Night trains -- how early can you board?

Sep 13th, 2004, 10:10 AM
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Night trains -- how early can you board?


I'm considering the night train from Venice to Rome as a way to maximize time on the ground in either city (even flying, the day of travel is pretty much shot). But with two small children in tow, I'm not keen on having to keep them awake until midnight.

From general experience, how early is it possible to board an overnight train so you can settle down for the night?

Thanks for any advice.
sme is offline  
Sep 13th, 2004, 10:25 AM
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I don't know the answer to your question, but I don't think the night train is a very good option for you. I understand your concerns about maximizing your time, but it isn't easy to sleep on the train, let alone sleep well. With 2 young children, they may get really tired and cranky the next day, and you may end up just spending your day in your hotel in Rome so that they can sleep.

The day train takes only 4.5hrs. If you take one that leaves late in the afternoon (4:30p or 6:30pm) you can still enjoy most of your day in Venice, then get to Rome at night and a good night's sleep in a hotel bed.
yk is online now  
Sep 13th, 2004, 10:45 AM
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I agree with yk. I don't understand doing an overnight for such a short journey. Especially since that train makes 11 stops (how could anyone sleep?) and doesn't even arrive at Termini, but at Tiburtina.

But to answer your question, it really varies with the train and I'm not sure how you can get an answer. I've seen some overnight trains pull up only a few minutes to half an hour before leaving. Since the train you're talking about is a through train and arrives in Santa Lucia only about a half hour before you depart, I'd think you'll be lucky to get on a half hour before departure.
Patrick is offline  
Sep 13th, 2004, 10:51 AM
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When are you traveling? has some early morning flights out of Venice to Rome. I can't imagine a night train with two children in tow.
WillTravel is offline  
Sep 13th, 2004, 11:07 AM
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I've done this route at night and a LOT depends on which level of accommodation you book. In my experience the train does not jerk to a start or jolt to a stop but I sure wouldn't do it, especially with children, in anything less than First Class.

Rail buff that I am I think the suggestion of flying is a much better one for this trip.
TopMan is offline  
Sep 13th, 2004, 11:09 AM
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In terms of how early you can board..usually when the train is pulled, or pushed into the originating station you can get on and claim your spaces. I wouldn't plan on anything more than 12-1 hour prior to departure.
TopMan is offline  
Sep 13th, 2004, 11:09 AM
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Sorry, that should read 1/2 to 1 hour prior, if that.
TopMan is offline  
Sep 13th, 2004, 11:16 AM
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You also have to be careful that you board on the correct train. Just because there's a train pulled into or waiting on your track doesn't necessary mean that's the one you want; especially if you plan to get there early, it can easily be another train leaving earlier for a different destination.
carcassone is offline  
Sep 13th, 2004, 12:34 PM
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In case I wasn't too clear earlier, this train doesn't arrive until about a half hour before departure (around 11:35 PM) so it would be impossible to board before that time, even though it departs at a few minutes after midnight.
Patrick is offline  
Sep 13th, 2004, 12:48 PM
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I am a fan of overnight trains for long trips, but it doesn't seem suited for what you're doing here.

Reiterating what has been suggested above... If the trip is really >5 hours, and you'll have to stay up until midnight to get on it, why not take a day train leaving late in the afternoon and be in Rome and checked into a comfy hotel by midnight instead?
suze is offline  
Sep 14th, 2004, 06:26 AM
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I go with taking the 14:32 or 16:32 arriving 19:04 and 21:05, respectively.

That should give you a nice day in Venice, time for a picnic or a meal on the train and the kids in bed at a reasonable time.
ira is offline  
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