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ES Train from Rome to Venice - 1st or 2nd Class?

ES Train from Rome to Venice - 1st or 2nd Class?

Nov 12th, 2009, 08:32 AM
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ES Train from Rome to Venice - 1st or 2nd Class?

We're traveling by train in April 2010 from Rome to Venice (Santa Lucia). Looking at the Trenitalia site, I already have my eye on train #9470, a Eurostar. I'm uncertain as to whether we want a first or second class ticket. Does anyone know what the real difference is (other than the Euros, of course).
Also, would anyone advise purchasing these tickets in advance, or will it be ok to just show up at Termini on our travel day to buy our tickets to Venice?
anndaquino is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 08:35 AM
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The real difference is there are three seats across instead of four and you get a beverage.

Unless it's a major holiday, you can just show up and purchase your ticket. If you want to make sure, purchase a few days before (assuming you are spending a few days in Rome before leaving for Venice).
kybourbon is online now  
Nov 12th, 2009, 11:31 AM
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I've always found ES 2nd class perfectly fine--roomier than coach on an airplane.
ellenem is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 11:43 AM
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ES 2nd class is fine, but that's a long trip. In 1st class cars you don't get as much traffic up and down the aisles with people going to the dining car. They tend to be a little quieter and easier to relax. We travel both. It depends on the distance.
Ann1 is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 12:15 PM
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2nd class on ES/AV trains is nice - first class is much nicer IME
Palenque is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 01:19 PM
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I've been on the ES trains in first class only so I can't compare first class to second class. I just want to add, that first class tickets don't cost much more than a second class ticket. I was able to book first class tickets for about three euros more than second class on a Florence - Rome ticket, because there were discounts available in first class but not in second class (the discounted second class tickets were sold out when I bought my ticket). Check prices for both. You will need to book tickets in advance to qualify for a discount, however, there are 000s of threads fodors that the Trenitalia website does not accept US credit cards.
germanblonde is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 01:59 PM
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Here are the differences between first and second class on Trenitalia ES/AV trains (aside from the difference in fare, which is significant):

1. First class is three-across; second class is USUALLY four-across; hence, first class seats have more SEAT and SHOULDER room.

2. First class seats have a LITTLE more leg room

3. First class seats pivot forward electrically. Second class seats pivot forward manually.

4. First class seats are supposed to have plugs for electronic gadgets such as P/Cs, portable DVD players and the like. Second class seats may or may not have these plugs (depending on the age of the railcar).

5. In First class on AV trains, passengers are offered complimentary coffee, tea, juice, cookies or crackers, plus an Italian-language newspaper on morning departures. In second class, you can purchase your beverage and snacks for a very small sum from the restaurant/bar railcar. This is nothing more than a marketing "gimmick"

6. There are usually four First class railcars (195 seats), plus seven Second class railcars (476 seats) per ES/AV convoy. Train composition may vary by route and season.

7. Luggage racks at the ends of First class railcars are larger than those of Second class railcars. In Second class, when these racks fill-up, your only remaining options are to stow small luggage overhead, and wedge larger luggage in-between the seat rows near you (when seat rows face each other). The overhead compartments are usually SMALLER than those on Intercity (IC) trains.

OPINION: Between Rome and Venice (4.5 hours), second class is perfectly fine for most travellers. If you are particularly discriminating or "fussy", consider paying more for first class (but the fare differential is significant).

SAVE EVEN MORE MONEY: Take the IC train "Matilde Serao" and save 20 Euros per person. Potentially save 30 Euros per person with the "AMICA" 20% discount promotional fare on the IC train. Travel time is only 90 minutes longer than the ES. You but buy the ticket no later than midnight of the day before travel.

ADVANCE PURCHASE PROMOTIONAL FARE FOR ES/AV TRAINS: The 15% discounted fare requires a minimum 7-day advance purchase (for either first or second class).

NOTE: The ES trains are "nicer" than the IC, but many people find the IC perfectly acceptable.

Any further questions?
GAC is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 02:10 PM
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I would not take the IC train for this long of a journey unless I couldn't afford anything else.

See my links on this thread for pictures of 1st and 2nd cl.
kybourbon is online now  
Nov 12th, 2009, 03:28 PM
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I have never seen anyone else make this comment but I swear I wasn't drinking the entire trip. We took several first and second class trips. I found second class seats more comfortable because the tables between the seats facing one another in first class were right at knee level (I am 6'3"). I had less leg room in first class than in second class, where my kness slipped under the table.

I hope someone else reports this someday.
colduphere is offline  
Nov 13th, 2009, 06:28 AM
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I recently took an IC train between Florence and Venice and i found it more comfortable than the ES trains i had taken - why because with a first-class Eurailpass i had practically the whole train care to myself whereas on ES trains they are usually IME fairly full. But i did have to take a shuttle train from Florence SMN town centre station to Firenze-Rifredi station to hop on the IC train, which did not go into the deadend SMN station and similarly in Venice get off at Mestre and take a shuttle train to Venice Santa Lucia, main station on the canal. But at that time with a railpass i could just hop on the IC trains and that was why i took it - also not having to pay the 15 euros pass supplement. Now however i believe even to use IC trains you must make a 5 euro seat reservation, negating this flexibility aspect.

