Train Milan and Bologna

Old Apr 23rd, 2019, 10:26 AM
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Train Milan and Bologna

Hi Fodorites,

I'm wondering how far in advance I should book our train from Malpensa to Bologna and then from Bologna back to Milano Central? We will be arriving into Malpensa on October 3rd at 6:35 AM and not checking luggage so wondering how close the train is from the airport also so I can figure out the time to book. And what happens if I miss the train i book?

In terms of returning to Milan Central about a week later same question really. Should a book my tix now? what is the best website to book the fast train?

Many thanks.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2019, 11:17 AM
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check to see how much savings a discounted ticket may bring and they are not changeable from the specific train you book on. But you can always take a dirt-cheap regional train at flat fare - no seat reservations possible - just buy when land and if full-fare tickets are not too much just buy when landing. www.trenitalia.com - Italian Railways site - easy now to book your own tickets on but again regional trains take a bit longer but are cheap always. For lots on booking trains yourself check www.seat61.com - general train info - BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2019, 12:00 PM
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Cost depends on which type of train you book. The easiest site to use to research and buy train tickets is www.thetrainline.com (same prices, discounts, etc., as the national RR). If you're going to take a regional train, don't bother booking.

Malpensa is a LONG way from Milano Centrale. An hour in a taxi and at least 100 euros. There is the Malpensa Express for 20 euros, which is probably faster, but I've never taken it.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2019, 02:01 PM
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Some trains to Bologna may go straight from the airport or have in the past but they are few and far between if any currently - changing in Milan Centrale can be hectic - one of Europe's busiest train sheds - if booking discounted ticket leave plenty of time for plane, bags, Immigration, etc to be longer than you think - one reason I think you should take a regional train and just buy ticket at Malpensa train stationatdirt cheap price and can board any train - regional train that is. But fast train connections at Milan take, from Malpensa just over two hours all told - regional trains will take about 4 hours and require more changing often that the direct Milan-Bologna high-speed train.

Maybe just leave a lot of fudge time in case plane is late, etc and if dwelling very long at Milan Centrale there are many caffes and snack bars and restaurants in that station. Or of course see what a full fare ticket costs and just buy those once landing for the next convenient trains - no angst over having to be on a certain train and only that train with non-changeable discounted tickets.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2019, 02:37 PM
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If you are coming from overseas, consider a multi-destination airline itinerary that flies into Bologna and home from Milan (or vice versa). Saves time and is no more expensive, all things considered. The route must be found on a multi-city search function.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2019, 02:55 PM
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Or from Florence Airport which is I would think much closer by train that Malpensa to Bologna.
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Old Apr 25th, 2019, 05:00 AM
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Thank you for all the info. So the regional trains are longer and the fast trains are obviously faster but are you saying that I might not be able to get a fast train ticket on the spot? I'm really surprised that I can't get their direct from Malpensa by train but it seems to be the case. We arrive at around 6:15 AM and was hoping to get to Bologna late morning if at all possible. Okay...I have time as this is October but I guess the other question is, for that time of year do these trains get sold out to Bologna (fast trains I mean as I assume regionals do not as there are many?).

Thanks for your help. I will of course look at the websites noted.
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Old Apr 25th, 2019, 10:06 AM
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There are so many fast trains between those two cities that you should be able to buy a full-fare ticket - especially in first class but just buy at airport train station and you usually have to change at Milan Centrale.
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Old Apr 25th, 2019, 12:15 PM
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Between the two train companies you won't have a problem getting a seat. Worst case you might end up being forced to buy a first class ticket instead of one of the cheaper seats.

The only real reason to book in advance is to save money. But considering the possible timing issues it's not a good idea.

https://www.trenitalia.com/en.html

Put in Malpensa the website should fill in the rest of the name.

If you're in a rush take the faster train. It will cost you more buying on the day. If you don't mind the extra two hours take the regional from Milan central. Price won't change.

You could also look at taking Italo from Milan central

https://www.italotreno.it/en

But you would still need to take the regional train from the airport. You would also need to buy the tickets using two different apps or at two different machines. Easier to pay the slightly higher price with TrenItalia and just buy your tickets once
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Old Apr 25th, 2019, 12:17 PM
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BTW schedule change June 8th. They might not have even loaded the October schedule just yet.

But it's risky buying these tickets in advance. Your plane can be delayed. You might need to wait longer for your baggage.

Pay the extra and buy it on arrival
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Old Apr 26th, 2019, 08:26 AM
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Thanks so much for all your help. I have a friend who just told me to leave a good 2.5 hours in between my arrival time into Malpensa and the train departure from Milan Central as she apparently has done this many, many times. We won't check luggage and assuming our plane is not terribly delayed I booked on a 10:10 AM from Milano Centrale to Bologna. We arrive at Malpensa at 6:45 AM. Hopefully this works but I do plan to take trip insurance so if I have to lose the ticket i think i can claim it. I assume if the schedule trains i will see it on my app/account? Anyway...fingers crossed!
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Old Apr 26th, 2019, 08:59 AM
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meant to write if the "schedule changes" I will hopefully see it on my account...
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Old Apr 26th, 2019, 09:19 AM
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The train or the plane? I wouldn't expect a train schedule change once you've bought
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Old Apr 26th, 2019, 09:35 AM
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France has had a spate of train strikes lately - they are usually announced in advance so check - www.sncf.com has info on strikes and work stoppages.
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