The pre Euro Tunnel train to Paris...

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cirdan

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I think there are only two places in Europe to still be able to ride a train onto a ferry (Germany-Denmark stopped in 2019). Italy mainland to Sicily, and Germany to Sweden. I really want to do that before those last two disappear.
Are there any still active elsewhere in the world?
 

jiml

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Are there any still active elsewhere in the world?
There was one in Norway IIRC, however I think the Sicilian one is the last remaining. There are still several cases of ferries connected to rail on either end - the Hoek one being a prime example. Several YouTubers have covered their experience with them and I would definitely like to try a few out. I tried to build the one from Holyhead into my upcoming Ireland itinerary, but it is so much cheaper to fly to/from Ireland than the UK that it wasn't practical to go either way.
 

AmtrakMaineiac

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Took the Night Ferry back in 1977. As a penniless student freshly graduated from my masters degree at university, I could not avail myself of the Wagon Lits sleeper but rode standard class with what seemed like 500 French students returning home. The usual EMUs to Dover then around midnight we all traipsed onto the ferry for the ride to Dunquerque where I boarded a train that took us to Lille where the car I was in was detached and left in the station for a Brussels bound train that took me to Metz where I changed for a train to Kaiserslautern Germany my ultimate destination.
 

Willbridge

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I made a round-trip from Berlin on the Harwich<>Hoek route in 1970, overnight both ways for a rainy, cold week in London and Brighton. My Army partner and his wife had a different itinerary and they went west via Harwich and returned via the Night Ferry and Paris. And I think one reason for Dunquerque as the French port is that there was a Brussels sleeper. There are You Tube videos with the Golden Arrow/Flèche d'Or and Night Ferry well-filmed.

Here's a look at the Harwich service (sorry that I may be repeating some).

06.jpg
08 NL-DE 1970k.jpg

11.jpg

13.jpg

19 FR-DE-GB 1970k.jpg

14.jpg

15.jpg

The last photo is the Hoek section of the TEE Rheingold.
 

Willbridge

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Are there any still active elsewhere in the world?
Some routes have been superseded by faster all-rail routes. I'm afraid that with very few exceptions all we'll have are fading 1970 timetable pages.

1970 Schlaf und Liegewagen 003.jpg
Trains 315 and 316 carried a tri-weekly Moscow<>Copenhagen sleeper in addition to the daily Berlin<>Copenhagen Mitropa sleeper and reserved seat coaches.

1970 Schlaf und Liegewagen 004.jpg
Trains 51 and 52 carried a Malmö<>Berlin coach on selected trips (tours?). The overnight ferry run on Trains 127 and 128 carried a post car Trelleborg<>Berlin, a Malmö<>München 2nd class coach, a weekly Stockholm<>Moscow sleeper complemented on other nights by a Stockholm<>Berlin sleeper, and on a peak days a Malmö<>Berlin sleeper.

1970 Schlaf und Liegewagen 002.jpg
 

cirdan

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I made a round-trip from Berlin on the Harwich<>Hoek route in 1970, overnight both ways for a rainy, cold week in London and Brighton. My Army partner and his wife had a different itinerary and they went west via Harwich and returned via the Night Ferry and Paris. And I think one reason for Dunquerque as the French port is that there was a Brussels sleeper. There are You Tube videos with the Golden Arrow/Flèche d'Or and Night Ferry well-filmed.

Here's a look at the Harwich service (sorry that I may be repeating some).

View attachment 25604
View attachment 25605

View attachment 25606

View attachment 25607

View attachment 25610

View attachment 25608

View attachment 25609

The last photo is the Hoek section of the TEE Rheingold.
beautiful photos

i remember one trip in the 1980s with my parents when we caught the overnight ferry to hook and then the Lorelei express to Basel . It was quite an impressive journey which would no longer be possible today without multiple changes of train . On the Dutch leg the train was pulled by an 1100 series alsthom electric which even back then was quite a vintage machine . On the German leg we got a 110 I think .
 

cirdan

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I think the reason for the train ferry going to Dunkirk was that that was the only French channel port that could handle train ferries . The ferry link predated the passenger Night Ferry by many years , being designed for freight . There were no real passenger facilities on the ferry which was why passengers were not allowed to leave the train . I don’t know how the bathroom situation was handled .

The only other port that was served by train ferries going to Britain was Zeebruge in Belgium . There was a freight only train ferry from there to harwich which continued well into the 1990s and was finally discontinued because the ferry used had reached the lens of its lifespan and there were no funds to replace it .
 

