Intercity Train

Old May 26th, 2015, 01:16 PM
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Intercity Train

What is an Intercity train in a Blue period?

Does this train require advance booking and are seats reserved?

Thanks.
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Old May 26th, 2015, 01:31 PM
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According to SNCF, an Intercity train is a train that links Paris to other parts of France. They are not TGV trains. The Blue period refers to the off-peak times of day when lower fares are available to seniors and others. Here's the calendar for blue periods. If you are 60+, you may find a Découverte Sénior fare giving you a 20% discount on TER and Intercité trains during blue periods.

http://medias.sncf.com/sncfcom/pdf/c...ervoyageur.pdf

http://www.sncf.com/en/reductions/seniors
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Old May 26th, 2015, 01:36 PM
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I meant to add that as far as I know Intercité trains require reservations and you will see that when you book one. Prems are available on Intercité trains.

http://www.sncf.com/en/discounts/prems-fares
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Old May 26th, 2015, 02:03 PM
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Intercités trains are the non-TGV main line trains. The blue period is the low rate. (Red is the high rate and white is the intermediate rate.)

It is best to have a reservation for the Intercités trains, but they are not obligatory. If there are no seats left, it is totally normal to stand up for the entire trip (and I have had to do it once or twice and did not like it!).
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Old May 26th, 2015, 03:04 PM
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MaineGG has given all the relevant details but...

I always have a first-class Eurailpass so travel in first class though I would not be able to afford it otherwise - but first class on trains kerouac describes is a Godsend - yes SRO, especially leaving Paris in later afternoon and going to in mornings weekdays where first class is almost always half-full or less. IMO pay extra for first class on these trains that can always be a mob scene in 2nd class.

Corail TEOZ trains if they still exist this year do demand seat reservations - ones I take to Les Aburais that are going onto points farther south seem to often make seat reservations mandatory and these automatically come with your ticket - some neat sites for learning about French trains - www.seat61.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com.

InterCity trains seem to have a fairly flat fare structure unlike TGVs where you can save a ton by advance booking - you can get discounted tickets I believe on ICity trains but at less of a savings so just buying before the train is not that bad and gives you total flexibility to hop what train you want when you know you want to.

Discounted tickets I do believe are non-refundable non-changeable and are train-specific.

If you have a full-fare ticket don't forget to cancel it yourself before boarding or it is not considered to be a valid ticket - does not apply to train-specific discounted tickets I believe since those cannot be refunded if not cancelled - you may not see conductors on some trains and the honor system is used with spot checks or when the conductor ultimately does pop around.
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Old May 26th, 2015, 06:19 PM
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A quick check of long-distance Inter-City trains from Austerlitz south shows that most going beyond Saint-Pierre-des-Corps (Tours mainline TGV station) seem to require reservations before boarding - so says www.bahn.de/em - the official schedule site of the German Railways that IME always can be depended on as having current info.)

What is not clear to me is that if those Inter-Cities trains can be boarded by valid full-fare ticket holders without the mandated reservation fee and thus stand until other seats become available (or like in Kerouac's case stay standing for hours though his trips were on trains with no seat requirements and thus anyone can board as long as they have a valid ticket).

Capacity-controlled trains are gaining traction in Europe whereas before inefficient-run highly subsidized state railway monopolies regularly ferried around tons of empty seats now but thru discounts attractive enough to fill those empty seats there are much less of that and indeed cash-strapped public entities that are being held accoutable needs to extract any extra moneys from the public possible..

And are these trains srictly capacty-controlled as are TGVs - meaning only a certain number of passengers being even allowed to board - thus no standing room options - so I wonder if the Inter-Cities trains operate a similar policy on trains where reservations are required but do they in effect let others with a valid point-point ticket board?

Sorry to be so SO verbose but I like to know the exact current policy on all this.

Merci et au revoir!
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Old May 26th, 2015, 10:45 PM
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Intercités trains run throughout France and here is a map of the network:

http://www.developpement-durable.gou...e-20140227.pdf

For the overwhelming majority of these trains you need to buy tickets in advance, like TGV trains, to get the cheapest prices. Reservations are not necessarily mandatory. I take Intercités trains departing from Paris often (including Corail trains) and never have an advanced reservation, almost always with my bike and always with a full fare ticket.

The question about boarding a train without a reservation but with a full fare ticket is a good one and the answer varies. The capitainetrain.com website seemed to me to have a clearer explanation of this than the SNCF website but I haven't explored it fully.
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Old May 27th, 2015, 05:42 AM
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It seems no Intercites trains require reservations so point I ask is mute.
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Old May 27th, 2015, 06:31 AM
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But unless a reservation is expensive wouldn't it make sense to know you have a place to sit?
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Old May 27th, 2015, 06:32 AM
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Well, if you go to sncf.com, the Intercité trains from Paris to Brive all say "réservation de place obligatoire". On the Capitaine Train site, that is not stated, but you are given seat assignments. So it seems that if you buy tickets online, the reservation is sometimes obligatory and included in the ticket price. Perhaps if you buy tickets in the station this is not the case?
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Old May 27th, 2015, 06:37 AM
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on sncf.com the train from Paris to Vernon is Intercity but it appears you cannot reserve a seat. Is that correct?
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Old May 27th, 2015, 07:43 AM
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Not sure which date you are looking for, but I looked at the direct trains for June 11 and chose the one at 8h20. If you select that train, the box "Choisir my Place" pops up. If you click on it, it tells you that a seat is not guaranteed. Same thing for the 10h20 train, so it looks like it isn't possible to have a seat assignment on those trains.
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Old May 27th, 2015, 08:36 AM
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Here is a message from the past for anybody reading this thread in 2 or 3 years: the SNCF has announced its intention to quickly close at least half of the Intercités routes that are in existence in May 2015. Most of the Intercités routes are losing money and are underused. Since France is finally allowing domestic bus service throughout the country, most of the abandoned routes will be replaced by buses.
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Old May 27th, 2015, 12:36 PM
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On the trains that go to Vernon there are first class seats so you can pay more for first class, which means there are fewer people and a bit more seating room. I take the 8:20 to Vernon frequently and I've never had a problem getting a seat but I board as soon as the departing track number is posted. The train does get crowded but I've never seen anyone have to stand. On the way back to Paris from Vernon, however, it is a different story. The 16h53 and 17h53 trains can get quite crowded and it is not uncommon for there to be standing room only on those trains but usually that is on weekends and holidays.

The info about Intercités service termination was in the newspapers yesterday and they said they are eliminating three out of every four night trains and then they listed the routes where service would be reduced or eliminated.
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