Eurail train reservations - help

Jun 29th, 2012, 12:23 PM
  #1  
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Eurail train reservations - help

Four of us are flying into Zurich and taking the train to Dijon. We have purchased the Eurail France-Switzerland pass. I have read everywhere that reservations are required for the particular TGV train we hope to take. The time between our scheduled arrival and the first available train departure from the train station is about an hour and a half. The next available train is early afternoon. Ideally, we would like to arrive in Dijon early rather than later, and of course we would prefer seating together. However, we have a few questions:
1) Will we presumably have enough time disembarking, getting luggage, etc. and making this train?
2) Is it better to make a reservation for the first train? Can it be changed for a later train in the early afternoon if we miss it? Does a Rail Protection Plan apply to this?
3) Are train reservations available after we land rather than prior to our trip?

Any input and suggestions are appreciated!
jssuze is offline  
Jun 29th, 2012, 01:06 PM
  #2  
 
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Rail Pass Protection Plan does not apply to missed train reservations - only for losing your pass or having to cancel a trip for medical reasons, etc.

I would suggest that wherever you bought your pass from you have them make the reservation for the earlier train - you may not get one by just showing up if they train is full and there have been problems with railpass holders getting on French TGVs as there is some kind of allotment for railpass holders on each train - so even if train is not full you may not get railpass seat reservation -

So bite the bullet IMo and make a seat reservation for that train - but that seat reservation, if made in U S would probably not be transferrable to another train and you'd have to make one there if missed first one - probably can but not sure - in first class you have much better chance of getting reservation - anyway check out these superb IMO sites for possible answers to your questions - www.ricksteves.com; www.seat61.com; and www.budgeteuropetravel.com - actually I buy passes from Byron at the latter for years and even though you already have a pass I'm sure if you call him he'll answer all your questions - always has mine - in case you want to talk to an expert about those questions.
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 30th, 2012, 01:24 AM
  #3  
 
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With a pass, the reservation fee for this TGV-Lyria train is €10. Passholder places are quota-controlled on this route, so don't assume you can rock up and pay this on the day, even if loads of seats are available - the railpassholder quota may have sold out days ago.

You cannot book the passholder reservation online direct with the train operator (they only sell whole tickets) so you'll need to reserve online or by phone with an agency such as Rail Europe, who may well change a fee on top of the €10.

It may actually be cheaper to simply go to www.tgv-lyria.com/en and buy a ticket from Zurich to Dijon as if no pass was held, because if you book a couple of months ahead you may well find the cheapest €25 'Picolissimo' fare available, which INCLUDES a reservation.

I certainly wouldn't waste a €60-per-day flexi railpass day plus €10 reservation fee if I could pre-book this journey for €25 without using a pass!

Just remember that the cheapest tickets such as the €25 are no refunds, no changes, so don't miss the train.
Man_in_seat_61 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2012, 05:25 AM
  #4  
 
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what if the OP has a first class pass and wishes to travel first class - what are the disconted first-class fares equivalent to the 25 euro fare or are there any equivalents besides full fare? If first-class and no alternatives and OP, like me, wants to travel first class with my pass then the 10 euro fee plus a booking fee (fee per order not person person in case of the booking fee) then I'd go for that. but if the OP has a 2nd class pass then yes skip a day and book the 25 euro fare, which again is non-changeable so if coming in by plane leave a lot of fudge time so a late plane don't make you miss your train and then have to buy a full fare ticket since the passholder allotments may have been sold out.
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2012, 09:54 AM
  #5  
 
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Well there is another option - take a domestic Swiss train route via Lausanne to Valorbe, border station - hop any train as no seat reservations are required - just hop on and go first class - one in Vallorbe just buy a TGV ticket for a few euros I would think - less than the 25 euros in 2nd class perhaps that Man in Seat 61 trumpets and go most of the way first class and perhaps pay less than 25 euros for the short Vallorbe to Dijon TGV portion - and from the airport leave on the very next train, at your leisure, to Lausanne - frequent local trains from Lausanne to Vallorbe - buy your Vallorbe to Dijon TGV either online at www.voyages-sncf.com or just once in Zurich at the airport train station. Maybe a good solution.
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2012, 12:18 PM
  #6  
 
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You can indeed go the whole way without making a single reservation if push comes to shove - take a train to Lucerne then regional train to Vallorbe where there are some bus/regional train links to Dijon, neither of which require seat reservations but you just show up - one such rail link (bus Vallorbe to Fresne) leaves Vallorbe most days at 16:20 and takes about an hour to get to Dijon-Ville. Well as a backup in case you cannot make the 10 euro reservation upon arrival and did not get the 25 euro fare Man in Seat 61 touts.
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 6th, 2012, 09:33 AM
  #7  
 
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and there are alternatives to the direct Zurich to Dijon route - in case you wish to wait to arrival and then cannot make the 10 euro mandated fee for that train - you can take direct trains from the Zurich airport to Basel - then take a regional train to Mulhouse (no seat reservations required on either - just hop on) and then for the final segment Mulhouse to Dijon though a TGV should be little problem making a reservation, especially in first class, for just 3 euros. Make that in Basel' SNCF station, part of the main Basel station. Just alternatives to consider in case need other options. There are lots and lots of Basel-Mulhouse-Dijon trains so if one Mulhouse-Dijon train was full for pass holders others would be unlikely and the regular Mulhouse-Dijon fare TGV cannot be that much - worst case scenario.
PalenQ is offline  

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