Connection times for Italian trains

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Jul 27th, 2007, 06:51 AM
  #1
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Connection times for Italian trains

Hi all,
We leave for our trip on August 1. We're so excited! Thank you to everyone for all their help and comments.

One more question (although probably not my last).
In looking at train schedules, how much time should I leave for connections (ie. to buy tickets, get to the right platform)?
My two main areas of concern are the Naples train station (when traveling between Rome and Sorrento) and the Milan train station (when traveling between Venice and Varenna).
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Jul 27th, 2007, 07:04 AM
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Napoli Centrale and Milano Centrale are both big stations but both have a simple layout: they are terminal stations so, when you arrive, walk along the platform to the front of the train, then look for your connection. There's no need to worry how much time you need. Trains to Sorrento run twice every hour, so just go to the Circumvesuviana ticket office, buy a ticket, then look at the indicator to see when the next train to Sorrento leaves.
For Varenna, you'll be able to buy the ticket at Venezia. Trains to Varenna seem to be hourly so, if you miss one, have a coffee and wait for the next.
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Jul 27th, 2007, 07:05 AM
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J62
 
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1. you should buy your tickets for all legs before boarding your 1st train. Do not wait to buy tickets at your connecting station. Either purchase tickets ahead of time on the web or when you are in Rome.

2. Without baggage you can get between tracks in as short as about 10min (less if you hurry and know which track to head to). With baggage - by the time you get off the train, find out where to go, schlep to the next track, plan on min 15.
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Jul 27th, 2007, 07:09 AM
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"you should buy your tickets for all legs before boarding your 1st train."

That won't work for Sorrento which is on the Circumvesuviana system, not the main Italian state railway. You need to buy Napoli-Sorrento tickets in Napoli.
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Jul 27th, 2007, 07:11 AM
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It's not absolutely necessary to buy all tickets in advance, but it will save you stress. Lines at ticket windows can be long. There are ticket machines in all big stations, but these can be confusing the first time you use them, so leave yourself some time to figure it out.

When you have all tickets in hand, changing trains is not difficult - it's all on the same level.

Make sure you stamp your tickets for the next train in the little yellow machines you'll find at the head of each track. You may have to try more than one to get one that works!

best regards,
Deirdré Straughan

living & travelling in Italy:
www.beginningwithi.com
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Jul 27th, 2007, 07:14 AM
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J62
 
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Good advice on making sure you stamp your ticket before boarding!! (not required for ticketless travel, but definitely if you are carrying a good-on-any-train ticket.

The fine for not doing so is 40Euro per ticket! A nice conductor may let you off with a 5 Euro 'didn't stamp ticket before boarding train if you seek me out' fee.
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Jul 27th, 2007, 07:28 AM
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Thanks for the advice on buying the Milan to Varenna tickets in Venice. I know from looking at the train schedules they're all the same kind of train, so if a buy a ticket for the 2 p.m. train, but end up catching one at 3 p.m., that's not a problem?
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Jul 27th, 2007, 07:32 AM
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Another comment/question regarding the Naples train station: I found a post saying this is much less hectic now because you need an actual ticket to be in the platform area? Is this true for the most part?
I guess I'm worried about the jetlagged daze we'll be in...
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Jul 27th, 2007, 07:44 AM
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The Milano-Varenna trains are regional trains with no seat reservations. Tickets are valid for any train. Standard tickets are valid two months and can be used at any time. Before boarding the train, stamp the ticket in the yellow machine on the platform which stamps the date and time on it; it is then valid for six hours.
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Jul 27th, 2007, 07:45 AM
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> I know from looking at the train schedules they're all the same kind of train, so if a buy a ticket for the 2 p.m. train, but end up catching one at 3 p.m., that's not a problem?

Itīs not just "the same kind of train". If it is an ES or ICPlus train, you need a reservation before boarding. In the worst case (missing the train) you can ask for a new reservation, but you have to do that.
If it is an IC, IR or regional train you can just board with the same ticket.
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Jul 27th, 2007, 07:52 AM
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I'm sorry I wasn't clear. The Milan to Varenna trains all seem to be "R" trains, so I guess I got my answer, that a ticket on an earlier train will be good for a later train.
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Jul 27th, 2007, 07:54 AM
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bkmkg
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Jul 27th, 2007, 08:44 AM
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ira
 
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HI M,

>In looking at train schedules, how much time should I leave for connections (ie. to buy tickets, get to the right platform)?

You don't have to buy tickets at the connecting stations.

If you are going from A to C via B, you buy a tcket from A to C.

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Jul 27th, 2007, 08:53 AM
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Thanks, Ira, although that's not possible for the Rome/Sorrento/Rome excursion.
I guess my main concern is planning when to leave the hotel from Sorrento in the morning, so that I sort of know which Circumvesuviana train to catch, and then have a decent time gap to buy tix/find platform for the train to Rome.
I know there are trains running to Rome very often, but I'd rather catch one of the IC or ES trains instead of the high speed train (1.5 hrs to Rome) which costs an arm and bundle, especially when multiplied times 4.
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