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- BT Plus
- Tried & Tested
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- Tried & Tested
This service has been running for a couple of years, I’ve used it before. It’s a lot better than the normal Italian trains along the coast, which are dirty and decrepit. This one consists of old Trenitalia stock which has been renovated. There are two first class coaches and about 8 second class. There are various different fare levels, I paid €156 for two first class returns.
Some of the trains run between Marseilles to Milan, about two a day, and others only between Nice and Milan. We left Nice punctually at 0808 and should arrive in Milano Centrale at 1250. At the moment we are stopped in Ventimiglia where they have to change locomotives from a French one to an Italian one, a process which takes about 20 minutes. So much for ‘joined up’ Europe!
There’s a little buffet bar but no sit down meal service. On board staff seem helpful and pleasant, with announcements made in English, Italian and French. First class is busy, mostly shouting USAmericans which rather spoils what might otherwise have been a tranquil journey.
Arrived just a couple of minutes late at Milano Centrale. The shouty USAmericans, mercifully, got off at San Remo to go to the horrible touristy market there (there’s a really nice one at Bordighera, but sssshhhh, and it’s a far nicer village too, not full of tourists buying fake tat from illegal immigrants.) Milano Centrale is not a pleasant experience, really crowded and full of ‘immigrants’.
Worth mentioning that there is no wifi on the train and it’s in and out of tunnels a lot so a cellphone/dongle doesn’t really work well.
The next train we took out of Milano towards Cremona was a typical Italian one, filthy, late, overcrowded, and smelly. Although Italy has some superb long distance trains, the Frecciarossa in particular, the local ones are very cheap and very nasty.
More and more I look to the European rail network to travel across Europe. Everywhere, except the UK, it is becoming faster and competitive in terms of point to point travel times verses car and aeroplane alternatives…