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How early should we arrive at the train station?

How early should we arrive at the train station?

Old Apr 5th, 2006, 01:21 PM
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How early should we arrive at the train station?

We have reservations so I'm curious how prior to departure we need to be there. Specifically, for departing Rome, Florence and Venice (Santa Lucia) train stations.

Thanks!
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Old Apr 5th, 2006, 01:35 PM
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If you know the layout of the station, and know how to find your platform, and know how to find your rail car then 2 minutes will do. If you don't know at any one of the above then a half hour is advised. Italian train stations are the most confusing in Europe, for three decades running in my experience.
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Old Apr 5th, 2006, 01:46 PM
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The important thing to remember is that the train you are taking to Florence will probably not have "Firenze" written up on the signboard at the head of the track but probably "Milano".

Get there in enough time to look at the departures list ("Partenze" they are (or used to be) pretty much all over the place. Then check your train number and departure time against the departures list, which will tell you what the final destination is. That will be the city named on the signboard at the head of the track.

Be aware that they occasionally change tracks from those listed on "Partenze". Before you get on a train, make sure it's the right one.

One good thing about all the stations you are using (I assume it's Firenze Santa Maria Novella or SMN) is that they are one-level stations; no running up and down stairs.
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Old Apr 5th, 2006, 02:06 PM
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There are LARGE electronic signboards in each of these stations. If you know the time your train is supposed to leave you can see it posted there. This is probably the easiest way to figure out which platform your train is leaving from It will eventually list the platform number or, if you will, the track number.

That track number in Italy is listed as "Binario" and may be abbreviated as "Bi" or "Bin" etc., etc.

You can also use the printed smaller departure charts which were described above. Read downward to the time of your departure;' the train will be listed along with the usual platform number..BUT those numbers can change; the electronic board is the most up-to-date way of finding your train.

If the train starts out from your departure station, such as in Venice S.L. where every train has to start out, they usually push or pull these into the station anywhere from 20 minutes to 1/2 hour proir to departure.
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Old Apr 5th, 2006, 02:20 PM
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Thank you very much. This type of information is exactly what I need

Since we have tix and reservations I assume that we don't have to go through any checkpoints or lines, but merely have the tickets upon boarding. Is this correct?
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Old Apr 5th, 2006, 02:32 PM
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>>>>
I assume that we don't have to go through any checkpoints or lines, but merely have the tickets upon boarding. Is this correct?
>>>>

no "lines", no checkpoints, no check-ins, no customs, no passport control, just find the correct track, wait, and board when it stops for you.
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Old Apr 5th, 2006, 02:35 PM
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You need however is enough time to figure out where you belong & get yourself and your suitcase onto the correct train!
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Old Apr 5th, 2006, 02:53 PM
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You need the correct train AND the correct car if you have reservations. If you are running short of time, you can get in a different car, and then move through the train to find your car and seats. But with luggage, it is much easier to move around on the platform and find your car there---the numbers are posted on the outside of each car. The conductor will come through and check tickets (or not) after the train is underway.
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Old Apr 5th, 2006, 03:13 PM
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Cool. I'm not planning on showing up 5 min till, don't worry! I just wasn't sure what is safe...Within Europe I've only experienced Paris and London stations.

Thanks again!
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Old Apr 5th, 2006, 03:19 PM
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Remember to validate your ticket at the yellow box near the front of the platform!

If it's a "ticketless" ticket, then there's no need to validate, just show your printout, or at the very least, have your confirmation number.
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Old Apr 5th, 2006, 03:43 PM
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Yellow box.

Gotcha
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