Taking the Train-Help w/tickets please!

Old Feb 11th, 2005, 11:35 AM
  #1  
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Taking the Train-Help w/tickets please!

We plan on taking the train from Paris to Bayeux roundtrip (staying overnight). We get into Paris late on a Sunday night (taking the chunnel from London) and plan on taking a Monday morning train to Bayeux.

Should we buy the Bayeux tickets at the train station when we arrive on Sunday night? Or are we safe to get them the next morning?
Also, do you have to commit to a return time?
What if we miss a train and have to take the next one-do we have to buy NEW tickets? HELP!



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Old Feb 11th, 2005, 11:43 AM
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You probably don't need to buy the tickets ahead of time, but since you'll be at the station Sunday night, why nt? That will save you time the next morning, which because it's a Monday morning could mean busy train station with long lines at the windows. Then all you'd have to do on Monday is punch your tickets before boarding.

You don't have to commit to a return time if you don't buy a RT ticket. If you do buy a RT ticket and you miss the train, you'll have to pay for a new ticket. You might possibly get a break, but it would probably involve pleading with a ticket agent.
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Old Feb 11th, 2005, 11:43 AM
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The only time you are committed to a specific train/time is if that route is a specialty train (TGV, THALYS..) that requires you to reserve a specific seat assignment.
Otherwise, a regular ticket (SNCF) is good for the day and route. In France, you should stick those tickets into the orange quayside machines and punch them before boarding the train.
You can prepay for your tickets on www.sncf.com and indicate that you will pick them up at the station. It doesn't matter which station, any can print the tickets for you. You must show them the same credit card used to book tickets and the email confirmation they will send to you.
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Old Feb 11th, 2005, 11:48 AM
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ira
 
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Hi StCirq,

>You don't have to commit to a return time if you don't buy a RT ticket. If you do buy a RT ticket and you miss the train, you'll have to pay for a new ticket.<

Do you mean that if I buy 2 one-ways I can use them anytime, but that if I buy a RT it is good only for the specific trains, even if I don't have seat reservations and its a full fare ticket?

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Old Feb 11th, 2005, 12:24 PM
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Hi, ira:

Given what TravelNut just posted (The only time you are committed to a specific train/time is if that route is a specialty train (TGV, THALYS..) that requires you to reserve a specific seat assignment.
Otherwise, a regular ticket (SNCF) is good for the day and route.), I'm not sure.

All I know is I once (maybe 5 years ago) bought a RT ticket and missed the returning train and had to buy a replacement ticket.

But TravelNut seems to be saying on the non-specialty trains if you buy a ticket, whether one-way or RT, you can use any train, with no penalty if you don't get on the one(s) you've requested. Somehow that seems like it would pose a scheduling nightmare for SNCF. Also, I was under the impression that there were different rates for trains going the same routes, depending, for example, on how many stops the train takes or whether you have to change trains.

TravelNut: can you explain this further?
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Old Feb 11th, 2005, 12:57 PM
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I've taken plenty of trains in France without a reservation and no special ticket, just as Travelnet says. I thought that was the norm except for TGVs (or now PREMs), and for any ticket that isn't reserved. If there is no reservation, you just get on anywhere you want, within the right class.

The tickets pretty much say all that, as I recall -- that it is good for that route for that day or something.

I do that all the time -- buy a RT ticket and then just decide when to return based on when I get done doing stuff (for touristic day trips). A lot of smaller regional trains won't even take reservations, so it poses no scheduling nightmare for SNCF at all. I don't think the ticket even has a time on it.
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Old Feb 11th, 2005, 01:08 PM
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Does one still have a ticket validated before getting on the train?
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Old Feb 11th, 2005, 01:11 PM
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Yes, you do.
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Old Feb 11th, 2005, 01:12 PM
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I don't think I've ever actually missed a train in France, but I have formed my belief from various readings... (I was told in Holland that this rule applied to their regular trains, but that's another system.)

I can find these comments on www.sncf.com in the Passenger Guide:
"If you have missed your train, and want to take a different train to the train shown on your ticket. Before boarding, ensure that your ticket is valid for travel on the service you've chosen. The train you wish to take, and/or the fare you have paid, may be subject to special conditions of use.
To avoid any difficulty, ask the ticket inspector or service staff on duty for advice. In some cases, you may have to change your ticket or choose another train on which your ticket is valid."
"TGV services
You may take a different TGV to the train for which you have reserved, when travelling on the same day and via the same route as per your reservation. This more flexible service, does not offer guaranteed seating, is available subject to the conditions shown in the below table."
"If you do not have a reservation, you may travel via another train on the same route on condition that the fare you have paid entitles you to do so and subject to the conditions for access for the train you wish to take."

However, there is another section that indicates you must EXCHANGE the ticket and possibly pay a surcharge in order to take a different train:

Exchanging a ticket without reservation:

When ?
Any time up to the final date of validity indicated on the ticket.

Where ?
At any SNCF train station or ticket outlet. If you have purchased your ticket from an accredited travel agency, you may also exchange your ticket at the same agency.

Under what conditions ?
There is no charge for exchanging tickets to obtain:
a seating reservation,
a lower fare reduction, or
service upgrade,
over all or part of the ticketed journey.
In all other cases, you will have to pay a charge equivalent to 10% of the ticketed fare (1).
-------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.bugeurope.com/transport/railfr.html
"Regular tickets are valid until midnight on the day after you have validated your ticket. You may make a stop-over of less than 24 hours during your journey as long as you reach your destination before your ticket expires."

