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Train journeys with multiple stops around Europe - Easy enough?

Train journeys with multiple stops around Europe - Easy enough?

Jan 22nd, 2010, 05:02 PM
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Train journeys with multiple stops around Europe - Easy enough?

One of the train trips I am planning list as many of 4 changes from point to point (Stuttgart Airport to Strasbourg)

I imagine that given I will be traveling by train in Germany / France for the first time that I could easily miss one of these stops, throwing the whole trip into disarray.

When you board the train are you given any information on what station to get off at and where the connecting train will be leaving from or is it pretty much up to me to know all of this before boarding the train?

This is something I hadn't even considered until I noticed the "Chg." column on the Bahn site....it's actually made me change some of my plans as there we up to 6 train changes for one of the cities I was going to visit.

Thanks Tony
tony8028 is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2010, 05:24 PM
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If you're not sure where to change you can ask the conductor who comes to check your ticket - but after that getting off is up to you. One conductor can;t go running around a train making sure people get off at the right place. (No different from the US really. If you're taking the train from DC to Philly you just can;t sit there until it gets to New York.

(If it's a major station the name will sometimes be called as you pull in.)
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2010, 05:34 PM
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Before your trip, print out detailed train schedules including intermediate stops with times and the final destinations.

You can get all these at:
Click on train number and it shows all the stops from the beginning of the line to the end.

The final destination of the train is essential for looking up the schedule. Trains are labeled by when they leave and their FINAL destination and not necessarily where you are going.

The detailed schedule helps you identify intermediate stops so you know what is the name of the station just before yours as well as giving you approximate arrival times.

At busy stations, digital displays show which track/gleis/voie your trains will depart from.

At less busy stations, they have fixed track assignments listed on YELLOW SHEETS on platform for departures and WHITE SHEETS for arrivals. There are instances where they give last minutes track changes by PA system sometimes only in local languages. If this happens at station without digital display, you have to rely on someone to tell you what is going on if you cannot understand the local language. You can tell this because all the locals start moving to different track in mass grumbling.

Before getting on the train, look at the display, either digital or a paper, at or near the door indicating the car number and the final destination (somethings major intermediate stations.) Not all cars in a train go to the final destination so not only you have to be on the right train, you must also be on a right car. If you have a seat assignment, the car/voiture number must match your reservation. On regular trains, you can eventually get to the right car even if you hop onto a wrong car of the RIGHT train. On a long TGV, the front half and back half are NOT connected by corridor. You must at least hop onto the correct half of the TGV train.

I don't remember if you got first class passes. First class cars are not necessarily easy to locate on a long train especially when you are hopping on in the middle of the run. At platforms, there are usually train composition charts on paper or shown digitally. They tell you where the cars are located. Note the repère/Sektor (something like A,B,C,E, etc) noted on the composition chart. Find the repère/Sektor marker on the station and wait for your train.
greg is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2010, 05:36 PM
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nytraveler - thanks for the response...

Do you know of any web sites that will actually show the routes, stop by stop ?

I have not found this anywhere as yet.
tony8028 is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2010, 05:37 PM
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Go prepared. There's a variety of ways to do this, but since it's your first time, plan it out ahead of time, and it will raise your comfort level. You need to have a train schedule, which lists all of the stops by the train. Flag the stop on which you get on and the stop on which you get off, and remember the name of the station stop right before you need to get off. Most schedules have time of arrival/departure at each station, so you will have some idea when you need to start paying attention.

At train stations, there will be signs that give all of the stops. If you go into the ticket office at the station, they usually have little paper take away schedules, like flyers in boxes. Often, at the end of the car on a train, there's a diagram of the route and the stops along the route, and some trains have paper schedules right on the train (not always in the same place, so I can't point it out to you). Some trains announced the upcoming arrival of a station. The TGVs do this, as do a number of the high speed or premiere trains.

I used to buy the Thomas Cook European Timetable, and would either take the whole paperback book with me so I could plan as I went, or I'd tear out the pages where I was going to go and leave the rest of the book at home (since it covers almost all of Western Europe).
Surfergirl is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2010, 05:38 PM
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Changing trains in Germany: There are trackside loudspeakers that announce imminent departures with the train type, destination, track # and departure time. Your German needs to be good to get info. this way. In small stations, when you get off you can sometimes see the electronic trackside destination signs for other nearby platforms, or you may need to exit the platform and go into the connecting hallway, where there may be signs or wall schedules, or into the main lobby to look at a departure ("Abfahrt") schedule, where track numbers are listed.

The DB ticket machines will print out an itinerary for you that includes track numbers for all changes of train. These machines are great for spontaneous itineraries with railpasses or when you're buying a point-to-point ticket at the station. Just keep it in your pocket. You can print one for your anticipated return journey as well if you're on a daytrip.
Russ is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2010, 05:47 PM
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The site greg gave you is the definitive website for all train travel in Germany, and a great resource for all of Europe. As greg said it will show all the intermediate stops. You need to click on the arrow next to the train you want, then click on the arrow by "show intermediate stops"
J62 is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2010, 06:15 PM
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Guys thanks so much for the above info...especially Greg for that detailed explanation.

