Train from Prague to Vienna

Old Jan 14th, 2006, 07:15 PM
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Train from Prague to Vienna

Hi there,

I tried to book a direct train from Prague to Vienna on the oebb.com website, and when I selected the option to buy the tickets via email, the next page was in German and I couldn't figure out what the heck is going on! I tried to do it by instinct, but unfortunately it didn't work. I really want to reserve a seat because it's the only train that goes direct early in the day. My question is whether it's necessary to buy my ticket in advance, or will I be fine buying it at the station the same day as my departure? It's for a Monday at 10:26am. Also, if I do need to buy it in advance, how should I go about this (besides learning German). Your advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
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Old Jan 14th, 2006, 07:52 PM
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I can guide you through the form if necessary, but the big question to which I have no answer is this: Will the Austrian Rail people send a ticket to you in the USA? If they will, then it is possible to order it and have it sent to you. (I have ordered by mail from the Swiss Rail ticket office with no problem. I did have to pay for DHL type of shipping, but I had my tickets in plenty of time before departure.)

You need to have your ticket request in at least 4 days before the first day of your trip if you live in Austria. Nothing I saw said about shipping outside of Europe.

I suggest that you email the ÖBB directly.
Phone +43 1 93000-0
eMail to this address: [email protected]

For the telephone fron the USA, its 001 for international access, then dial 43 for Austria, 1 for Vienna, and the remainder of the number.

Remember the 6 hour time difference between the US and Austria.

Tell them you need to speak English. If you get a US style menu in German, then punt.

If you can get a human, I find that most Austrians have some knowledge of English and many have excellent fluency in our language.

If you are hesitant to call, email them in English with your questions.

I have dealt with the ÖBB people before in English and it was sufficient.


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Old Jan 15th, 2006, 07:31 AM
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I suggest that you buy your ticket in Prague a few days before you travel. Printing the relevant train timetable and underline the one you want may ease the language barrier. People who work in European train stations or travel agencies are used to dealing with people who speak languages other than there own.
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Old Jan 15th, 2006, 09:36 AM
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If we had an idea situation, you could order the ticket from the Austrian Federal Railways office, have it shipped to your address, and have the ticket in hand before you arrived.

If you are going to be in Prague for two or three days, or more, you could buy the ticket soon after you arrive.

A seat reservation is not mandatory, but based on my experience, you are better off to have one.

If for some reason the train at 10:26 is not available, there is another possibility. A train connection requiring one change leaves at 9:40.
The problem is that this connection terminates at Vienna-Floridsdorf which is a northern suburb. You would need to continue by U-bahn or S-Bahn, or pay more for a taxi ride. Transportation in and around Vienna is very good with the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, bus routes, and trams.

There is a second direct connection to Vienna South (Wien Südbahnhof) that leaves at 14:40. That time does not meet your requirement for a morning train.

The South Train Station is a little closer to the center of Vienna than Floridsdorff.
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Old Jan 15th, 2006, 10:11 AM
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I'm about to reserve a rail ticket Brussels to Amsterdam using www.eurorail.com. I just looked and they have Prague / Vienna route also. What is the collective experience with Eurorail.com, getting the tickets sent to you before you leave.
In 2002 I took that same Prague to Vienna train ride. I booked the tickets ahead of time by fax and email using Cedok travel agency. http://www.cedok.cz/incoming/info/cedok.aspx
They were excellent. I also arranged a 1/2 day coach tour of the town. Both vouchers were at my hotel upon arrival in Prague.
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Old Jan 15th, 2006, 12:48 PM
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The travel agency option sounds like a winner to me. My experience with European travel agencies has been good so far.

In fact, the idea is so good I wish I had thought of it myself.
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Old Jan 15th, 2006, 12:58 PM
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If you're anywhere in Europe in the days before that Monday, go to a train station and have them write that ticket and make the reservation. We happened to be in Nuernberg (Germany) a few days before getting into Prague, did it in Nuernberg and it worked, for the same 10:26 train (make sure you realize that it leaves out of the secondary station Praha-Holesovice).

The European train systems have all that on their computers. Just don't expect the agent at the regular ticket counter to do it in a place other than Prague, there's always a separate ticket office or set of windows for the slightly more involved tickets, sometimes you take a number and wait your turn.

WK
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Old Jan 15th, 2006, 04:14 PM
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I admit that i was totally intimidated by Praha-Holesovice station once we got there and we were very happy we already had the tickets. Realize we are not frequent train travellers in Europe, but usually not rattled easily during our travels. But it is not a particularly pleasant place, and very confusing. The few people we asked for instructions from were noticeably unfriendly, not at all what we were used to in the rest of Prague, which was otherwise extremely positive. This was in 2002, so maybe the station is better now.
Anyway, all the way to Vienna I silently thanked Cedok and my good fortune in finding them.
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Old Jan 15th, 2006, 05:43 PM
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Thank you everyone! I will definitely try the Cedok option to see if that works out.

