International passenger

trains in 20th Century Europe

International passenger trains in 20th Century Europe

Connexions with the  Cȏte d'Azur in 1939

Comprising the resorts of Nice, Cannes and Monte Carlo, the Côte d’Azur remained a magnet for international passengers from as far away as Russia and Romania. Initially this traffic was directed at premium paying passengers, often in first class only luxury trains. As the popularity of the Côte d’Azur spread to second class travellers, an increasing number of trains frequented this region.

From Channel Ports, Paris,Amsterdam

In 1914 it was already possible to travel from Calais and Boulogne to the Côte d’Azur without a change in Paris and this arrangement proliferated between the wars. Dutch traffic was managed through Genova and Milano.

From Russia

In 1896 a CIWL service was introduced from Wien to Cannes. Two years later through CIWL cars were attached to this service from St Peterburg running winter-only thrice weekly. Passengers from St Peterburg on this route had to change trains at Warszawa because of the change of gauge in Warszawa. This was a CIWL train bringing the Russian and Austro-Hungarian aristocracy to their winter haven but it was discontinued north of Wien after the 1st World War.

Up to 1914 an international express started twice weekly in Volochisk in what is now Ukraine with through cars to Nice via Wien. Between 1923 and 1939 Wien retained a through service to Nice via Venezia, Milano and Genova. This train was joined at Ventimiglia by portions from Budapest via Kotoriba running three days per week, winter only and Bucureşti.

Warszawa retained through a working to Ventimiglia which returned from Genova up to 1939. This followed a cross country route taking in Zduny, Wrocław, Dresden, Stuttgart, Schaffhausen, Zürich, Milano and Genova. A further interesting part of this train was a through car from Warszawa to Strasbourg which went forward from Stuttgart in a train originating in Praha which was bound for Paris.  After 1946, no through trains operated from Poland to the Côte d’Azur and this did not change up to  the present day.

From Italy & Spain

Being situated on an east-west route, Nice also handled traffic from the Spanish border through Marseille, some of which ran through to Italian destinations, Milano, Venezia and Roma being examples. There was a through service from both Irun/Hendaye and Cerbère/Port Bou to Roma from the early 1950s to 1997. By the end of the century, through trains were serving the Barcelona-Milano route and there were also through services from Nice to Milano, Venezia and Roma.

From Germany

Passengers from the Côte d’Azur to Germany were normally routed through Genova but in the 1930s, a through train connected the Côte d’Azur with Karlsruhe via Marseille, Lyon and Strasbourg. Between the two wars, Nice also received a service from Berlin through Frankfurt/Main, Basel and Milano taking 34-37 hour.

From S.E. Europe

Nice and Ventimiglia enjoyed through service to Beograd and Bucureşti between the wars. Bucureşti had through cars to and from Nice via Jimbolia, joining the Beograd portion at Vinkovci. The route forward was via Trieste to Milano then Genova and Ventimiglia. The journey time from Bucureşti to Nice was around 50 hours in 1939 and the service from Beograd took around 35 hours.  These services stopped after World War Two. Budapest also enjoyed through facilities to Nice at this time via Trieste

D2:3 - Cote d’Azur


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