But i would not say IC trains are necessarily less comfy than ES/AV trains.
Palenque is offline  
Nov 13th, 2009, 07:52 AM
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Many older Italians, who are used to the traditional layout of the IC trains (separate compartment with sliding glass doors), actually prefer these to the more modern layout (open railcar seating) of the ES and AV trains. There is more privacy in the separate compartments, and no constant foot traffic down the center aisle, as on the ES/AV trains. The IC trains also have larger overhead racks (for large suitcases) than those on the ES/AV trains. IC trains are all non-smoking and air conditioned, as the ES/AV trains. Sometimes, the a/c is non-functional, but this can also occur on the ES/AV trains. Seats on the ES/AV trains are more contoured than those on the IC trains, but otherwise are not any more comfortable. There is actually more seat and shoulder room in second class seats on most IC trains (3-across) than second class seats on the ES/AV train (4-across).

IC trains are also less expensive than the ES/AV trains, and qualify for the 20% discounted "AMICA" promotional fare with an advance purchase no later than midnight of the day prior to travel. By contrast, the 15% discount on the ES/AV trains requires a minimum SEVEN-DAY advance purchase.

BUT BEWARE (as Palenque notes above) that most IC trains NO LONGER STOP AT FLORENCE SMN STATION. They stop at the outlying Rifredi Station, where you must take a connecting local train to reach SMN Station. Take this into account if you take an IC train to or from Florence, because it will add to your travel time. Between Rome and Florence, only two of the seven IC trains stop at SMN Station.

The IC train can be a very sensible choice on segments such as Rome/Naples; Rome/Venice and even Naples/Venice, if you don't mind paying less for a longer travel time.
GAC is offline  
Nov 13th, 2009, 12:09 PM
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>>>There is more privacy in the separate compartments,<<<

I feel as if there is less privacy because you are scrunched in a room with five other people. Every time anyone in the compartment changes positions, everyone notices. You also have to step over people's legs getting in and out of the compartment. While there might be more shoulder/seat room, it feels like less leg room since there is no table separating you from the people you are facing. There's no dining car like on the AV/ES trains although you might be able to get a drink on some of the longer routes.
kybourbon is online now  
Nov 13th, 2009, 12:21 PM
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But if the IC train is more than half empty, there will be empty compartments or compartments with only one or two other passengers. With the sliding glass door closed, and everybody in the compartment either reading, listening to music on a walkman, sleeping or looking out the window, it should be more "peaceful" than on the bus-like ES/AV trains, where there is constant traffic up and down the long central aisle, plus people conversing nearby, or cell phones ringing constantly. Alternatively, passengers travelling together in a group and seated in the same compartment can more easily have a "private conversation" on the IC train than on the ES/AV train.

So, there are pros and cons with the "traditional" IC trains (as with the ES/AV trains), and whether you like or dislike them also turns on your personal point of view.

Plus, foregoing the dining car is not a great loss, in my opinion, except perhaps for the freshly made espresso from the bar man's espresso machine.

But the plain fact is that the IC trains are slowly being phased out (fares are too low), something for which some people evidently will not shed a tear.
GAC is offline  
Nov 13th, 2009, 12:36 PM
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>>>But if the IC train is more than half empty, there will be empty compartments or compartments with only one or two other passengers<<<

If you were to move into an empty compartment and people board the train at the next stop that have reserved those seats, then you have to move which means getting your luggage out of the overhead which is higher than on AV/ES trains. IC trains are reserved seats these days.

>>>everybody in the compartment either reading, listening to music on a walkman, sleeping or looking out the window, it should be more "peaceful<<<

Murphy's law says that won't ever happen. I can assure cell phones rang constantly in the compartment I was in on my last IC ride. At least I wasn't trapped in a compartment with a crying baby.

I don't even consider the sliding glass door closed as a plus since it can trap in odors of your compartment mates.

Yes, we all have our personal preferences.
kybourbon is online now  
Nov 13th, 2009, 01:07 PM
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Yes, kybourbon, I know that you will never be persuaded to see the positive aspects of the IC trains, and that no amount of cost savings will tempt you to "trade down" from an ES or an AV train. But, the world is filled with all types of people, and there are certainly as many people who are more forgiving of the IC's shortcomings (if one can call them such) as there are people such as you who won't. I don't stand in judgment of either position; everyone is entitled to his opinion; and I am simply grateful that, at least for now, there are less expensive train choices on certain popular routes.
GAC is offline  
Nov 28th, 2009, 07:09 AM
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Thanks, all, for the information and the interesting discussion. Ann
anndaquino is offline  
Nov 28th, 2009, 08:00 AM
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It wouldn't cross my mind to go anything other than second class in Europe.
alihutch is offline  
Nov 28th, 2009, 08:23 AM
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I like IC trains when they are not crowded. But on crowded trains, I prefer ES trains because of squatters. I felt it was much harder to kick the squatters out of a compartment.
greg is offline  
Nov 28th, 2009, 09:46 AM
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This posting now requires some updating:

1. Effective with the new schedules on 12/13/2009, there will be hourly ES/AV "Frecciaargento" trains between Rome and Venice. Travel time has been cut to 3 hours 48 minutes, or less.

2. The new standard ("base" rate) one-way fares are 73 Euros in second and 94 Euros in first class. These fares can be discounted by 15% and 30% by purchasing at least 7 and 15 days in advance. Unfortunately, this currently cannot be accomplished online with a non-Italian credit card.

3. Next week, we will know the schedules and fares for the IC trains between Rome and Venice, which will be much cheaper but will take longer than the ES/AV. Travellers on a budget should consider taking the IC train to save money.

4. Second class is fine for most travellers, although first class is available on both the ES/AV and the IC trains.
GAC is offline  
Nov 28th, 2009, 06:11 PM
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Wow, thanks,GAC...appreciate it!
anndaquino is offline  
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