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Eurostar Italia: Differences between First and Second Class

Eurostar Italia: Differences between First and Second Class

May 16th, 2003, 08:51 AM
  #1  
GAC
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Eurostar Italia: Differences between First and Second Class

Many people have inquired as to the differences between first and second class on Eurostar Italia trains, and whether the additional cost of first class is justifiable. Here are the principal differences:

First class rail cars carry fewer seats, which are three across, are wider and plusher than those in second class, and recline more.

Second class rail cars have higher seat density, are configured four across, with tight leg room for people over 6 feet in height. The seats do recline.

During hot weather, because of lower seat density in first class, the air conditioning gives the impression of working better than in second class.

There are more second class rail cars, and second class is typically more crowded. First class caters to Italian business travelers and upper-income tourists.

The luggage racks at the ends of second class rail cars are apt to fill up more quickly than those in first class. Additional luggage can always be wedged between seat rows. The overhead luggage racks do not accommodate large pieces of luggage.

There is complimentary coffee, juice, cookies/saltines, and Italian newspapers in first class.

Second class almost always represents better value, and is adequate for most travellers except those expecting higher standards of comfort.

Point-to-point tickets on Eurostar Italia trains include the cost of the seat reservation. The ticket is valid only on the date and train selected.

It is not mandatory to punch the ticket in the yellow machines for Eurostar Italia trains, as is the case on all other Italian trains. You may, however, punch the ticket if you wish.

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May 16th, 2003, 10:36 AM
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The differences between first and second class on Intercity trains (IC) are even fewer than on Eurostar Italia trains. These are the differences:

IC second class rail cars have 13 compartments of six seats.

IC first class rail cars have 9 compartments of six seats, resulting in more leg room.

First class seats have upgraded upholstery.

Corridor in first class rail cars is carpeted.

First class rail cars are less crowded and generally kept cleaner. Because of lower seat density, the air conditioning sometimes gives the impression of working better.

Seat reservations are available on IC trains for a fee of 3 Euros per seat, per train. Reservations are a good idea in second class on heavily-traveled routes and during peak travel periods. It is not uncommon for the corridors of IC trains to be jammed with standing passengers, particularly in second class. As contrasted to Eurostar Italia trains (where all seats must be sold on a reserved basis), there is no control on the number of people who may board an IC train.

You must punch the train ticket in the yellow punching machines before boarding IC trains, or be subject to a penalty.
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May 16th, 2003, 10:47 AM
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GAC,

This is great information that would have taken people like me ages to accumulate from various sources. Thanks for posting it!

I do have kind of a dumb question though. It just a educational question as I've not been yet. In the event you purchase a 2nd class IC ticket with a reservation or a high volume route, what lets the mass of folks on the train know that it's your seat? I guess I mean, is it common to hop on a crowded train and find your reserved seat already occupied and have to deal with that? Or is the seat physically marked as being reserved?
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May 16th, 2003, 10:47 AM
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with a reservation ON a high volume route.
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May 16th, 2003, 10:48 AM
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JBX
 
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Thanks for spelling it all out, GAC. Italian rail travel is a topic frequently raised on the forum. For other threads,


>Help with Train Tickets<
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34417236

>Confused about train travel in italy?? need help<
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34418594

>Eurostar vs. IC trains in Italy<
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34417038

>Train tickets- Italy<
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34414785
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May 16th, 2003, 11:49 AM
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Clifton: in answer to your question, each compartment on an Italian Intercity train (both first and second classes) has a small "reservation board" on the left hand window next to the glass door. Reserved seats are individually marked with a paper coupon which shows the specific date and segment for which the seat is reserved, (e.g. "Roma-Termini/Firenze S.M. Novella on XXX date" on an IC train travelling between Naples and Milan). The seats themselves are all individually marked, as in a concert hall. However, some compartments on some rail cars are intentionally kept "unreserved". When the train is full to capacity, with people standing in the corridor, every available seat is invariably occupied, whether or not reserved. Persons wrongfully occupying a reserved seat know full well that they will have to relinquish the seat once the rightful occupant presents the train ticket which reflects the reserved seat. The rightful occupant, however, must be careful to be on the correct rail car in the correct class of service, and claim the correct reserved seat which is numbered on the reservations board for the specific segment and date which has been reserved. It is very easy to become confused, since most IC trains have numerous rail cars for both classes of service. I have never known this to present a problem; in any case, the rightful occupant can always call an onboard train ticket agent to "evict" the wrongful occupant (I have never seen this happen).

If for some reason the traveller is unable to travel on the IC train for which he has a reserved seat, the ticket itself is still valid on any other IC train for the same segment (assuming it has not been punched in the yellow machine). The seat reservation, of course, is lost, unless a new reservation for a different train is purchased. Tickets are valid for two months from the date of purchase, and for 24 hours after being punched (6 hrs. if journed is under 200 kilometers)

On Eurostar Italia, every seat is sold on a reserved basis, so it is far less likely for there to be confusion if the train is full (the most common source of confusion is that the traveller is not in the correct rail car for which he is reserved).
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May 16th, 2003, 12:20 PM
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What happens if you are not able to travel on the Eurostar train for which you have reserved a seat?