NS VIA Fan

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There were a few Sleepers on Ferries in North America:

Detroit-Windsor-Toronto-Montreal: Passengers would board Sleepers, Parlor Cars and Coaches in Grand Trunk Western's Brush St. Station on the Detroit waterfront and be ferried across the river to Windsor where the cars were attached to CN trains to/from Toronto and Montreal. This lasted until 1955 when a bus started making a loop through downtown Detroit from Windsor and continued right up till Amtrak day 1971. (This would be the easiest solution today......just a connecting bus from VIA Windsor to Amtrak Detroit!)

Charlottetown-Montreal: A through CN Sleeper that lasted until 1959 was ferried across the 9 miles between Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick then attached to the Ocean Limited at Moncton. Also through coaches between Moncton and Charlottetown lasted until 1968. A bridge replaced the CN Ferry in 1997 and right up to Covid....there was a bus that connected with VIA's Ocean in Moncton to/from Charlottetown.

Halifax-Sydney: Complete CN trains including Sleepers, Parlor Cars, Diners and Coaches were ferried across the 1 1/2 mile wide Strait between mainland Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island. In 1955 the Canso Causeway open with road and rail and the trains now took this route.

The only other locations where sleepers might have been carried on ferries that I can think of are across Chesapeake Bay to/from the Delmarva Peninsula and the Straits of Mackinac to Michigan's UP.
 
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MARC Rider

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The only other locations where sleepers might have been carried on ferries that I can think of are across Chesapeake Bay to/from the Delmarva Peninsula and the Straits of Mackinac to Michigan's UP.
What about the Lake Michigan ferries? Did they carry passenger trains or sleepers?
 

jis

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The only other locations where sleepers might have been carried on ferries that I can think of are across Chesapeake Bay to/from the Delmarva Peninsula and the Straits of Mackinac to Michigan's UP.
Here is a page that I stumbled onto recently...


I have the impression that it was a passenger ferry connecting with trains, but not one that transported passenger cars. It did carry freight cars, but attempt to restart it did not work out apparently.
 

JontyMort

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I think the reason for the train ferry going to Dunkirk was that that was the only French channel port that could handle train ferries . The ferry link predated the passenger Night Ferry by many years , being designed for freight.
That is correct. Only Dunkerque and - as you observe - Zeebrugge in Belgium had linkspans for rail traffic. Dover originally had a separate area of the harbour - with lock access - so that the level was more or less constant. Later this was replaced with a linkspan that could cope with the full tidal range.
 

JontyMort

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I made a round-trip from Berlin on the Harwich<>Hoek route in 1970, overnight both ways for a rainy, cold week in London and Brighton. My Army partner and his wife had a different itinerary and they went west via Harwich and returned via the Night Ferry and Paris. And I think one reason for Dunquerque as the French port is that there was a Brussels sleeper.
There was a Brussels sleeper and - for a couple of winters in the late 1960s - a Basel sleeper for ski traffic.

Nice pictures. Note that the BR double-arrow logo on your fourth picture was used on the ferries in this era - but used in reverse format for the maritime “port to port” rule of the road. I had forgotten this.
 

mcropod

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I happened upon a BBC series of the Chunnel's train operations on youtube last week and I've been running through the eps a bit since. I'd recommended it unreservedly. This is a link to ep 1:

 

Burns651

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What about the Lake Michigan ferries? Did they carry passenger trains or sleepers?
Strictly freight cars. There were nice passenger accommodations and staterooms on most of them, though.

I don't know if the ferries of the Mackinac Transportation Co. ever carried sleeping cars. They didn't in the 1910 and 1945 Official Guides I checked. Sleeping cars directly connected with the ferry, though. They definitely carried coaches. The last ones were ferried across on 8/1/55.
 
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cirdan

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That is correct. Only Dunkerque and - as you observe - Zeebrugge in Belgium had linkspans for rail traffic. Dover originally had a separate area of the harbour - with lock access - so that the level was more or less constant. Later this was replaced with a linkspan that could cope with the full tidal range.
I understand the train ferry was first introduced during WW1 to support the war effort and simplify movements for the army. The ferries and facilities were taken over by the railroads at a discount price after the war had ended, but had never been designed with civilian use in mind.
 

cirdan

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There was a Brussels sleeper and - for a couple of winters in the late 1960s - a Basel sleeper for ski traffic.

Nice pictures. Note that the BR double-arrow logo on your fourth picture was used on the ferries in this era - but used in reverse format for the maritime “port to port” rule of the road. I had forgotten this.
I think the Brussels sleeper was somewhat intermittent, being introduced much later than the Paris portion of the train and also discontinued earlier.
 

