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 Travelling by train to Bulgaria

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Thomas
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PostSubject: Travelling by train to Bulgaria   Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:22 am

I wrote this a while back so some of it may not be upto date but none the less I think you will find it interesting.

Travelling by train to Bulgaria

If you have the time to do so, do travel to Bulgaria by train. It is a by far the mode of kings (and queens). With the possible exception of private jet. Europe by train offers an insight into the different countries on your route that air travel cannot compete with and in this way it becomes part of your holiday experience. There are even relatively cheap ways that you can extend the validity of your ticket so that you can stop off at places along the way.

London – Paris – Munich – Vienna – Sofia

The fastest route to Bulgaria by train takes you from London – Paris – Munich – Vienna – Sofia. This journey takes two days. Take the Eurostar from London to Paris in the evening and then head to the Gare de L’est to get the overnight train to Munich. The next day take a train to Vienna and from then an overnight train to Sofia. This is just an example. There are many routes to choose from; I have travelled the London – Paris – Cologne route several times and I know there is an overnight train from Cologne to Vienna.

If you do plan to extend your journey and do a bit of sightseeing then pick a route that will suit you. There are many websites devoted to keeping up to date timetables of a variety of routes across Europe but it is certainly worth checking with train operators direct. There is usually a selection of trains of varying speeds departing from each leg of your trip so if money is less of an object to you than it is to most and you want to get to Bulgaria fast there are certainly quicker ways than those I have outlined above (private jet?)

Winging it

The easiest and most stress-free way of extending your journey time to enable you to visit places along the route to Bulgaria is by buying an Interrail pass or some other European rail pass (I write this because I am 95% sure that Interrail is the only provider for UK resident – if you are not a resident of Europe there are other providers so fear not!). This is a pass that lets you travel most routes without any additional fee. Be aware though that you may have to pay extra for booking some seats and surcharges may apply for faster trains, upper class, sleeper cars and any route that is not run by the national rail provider. In days gone by you had to be under 26 to qualify for a rail pass but this is no longer the case (although it is more expensive if you are older). There are different types of tickets for different zones in Europe and for the number of days you plan to travel within a certain period. You can even buy a pass for a single country if you are really only interested in exploring one.

Don’t forget that it is necessary to book seats for some trains, even if it means doing so just before you get on. It is always safer to check. Once I bought the correct ticket but forgot to get it clipped by a little machine before I got on the train (this was in the Netherlands) and were it not for my incredibly charming nature I would have incurred a hefty fine, so beware!

All aboard the night train

Travelling by train overnight doesn’t have to be expensive. You can usually choose your accommodation on a sleeper train. The cheapest is ‘cattle class’ which is just a regular reclining seat (although they don’t recline very far at all). I have slept in one of these and it was absolutely awful! I just couldn’t get comfortable; there was a man in front of me that was snoring very loudly – one of my bugbears, it just grates like fingers on a blackboard – so I basically spent six hours developing a super crick in my neck.

Some sleepers do not offer cattle class, so you have to get a ‘couchette’ (a pan-European phrase, worth remembering) which is a carriage with 4 to 6 beds in bunks so you share with anyone and everyone. The lap of luxury is the sleeper cabin which often has three beds or you could book your own private cabin. Plus you get a sink and there is usually a little wardrobe!! If you are a sociable animal go for the couchette as you will most certainly meet some interesting people.

A good tip is to keep all your valuables close to your person, preferably attached to you somehow, as pick pocketing at night is an occurrence within the realm of possibility unless you have a lock on your door. Certainly from my experience sleeper cabins have bolts and chains on the doors so you can lock it from the inside without it being pick-able from the outside.

You can book your tickets online for some of the route. As you near the end of central Europe you will need to do so by telephone, or just buy your tickets en route. You can buy combined tickets on the Eurostar website to cover your journey through France to whichever adjoining country you choose. It is a question of an online search to find the providers in specific countries (e.g. DeutscheBahn in Germany). There are also booking agents in the UK that will book the whole journey for you. And don’t forget to bring a guide book!
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PostSubject: Re: Travelling by train to Bulgaria   Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:05 pm

This is more general but for anyone wanting up-to-date info on rail travel in Europe, it is highly informative.
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PostSubject: Re: Travelling by train to Bulgaria   Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:21 am

I recently check trains to Bucharest and was really surprised. The car journey is 2.5hours from Silistra to Bucharest airport which is not at all bad, but I thought lets try the train. Silistra one change then Bucharest and it only takes a mere 14 hours La La La Yes might give that one a miss. g

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PostSubject: Re: Travelling by train to Bulgaria   Tue Mar 07, 2017 9:54 am

