Do the trains run through the Alps in winter?

Kufstein Travel Blog

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Riding the tram at MSP

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.

Stuttgart streets
  She is spending the Easter holidays with a friend in Italy, so this would be our only chance to visit her.  She is letting us stay upstairs - we can store our extra things there and spend a few nights throughout our trip.  Oma doesn't speak much English, and my friend doesn't speak any German, so we had quite an interesting conversation over tea.  We have a hard time understanding eachother, but we managed to discuss the weather back home and our upcoming travel plans.  Oma mentioned that she hoped it wouldn't snow beffore she took the train to Italy and I told her we hope the same for us!  We only stayed in Stuttgart a few hours.  Its tough, because we wanted to go through the Alps and the Dolomites during daylight, but we also felt that we should visit with Oma because she is letting us stay at her place for free and today was the only day we would all be in Stuttgart.
Munich Hauptbahnhof
  So we opted to take the later train and just miss the scenery :( 

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.

Sleeping in couchettes during weather delay
  An announcement came over in German that I couldn't quite understand.  Something about a 20 mintue delay?  Oh well, not like we had anywhere to go.  So we just settled in.  Not long after, another message came over.  Again, I couldn't quite understand it, but it mentioned something about leaving the train.  Did we have to leave the train?  I questioned the other woman.  She mentioned something about the weather and a 2 hour delay.  Oh...the weather...I guess the rain just might be snow or ice in the mountains.  The woman mentioned something about taking a bus.  What?  To Bolzano?  I decided to see if I could find someone to translate for me.

In the first compartment I found some train conductors that could speak English.

me snoozing in the couchette
  They explained that about 5 miles ahead the tracks were closed due to ice on them.  They we trying to get some busses here to transfer all the passangers and drive them to another train on the other side of the iced tracks.  But it could be 2 hours before that all happened.  Hmmm, very interesting.  They said we should go to the restaurant in the station and eat dinner.  Thanks, but we already ate.  Besides, if the train starts moving, we need to be on it!  So I went back and explained all this to Michele, meanwhile we had already been stopped for an hour.  So we sat and waited.  And waited.

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.

sylviandavid says:
You missed scenery but visiting Oma was the right thing to do.. Very interesting blog... sylvia
Posted on: Jun 28, 2008
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Riding the tram at MSP
Riding the tram at MSP
Stuttgart streets
Stuttgart streets
Munich Hauptbahnhof
Munich Hauptbahnhof
Sleeping in couchettes during weat…
Sleeping in couchettes during wea…
me snoozing in the couchette
me snoozing in the couchette
Kufstein
photo by: caleb_kreegan