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pjmatherson Jul 19th, 2011 06:34 AM

16 minutes too little time to tranfer trains in Milan?
Hello everyone,
We are taking a overnight train from Rome to milan. We are leaving rome at 23:05 on August 14th and getting to milan at 06:55 on the 15th. Then we have 15 minutes to transfer between trains for the train leaving Milan at 07:10 to go to Zurich.

Please let me know if this is too risky? How crowded is Milan Central at this time?
Thank you!!

doug_stallings Jul 19th, 2011 07:09 AM

I've only been in the Milan train station once, and it was later in the morning, though fairly busy. It's also a big train station. If the train is late at all (quite possible in my experience with Italian trains), then you'd almost certainly miss your train. If you took a late afternoon or early evening train and spent the night in Milan near the station, you'd not have to worry, and the trip would likely take less time.

mjdh1957 Jul 19th, 2011 07:19 AM

This is one of those impossible questions.

IF your train is on time then there is no problem as long as you are ready to get off the train and find your connecting departure platform - and yes, it is a big station.

However, if it is late, then when is your next train to Zurich? and do you have a ticket that will allow you to alter your time.

mjdh1957 Jul 19th, 2011 07:21 AM

Just to add: I personally am pretty risk-averse when it comes to train connections so I would get the later train to Zurich and spend any extra time having a nice breakfast in Milan.

PalenQ Jul 19th, 2011 07:24 AM

too short for reasons Doug above gives. and since there are hourly or so rail links Milan to Zurich why not just hop a train an hour later - yes the next train may not be direct but a simple change of trains is fine - it may well be direct but Trenitalia has decided to cut many trans-border trains so direct trains becoming fewer.

pjmatherson Jul 19th, 2011 07:43 AM

We would already be spending 2 nights in milan.
And We are flying out of zurich on the 16th, so spending the night there would not work at all. We would never do that.
The next train is at 09:10 and doesent get to zurich til 1. We only have 1 day and night in zurich thats why we are taking the early train

doug_stallings Jul 19th, 2011 09:14 AM

Maybe going to Zurich wasn't such a wise decision after all given how full your itinerary already is (or perhaps you should just fly from Rome).

zeppole Jul 19th, 2011 09:47 AM

I change trains in Milan all the time in less than 10 minutes.

Be sure you are standing at the doorway when your train pulls into the station. The train station is extremely simple to use. When you get off your Rome train, you can only walk one in one direction. It will take you less than 2 minutes to reach the area where you will find big boards showing all the departing trains, and what platform number yours is leaving from (and if they are late).

Go to the platfrom number listed. You can walk the entire length of the station in less than 5 minutes. BE SURE TO STAMP YOUR TICKET BEFORE BOARDING YOUR SWISS BOUND TRAIN. If you are very pressed for time, get on the first car with an open door.

If you miss your train, go to the help desk or ticket booth and change your ticket to a later train. If it is true that there is a train leaving every hour for Zurich, you might as well take the train you want and take your chances on making the connection.

pjmatherson Jul 19th, 2011 09:50 PM

What do you mean how full my itinerey is? All I told you is were spending the first 2 nights we fly in in Milan and the last one in Zurich. We are staying in Florence for a week?? Fly from Rome. Yea right easy jet costs €60 a person and you will still get there later. Plus you don't get the view from the train, that's just threoing money out the window. Not very helpful

but on the otherhand, thank you zeppole! That wa very helpful!!

kat12 Jul 19th, 2011 10:33 PM

Zeppole has a point. I took the same route you did last year, and was advised to take the train that had a bit more time for the Milan connection. I was advised to have about 25 minutes between connections. It is a big station. But you can always take the later train if you need to. I think I'd try to make the 15 minute connection. We didn't have any trouble finding the next train and making our connection. The train was on time fortunately.

rotella Jul 20th, 2011 12:59 AM

If you bought a regular-fare Milano-Zurich ticket, there's no risk at all: if you lose the 7.10 am train, you'll still be able to board the 9.10 am train with no penalty.
If you bought a 19 eur "smart" ticket, you're taking some risks... but you still have a good 90% of chance of making it.
Changing train in Milano takes at most 5 minutes (and usually trains to Zurich depart from the middle tracks), so you just
have to hope that your Rome-Milano train doesn't have more than 10 minutes' delay.
If time is running low, you can ask the ticket inspector for advice: while he probably won't be able to delay the departure of the Milan-Zurich train (because it's an international train), he may still provide you with some useful information such as the track number. Ah, and you don't actually need to stamp the ticket, as yours will include a seat reservation.

Good luck and have a great trip! The Milano-Zurich route is one of the most panoramic rides, with the train spinning around the Wassen church for 3 times, while gaining height, so enjoy it!

PalenQ Jul 21st, 2011 12:40 PM

Changing train in Milano takes at most 5 minutes (and usually trains to Zurich depart from the middle tracks)>

usually but recently my train that was supposed to depart from track X instead was diverted to another track and though there were announcements about that in Italian it was only when the mad dash of everyone waiting to another track that it dawned on me what was happening.

Milano Centrale is so so hectic that if arriving trains are late there can indeed be platform changes when a late-running train still has not departed to allow your train in. Always always check the overhead signs and the destination placards on your train to make sure you are indeed on the right train IME.

hazel1 Jul 21st, 2011 01:09 PM

What is the purpose of asking this question? If the train is delayed and you missed the one to Zurich, oh well, you have to take the next one, two hours later. Yes, you lose out on two hours in Zurich. Big deal - you haven't missed your flight out or had any other major consequences. Everyone seems to say that yes, it's tight, but possible if it's on time. You don't seem to want to entertain any other options, so you'll just have to take the chance that it'll work out.

Connie Jul 21st, 2011 05:40 PM

If you get to the track shown on the board and no one is there, the board could be wrong--happened to us in Milan on our way to Interlaken. Find a worker to ask in that case. I didn't find the station to be all that large--you can easily get to other tracks quite quickly. This is one of many good reasons to pack light so you aren't hurrying around with lots of luggage.

rineurope Jul 21st, 2011 11:06 PM

Having been on a few overnight trains in Italy, we've never arrived "on-time." We've either been 20-30 minutes early or an hour late (unfortunately, mostly late!). So I'm not sure you can count on the train being on time. Your "16 minute" window will undoubtedly be compressed or expanded - Let's hope the latter!

After our over-nighters, we did not have to connect... but if your ticket to Zurich is flexible and allows changes, and there are other trains to Zurich as mentioned (which that time of day there should be)... then it's worth the effort.

As far as tips to make a connection, a few more are contained here:

Good Luck!

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