1. You can change your seat reservation to a different train, free of charge, at any time PRIOR to the departure of the train for which you hold the reservation (note well that "departure" means the time of initial departure of the train from its point of origin, which is not necessarily the departure point for which you hold the reservation; e.g. you are reseved from Florence to Venice, but the train originates in Rome, so you must rebook before the time the train departs from Rome).

2. Once the train has begun its journey from its point of origin, and for 24 hrs. thereafter, you can change your seat reservation for an extra fee of 3 Euros per seat.

3. 24 hrs. of more after the train has begun its journey, you can still use the ticket on a different Eurostar train (for the same segment), by informing train personnel and paying an extra fee of 8 Euros per seat.

4. All seats on Eurostar Italia trains are sold on a RESERVED basis. The ticket price includes the reservation.
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May 16th, 2003, 01:18 PM
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We're on a roll here ..........

What about Italian trains which are NOT Eurostar Italia (ES) or Intercity (IC)?

1. They are classified "regionali", "diretti",
"interregionali" and "espressi"

2. Are slower than ES and IC (stop at more stations)

3. Are less expensive than ES and IC

4. Have heating but no air conditioning

5. All seats sold UNRESERVED

6. Many "regionali" trains have only second class, because they cater to commuters on relatively short journeys

7. You can use an IC ticket on one of these other trains, but you're wasting part of your money

8. Some trains have very modern rail cars and are quite comfortable, though slower than ES and IC. Others have older, less comfortable, and noisy rail cars

9. Some modern rail cars on commuter trains have extremely limited space for large luggage, and very small overhead luggage racks (since they are double deckers)

10. You must punch your ticket in the yellow punching machine prior to boarding (same is true on an IC train)
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May 16th, 2003, 02:59 PM
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RAR
 
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You must also punch your ticket if it's for an IC train.

Espresso trains are usually overnights, and require reservations (must be bought 24 hours in advance). Generally only one espresso per night runs without advance reservations. That doesn't mean you cant get on the train without a reservation, just that you are not guaranteed a seat/couchette. Couchettes can be bought from a conductor when the train arrives (depending on space of course).

Lastly, I and everyone I know seems to prefer the seats on the regional trains over the Eurostar ones. There is no stupid table on the regionals, resulting in my leg space (plus the chairs just seem easier to relax in). The intercity trains definitely win in the comfort section though, have to love their seats.
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May 17th, 2003, 01:47 PM
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GAC, Appreciate the quick and comprehensive response. It's just one of those things that occurred to be awhile back. Again, thanks for all the time you took into putting this thread together.
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May 18th, 2003, 08:34 AM
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GAC:

Thanks so much for this info. My husband and I are traveling on Eurostar (at least that's the plan, we will buy tickets upon arrival in Italy) from Florence to Venice in July. We have gone back and forth deciding between first and second class, since we've heard there's not much difference between the two.

However, now that we've read this info, we will probaly go with first class for the extra comfort of traveling during the hot season, as well as the fact that my husband is rather tall.

Thanks again for the insight.
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May 20th, 2003, 11:53 AM
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GAC
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There was more leg room in second class on the much cheaper interregionale train (IR) between Verona and Bolzano than on the Eurostar in second class, since the Eurostar car has a higher seat density. However, the Eurostar is considerably quieter and faster than the interregionale, and has air conditioning.
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May 20th, 2003, 12:58 PM
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Great Informations GAC.. Thanks a LOTS..
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May 21st, 2003, 07:28 AM
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Great thread ! Thanks for sharing your expertise.
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May 23rd, 2003, 08:50 PM
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GAC, what a helpful thread! Thanks for taking the time out to write all of this. I made the mistake of not punching my ticket in the yellow machine the first time I got to Italy. Thankfully, the conductor looked at my confused expression and just validated it himself!
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Jun 16th, 2003, 12:20 PM
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GAC
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One of my postings above contains incorrect information: you CANNOT use a Eurostar ticket MORE THAN 24 HRS. after the departure (from point of origin) of the train for which the seat resevation is curretly held. You can, however, board a later Eurostar train (WITHIN 24 hrs. of departure from point of origin of the train for which the reservation is currently held), promptly ADVISE the ticket agent on the train, and pay a supplement of 8 Euros per ticket. If you request a seat reservation change at the train station within 24 hours AFTER departure of the original train, you pay only 3 Euros for the new reservation.
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Jun 16th, 2003, 06:04 PM
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dln
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thanks for writing all this! We're taking the train from Naples to Chiusi, and ole' cheapskate me was going back and forth about spending the extra bucks (scusi! euros!) for first class. Now I will be an informed consumer.
 
Jun 17th, 2003, 05:24 AM
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ira
 
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topping
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Jul 21st, 2003, 07:25 AM
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GAC
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An update on Italian trains: it is no longer true that trains other than the Eurostar Italia (ES) and Intercity (IC) do not have air conditioning. Beginning in June 2003, the regional railways in the Veneto region have begun to install air conditioning on select Interregionale (IR) trains. The IR train which I travelled on between Bologna and the Brenner Pass had very good air conditioning which had been installed the week before. This is the beginning of a trend (at least in the wealthier parts of Italy) to add air conditioning to select local trains which are neither ES nor IC trains. In some cases, the air conditioning is only in first class rail cars. In other cases, the a/c is installed in both classes.
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Sep 10th, 2003, 01:47 PM
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Topping at the request of ira.
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