The Chamonix Train Station, the Le Gare Chamonix, is shown in this photo. This is where you get the trains that ply the valley as well as to head out of town. The large tarmac'd area in front of the train station is where you catch the buses to Courmayeur and Verbier.
The train system is a local only service, for the little villages and charming hamlets in the Chamonix Valley. The efficient train and bus services move thousands of visitors daily, especially since the vast ski regions in the Chamonix resort are not ski-interconnected. The only connections between the ski areas are down in the valley by road or rail.
You'll to be aware that this train system in the valley is quite
separate from the French TGV and if you are arriving and leaving
Chamonix France, by train, either from Switzerland or from France, you
will not be able to avoid changing trains.
The Local Train
The local train service, the Mont Blanc Express, services just the little villages in the Chamonix Valley and plys the route from Vallorcine on the Swiss border to St Gervais in France. It is efficient, regular and free for skiers.
Likewise non-skiers who are paying guests at local accommodation, are entitled to free transport on the local train, providing they have the Carte d' hote.
The official site for the local trains including the Chamonix Train service can be found at: TER-SNCF-Rhone
The TER Rhone Alpes is the regional train network serving the Rhone-Alps region, the link will take you to the times and cost of fares for trains in the St Gervais - Chamonix Mont Blanc - Vallocine route.
TER is an acronym for Transport Express Regional, the brand name used by SNCF, the national French State owned Rail, for regional rail organized by the regional councils of France.
Remember, the local train only services the mountain valley and to get onto France's TGV system, you must change at St Gervais/La Fayet.
Likewise at the other end, to continue train travel into Switzerland, a change of trains is necessary at Vallorcine/Le Buet, very close to the Swiss border, to access a small gauge train that's specially engineered for steep mountain tracks. At the bottom of the valley in Martigny, Switzerland, there's yet another change of trains to get onto the main Swiss train system.
Here's the link to the timetables in English where you'll find schedules and fares. SNCF Rail
If purchasing rail tickets from abroad, you'll have to do this via Rail Europe the official site of the international booking arm of SNCF. Rail Europe
Day Excursions by Train
Both excursions can be enjoyed in a day trip by train, and without the hassle of dragging around luggage and ski gear, you get to enjoy the truly wonderful views and marvel at the engineering of getting trains up and down the Alps.
If you'd like to explore the beautiful nearby areas but would rather not be dependent on the the Chamonix Train system, you could hire a car from the one car rental outlet in Chamonix Mont Blanc. Renting a car at the resort is not as easy as it should be, but not impossible. The service at Europcar is excellent and the cost reasonable.