Do the trains run through the Alps in winter?
Kufstein Travel Blog› entry 2 of 22 › view all entries
They say to get to the airport three hours early for international flights, and well, we were flying to Frankfurt, so we got to the airport three hours early (more like 2 1/2 hours). We got all checked in and wandered to our gate and then we realized we weren't on an international flight! We were flying to Detroit first! Silly us! What to do? We rode the tram on C concourse a few times back and forth and then sat at the Itasca Bar (or something like that) over near the B concourse. We had a couple of beers and split a yummy quesadilla then killed some more time before boarding for a our flight.
We made it through the Frankfurt airport and onto the train to Stuttgart with no problems. We hopped a bus and went off to visit with Oma.
Our first transfer was in Munich and we had an hour to kill at the train station, so we just stood up on the upper balcony and people-watched. Its a great Hauptbahnhof, lots of shops and lots of people. Before long, our train arrived, so we hopped into our compartment and settled in for some sightseeing. We shared it with an older woman who was also headed to Bolzano and didn't speak any English.
The scenery was so-so until we got near the Alps in southern Germany. It had been raining off and on all trip, but we weren't really too concerned. Until we got near Kufstein. We pulled into a little train station near the German border and stopped for longer than seemed necessary.
In the first compartment I found some train conductors that could speak English.
A little shy of two hours of waiting, an announcement came on that we are going to back track a little and take a different track around the frozen section of tracks. And within 5 minutes, we were moving. I'm glad we didn't get off the train! So we were back underway, and apparently just entering the Alps in Austria. We still had about 3 hours to go and it was an hour past dark. We comletely missed all the scenery. I bet if we had taken the earlier train, we might have missed the freezing rain on the tracks AND gotten to see the mountains. But that did answer an earlier question about whether the trains run through the Alps during winter. Yes, unless they get too much snow or ice on the tracks. Guess we found that one out the hard way.
Our lady left the compartment, so we decided to make beds. We each pulled down two of the seats to make sleeping platforms, which were only slightly less uncomfortable than the seats alone were. We turned off the light and tried not to fall too deeply asleep so that we missed our stop.
We arrived in Bolzano about 2 hours late. Good thing we made reservations at the youth hostel and told them we'd be arriving late and we thought our train might be delayed. Little did we know it would be delayed by weather instead of train strikes! We made it to the Bolzano Youth Hostel, checked in and arrived in our room where our two roommates were already sleeping. We quietly bumbled around and made noise anyway while trying to quietly put our beds together and go to sleep. We had a very long day+ of travel between the flight and 7 turned 9 hour train ride. But those mattresses in our bunks felt like heaven and we soon drifted off to a much needed sleep.