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[Debconf-discuss] About trains to MAD (and Cáceres)...

I wandered around yesterday to check what are possible options to go
to Madrid by train, when coming from other parts of Europe. From blog
entries or other mails, it's likely that I'm not alone considering
this. After all, we're Debian, we care about environment most of the
time and that often goes with train transport friendlyness..:)

One point is sure: to go to Spain by train, one has to travel through
France, except when coming from Portugal..:-). Another point is sure:
spanish trains having different track sizes than most of Europe...and
particularly France, there are very few direct options because of
technical constraints. In short, only Talgo trains with variable wheel
distance can make it without very complicated actions.

A very good and probazbly the only direct option (and very good train)
is quite probably the Paris Austerlitz-Madrid Chamartin night train
named Elipsos with a quite convenient schedule: leaves Paris at 19h46,
arrives Madrid at about 9h30. The train is scheduled daily.

That train has only sleeping facilities (no seated-only
option). Either cabins of 4 in 2nd class, or cabins of 2 in 1st
class. This is AFAIK a Talgo night train.

Since several years, such night trains are operated quite specially in
France, by private companies. I'm not sure this is the case for
Elipsos as the train itself is a RENFE train (RENFE==spanish national
train company).

My point is: if people are considering trips to MAD (then Caceres) by
train, it's *very* likely they'll end up with an option to go to Paris
(easy to do by train from Germany, Benelux, UK)....then get into the
Elipsos train.

The current rate I find for a single ticket is EUR 70 with a rate
named "Prem's" in France. I'm not sure that this rate may be available
from outside France. You can check on http://www.voyages-sncf.com
(when that web site is working). Please note that tickets cannot be
booked more than 2 months in advance so you need cheating and mention
May as travel date.

If enough people are interested, we might try to get in touch with the
company operating Elipsos and try getting some special discount
prices. If organized enough in advance, I suspect this might be
successful....even more because I suspect they have trouble filling in
such trains while flights from Paris to Madrid are very common and
cheap. I may be mistaken here, but nothing prevents us from trying.

So, it could be interesting to know how many people could be
interested, assuming that the trip *to* MAD will not necessarily
happen the same day, but the return trip is likely to be on July 31st.

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