Iarnród Éireann train in Ireland

New step towards a combined Franco-Irish “sail & rail” ticket

Iarnród Éireann train in Ireland Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail)

With the imminent commencement of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France, Ireland and France are taking progressive steps towards introducing a collaborative “Sail & Rail” ticket option set to debut in 2024.

This initiative, unveiled by the French Republic’s President and the former Taoiseach, or Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland, on November 24, 2022, aims to streamline the process of booking and travelling between the two nations while promoting environmentally friendly transportation methods at an appealing cost. Young people in particular are a target for this new “Franco-Irish ticket.” While originally said to be launched by the summer 2023, this has not yet happened, and the new launch is pushed to 2024.

Trains and ferries represent the most energy-efficient modes of transportation and serve as much more sustainable alternatives to air travel. In terms of CO2 emissions per tonne-kilometre for the same distance travelled, ferries emit only 1 per cent of what aeroplanes emit, while trains emit just 8 per cent on average.

Less cost, more convenience

From early September 2024, travellers journeying between France and Ireland who utilise both ferry and train services for their trips will be able to book their ferry-train tickets directly from the Brittany Ferries and Irish Ferries websites, facilitated by links to the rail operators’ websites. Reservations for this ferry-train combination are also feasible through online booking platforms such as Rail-Europe, Trainline, and participating rail operators. These arrangements will undergo further simplification in 2024 with the introduction of combined “Sail & Rail” tickets, allowing travellers to make a single booking for their entire journey, encompassing both rail and sea transportation.

Furthermore, this new Sail-Rail feature provides passengers with access to discounted fares, encouraging them to embrace this eco-friendly initiative. Additionally, reaching the respective train stations at both ends of the journey has become more convenient and inclusive within the Sail-Rail package. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of local and transport authorities, bus transfers between the station and the ferry terminal are now available in Dublin, Cork, Cherbourg, and Roscoff.

The ferry crossing time from Dublin to Cherbourg is approximately 18h30 minutes, and Cherbourg-Paris by train takes just 3h25 minutes. Cork to Roscoff takes 14 to 15 hours by ferry, while the Roscoff – Paris journey lasts on average of 04h33 minutes.

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Author: Emma Dailey

Emma Dailey is an editor at RailTech.com and RailTech.be.

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