Phil Skone contacted Ski Flight Free to share his experience of travelling to Saalback in Austria by train earlier this year in January 2024. 


Starting in Kenworth, we travelled to King’s Cross, then Eurostar to Brussels and Brussels to Cologne. We had time for a meal and tour of the area near the station. With hindsight, we could have left our bags in lockers at the station.

The overnight train to Munich left 23:16. Unfortunately, it wasn’t very easy to get much sleep as the lights were on full throughout the journey and there were a couple of passengers that wanted to talk for most of the journey!

Munich-Worgl-Zell am See

We arrived at Munich on time and caught the connecting train to Wörgl, from where we took the 07:51 to Zell am See. The train was swarming with excited young people swigging beer, clinking bottles and dragging crates of beer through the carriages!

The scenery on this last leg of the journey was fantastic and we passed through many famous Austrian ski resorts before arriving in Zell am See at 09:30, about 15 minutes later than expected.

We had booked a taxi, but unfortunately it had not waited, so we had to take a bus and ultimately arrived at our hotel at 11am. This gave us plenty of time to unpack, explore the town, have some lunch and sort out equipment hire. The rest of the group – who were flying – didn’t arrive until about 20:30.

The journey back

This started badly when I discovered there was a strike and most of our trains were cancelled. Our travel agent found an alternative train route via Zurich and Paris.

The route involved a different carrier (OBB) to the route originally booked, so they told me that I needed to contact them to check if we could use the same tickets and if we needed to reserve a seat, but we weren’t able to get through to them.

It was therefore with some trepidation that we prepared for our return journey.

Zell am See-Salzburg-Munich

It was an early 05:08 start from Zell am See to Salzburg. I had booked a taxi to pick us up from the hotel at 04:15 to take us to station. Fortunately the taxi and the train were both on time.

When we arrived in Salzburg we saw that our connecting train to Munich was cancelled. The information desk told us that there were several alternative trains and we managed to catch a train due to arrive in Munich slightly earlier.


We caught the connecting train to Cologne without incident. This was the longest leg of our journey, travelling across Germany.

We were due to arrive in Cologne at 14:04 and our connecting train was due to leave at 14:18, giving us a 14-minute transfer time. This was already quite tight, but as we arrived in Cologne 40 minutes late there was no chance of catching it.

We discovered that there was one more train to Brussels, arriving at 19:51, so we would miss our connecting Eurostar to London.

However, it was easy to swap our Eurostar tickets to the following morning and we booked into a reasonable hotel at EUR100 including an excellent breakfast.

Was it worth it?

From an environmental perspective we know that train travel has a far lower imipact than flying.

A rough calculation of our journey shows emissions of 83 Kg/CO2 each. For those flying in our group, the emissions added up to 340 Kg/CO2 each.

In terms of cost, our train journey turned out to be cheaper than flying, even including the hotel in Brussels.

The rest of our group paid £502 each, while we paid £412 each (Knebworth-London £20, London-Munich £244, Munich-Zell £37, Zell-Saalbach taxi £60, Brussels hotel £50

Why travel by train?

The benefits of using a much less carbon intensive form of travel are clear. Train travel is more relaxing than flying and long overland journeys all add to the experience.

The train strike was a rare event, so the journey would rarely be as complicated as ours.

Once people realise the threat to their own personal passion, perhaps they will want to do more to protect it and start thinking about changes in their lifestyle and travel options.