Cars on the motorail train above to leave s'Hertogenbosch for Italy.

Take your car by train...

...to Italy with Urlaubs Express

...to Austria with ÖBB motorail

...to Spain with Brittany Ferries.

 

Motorail:  Trains that carry cars!

On this page you'll find a beginner's guide to the few remaining European motorail services of interest to UK travellers.  First up, here's a reality check...

Interactive motorail mapClick a route for information...

Auto Express Italia Car ferries to Greece Stena Line car ferry to Hoek van Holland Auto Train car-carrying service DFDS Seaways car ferries to Denmark & Holland Britanny Ferries car ferry to Spain

How do I get my car from the UK to..?

Click your destination to find out how to get you & your car to these countries by motorail train or ferry:

France     Italy     Spain & Portugal     Switzerland     Germany & Austria   Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg   Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland     Eastern Europe, Turkey, Greece   North Africa, Cyprus, Malta    Motorail trains in the UK

Motorail routes, timetables, prices & information...

On this page you'll find information on each motorail operator, with a summary of prices, routes, on-board accommodation & how to buy tickets:

French Auto-Train  Austrian motorail (ÖBB)      Optima Tours      Other motorail trains


Sponsored links...

 


How to get a car from the UK to...

 

Who uses motorail?

 

Families and couples for a start.  The door-to-door convenience of taking your own car makes the logistics of a family holiday to the South of France, Italy or Austria easy.

  A classic Jaguar takes the train to Italy...

Classic cars:  It's not just families.  Classic car owners who'd rather drive their vintage Jaguar than a characterless hire car take it with them using motorail. Classic cars are usually allocated a place on the lower deck.

  Motorbikes on the Dutch Motorail train to Italy...

Bikers:  Motorail is a bikers' favourite too...

Here are the options for getting you & your car from the UK to the main holiday areas of Europe:

UK to France...

UK to Italy...

UK to Spain & Portugal...

UK to Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg...

UK to Switzerland...

UK to Germany & Austria...

UK to Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland...

UK to Eastern Europe, including Turkey & Greece...

UK to North Africa, Cyprus, Malta, Egypt, Israel...

Within the UK, to Scotland & Cornwall...


Motorail Düsseldorf - Verona

Düsseldorf (Germany) to Verona (Italy) with Urlaubs-Express...

The original and popular Autoslaaptrein company threw in the towel in April 2015, and another Dutch company, Treinreiswinkel, started its own Motorail train branded Auto Express Italia for summer 2016 & 2017.  They too threw in the towel, but German charter company, Urlaubs-Express (urlaubs is German for holiday) stepped in and will run a Düsseldorf-Verona motorail train weekly in summer 2018, with sleepers, couchettes, restaurant car and car transporters.

Website:

www.urlaubs-express.de.

Online booking:  

Yes, www.urlaubs-express.de click Tickets then Book here then click the UK flag for English.

Phone:

See website.

Terminal:

Trains depart from Düsseldorf, a 3 hour 45 minute (245 mile) drive from Calais, 3 hours 20 minutes from Dunquerque, or 2 hour 30 minutes from Hook of Holland (157 miles), Rotterdam or IJmuiden (Amsterdam).  The motorail terminal is next to Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof.

Route:

Düsseldorf to Verona in Italy

Dates & times:

To check times & dates, see their website.  But here's a summary to give you a rough idea:

The Düsseldorf-Verona motorail service will run once a week on Fridays from 22 June to 14 September 2018 returning on Saturdays 23 June to 15 September.

It will run southbound on Friday nights leaving Dusseldorf around 18:11, arriving Verona around 08:40.

The Verona-Dusseldorf service will run on Saturday nights leaving Verona at 18:30 (check-in 17:00 to 19:15) and arriving Dusseldorf at 09:20.

How much does it cost?   

Prices vary, but 2 passengers in shared couchettes with a car might pay €278 each way.  With a private 2-bed sleeper, that might rise to €499 each way.  A family of 2 adults, 2 children, car & dog with a whole 4-berth couchette to themselves might pay €469 each way.

The online booking system at www.urlaubs-express.de will give you a price for you date.

Max vehicle dimensions:

Max height: 1.95m, max length 5.30m (with trailer max 10m), max width 1.95m measured with wing mirrors folded in.  See www.urlaubs-express.de.

Sleepers & couchettes:

4-berth couchettes. 

Sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 berth compartments with washbasin.

Junior suites = two adjacent 1/2/3-berth sleeper compartments so one can be used as beds, the other as a sitting room.

Pets:

Yes, dogs and other pets can be carried.

Suggested ferry connections

The cheapest option is to use the short sea routes, Dover-Calais or Dover-Dunkirk, see www.poferries.com & www.dfds.comTop tip www.dfds.com Dover-Dunkirk (formerly Norfolkline) always seem by far the cheapest operator, typically charging £45-£70 return for a car and occupants when Dover-Calais operators persist in charging over £100 return. 