A Fodors post:
"Author: goatee <threadselect.jsp?screen_name=goatee&fid=2>
Date: 10/18/2004, 03:11 pm
Message: I had actually originally bought an unreserved ticket for one portion of my trip, as I was unsure whether I'd be able to meet up with a friend in the town I would be changing trains. The ticket was good for a range of dates ..."
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Old Feb 11th, 2005, 01:15 PM
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Well, that's weird, because I take the train from Paris to Périgueux a lot, sometimes with a stop in Limoges, and every single ticket I've gotten has had the times on it.

I'm looking at an SNCF ticket right now. It lists the time the train leaves Austerlitz, the time it arrives in Limoges, the time it departs Limoges, and the time it arrives in Périgueux. It lists the number of the train, the number of the voiture, and the seat number. It's a ticket my daughter used, so it indicates that she got a special fare and she will be asked to justify it. This was a ticket she bought in Paris the morning of her train trip, not something bought over the internet.

The trains from Paris to Périgueux are not specialty trains. Are you saying I could use this ticket on any train that same day going from Paris to Périgueux? I don't think so. If that's true, why would it have all this specific information on it?

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Old Feb 11th, 2005, 01:17 PM
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I think the "specialty fare" is the distinction...
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Old Feb 11th, 2005, 01:19 PM
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It's just the standard reduction for someone her age and being a student.
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Old Feb 11th, 2005, 01:26 PM
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Maybe you ask for an 'open' ticket or something...although Christina doesn't recall it requiring anything special...
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Old Feb 11th, 2005, 01:42 PM
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I wonder if it has to do with the type of tickets?

Except for a few Prems I always end up buying full fare tickets as I don't qualify for any discounts.

The full fare tickets seem to be very flexible when seat reservations are not involved. In December I delayed my trip to St Emilion by a day due to rain. When I handed my Thursday's ticket to the agent on Friday to exchange it, he gave it right back to me. He said to validate it and use it. The conductor didn't mind. He checked that I'd "composted" it and punched it like he always does.
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Old Feb 11th, 2005, 02:00 PM
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How do you know what kind of train it is (PREM, local, etc.)? Is that located on the SNCF website?

Also, is there any advantage to buying roundtrip tickets instead of point-to-point each way?
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Old Feb 11th, 2005, 02:48 PM
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I think it probably is because of the reductions, etc. The tickets I'm referring to are just full-fare tickets I've bought a couple days before departure. I believe this is because those reductions are specific to certain times and trains and may depend on seat availability.

I don't think I've kept one of those tickets around to look at it, but it's the kind I've always gotten for short day trips as I never reserve those in advance. I really can't recall the details, that's funny when you are used to things -- maybe it has a time when you buy it and it's good for that time or any time after that for the day? I really don't think it has a time on it, but can't swear.

Last time I did this was last year RT Paris Reims for the day. Just a regular last-minute fare -- I know I could return to Paris anytime I wanted so I checked the schedules upon arrival to see when I'd have to be back to the station under various scenarios. Isn't this what everyone does who goes to Giverny? Just takes note of the return train schedule on the board at the station and makes sure they get back on time?

I've never bought a train ticket for a specific time in France except for TGVs. If I did, such as Reims (which isn't a TGV), I know it could be used at different return times.

It isn't really a RT ticket or two one-ways, any RT ticket I've had has consisted of two separate tickets and the price was the same as if you bought two one-ways--it's just buying two tickets at the same time.

Maybe it's because that ticket was a discounted ticket and because she had a reservation for a specific time. In any case, I believe the ticket does state the rules, or the folder you get with it, I remember that as I read it. The routes I usually do this on are shorter than Paris to Perigeux, and maybe that's a special run of some kind where they really keep track, and the ones I've done never were.

I don't really remember what I tell them when I buy these tickets -- I just don't think they really care what time you come back from Reims or Giverny or any of these small towns.
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Old Feb 11th, 2005, 02:55 PM
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You know, I'm beginning to think I'm getting senile -- maybe they do have times on them, but the fine print says you can use them any time from then to midnight.

Of course you have to punch them, Ira, to show you've used them.

Someone on here must know this really well who lives in France, I'll bet. I think I have one at home I can check.
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Old Feb 11th, 2005, 03:28 PM
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I shouldn't have used my daughter's ticket as an example. I've got three more tickets here for the same type of trips (non-specialty trains)that I purchased at the station and that have no discounts of any kind associated with them. They all say Plein Tariff and they all have all the detailed information on them, including times of departure and arrival and number of the train. Nowhere, not even in fine print, does it say they are valid for any period other than the one specified on the ticket.

I'm flummoxed! (I love that word).

Yes, ira, you have to run the ticket through the orange composteur box. Plan to spend 4-5 minutes there running it through every which way possible until it punches. I guarantee you won't get it right the first time unless you're exceptionally lucky
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Old Feb 11th, 2005, 03:50 PM
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ira
 
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Hi all,

French trains operate the same way they always have.

You buy a ticket.

It is good for at least 30 days.

You punch it before you get on the train. This prevents you from using the ticket more than once.

If you buy a ticket on a high speed train, it comes with a seat reservation.

The ticket is good only for that train. If you miss your train, or if you wish to take an earlier train, you turn in your ticket and pay a fee.

If you buy a ticket with a seat reservation on another train, you can always use the ticket, but must pay for a new seat reservation.

If you have a discount ticket, you have to read the fine print. Some are partially refundable and some are not.

It's just like everywhere else in Europe.

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Old Feb 11th, 2005, 03:58 PM
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ira:

My tickets from Paris to Périgueux always come with a specific seat reservation,and they are definitely not high-speed trains.
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