And thank you WallyKringen for letting me know that Praha-Holesovice is the secondary station. Is it difficult to find?
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Old Jan 15th, 2006, 05:48 PM
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I don't mean to be a dork, but where on the Cedok website do you make train reservations? I can't seem to find it anywhere!
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Old Jan 15th, 2006, 06:40 PM
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Americanlass: Their website looks significantly different from a few years ago when I made the res and yes niether can I see where trains come in. Not nearly as fancy a website back then.
So, I reviewed my notes. It appears that after I set up my 1/2 day tour (which was by the way excellent) I emailed them and asked them (kind of like, oh, by the way) if they could arrange the train ticket. They responded yes and asked me details, which I provided. In those days, credit card info was exchanged via fax after the details were agreed to. So after agreeing to the price, I fax'd my credit card info. It was kind of close to our departure point so I had requested that the tickets be left at our hotel. They said fine and that's what happened. So when I arrived at the hotel, there was an envelope with a voucher for the 1/2 day tour and an envelope with the two train tickets in it. I smiled inwardly, because I secretly feared I had just kissed the ticket money goodby. And yes, a few days later, I found out the tickets were in fine order. No problem.
So anyone else out there. What about eurorail.com. Looks like they sell tickets. Are they ok?
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Old Jan 15th, 2006, 06:51 PM
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I have to agree with Billj, the station is very intense, so have your plans in hand, and be very aware of your surroundings.
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Old Jan 15th, 2006, 09:21 PM
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I was a little intimidated at the Prague train station myself last September, and I tried to write out date and destination (Vienna) I wanted before I approached the ticket window, but honestly, the guy spoke English, was nice and helpful, and it was no problem. There's really no reason to buy an advanced ticket on the Prague-Vienna train with no reservations. If there are no reservations, then if you get there early enough, you will get on the train guaranteed. You may not get a SEAT if you get there too late or not seats together or something, but if there are no reservations on the train, there's no reason to buy an early ticket. The ticket I bought to Vienna last fall was not good on any particular train - it was good on ANY train to Vienna for the next several months.

I bought my Vienna ticket a day ahead of time just to be safe, but there was really no need. Just get to the station in plenty of time and buy it there day of, I say.

Andrew
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Old Jan 16th, 2006, 10:49 AM
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Geez, the train station does indeed sound complicated--and I'll be traveling by myself. So i think I might feel a bit more comfortable buying the ticket in advance. BillJ, which 1/2 day tour did you take (what company)? Thanks!
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Old Jan 16th, 2006, 01:38 PM
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Americanlass: I just now went again to the Cedok site and reviewed their offerings. Seems the same as years ago. We took Tour 1, the 3.5 hour (half day) tour the first morning in town. We did not want a full guided scenario, but wanted to see the hightlights so that we could refine our must see's into the short time we had there (three days) It helped immencely.
You are on the ground and get a partial castle looksee and enough outside so that when we went back to the castle on our own the next day we knew what we didn't have to spend time on. The rest is all drive by and around.
They picked us up at the hotel at 0900 and took us to their gathering place near the black gate after picking up other guests. Then we were sorted out by language into separate small buses. I remember they put a Spanish grandmother with us (not enough Spanish for a separate bus). Her granddaughter, about 15, spoke a little English, I speak a little
Spanish. I became a translator of sorts for them with hilarious results. We've been pen pals ever since.
The tour starts then at 0930 and ends at 1300 (1PM) in front of the Astronomical Clock in the town center square. It was great. We watched the clock do it's thing, then sat down at one of the many outdoor cafe's right there on the square and had a delicious lunch.
We are not usually tour type travellers, but this one helped us immensely in getting organized for the next 2.5 days. The commentary was good by a knowledgeable guide, very friendly. In my notes is a note to tell folks to bring along a snack or water. Nothing was served back then. That was in 2002.
Like I said before, I emailed them my request for the tour, date, time, etc., and requested the voucher be at my hotel. They emailed me back with the price and details, then I fax'd them my credit card info.
Hope this helps; we loved Prague and Cedok aided in our enjoyment. Good luck.
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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 09:54 PM
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We went from Prague to Vienna in September and bought our tics ahead of time. Great trip, but were warned to watch out for ourselves and belongings in the Prague station. No big problem, but a couple beggars hit on us in the early AM. An easy trip between cities.If you are a non smoker, book your cabin accordingly, big warning! Do it!
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Old Jan 19th, 2006, 02:36 AM
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We did the trip in July and had the tickets in advance (from Rail Europe). More expensive than buying them in Prague, but I'd gladly pay extra money to avoid dealing with the folks in the Prague train station.

We got there early but couldn't find out where our track was. No English anywhere, not that this is the issue, but the layout of the station was difficult to figure out. We ended up just following people and eventually figured out where to be.

Get to the station early is my best advice.

And enjoy the train ride!

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Old Jan 19th, 2006, 07:34 AM
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We're heading from Prague to Vienna in February with 6 people traveling. I was going to be in a day before my companions and was going to purchase the tickets then. Does anyone remember about how much they cost? I was actually thinking of asking the concierge to get them for us after reading how confusing the train station is. Thanks, Barbara
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Old Jan 19th, 2006, 05:08 PM
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Barbara: I just looked at rail europe (see http://www.raileurope.com/us/rail/fa...kets&WT.srch=1). Looks like second class about $66 USD, first class $96 USD. I would definately have your hotel concierge do it for you, maybe in advance of your arrival. Even if they charge a small fee. I would not want a trip to that place interfere with my touring time in Prague. That's just me. Good luck. In all other respects, Prague was one of our most fondly remembered European cities. Have fun! Bill J.
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Old Jan 19th, 2006, 06:24 PM
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Actual ticket price should be about US$50, give or take a few dollars, depending on exchange rate.
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