Europe Train Travel

Jul 8th, 2001, 06:40 AM
Jen Ratta
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Europe Train Travel

My husband and I will be in Europe for 1 week in February and need information about train travel. We would like to travel one-way from one city to another (ie. Madrid to Lisbon or Barcelona) so we probably don't need a "pass". I've tried various sights but have been only able to find pass (monthly, etc) information. Can anyone help? Thanks!
Jul 8th, 2001, 06:43 AM
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Contact a travel agent. You will be able to get point to point prices and schedules. Point to point tickets are not available until 30 days prior to your departure. Two companies I use are
DER Travel and Rail Europe. They know their product.
Jul 8th, 2001, 07:14 AM
Marc David Miller
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You might also consider flying. The one way fare Madrid-Barcelona was about $60 last April on Air Europa, and the flight about one hour.
Jul 8th, 2001, 07:18 AM
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Try the rail surope site:
They have schedules and fares. You need to scroll down to the bottom to find the link, but it's there.
Jul 8th, 2001, 07:26 AM
Bob Brown
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Hi Jen. Bear in mind that if you do business with Rail Europe you will often pay as much as 50% more for the same ticket as compared with purchasing the same ticket in Europe. Also, I at times, find RE schedule information to be at variance with the national rail sites.
For example, I just checked the prices and schedules between Paris and Milan.
The French national rail web site, the SNCF, gives the price at 79.27 euros for a weekend ticket. RE gives a price that is much higher. Also, the RE site says the train leaves from Paris Bercy; the SNCF and the DB (German) site both say Gare de Lyon.
Unfortunately, the European web sites often do not report international prices or prices outside of their own country.
But over the years I have checked prices against Rail Europe quotes and invariably I have found RE to be higher.
Jul 8th, 2001, 07:32 AM
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Thanks for your clarifications Bob. The reason I referenced the site is that it DOES give fare quotes, unlike the other sites. And YES -- they do add a premium for their services. Each person will need to decide whether that premium is worth having a ticket in hand before you leave. My general policy has been to get tickets ahead when it is a long trip, perhaps overnight or over a holiday period or on a route with infrequent service.
Jul 8th, 2001, 10:40 AM
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Unless it is a holiday, in February you won't have any trouble buying the ticket there. It is much less expensive and, with the larger cities, you should have a choice of departure/arrival times.
Jul 8th, 2001, 11:01 AM
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Another tip. We used RailEurope to purchase some reservations and sleeper car accomodations. We did not purchase our railpasses from them. We got a reservation for couchettes from Nice to Barcelona with a change in Port Bou/Ceberre scheduled to arrive before 6am. RailEurope said the first connection to Barcelona was not until 10am. I was very unhappy about this but felt there was nothing I could do. Our night train to Barcelona left Nice over an hour late. When I awoke the next morning we were already in Ceberre and another passenger told me that he understood they were letting us off at the next station Port Bou. There were at least three trains from there to Barcelona before 10am. The information I had been given was erroneous and imcomplete. What I found to be most helpful was getting direct rail information from the stations themselves. Try to find helpful staff because some are fantastic and speak English well and others couldn't be bothered.
Jul 8th, 2001, 11:18 AM
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If you want to see prices and timetables for rail travel within Spain, try the website of the national railway line RENFE. It's in English.


It's very easy to buy train tickets when you are in Spain (or wherever). You can buy them days in advance if it would make you feel more secure.
Flying between Madrid and Barcelona is much faster because there isn't as yet, an AVE (high speed train) line from Barcelona to Madrid. It takes about 6 hours on the TALGO compared with just over 1 hour by air. There are very frequent flights between these two major cities (a sort of city hopper) which you can just turn up for without a reservation (I think they call it a puente -a bridge).
Jul 8th, 2001, 07:11 PM
Jen Ratta
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Thanks, everyone! Just to follow up....
we'll be there during President's Day/mid-Winter break. Will we be able to buy tickets when we arrive in Madrid for travel 3 days later to Lisbon or Barcelona? I will also research flying via Air Europa. Thanks again!!

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