Off to the slopes - but no alcohol on the way (photo © Tomasz Kobiela).
It was bound to happen sooner or later. Badly behaved Brits on the winter-season direct overnight ski trains between London and the French Alps have prompted Eurostar to rethink its policy on the consumption of alcohol. The clampdown applies only to the overnight trains on the route from London to the Tarentaise Valley (and return). It comes into effect on 1 January 2016.
Bookings for Eurostar’s direct trains between London and the French Alps are now open. The first train of this coming winter season leaves London St Pancras on 19 December. The final departures from the Alps are on 9 April 2016.
For many travellers, a long train journey with friends is a chance to relax over a glass of wine. But the last year or two have seen rowdy scenes on Friday evenings at London St Pancras as many travellers, heading off for a week on the slopes, are already the worse for wear even before boarding the train — which leaves at 19.45. The journey to the train’s final destination at Bourg-Saint-Maurice takes 9 hrs 31 mins.
The new alcohol ban evidently means that no alcohol of any kind may be carried on board the Friday night train from London to the Tarentaise Valley resorts. The same restriction applies to the Saturday night train from Bourg-Saint-Maurice back to London.
Daytime Eurostar services between London and the French Alps have much less stringent rules.
Eurostar comment that the clampdown on taking alcohol on board the overnight services will ensure “that everyone can enjoy a relaxed ambience on board and that we all arrive bright-eyed, fresh-faced and set for the slopes.”
This is not a case of Eurostar wanting to protect revenue from its own on-board sales. The bar-bistro will simply not sell any alcohol on its overnight trains to and from the French Alps. Our guess is that passengers in Eurostar’s more expensive Standard Premier class might still be offered a complimentary glass of wine with dinner. We would be interested in receiving reports as to whether this is in fact the case.
As noted above, alcohol may still be taken on board the Eurostar daytime services to and from the Tarentaise Valley. But there are limits. No spirits are permitted. So travellers tempted to bring back a tasty tipple from their holiday in the Alps must limit themselves to beer and wine. Passengers may take on board either one bottle of wine or four bottles (or cans) of beer.
Eurostar don’t say anything about the maximum size of that bottle of wine. A jeroboam of Château Mouton Rothschild would surely be a stylish way of drinking one’s way from London to the Alps.
The new restrictions on alcohol consumption apply only to Eurostar ski trains. On all other Eurostar services you can still take your personal supply of absinthe on board. Or your favourite malt whisky. Cheers!