I have tried the trains but always find it quicker and more convenient by road than the trains.
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PostSubject: Re: Travelling by train to Bulgaria   Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:46 am

oddball wrote:
I recently check trains to Bucharest and was really surprised.  The car journey is 2.5hours from Silistra to Bucharest airport which is not at all bad, but I thought lets try the train.  Silistra one change then Bucharest and it only takes a mere 14 hours La La La   Yes might give that one a miss. g
Ha ha! The BDZ timetable also shows Ruse to Bucharest leaving at 16:10 and arriving at 18:58 - journey time 2h 48 m. I guess it's the Silistra to Ruse part that takes so long; maybe there's a minibus?
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PostSubject: Re: Travelling by train to Bulgaria   Wed Mar 08, 2017 1:28 pm

hoseman wrote:
oddball wrote:
I recently check trains to Bucharest and was really surprised.  The car journey is 2.5hours from Silistra to Bucharest airport which is not at all bad, but I thought lets try the train.  Silistra one change then Bucharest and it only takes a mere 14 hours La La La   Yes might give that one a miss. g
Ha ha! The BDZ timetable also shows Ruse to Bucharest leaving at 16:10 and arriving at 18:58 - journey time 2h 48 m. I guess it's the Silistra to Ruse part that takes so long; maybe there's a minibus?

By car it takes say 2 hours give or take 1/2 hour Silistra to Ruse so don't really know why it takes so long on the train. I thought trains were fast travel. Ah must be the old steam train hahah g

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PostSubject: Re: Travelling by train to Bulgaria   Wed Mar 08, 2017 3:42 pm

You should know by now Berni that everything in Bulgaria takes time, it called 'Bulgarian time' La
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PostSubject: subject   Wed Mar 08, 2017 5:00 pm

One of my favourite pastimes...travelling by train! I had my first experience 64 years ago (almost to the day) on the daily service to our capital city...10 wooden carriages drawn by 2 steam locomotives and 4 hours each way...what an adventure that was. Each car had its own conductor who checked you onto the train and served hot and cold food during the trip...used to be free in those days and I can still taste the hot beef pies he handed out!

Since then, I have used the train wherever possible...especially when going long distances. I have travelled from east to west (26 times) and north to south (6 times), plus numerous trips up and down the east coast of Australia...that's a heck of a lot of miles, many days and nights travelling and lots of railway food (which is always really good).

It always amazed me that the train could leave on time from Perth and arrive in Sydney, about 4,350kms away, 65 hours later and get there within a minute or two of the correct arrival time...tidy little sleeping cabin, 3 course, silver service meals, 3 times a day in a dedicated dining car, morning tea and toast, served in your cabin...fully airconditioned, ensuite shower and loo....what more could you ask for.

I've travelled 1st class on the Eurostar and it doesn't even come close! Have to admit that the Swiss have a pretty good rail system, but they charge like hell for food and drink.
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PostSubject: Re: Travelling by train to Bulgaria   Wed Mar 08, 2017 7:29 pm

Oh I am learning fast BGT

We had a fab train ride from Peterborough to Stansted last year it has been years and years since I went on a train apart from the undergroud a few years ago.

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PostSubject: subject   Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:28 pm

I told you that I liked trains...especially steam powered.

I've watched the Flying Scotsman getting along at a decent clip (very many others as well) and once seen, is never forgotten.

If you share my passion, play this clip...volume up full, sit back, close your eyes and dream.

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...or if you want to hear the train setting the speed record for a steam loco, maybe this one...

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PostSubject: Re: Travelling by train to Bulgaria   Sat Mar 11, 2017 10:07 am

In Peterborough [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] we have an old steam train and it runs daily. It also does theme days and Christmas time it does the santa run which is more expensive but it is was resionable a few years ago it was about £5 and adult and £14 a child so not too bad for treat  It is a great attraction in the Nene Park in the summer months too



Ah just found this on the google search
General Admission

2017 Fares

Adults £16.00                    
Senior £13.00 (over 60)
Children £8.00                  
Family £40.00                  

Individual prices apply for some special services such as:
Santa Specials
Thomas and the Travelling Post Office
Some Thomas Weekends
Thomas' Adventure
The Wizards Evening
The Jolly Fisherman
Gala Weekends

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PostSubject: subject   Sat Mar 11, 2017 10:53 am

Thanks Berni...been for a trip on that one and a few others around the country. Spent many hours up in York at the railway museum there as well.

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PostSubject: Re: Travelling by train to Bulgaria   Sat Mar 11, 2017 11:12 am

did the train to Willowsend place of abode when I was in Uk a couple of weeks ago...loved it
I really would like to do the Train from Bulgaria to london...not sure Id have the nerve on my own thou.....
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PostSubject: Re: Travelling by train to Bulgaria   Thu Mar 16, 2017 11:52 am

I have travelled buy train quite a bit and although it's not the same as travelling on trains in the uk I enjoy it, yes its slow but that for me is part of the enjoyment I get to see a lot more than if I were travelling at 100 mph.
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PostSubject: Re: Travelling by train to Bulgaria   Wed Jul 05, 2017 5:49 pm

Hear hear! On hols slow is good, or good-ish; you can still get across almost the whole country (W to E or vice-versa) in one day, and it's only if you want to go somewhere really out of the way, or stop at every station, that you are limited in what you can do in a day. Anyway, with hotels so cheap everywhere, we Brits don't have to worry too much about the cost, do we?
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