Travelling with your dog via train in Europe is a great experience and a wonderful way to see France, Italy, Switzerland and a dozen other dog-friendly countries. In the U.K. National rail is happy to have you, however, have your owner check the rules for other train lines operating in England. In fact, it is always a good thing to have your owner check the rules before you head off on vacation, no dog wants to be left at the station.
Most trains in Europe will allow you to travel with your owner, with the exception of the Eurostar. Currently, they will not let you on as a passage, how rude is that! Currently, if you’re trying to get to France from the U.K., the only way possible is either by car, air or ferry, which I’ll cover in a later post.
Here are some tips to make it a wagging adventure:
- In most cases, small dogs like me travel free or at a minimal charge, my large dog friends usually have to by a half travel 2nd class fare, even if traveling with their owners in 1st class; Your owners can buy this ticket when they purchase their ticket or they can pay directly to the conductor.
- All us dogs must be kept on a lead at all times unless contained in a basket or crate If you are not on your lead then you should be in your pet carrier. Let your owner know It must be rigid and not open so that you can’t sneak out and head to the dining cart also I should be to stand and lie down in comfort.
- Speaking of dining cars, we are not allowed in there at all. This is why it is a good idea that your owner brings treats or a chew to keep you occupied and perhaps a snack for them as well.
- · For over-night sleeping carriages the rules vary from Train Company to train company, however generally you are allowed so long as the sleeping carriage is exclusively your owners. So if you’re travelling with two, your owner should not be charged, however, if it’s just you and one owner, they will have to cough up extra cash to book the sleeping carriage exclusively for both of you. Make sure they also check to see if the train company charges a cleaning fee.
- Speaking of extra fees, do not sit on the seats, or your owner is going to get charged extra.
- Best place for you is actually under the seat if you can fit, on your owner’s lap or by their feet. Lying around the aisle is not the best place due to it blocks your fellow travellers from moving around.
- IMPORTANT: By-law 16 allows the train company to refuse carriage or entry to you. If you cause a nuisance or inconvenience to other passengers and objects to your presence, your owner and you must move to another part of the train or put in a suitable container in the guard’s van/luggage van where available. When you’re carried in the guard’s van/luggage van (other than those in a container) you must be secured with collar and chain and properly muzzled! At if that does not work you may be asked to leave the train altogether.
- IMPORTANT: Make sure your owner has your dog registration certificate or doggie “passport”. They may have to produce this certificate when purchasing your ticket, if applicable, and they might have to show it during transit. If found without a certificate on board, your owner will be fined and both of you will have to get off the train at the next stop.
The first time I travelled on a train was from Avignon to Paris. It was in the summer of 2010 and the train was packed. My owners bought all our tickets, my ticket was 5 euro’s and I thought was a bargain.
The nice thing about traveling with your owners is that they do all the carrying, so they made sure I had my favorite chew, a treat, and my favorite blanket. We waited until all the passengers boarded the train first, and then it was our turn. After a few sniffs down the corridor, I snuggled in just under the seat in front, with my blanket. Once the train started its wonderful hum and vibrations I fell fast asleep until we arrived in Paris. The conductor did not even ask for my ticket, in fact, I do not think he even noticed me.
Again my owners waited for the train to empty and then we popped onto the station platform and headed to a taxi on to our hotel. Since that first time I have travelled to Milan, Frankfurt, and Switzerland by train, all with great ease. In fact on the Train to Switzerland, the conductor and I played and I gave him a kiss. I recommend train travel highly; it is my second most favorite way to travel after the car.
Links you might find useful and fun:
Great photos of dogs on trains – National Rail – Rail Europe – Swiss Rail – (they even offer you a discount yearly pass offer for your pet.)
Have you travelled with your dog by train through Europe?