Train Questions......??

Aug 13th, 2007, 01:09 PM
  #1  
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Train Questions......??

I am buying a EuroRail Seclect 5 country pass. (France, benelux, Italy, Austria, Hungary)
1. How can I find the travel time between each city?
-Paris to Lux or Paris to Belgium
-Budapest to Vienna
-Vienna to Venice
-Venice to Roma
2. If the train is an overnight will it cost me extra? if so do I still have to use a day of travel on my pass?
3. If say I wanted to go from Paris to Lux. walk around for 5 or 6 hours and then on to Belgium. Is that a bad or good idea?
4. If I do the above, are there places to store my luggage at the station?
5. Is there a web-site where I can book trains in advance?
6. Does anyone have advice for a first time train traveler?

Thanks for all your responses. .
EuropeRookie is offline  
Aug 13th, 2007, 01:14 PM
  #2  
 
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Use the GermanRail website to find schedules and time durations:

http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en

For overnight trains, if this is the FIRST time you will have used the pass on that date AND the train leaves after 7:00 PM, you would use up a day on the pass but it would be the next day's date you would enter (assuming a "flexi" pass).

Yes, sleeping accommodations will cost you additional.
Dukey is offline  
Aug 13th, 2007, 01:29 PM
  #3  
Jen
 
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What Dukey said for schedules, and to determine length of trips. Also, you should price out your individual tickets... it might be cheaper than buying the pass. That's how my trip worked out-- cheaper to buy point-to-point tickets by almost half. However I'm not travelling the distances you are, so the pass may indeed be the way for you to go. I would check it out though-- don't assume the pass is the best value.

In my experience, it is unnecessary to book tickets in advance-- just buy the tickets at the station when you get there. I've always done it that day, and been fine. You might want to book a day or so ahead for an overnight, to get the kind of sleeper you want... never done an overnight, so not sure about that.
Jen is offline  
Aug 13th, 2007, 01:36 PM
  #4  
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thank you both for the advice
EuropeRookie is offline  
Aug 13th, 2007, 01:42 PM
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Hi - you might want to check the Rail info on www.ricksteves.com. Go to Planning Your Trip, then Travel Tips, then Transportatin. It is pretty thorough and might be helpful.
Have fun!
cls2paris is offline  
Aug 13th, 2007, 01:43 PM
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Doesn't a 3 or 5 country pass require that the countries be contiguous? EuropeRookie's are, but by a very circuituous route--France to Italy to Austria and then Hungary. When we had a three country pass (Austria, Germany, Switzerland), we could not take the train from Vienna to Berlin through the Czech Republic without paying extra. It turned out that going via Germany was almost as fast.
Michael is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 08:13 AM
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I agree with cis2paris about www.ricksteves.com for good and unique train info - i also always recommend www.budgeteuropetravel.com to request their free European Planning & Rail guide, a fine primer on European train travel that answers many of your questions. They also have a free service where they answer any questions by phone IME whether you buy a pass or not (BETS 800-441-9413) - the only such service i know where you can speak to experts who seem to know it all. If there is any other similar service please tell me so i can publicize it as today it's virtually impossible to talk to anyone - RailEurope does it only with sales and then charges 10% according to their web site for any phone order.
PalenqueBob is offline  
Aug 24th, 2007, 06:27 AM
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<Doesn't a 3 or 5 country pass require that the countries be contiguous?>

Eurail Select 3, 4 or 5 country pass does not require that all the countries be contiguous but that you have to hop from one country that touches another and then from that country hop to another country that borders it, etc.

Thus with a 3-country pass you could have Greece, Italy and France on it

Or Denmark, Germany and Austria

or Spain, France and Italy.

Many folks going between Munich and Italy don't realize that they pass thru a part of Austria - about an hour and have to buy a point-point ticket before boarding to cover the Austria part if they don't have Austria on their pass.

Unfortunately some of the Germany/Austria/Italy Allegro trains require Austria to be on the pass - no provision for buying the Austrian segment due to the 'Global Fare' nature of these trains - night trains as well.
PalenqueBob is offline  
Aug 24th, 2007, 04:20 PM
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An overnight train will cost extra if you want to book a bed.
suze is offline  
Aug 24th, 2007, 04:46 PM
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1. How can I find the travel time between each city?

As Dukey suggested, you can go to a nation rail website to find route info. My personal choice is SBB (the Swiss site). The various rail sites will generally give the route info, train info (type of train, whether reservations are required, whether bicylcles are allowed, etc.), maps for the train station (probably only stations within that country), intermediate stops, etc.

2. If the train is an overnight will it cost me extra? if so do I still have to use a day of travel on my pass?

Yes. Overnight trains sometimes book up well in advance (depending on the route). I would try to reserve at least several weeks in advance, if not even longer.

4. If I do the above, are there places to store my luggage at the station?

Probably not at the smaller train stations. The larger stations will probably have a place where you can check luggage for a small fee (3-5 euros).

6. Does anyone have advice for a first time train traveler?

Don't fall asleep on the train. I did that once and woke up in the train wash (like a giant drive-through car wash).

Have fun.
Jolie is offline  
Aug 26th, 2007, 09:31 AM
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To me the best and easiest timetable info is from www.bahn.de - the German rail site which has schedules for all of Europe.

Extremely easy to use - www.budgeteuropetravel.com has a link to the English schedule page of the www.bahn.de site and then you just put in Paris and Luxembourg and the date and you'll get all the trains. The web site i reference also gives you several useful tips on fully using the Wunderbar bahn.de site - telling you if trains are subject to compulsory reservations for example and those with are not.