The more direct option from East Anglia or the North of England is to use www.stenaline.co.uk (Harwich-Hoek van Holland), www.dfds.co.uk (Newcastle-IJmuiden overnight cruise ferry), or www.poferries.com (Hull-Rotterdam overnight cruise ferry).

Restaurant car on the Autoslaaptrein Italia   1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper, in day mode

Restaurant car on the Autoslaaptrein version of the train...

 

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper...


OBB Austrian Railways motorail

Düsseldorf (Germany) to Innsbruck (Austria)

Austrian Railways (ÖBB) offer a car transport service attached to their daily Düsseldorf-Innsbruck EuroNight sleeper train.  Their Düsseldorf-Vienna motorail service is discontinued as from 10 December 2017.

Website:

tickets.oebb.at/en/ticket - click the UK flag for English, then click Menu top left then click More products then Motorail train.

Online booking:  

tickets.oebb.at/en/ticket - to get to the Motorail booking page, click the UK flag for English, then click Menu top left then click More services then Motorail train.

You can now book your car and passengers online as one transaction.  You print your own tickets.

Phone:

-

Terminal:

Trains depart from Düsseldorf, a 3 hour 45 minute (245 mile) drive from Calais, 3 hours 20 minutes from Dunquerque, or 2 hour 30 minutes from Hook of Holland (157 miles), Rotterdam or IJmuiden (Amsterdam).  The motorail terminal is next to Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof.

Routes:

Trains run from Düsseldorf to Innsbruck in Austria.

From December 2017 the service to Vienna is discontinued, but the service to Innsbruck becomes daily all year round.

Dates & times:

Dusseldorf to Innsbruck runs daily all year round.  It's a Nightjet sleeper train with car transporters attached.

How much does it cost?

Check online.

Vehicles carried:

Cars & motorbikes are carried.

Accommodation on board:

  • See Nightjet information here for Dusseldorf-Innsbruck sleeper train on-board accommodation.  The train has couchettes and a comfortline sleeping-car.

Pets:

Yes, dogs and other pets can be carried.

Suggested ferry connections

The cheapest option is to use the short sea routes, Dover-Calais or Dover-Dunkirk, see www.poferries.com & www.dfds.comTop tip www.dfds.com Dover-Dunkirk (formerly Norfolkline) always seem by far the cheapest operator, typically charging £45-£70 return for a car and occupants when Dover-Calais operators persist in charging over £100 return. 

The more direct option from East Anglia or the North of England is to use www.stenaline.co.uk (Harwich-Hoek van Holland), www.dfds.co.uk (Newcastle-IJmuiden overnight cruise ferry), or www.poferries.com (Hull-Rotterdam overnight cruise ferry).

How to reach Düsseldorf autozug terminal:  Leave the autobahn and follow the signs for Düsseldorf city centre, then follow the signs for 'Hauptbahnhof' ('main station').  Near the Hauptbahnhof, you'll pick up signs saying 'DB Autozug'.  If you have a Tom-Tom satnav, the DB Autozug terminal is listed as a 'point of interest' in Düsseldorf.  It's not difficult to reach, it's down a side road at the north east side of the Hauptbahnhof, the address is DB Autozug Terminal, Schlägelstrasse, 40210 Düsseldorf.


Auto-Train in France

Paris to Avignon, Marseille, Toulon, St Raphael, Nice...

Auto Train at Narbonne

The SNCF Auto Train for Paris, loading at Narbonne (a terminal discontinued from late 2017).  It just carries your car - you travel separately, on any normal passenger train you like.  Courtesy of Scottish Golf by Train.


Optima Express

Villach (Austria) to Turkey (Edirne):  www.optimatours.de...

Loading the Optima Tours motorail train to Turkey   Couchette compartment on Optima Tours motorail train set up as 2-berth

Loading the Optima Tours motorail train to Turkey...

 

Couchette compartment on the Optima Tours train set up for 2-person occupancy.


Other motorail services

Austria:  Vienna to/from Innsbruck, Feldkirch, Villach (Austrian domestic), Vienna-Hamburg (Germany), Vienna-Florence (Italy)...

See http://www.oebb.at/de/Reiseplanung/PKW_Motor-_und_Fahrrad/Autoreisezug/index.jsp.

Czech Republic:  Prague-Poprad Tatry, Prague-Kosice

See www.cd.cz/scripts/detail.php?pgid=628.  Cheap overnight Motorail services.

Croatia:  Zagreb-Split

The daily summer-only Zagreb-Split overnight sleeper train also has a car-carrying wagon.  Information about this isn't readily available online, ask at the station when you get there.

Finland:  Various domestic routes...

See www.vr.fi.


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