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New Step Towards Combined ‘Sail and Rail’ Ferry Ticket Between Ireland and France in 2024

10th September 2023
Rosslare Europort
Rosslare Europort already benefits from a close connection to the Irish Rail network — and the launch of a new Sail and Rail ticket between Ireland and France is expected to make this route and even more popular option

As the Rugby World Cup gets under way in France, Ireland and La République are taking another step towards the launch of a combined train and ferry ticket between the two countries in 2024.

Announced by the President of the French Republic and the then Taoiseach on 24 November 2022, these tickets will simplify booking and travelling between the two countries from next year and encourage environmentally friendly modes of transport at an attractive fare.

From early September, travellers between France and Ireland who use both the ferry and the train to start or continue their journey will be able to book their train tickets from the Brittany Ferries and Irish Ferries websites, thanks to links to the rail operators' websites.

What’s more is that this new ‘sail and rail’ facility gives passengers access to discounted fares to encourage passengers to avail of this initiative.

In addition, getting to the relevant train stations at either end is also now easier as port transfers from the station to the ferry terminal are now facilitated by buses in Dublin, Cork, Cherbourg and Roscoff.

Reservations for this ferry-train combination are also possible from the online booking platforms Rail-Europe and Trainline as well as participating rail operators.

These arrangements will be further simplified in 2024 with the launch of combined tickets allowing a single booking with a single ticket for the entire rail and sea journey.

Trains and ferries are the most energy-efficient modes of transport and are much more sustainable alternatives to air travel. For the same distance travelled, the ferry emits one per cent of what the plane emits in terms of CO2 per tonne-km, and the train eight per cent.

Published in Ferry Team

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Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!