Can two teddy bears that ski save the French sleeper trains?

For years, skiers have been able to dream of snow while actually travelling to it, on sleeper trains bound for the Alps. With overnight each way, they could get two extra days’ skiing on their holiday.

But this travel option is now under threat. The French State Department of Transport, which owns the national rail operator SNCF, has announced that unless a viable proposal from a train company is received by 1 July 2016, all but three of the night train routes from Paris will be axed – more than 100 years after they first ran.

In a bit to help save the sleeper trains, Daniel Elkan CEO of SnowCarbon, has  has made this one-minute video of two teddy bears taking the overnight train to the Alps. With support of other organisations and destinations, a petition has been launched to to persuade the French Ministry of Transport and SNCF to think again.


“Given that travelling by train to the slopes can make the journey part of the holiday – and at a fraction of the pollution of flying or driving – it would be tragic madness to let these train travel options disappear.  Instead we should cherish them and even better overnight services.” Daniel says.

The French Government and SNCF say that the services are too expensive to run. But rail experts strongly disagree because most of the costs apply to the tracks (shared by daytime and overnight trains) and not the actual overnight trains themselves. The French Government and SNCF state that the trains are not as popular as they used to be, while at the same time not bothering to market or promote the trains effectively and neglecting to improve comfort and services.

This article is part of Daniel Elkan’s campaign ‘Save the French Sleeper Trains’ jointly initiated by SnowcarbonLoco2Seat61Back on Track and Futerra

Sign the petition to keep this low carbon transport service running successfully.  

Ángela Rodríguez
Ángela Rodríguez
Advocate for positive impact travel. Flexible, hard-working and passionated person who puts collaboration and inspiration at the heart of her work. Extensive experience in marketing and communication of sustainable tourism in Spain and Latin America. Avid traveller and climate activist.

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