Weekend Travel Update: InterRail rolls on

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The Independent Travel
BRITISH Rail International quickly quashed speculation this week that the InterRail ticket was to be scrapped. Since 1971 the InterRail ticket has allowed millions of young people unlimited travel on the European rail system. Last year an InterRail ticket for people over 26 was introduced.

However, it is known that a number of countries, particularly France, Italy and Spain, have been unhappy with the balance of traffic generated by InterRail. These three countries have to carry a lot of InterRail passengers but receive relatively little benefit from the tickets.

A newspaper story this week reported that the InterRail ticket had been killed off. Not so, says BR International: the InterRail ticket for under- and over-26s will be back next year but probably in a different form. Instead of one InterRail ticket covering 26 different European countries, there will be two separate passes: one covering southern Europe - France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal etc - and a separate pass covering northern Europe.

It has not yet been revealed whether the new passes will be more expensive. This year an InterRail ticket for under-26s costs pounds 180 for a month; for over-26s it costs pounds 180 for 15 days and pounds 260 for a month. One future enhancement for the InterRail ticket is the likely inclusion of the CIS (the former Soviet Union countries).

BR International is offering a new three-day fare between London and Paris: travelling with Hoverspeed via Boulogne the fare is pounds 59, travelling with Sealink via Calais the fare is pounds 55. Leaving Victoria at 10am and using the Hoverspeed Boulogne service, passengers arrive at Paris Gare du Nord at 5.02pm. Information on the Paris fare and further details about InterRail tickets can be obtained from BR stations.