RailEurope Not Reserving Tickets?

Old May 23rd, 2006, 08:20 PM
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RailEurope Not Reserving Tickets?

I spoke to RailEurope on the phone and they said they can't reserve trains, even those on which a reservation is required, because they're "focused" on the WorldCup and Germany. I'm trying to book trains in Spain. The web site says everything is "booked" or "unavailable." Any similar experiences out there? Tips for how I can make the reservation? Just make it when i'm out in Europe this July?
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 08:31 PM
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I am not quite clear on your situation. Do you have a rail pass? If so, your reservations in Spain will be made through renfe.es, as that is the national rail system. You could wait until July, but I don't advise it. That is how a 2 week trip turned into 4 with me, and how I ended up visiting out of the way places instead of those I had hoped to see. It was actually an amazing trip, but a little out of control.
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Old May 24th, 2006, 02:09 AM
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I would call another North American RR agency since RE has decided to "focus" on the World Cup. You need to contact someone with access to the European RR computer network for reservations.
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Old May 24th, 2006, 03:49 AM
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>I would call another North American RR agency since RE has decided to "focus" on the World Cup. You need to contact someone with access to the European RR computer network for reservations.

I have to disagree. You have as well (almost) full access to the european RR organisations through your computer - there is no need to pay huge markups of the travel agencies when you can as well make your reservation directly with the RR organisations for the original price.
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Old May 24th, 2006, 04:42 AM
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Does Spain have a national railway service like France does? RE charges a big markup anyway. Try to do it directly.
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Old May 24th, 2006, 06:24 AM
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Hi Cazz,

The Spanish national rail company is at www.renfe.es. You can buy your tickets there.

Have you registered with them?

Are you trying to book more than 60 days in advance?

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Old May 24th, 2006, 06:49 AM
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Try BETS (800-441-2387) a RailEurope agent i always use - if they can't do it no one in the U.S. can. Also try the RENFE site of course. the RE web site often says everything is booked where the actual Euronet computer system they use is tied into the European railways computer used in Europe, so they could do it but chose not to now for some weird reason. I would think most folks going to the WorldCup already have their rail reservations as there's been lots of hype about German trains being overloaded during the matches.
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Old May 24th, 2006, 10:40 PM
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Thanks guys! Really appreciate it. Now I need to figure out all the types of seats available....

I need to reserve a Madrid to Lisbon train, too. It doesn't look like I can do this through Spain's national train service. Is this a good opportunity to use one of the international services like RailEurope?
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Old May 25th, 2006, 04:52 AM
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Hi C,

>I need to reserve a Madrid to Lisbon train, too. It doesn't look like I can do this through Spain's national train service.<

Yes you can. You can't buy tickets over the internet, but you can get them in Spain.

The 22:45 from Madrid Chamartin arrives Lisbon Oriente at 08:06 and Santa Apolonia at 08:14.

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Old May 25th, 2006, 05:47 AM
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Ira strikes again! Right on!
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Old May 25th, 2006, 07:03 AM
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Oddly enough Raileurope in the past has only been able to reserve trains in one direction Lisbon-madrid - not sure which way but they may or may not be able to do it. Prices thru RE in the past were very similar to those in Spain - not sure now.
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Old May 27th, 2006, 01:00 PM
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My husband and I have a Eurail pass and can't use it on Renfe until we get to Spain and use it at the renfe ticket office. Anyone know anything about this?
Cindy
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Old May 27th, 2006, 01:09 PM
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Hi cindy,

We need some particulars.

Are you going somewhere before you get to Spain?

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Old May 27th, 2006, 01:14 PM
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I was going to say that I didn't think you can just reserve seats online on national rail websites, if you have some kind of rail pass (like Eurail, etc.). Those passes are kind of a marketing product, and the national rail systems are designing and running their websites for their own purposes and to sell regular tickets, I believe. They aren't trying just to help out tourists with railpasses (who are the only ones who have them, not local residents).

Now I could be wrong, but I don't think you can just reserve a seat online with a railpass, I think you have to do that in person. I thought Raileurope or some agent was supposed to do that, also, as it is a product they sell.
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Old May 30th, 2006, 08:28 AM
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Yes whoever you bought the pass from should do the reservation for you as well - or you could go right thru Raileurope on their web site: www.raileurope.com - some agents, noticeably Rick Steves will not make reservations for clients purchasing passes, and for good reason - these are labor intense activities that pay nearly 0% commission - but your agent should do it for you as a client service.
In the case of some countries, noticeably the German rail site (www.bahn.de) you can apparently make reservations once you have a railpass on their site - several Fodor posts claim to have done this - but i think Christina is, as usual, right on about this not being possible generally. That said most reservations can be readily made once in Europe for a usually much cheaper fee.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 10:05 AM
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My sources have confirmed the fact that Raileurope has put most reservations on hold - the reason given that they are overwhelmed by the World Cup train business, but the real reason may be, according to a travel business magazine, that they are currently reprogramming their point-point fares into four fare levels - non-flexible and flexible in each class - trying to match the market pricing now seen in France, Italy and other rail systems and this reprogramming may well be the reason for the current snafu with reserving trains. Yet agents working thru RE can do the reservations - so if the ww.raileurope.com site says no availability contact an agent like BETS i mentioned above. But again most reservations can often easily be made in Europe, with the exceptions of TGV railpass reservations in France (often blocked out even though regular fare tickets are available) and some popular night (northern Europe - southern Europe) and specialty trains, like the Glacier Express, which often books up with tour groups.
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