SNCF ticket open dates

Old Mar 6th, 2013, 09:04 AM
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SNCF ticket open dates

I am trying to book seats on a train from Perpignan to Barcelona (through Figueres) for June 1, 2013. I've read all of the advice on using the SNCF and TGV-europe websites and have booked tickets for other portions of our travel with no problems. According to the SNCF website and their customer service rep, tickets for the Perpignan to Barcelona route should currently be open for my travel dates (3 months in advance). However, whenever I search this route on the SNCF website, I get an error message saying that ticket sales are not yet open for my dates. When I try to sign up for an Alerte Resa, it says that tickets are available, but I am unable to proceed to booking them. The same result comes up when I use the TGV-europe and Rail Europe sites as well. Customer service hasn't been able to tell me why the error is occurring, they only suggest that I purchase tickets at a station (which I cannot do because I live in the U.S.). I've tried playing with the date selection on the booking page and it seems like tickets are only currently available for the next 2 months in advance, rather than 3.

Has anyone else had a similar problem? Or recommendations for what I should do? Our rental car booking (where/when to drop off) depends on whether there are seats available for this train, which is why I am so eager to book it as early as possible.

[I also tried to verify that the route times I am planning on were correct using bahn.de, but the Perpignan-Figueres-Barcelona route isn't even listed there (only Perpignan-Le Bou-Barcelona)]
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Old Mar 6th, 2013, 09:15 AM
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What is your travel date?

If you continue to have problems, you can call them: 011-33-8-92-35-35-39
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Old Mar 6th, 2013, 09:26 AM
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Ooops, I see you already mentioned traveling on June 1. I tried that and a couple of other early June dates, and you're right - doesn't work. Then I checked out all the "pertubations" info on that line, and while there's lots of travaux going on on the Elipsos lines, none that appear to be related to the line from Perpignan into Spain.

I'd call them.
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Old Mar 6th, 2013, 09:28 AM
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Playing around on the sncf website shows me that I can book tickets up to 6 May, which is 2 months from today. If you can't book tickets after this date then no one else can. I wouldn't worry about it, tickets mustn't be on sale yet.

I would just check online every week to see what dates are becoming available.
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Old Mar 6th, 2013, 09:34 AM
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Thanks for the quick responses! I tend to be an over-planner, so I get anxious when things are left hanging. But it's reassuring to hear that y'all had the same problems with the website that I did. I will probably try to wait a few days and see what opens up as sofarsogood suggests. If anxiety gets the better of me, then I can call -- thanks for including the number, StCirq.
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Old Mar 6th, 2013, 09:39 AM
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I went through the site www.voyages-sncf.com and could not find a good explanation for you. The site only states that ticket sales are not yet available. I check for days around 1 June and receive the same, unsatisfactory result.

There is work on the Elipsos line to Barcelona but the information is that the work does not extend beyond April.

Other things being equal, you should be able to book tickets. You might want to keep trying.
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Old Mar 6th, 2013, 10:09 AM
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There is no need to book TER tickets (to the border) and probably not for the local Spanish trains. These short distance trains do not have reserved seats and they rarely have discounts for advance purchase.
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Old Mar 6th, 2013, 10:53 AM
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The ZIm : you can book the old Talgo which leaves Perpignan at 8.58 am and arrives Barcelona Sants at 11.48 am (no change at the border - reservation compulsory).
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Old Mar 6th, 2013, 11:04 AM
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The new direct train Perpignan to Barcelona with NO CHANGE at Figueres-Vilafant was supposed to be operate on March 13. It was postponed to the end of March and now to the end of April. Obviously they don't want to sell tickets as they aren't sure about the dates.
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Old Mar 6th, 2013, 12:08 PM
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First some general comments...I run this route a lot.

You will find the traffic breaks down into two segments.....the cheap tickets require a change of train in Cerbere and a wait. Most French people from Perpignan area drive down to Figueres and take the local or Media Distancia fares which are the cheapest.

If you want to do the fastest train, the TGV/AVE, you have the uncertainty of a new service not yet running reliably...and the other factor of two different train stations in Figueres. Plus it is a lot dearer.

The smart traveler would take the Talgo train which leaves Perpignan and goes direct to Barcelona Sants with no changes, and is cheaper than TGV and more expensive than the Figueres slower choices. It also makes many fewer stops and is more comfortable than the Media Distancia and Regional trains. However it is "old" in the sense than it is 1980's style.

So how to book it? I recently bought a ticket from Figueres to Bcn from my local France SNCF office, which surprised me. I am sure if you go to www.renfe.es and put in Perp and Bcn, you will get a schedule. Don't worry about it selling out....since it is a more expensive option than the locals, there are always seats, unless you hit a big Spain holiday weekend.

On the spanish rail site www.renfe.es you can print out your boarding pass ahead. As it is reserved seating, there is no issue. Pvoyageuse was 100% right in her recommendation.

Btw, that same train continues on down to Valencia, Alicante, Murcia and Cartagena twice daily in both directions, and goes up as far as Montpellier in France.

Voila ...just buy your ticket in the spanish, not sncf site. best, Rouss
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Old Mar 7th, 2013, 05:23 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions to alternative routes. The reason I initially avoided the Talgo is that we are staying in Mouries and we have a rental car that we will need to return before taking the train to Barcelona. I wasn't sure that we would be able to drive down from Mouries to Perpignan and drop off the car in time for the 8:58 train. That is the same reason we cannot just drive to Figueres directly and take the train from there -- the fee for returning our car in Spain would be too high.
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Old Mar 7th, 2013, 08:50 AM
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What Pvoyaguese said (2nd post). There is tons out there about this route (and the new schedules) on the internet on various forums, including this one.

I've been following the maninseat61's site. He's very good about updating his news section, link below. I'm waiting to buy Barcelona-Paris tickets for late May, and no can do right now!

http://www.seat61.com/news.htm
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