The best and most accurate i've used. (not so familiar with sbb.ch so that may be as good?)
PalenqueBob is offline  
Aug 28th, 2007, 10:19 AM
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<If say I wanted to go from Paris to Lux. walk around for 5 or 6 hours and then on to Belgium. Is that a bad or good idea?>

Good idea but poor example. where in Belgium to do on to - Brussels? at least a couple of hours from Lux but possible

better scenario: paris - luxembourg - put backs in station luggage storage - stations usually in town centres as this one is - walk around a few hours - enough for Luxembourg IMO - then go onto nearby Trier for the night. Trier has some fantastic sights from its heyday as capital of the western part of the Holy Roman Empire - including a basilica dating from Constantine's day and the finest, to me, Roman relic north of the Alps - the mammoth Porta Negra - 'gatway to the eastern part of the Holy Roman Empire.

6. Does anyone have advice for a first time train traveler?
I always refer novice travelers to three fantastic resources: www.ricksteves.com - lots of trains and itineraries; www.budgeteuropetravel.com to get their free European Planning & Rail Guide that will give you travel times and rail maps and suggested itineraries for each country and answer questions like you ask. And 3 - Fodorites - an amazing resource of collective European rail knowledge, including the alternatives to railpasses, which you should not blindly consider, but which with your itinerary yes the Select pass makes sense.
PalenqueBob is offline  
Aug 28th, 2007, 10:38 AM
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If you go to www.raileurope.com and click on the tickets and schedules link, you'll be able to see exact travel times and which trains are non-stop and which are connecting. You can buy a rail pass without booking specific trains and you'll be able to see if some trains are sold out. You can get some of your answers by calling the Raileurope 800 number.
LaSalle61 is offline  
Aug 28th, 2007, 11:11 AM
  #14  
ira
 
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Better than raileurope, which doesn't list all trains, is www.bahn.de.

ira is offline  
Aug 28th, 2007, 11:16 AM
  #15  
 
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1. How can I find the travel time between each city?
-Paris to Lux or Paris to Belgium
-Budapest to Vienna
-Vienna to Venice
-Venice to Roma

Eurail publishes a "Traveler's Guide" and a "Timetable" which should come with your pass. According to this the times are 1h25, 2h29, 6h54, and 5h33, respectively, if my arithmetic is correct.

2. If the train is an overnight will it cost me extra? if so do I still have to use a day of travel on my pass?
Yes and yes.

3. If say I wanted to go from Paris to Lux. walk around for 5 or 6 hours and then on to Belgium. Is that a bad or good idea?
It's OK.

4. If I do the above, are there places to store my luggage at the station?
Not guaranteed but almost every station has luggage lockers and/or an attended luggage room.

5. Is there a web-site where I can book trains in advance?
Many. Google it. The price is the same everywhere but the service can differ.

6. Does anyone have advice for a first time train traveler?
Look at http://tinyurl.com/eym5b to get you up to speed on European trains.

hopscotch is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 06:56 AM
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<Venice to Roma>

there are complications with a pass on this route.

the best rail links are direct ES (Eurostar Italia) high-speed trains and these require reservations before boarding and incur to pass holders a supplement of 15 euros - $22 or so (i paid in Jan 07) - so be sure to get the reservation as soon as you get to Venice. there are IC+ and IC trains as well but usually involves a change of trains at Bologna - IC+ trains in Italy require reservations - 5 euros. IC trains don't require and you can just hop on.

So know the nomenclature. I endorse the utility of the Eurail Timetable that you should receive free with your pass (though some agents don't send them, probably to save the extra postage) but they should.

It's a handy listing of say most trains between Venice and Rome and denotes the type of trains like ES IC+ and IC
PalenqueBob is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 07:36 AM
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>and you'll be able to see if some trains are sold out.

Yes, and will be sold wrong info half the time.

Raileurope might be good for buying passes, but definitely not a reliable source for getting schedule or price info for a particular connection.
altamiro is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 09:04 AM
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I ended up booking my point - to - point ticket (Munich to Venice/Venice to Rome) w/ RailEurope. That was the easiest site to understand (for me at least). The others were good, but provided options that I wasn't sure about. The prices were not that different to sway me from one to the other.

I leave in a couple weeks for my trip and since this topic covers train questions, I would like to ask a couple of my own.
- I have 1st class seats, is there luggage racks near my seats or in another compartment where I can't keep my eyes on my luggage?
- Do they announce what the next stop(s) will be or do you have to keep track on your own?
- As I mentioned, I got my tickets via RailEurope. They shipped them to me. All looks great except that our names are not on the tickets. Just seat numbers, train numbers, times, etc.. and number of passengers says 2. Because our names are not listed, will this be a problem?

Thanks!
jkve2 is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 09:34 AM
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>- I have 1st class seats, is there luggage racks near my seats or in another compartment where I can't keep my eyes on my luggage?

It depends on the trainset, but usually you have overhead racks and big compartments/racks close to the doors.

- Do they announce what the next stop(s) will be or do you have to keep track on your own?

Again, depends on the train. Usually yes but sometimes it is too mushy to understand. On local trains, they often donīt.

- As I mentioned, I got my tickets via RailEurope. They shipped them to me. All looks great except that our names are not on the tickets. Just seat numbers, train numbers, times, etc.. and number of passengers says 2. Because our names are not listed, will this be a problem?

Ummm... why do you want your names on the tickets? If you buy them from the counter or ticket machine nobody cares about names. I have only seen names put on train tickets in France, nowhere else in Europe
altamiro is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 09:34 AM
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No problemo - full fare tickets probably can be used by anybody, thus no names - i think at least. Why not call RailEurope and ask those questions?
PalenqueBob is offline  

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