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Check my math - rail pass vs. point to point train tickets

Check my math - rail pass vs. point to point train tickets

Old Apr 25th, 2000, 04:06 PM
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Check my math - rail pass vs. point to point train tickets

Hi all,
I've been reading all the great info on past postings related to train travel. I've done some math and believe that the 3,000km rail pass will save me quit a bit of money, but I wanted to make sure I am calculating this correctly.
I have estimated point to point tickets as follows (from the fs website, all 1st class IC trains):
Milan - Genova: $31.00 (140 km)
Genova - Pisa: $25.00 (240 km to Siena)
Pisa - Siena: $31.00
(picking up a car in Siena for drop off in Rome)
Rome - Naples $36.00 (214 km)
Naples - Venice $89.00 (787 km) plus $80 T2 charge

Total point to point for two people = $506.00, includes $80.00 for T2 night train sleeper.

I estimate that total km = 2,774 making the pass do-able. The total cost of the pass including supplements is estimated as follows:
$175 Rail Pass
$80 for the T2 compartment
$90 supplements (est. add'l $15 for ea. person for 1st class supplement on all legs except Naples to Venice)
Total Rail Pass cost: $345
Savings to use rail pass: $161

Of course, reservation fees would be added, but would exist for either option.

Am I overlooking anything? The rail pass seems to be a good way to save money!

By the way, would you suggest I get tickets from the States for the first leg to ensure that we have a seat from Milan - Genoa directly off of the plane? We'll be travelling on a Friday afternoon (5:00 pm). Thanks so much!

Old Apr 26th, 2000, 10:32 AM
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Wow Tracy ... where did you get all those numbers?

I've to do a lot of educated guessing ...

For price comparison, I would only take the basic fares (in principle you'll have to pay the supplements in both options, though eventually, here and there, an IC supplement may not be charged if you have the pass).

My (probably wrong) math goes:

Milano-Genoa: 140km - approx. Lit 20,000
Genoa-Pisa-Siena: 165km + 110km - approx. Lit 40,000
Roma-Naples: 214km - approx. Lit 30,000
Naples-Venice: 787km - approx. Lit 100,000

Total distance: 1,416 km (you should have a few km to spare in case you decide to use Ben's suggestion of "overshooting" Venice and track back).

Total basic fares: Lit 190,000 x 2 = Lit 380,000

Cost of the 1st class pass: Lit 338,000

Savings: about Lit 40,000

from Milan to Genoa half of the trains are IC and half are "normal" (approx. Lit 10,000 if you get an IC)
from Genoa to Siena - IC train to Pisa, "normal" train thereafter (approx. Lit 11,000)
from Rome to Naples you may play grand and take the Eurostar (approx. Lit 32,500)
from Naples to Venice there are no supplements

Supplements total for 2: Lit 107,000

Total cost approx. at most Lit 445,000 + cabin + reservation fees (less if you get a normal train from Milan to Genoa and/or if you take an IC from Rome to Naples)

Now, this should be more or less what you would pay in Italy ... I have no idea on how much they're asking for a pass in the US. Regarding the issue of assuring places on the train from Milan to Genoa ... I don't know if you may reserve places without having tickets ... if that's possible, in principle you could reserve and get the pass once you're in Milan. If not, you may cross your fingers (and eventually travel standing ... because these trains don't have a restaurant car).

In your shoes I would gamble ... because

a) there are trains at least every hour (wainting an hour wouldn't be an outrageous proice to pay for seats)
b) this is not a main trunk and my mother tells me that she has NEVER reserved and she ALWAYS was able to find a seat when travelling on secondary trunks (she spends 3 months in Italy every year)

If you decide paying extra for getting the pass and first leg reservation in the US that's ok with me. If you decide otherwise and things go wrong ... let me know and we'll regret it over a bottle of Brunello (on my account) somewhere in this world

Old Apr 26th, 2000, 11:54 AM
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Thanks so much. Could you tell from my attempt to quantify everything that I'm an accountant? Your response is extremely helpful to me, and I think it will be to others as well. I have been communicating with several others on this post who are also trying to figure out the whole "train dilemma".

The prices that I obtained were from the rail europe website and they must include internet booking fees or such, making the cost much higher than those that you have estimated in Lit.

I was surprised to see that according to your calculation, the rail pass saves only about $20.00 and possibly an occasional supplement that would otherwise be charged on a point to point ticket. I'm not sure if I'll get the rail pass or not. I'm wondering if there are other advantages to the rail pass to make it more worthwhile (I don't have money to burn but a $20.00 savings doesn't persuade me one way or the other). However, if the rail pass is easier to use, cuts down on waiting in lines or has some other benefit than I might be inclined to make an effort to get it. I'll let you know how it goes. Unfortunately, I won't be able to check this site again until we get back, since I'll be off tomorrow. However, I'll post my findings and opinions when I return.

As for booking the tickets for our first leg from the States before we leave, I think I'll take your advice Paulo and "gamble". I guess the worst that could happen is that we are "stuck" in Milan for a few hours in which case we'll get a chance to see a bit of Milan.

Thank you again for all the information. This site is absolutely the best on the internet and everyone has been so kind!
Old Apr 26th, 2000, 12:45 PM
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I wouldn't buy the pass either ... IMO you have only one critical leg: Naples to Venice. You may settle that as soon as possible. From Genoa to Siena I can't forsee any problems (I wouldn't even care to reserve). From Rome to Naples a reservation is a must. But there are many trains and you may decide which one to take once in Rome. If you decide to take the Eurostar, the reservation fee is included. Walking to the American's Express office in Piazza di Spagna to settle this Naples trip shouldn't be a problem (unless there are 1000s of people there ...).

The way I see it, the only difference between single tickets and the pass is that you have to stamp the tickets using the machine before boarding the train. Having the pass, you'll have to write down your current leg before somebody asks for your ticket.


Old Apr 26th, 2000, 03:42 PM
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One negative aspect of the pass is that it is another thing to keep track of throughout the trip. I doubt it would be replacable if lost or stolen.
Old Apr 26th, 2000, 11:54 PM
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I think there's a new low-cost airline that flies either Milan-Naples or Venice-Naples that might be a better alternative to the final leg of this trip. Maybe some of the airline buffs here can help with the name.

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