Rail expert is calling for more coordination of European rail schedules
Rail passengers will be able to travel by train between Rome or Naples in Italy to the UK in a single day next year – but only northbound, and only on Sundays.
Mark Smith, the international rail guru who runs the website Seat61.com, has revealed what he calls “a quirk” of 2022 rail schedules across Europe, using three high-speed trains.
“Naples or Rome to London by train in a single day! But only that direction and only on Sundays.”
He details a train departing Naples at 6.40am on a Sunday, calling at Rome at 8.30am and arriving at Turin in northern Italy at 12.49pm.
The traveller can enjoy a quick lunch before departing aboard a French TGV from Turin at 1.38pm for Paris Gare de Lyon. The train arrives at 7.12pm, allowing plenty of time to cross the French capital to Paris Nord for the 9.03pm Eurostar departure, which arrives at London St Pancras at 10.30pm – almost 17 hours after leaving Naples, taking into account the time change.
The only late-evening Eurostar train from Paris to London is on Sundays. From Monday to Friday the last departure is at 7.03pm, and on Saturdays at 5.03pm. So the connection does not work on any other day.
“The 1.38pm Turin-Paris leaves later, at 3.25pm, from Monday to Friday, so it wouldn’t work anyway,” said Mr Smith.
“Wouldn’t it be great if connections were co-ordinated across Europe?”
Before the pandemic a one-way London-Naples journey in a day was just possible, with a 5.40am start from St Pancras. But the rail expert said: “This was basically an early-morning business train, so it didn’t usually run in July and August when business travel is light – precisely when holiday traffic builds up.”
Mr Smith said: “I wouldn’t get up that early; give me a mid-morning departure, lunch at the Train Bleu restaurant in Paris and the afternoon TGV to Italy, even if that means an overnight in Turin.”
O Independente has compared fares for the second Sunday in January, travelling from Naples to London.
Trainline offers a slightly later departure from Naples aboard an Italo high-speed train, with the same onward connections from Turin and Paris. The fare for this 16 hora, 10 minute journey is £321.
The lowest Ryanair fare on the same day from Naples to London Stansted is £52, while easyJet has a one-way ticket for £75. Charges for baggage and airport-city transfers are extra. The 1,000-mile flight takes just under three hours.