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

Take your car by train...

...to Italy with Urlaubs Express

...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

Map of motorail train routes of use to UK travellers 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, 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


How do I get my 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 Italy or Austria easy.

  A classic Jaguar takes the train to Italy...

Classic cars:  Classic car owners who'd rather drive their vintage Jaguar than a characterless hire car take it with them on 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...

   
 

France...

Italy...

Spain & Portugal...

Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg...

Switzerland...

Germany & Austria...

Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland...

Eastern Europe including Turkey & Greece...

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

Within the UK, to Scotland & Cornwall...

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Urlaubs Express Düsseldorf - Verona

Düsseldorf in Germany to Verona in Italy...

Update 2022:  I'd hoped this train would return in 2022, but it now won't, maybe in 2023.  Urlaubs Express is running other routes including Düsseldorf - Villach.

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 ran a Düsseldorf-Verona motorail train weekly in summer 2018 & 2019, with sleepers, couchettes, restaurant car and car transporters.  Suspended during the pandemic, the Düsseldorf-Verona hasn't resumed in 2022, but might resume in 2023.

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 in the city centre next to Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof.

Note:  The city of Düsseldorf is a low-emission zone, but if you hold a valid motorail ticket you are allowed to access the motorail terminal regardless of your vehicle.

Route:

Düsseldorf to Verona in Italy

Dates & times:

Check times & dates on their website.  It's not running in 2022, it may resume in 2023.  Here's a summary of previous timings to give you an idea:

The Düsseldorf-Verona motorail service was due to run once a week on Fridays from 22 May to 18 September 2020, leaving Dusseldorf around 18:30, arriving Verona Porta Nuova around 10:00 on Saturday morning.

The Verona-Düsseldorf motorail service was due to run on Saturdays 23 May to 19 September, leaving Verona Porta Nuova at 18:05 and arriving Dusseldorf at 08:58 on Sunday morning.

How much does it cost?   

Prices vary significantly, but 2 passengers in shared couchettes with a car might pay €280 each way in low season.  With a private 2-bed sleeper, that might rise to €500 each way.  A family of 2 adults, 2 children, car & dog with a whole 4-berth couchette to themselves might pay €469 each way.  This can rise to over €950 in high summer.

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...

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ÖBB Austrian Railways motorail

Düsseldorf in Germany to Innsbruck in Austria:  Discontinued in 2021

OBB Motorail car transporters   OBB motorail train at Dusseldorf

Car transporters at the front of the Innsbruck-Dusseldorf ÖBB Nightjet motorail train, arrived at Dusseldorf Hbf platform 19.

 

The Innsbruck-Dusseldorf Nightjet train, arrived at Dusseldorf Hbf platform 19.  See interior photos.

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Auto-Train in France

Paris to Avignon, Marseille, Toulon, St Raphael, Nice:  Discontinued December 2019...

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.

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Optima Express

Villach in Austria to Edirne in Turkey:  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.

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Other motorail services

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

See www.oebb.at.

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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