I really only have one trip that is likely to trip me up...that's Stuttgart Airport to Strasbourg. I was considering training directly into Paris but I thought I'd break the trip up a bit.

We'll be flying in to Stuttgart - not ideal but these tickets were booked 8 months ago and our plans have changed since then..

I am actually a bit torn....do I train directly into Paris from Stuttgart (arriving Stutt.12.30pm) which will potentially get us into Paris late in the evening or do I get a shorter trip to Strasbourg and see a little bit of a different city ? It would only be an overnight stay...

It's all of the unknowns that make me opt for the shorter trip after a pretty long flight ( NYC/Zurich/Stuttgart) that make me think a shorter journey will be easier. But the other half me says why not just stay on the train another couple of hours and be in Paris !

Oh it does my head in
tony8028 is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 02:27 AM
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You mean you fly from Zürich to Stuttgart??? Sorry, but that's about as inconvenient and useless as it gets.

Just change the flight to end in Zürich. Zürich to Strasbourg is a shorter and easier train ride than Stuttgart Airport to Strasbourg...
altamiro is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 02:50 AM
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Hi there, you don't need to convince me, I know this.

The problem is the flight can't be changed, so I have to deal with it.

I bought an around the world ticket and my agent said that if I fail to board one of the flights (such as Zurich to Stuttgart), they may cancel the remaining trips (ie my flight out of Europe)....
tony8028 is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 02:57 AM
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plus I already have my Eurail pass and Switzerland isnt one of the countries listed, so thats not an option now !
tony8028 is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 03:09 AM
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I have just had a look at the timetable for the afternoon journey from Stuttgart Airport to Strasbourg - a lot of trains and some with more stops than others.
They mostly take you to the main station and then onto another train from there.
And - you will find that there is enough time to change - if you have printed out the information and if you make sure to check those digital signs and the paper ones it does all work out.
Also - if you do miss one - the next one s not all that long.
We have done this lots of times and it usually goes well - even when we trooped around with 3 kids!
We do not speak German - but have always been lucky with people answering and helping us - and with the print out showing times of arrival at the place to change you can work it out.
The advice Greg has given is excellent - and do print out the material from the site.

Is there no way you can make one of those flight sectors no longer part of your ticket? On the Oneworld site there is provision for a 'trip break' - but I do realise that this might not be possible now.

Regardless - lots of people manage the train changes - and you can too!
love_travel_Aus is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 03:29 AM
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love_travel_Aus, the agent was very vague about whether I could make changes....he used phrases such as "it should be fine" and "I am 90% sure you'll be ok"....didnt leave me brimming with confidence, so why leave it to chance? Yes the flight to Stuttgart is a waste of time but its a very short flight! I'd rather stick to my ticket and know that everything will go according to my booking - no surprises !

My original plan was to be exploring Bavarian towns but then my girlfriend (will be wife next week) got this whole Paris idea in her head ! There went my Bavarian exploration !

So I will need to make one or 2 train swaps ...however if I can survive the Sydney train network, I am sure the European ones will be a pleasure. Ask any of my fellow Sydney-siders, the local trains here are amougst the worst in the world, including 3rd world countries (this is no exaggeration).
tony8028 is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 03:49 AM
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Tony; There is an airport shuttle from Stuttgart airport to Baden Baden. Then you could stay overnight in Baden Baden or take a direct train to Strasbourg.
iris1745 is online now  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 03:58 AM
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Hi iris745....we need to overnight in Strasbourg because are in paris night after ...

Strasbourg will be a very short trip...just arrive in the early evening then get the train to paris at lunch time the next day...just a way to break up the trip...will be nice just to have a wander around, even just for a few hours.

And we have already paid for these damn Eurail passes so I plan to take the train everywhere !
tony8028 is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 07:32 AM
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Palenque is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 12:02 PM
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Stuttgart Airport to Strasbourg ought to involve no more than 2 changes - one at Stuttgart Central Station and then either a direct train or a connection with one change at either Baden-Baden, Offenburg, or Karlsruhe if you don't find a direct train from Stuttgart. I would not select a connection with four changes.
Avoid connections with a change in Appenweier because the train station there requires a bit of walking and may be confusing to navigate - there are actually two different stations on two different train lines, not far apart but you have to walk from one to the other.
quokka is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 12:19 PM
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If you can do Sydney trains you will be fine - and hope the wedding goes well!
love_travel_Aus is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 02:40 PM
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quokka, thanks for that info....i will be printing out this thread and taking it with me for referral and you info will come in handy for sure !
tony8028 is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 02:52 PM
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Do I need to make a reservation for my trip from Stutt.Airport to Strasbourg ? Its a bit tricky as I dont know exactly how long it will take to collect my bags and clear customs etc...
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