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European train passes - help from a rail interpreter?

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European train passes - help from a rail interpreter?

Old May 15th, 2012, 02:25 AM
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European train passes - help from a rail interpreter?

I will be traveling across 4 countries by train. I have found which trains and times (if I've got it right?) and it appears best to buy a pass for myself and 2 adult daughters (both under 25yrs). But I can't work out which one/s? There are so many..... Plus, I am also not sure if a Eurostar train between London & Paris is part of the same European pass package?

I've spent hours looking for information (of which there is plenty), but I'm confused with it all and feeling pretty dumb.

I can't even figure out how to work the online booking to get a quote on the cost of some tickets (eg Italy)?

Is there a train guru out there, with patience for the uninitiated? Our train itinerary is as follows;

mid September maybe 2 day trips near London - Train -London Metro

18 September INTERCOUNTRY London to Paris - train - Eurostar

end September maybe x 2 day trips outside of Paris eg Versailles - train Paris Metro line

30 September INTERCOUNTRY Paris to Thun Switzerland (via Geneva) TGV and Inter City (IC) (2 x transfers during transit)

1 October INTERCOUNTRY Thun to Venice (via Milan transfer) - train - Eurocity and Eurostar Italy (1 x transfer during transit)

4 October Venice to Florence - train - Trenitalia (high speed FRECCIARGENTO)

8 October Florence to Rome- train - Trenitalia (high speed FRECCIARGENTO)

Any advice is welcome.
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Old May 15th, 2012, 02:44 AM
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Have you looked at: http://www.seat61.com/
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Old May 15th, 2012, 03:27 AM
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nope, that is one resource I didn't find. It looks like it has potential. I'll give it a go. thanks
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Old May 15th, 2012, 03:33 AM
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Eurostar is not part of the same network and you must book your tickets separately at www.eurostar.com the sooner you buy, the better the price!
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Old May 15th, 2012, 04:24 AM
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Typically, local transport within cities isn't covered by country or multi-country passes.

The Eurostar from London to Paris is not covered, but certain railpasses give you a discount on this train. Usually you can find cheaper advance purchase tickets on www.eurostar.com (price your London/Paris tickets on that link).

Certain trains require you pay a supplement in addition to the cost of the pass such as the TGV, trains between France/Switzerland/Italy and all faster trains in Italy. Some TGV trains have quotas for rail pass holders. You can find advance purchase discounts on the TGV website (discount fares appear at 90 days out and can sell out). When using French train websites, don't select the US as your country as that makes them rollover to RailEurope which doesn't have the discounted tickets.

For Switzerland, use the Swiss site www.sbb.ch. You might find better prices if you book Thun/Milan on the Swiss site and Milan/Venice on the Italian train website Trenitalia. From Switzerland to Milan you can find some discounted tickets for about 25chf (called Saver on their website) if you select an EC train.

You can price tickets for France on either:
http://www.voyages-sncf.com/
http://www.tgv-europe.com/en/?DISTRI...ited%20Kingdom

If you only plan to use the faster trains in Italy, price them on Trenitalia's LeFrecce link. You can find Mini Fares as cheap as 9€ between major cities and can book 120 days out. Second class is perfectly fine on these trains as well as on French TGV or the EC trains from Switzerland.
http://www.fsitaliane.it/cms/v/index...003f16f90aRCRD
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Old May 15th, 2012, 04:35 AM
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You might try entering your info on railsaver.com. It will tell you whether you should get a pass, but doesn't take into account discounted tickets you can purchase on each country's website. After entering your itinerary (don't include London or London/Paris since it's not part of any pass you would get) and be sure to change the drop-down box that says "always railpass" to "if less expensive".
http://www.railsaver.com/
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Old May 15th, 2012, 10:35 AM
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H L,

Good advice above

For trains within and from France use www.voyages-sncf.com Use the French version)
I use http://imtranslator.com when nexessary

For Thun--> Venice use http://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html

For Italy use www.trenitalia.com (has an English version)

Looking at your itinerary, I don;t expect a railpass to save you money.

You have to pay extra for seats on some high-speed train, the ES* in Italy and the French TGV.

In addition, railpass reservations on those trains are limited.

Finally, you will miss out on all of the discounts.

Enjoy your planning

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Old May 15th, 2012, 10:58 AM
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Here is a website that will tell you how to navigate the TGV website:

http://www.nickbooth.id.au/Tips/FrenchTrain.htm
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Old May 18th, 2012, 06:52 PM
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The info you have given me is much appreciated and I will follow your advice re point to point tickets.

I am relieved this is my better option because to me, it is straight forward and I don't have to worry about reservations and additional costs. all very confusing.

I would never have thought to buy point to point by shopping country websites for discounts. Good advice.

Thank you!!
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Old May 18th, 2012, 07:03 PM
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PS - a big thank you to kybourbon for explaining the Eurostar booking for me. I immediately booked upon reading your post and it only cost me AUD$46 per person. It definitely pays off to book in advance! You've done me a great favour!
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Old May 18th, 2012, 11:33 PM
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It looks like it has potential.

It's probably the best resource for train information on the internet.

And as the railpass section explains passes are rarely the bargain they were 30 years ago due to the number of supplements and reservation fees for night & fast trains. You may also find that in a country a local pass is better - or even just buying point to point tickets.
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Old May 20th, 2012, 05:32 PM
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In case anyone else is reading this thread and wondering the outcome of point to point v passes, I have been working from the the contributions above and found the info absolutely spot on. Passes appear good at face value, but when balanced with discounts available through point to point, passes are more expensive and problematic (reservations, limited seats etc).

I understand the trick to multi train rides in Europe in the current market, is shopping for point to point and well in advance to get the discounts, which are significant. It is also beneficial to compare the cost of a train ticket through each country's train sites. Ie, some countries offer a big discount for the same train not discounted in others.

If you cannot book well in advance, I am not sure if passes might then be the better option because you probably won't find discounted point to point? If you are thinking of a pass at last minute, check to make sure seat allocations are not exhausted and still compare passes by checking what each country offers if you buy from them. info in this thread is really best suited to travelers with time to plan ahead.

A huge thanks to all who have got me through this difficult subject!!! You've saved me money and headache.
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