21st December 9092 (08.22 London St Pancras/08.52 Ashford International)
New arrival time of 16.30 Moutiers and 17.08 Bourg St Maurice on 21st December.