JontyMort

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I understand the train ferry was first introduced during WW1 to support the war effort and simplify movements for the army. The ferries and facilities were taken over by the railroads at a discount price after the war had ended, but had never been designed with civilian use in mind.
Yes, that’s right. Searching for Port of Richborough brings up a lot of detail. They would have chosen a green field site because Dover was already full up.
Those ferries didn’t have too much freeboard, and the bow and stern doors were rudimentary by modern ro-ro standards :eek:.
 

JontyMort

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I happened upon a BBC series of the Chunnel's train operations on youtube last week and I've been running through the eps a bit since. I'd recommended it unreservedly. This is a link to ep 1:

Thanks for posting. The newsreel extract at the beginning is a classic period piece. There was a particular patronising style of voiceover that - by then - was reserved for exactly this sort of piece.
 

Willbridge

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beautiful photos

i remember one trip in the 1980s with my parents when we caught the overnight ferry to hook and then the Lorelei express to Basel . It was quite an impressive journey which would no longer be possible today without multiple changes of train . On the Dutch leg the train was pulled by an 1100 series alsthom electric which even back then was quite a vintage machine . On the German leg we got a 110 I think .
Even in 1970 the Netherlands railway was focusing on emu trains and so I would guess that their electric locomotives were under-utilized in terms of annual mileage.

It was interesting to me when I found out how popular the Hoek/Rhine routing to Switzerland was. Of course, it was very scenic but it also was convenient versus the change of stations in Paris on the shortest route.
 

JontyMort

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Even in 1970 the Netherlands railway was focusing on emu trains and so I would guess that their electric locomotives were under-utilized in terms of annual mileage.

It was interesting to me when I found out how popular the Hoek/Rhine routing to Switzerland was. Of course, it was very scenic but it also was convenient versus the change of stations in Paris on the shortest route.
I’m not sure via Paris is actually the shortest route. Broadly following the Rhine looks to be the logical way to go (also involving only two nations, apart from the last lap into Basel SBB, where DB would in any case have run through).
 

cirdan

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I’m not sure via Paris is actually the shortest route. Broadly following the Rhine looks to be the logical way to go (also involving only two nations, apart from the last lap into Basel SBB, where DB would in any case have run through).
True , and furthermore having to change stations in Paris is always a minor hassle .

these days with Eurostar the connection via Brussels is often faster than via Paris .
 

JontyMort

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True , and furthermore having to change stations in Paris is always a minor hassle .

these days with Eurostar the connection via Brussels is often faster than via Paris .
The other point re Paris is that most (all?) of the TGV service to Basel now runs from Gare de Lyon, via the LGV sud-est, Dijon, the LGV Rhône-Rhin, and Mulhouse. So the change in Paris is not as easy as Gare du Nord to Gare de l’Est.

Some of the TGVs from Paris run through to Zürich. But the cross-platform connexions at Basel are very good anyway.

A relic of the Franco-Prussian War is right-hand running on the last bit from Mulhouse into Basel.
 

cirdan

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Some routes have been superseded by faster all-rail routes. I'm afraid that with very few exceptions all we'll have are fading 1970 timetable pages.

View attachment 25611
Trains 315 and 316 carried a tri-weekly Moscow<>Copenhagen sleeper in addition to the daily Berlin<>Copenhagen Mitropa sleeper and reserved seat coaches.

View attachment 25612
Trains 51 and 52 carried a Malmö<>Berlin coach on selected trips (tours?). The overnight ferry run on Trains 127 and 128 carried a post car Trelleborg<>Berlin, a Malmö<>München 2nd class coach, a weekly Stockholm<>Moscow sleeper complemented on other nights by a Stockholm<>Berlin sleeper, and on a peak days a Malmö<>Berlin sleeper.

View attachment 25613
It's amazing to see how the iron curtain was virtually non existent from the point of view of train schedules.
 

Willbridge

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It's amazing to see how the iron curtain was virtually non existent from the point of view of train schedules.
It mainly affected Germany due to the peculiar situation of Berlin. It also affected the volume of traffic across borders and kicked back into impacts on the respective DB and DR portions of the former German system.

I interviewed a man who knew a lot about that:

A Letter From Dr. Bauer – Berlin 1969

My favorite symbolism in the railway world was the Deutsche Bundesbahn map of European railways that showed no borders, thereby cleverly avoiding numerous disputes of that era. It did show ferry lines, including non-rail owned routes, lots of them.
 
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What route/ferry would my family likely have taken from London to either Paris or Brussels (I can't remember which we went to first) in late '76? I remember either waking up or my father waking me up when we were on the ferry in our sleeper.
 
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