train reservations

Old Aug 29th, 2000, 05:12 PM
  #1  
fran
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train reservations

can one book train reservations and pay for them in the US. We are travelling Rome to Florence on the Eurostar.
 
Old Aug 29th, 2000, 05:35 PM
  #2  
Tom
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I just made reservations for four trains when I purchased ny eurail pass from rail europe.

Tom
 
Old Aug 29th, 2000, 05:37 PM
  #3  
JimF
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With 2 or 3 trains an hour from Rome to Florence, getting a reservation will not be a problem once you arrive in Italy. I recommend buying your tickets at the station in the Fiumicino airport at the same time you buy your tickets to the Rome Termini. This is what I have always done and I have never had any problems. If you need specifics feel free to email me.
 
Old Aug 30th, 2000, 05:55 AM
  #4  
topper
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!
 
Old Aug 30th, 2000, 06:46 AM
  #5  
topper
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.
 
Old Aug 30th, 2000, 06:58 AM
  #6  
Jane
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I got advance tickets on the Eurostar through AAA. There has been some debate on the forum as to whether this is necessary but I felt more comfortable as we were traveling during a busy time and we had a definite schedule we wanted to adhere to. The drawback to some is that you are locked into a specific travel time. However, you can later change the time of the train you go on but you will lose your seat reservation fee ($11.00 approx). Rates were quoted in and I paid in $US.
Rome to Florence is such a short trip that it may not be a big deal to have advance reservations - you can always take another train, etc. But I liked the convenience of having one less thing to take care of over there.
DER website has the train schedules on their website, www.dertravel.com (I think).
 
Old Sep 1st, 2000, 06:07 AM
  #7  
Patrick
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Currently on our third week of a one month rail pass, let me say that the reservation thing has been somewhat of a nightmare. We could not book reservations before leaving the US as we were leaving more than 2 months before the train pass went into effect. There is an office called Eurail Aid in Berlin's Zoo station. It is a joke. They could not help me make reservations, but only were willing to sell tours and extensions to the pass. They could not even help me with any of my questions regarding schedules, or getting my pass validated. The main problem with making the reservations when you get there is that in almost every station there are huge lines where you take a number and wait to make an inquiry or a reservation. We have waited as much as one and a half hours. Presently we are in Annecy, France and to go most places from here, it is necessary to take the TGV, which requires a reservation. This morning we waited in line for twenty minutes before leaving or we would have missed the train anyway. Instead our option was to take another train that took nearly twice as long. We have tried in five different offices to book a reservation from Barcelona to Bilbao, and no one has been able to do it for us. They tell us we have to it when we reach Spain, two days before we need it, when it may already be fully booked. In addition we have often paid supplements for TGV, IC, and EC trains even though our Eurail pass says they are not required. The reservation clerks in many rail stations refuse to honor that, insisting that these trains require a supplement. I don't mind paying the usual $3 a ticket to reserve a seat, but when I am charged up to $15 extra to take a standard train for an hour or two, it seems out of line. When I return I hope to post a more complete report on this issue. Oh, and by the way, be aware that you are to carry your passport with you at all times with a Eurail pass. One day on a day trip, a overly zealous conductor nearly charged us for a ticket insisting that our pass was no good without our passports. We were shocked because in all our travels, no conductor had ever before asked us for our passports with the pass. (YesI know the pass says that it is only valid with the passport, but after our experience traveling, we had left our passports at the hotel that day.)
 
Old Sep 1st, 2000, 07:14 AM
  #8  
C Sheen
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Fran: Take Jim F's advice and e-mail him. The information he gave me was great. I just returned from Italy (for the first time). I walked off the plane from home to the ticket counter and took the train. It was so easy and so much cheaper than getting the tickets here. Do it.
 
Old Sep 1st, 2000, 11:29 AM
  #9  
Ben Haines
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Fodors

As you see, Patrick's experience is not typical. In particular, why any large station could not book a berth on the hotel train from Barcelona I don't know. The computers are all linked. I found Euraid in Berlin Zoo station excellent, and at other Travel Centre desks in that station have myself booked berths from stations other than Berlin, and from Berlin.

Queues or lines are indeed a problem. Two thoughts are these. Many city centre travel agents have window signs to say that they book trains, and are pleasanter places to wait in than are railway stations. And in stations, if you ask the "quick enquiries" counter they'll tell you what time of day has shortest queues or lines.

I travel chiefly in central Europe, on the European equivalent of Eurailpass, and in eight years of summer travel no inspector has asked to see my passport. Over-zealous, indeed.

I look forward to Patrick's coming fuller report.

Please write if I can help further. Welcome to Europe.

Ben Haines, London


 
Old Sep 2nd, 2000, 03:54 AM
  #10  
topper
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.
 
Old Sep 2nd, 2000, 06:35 AM
  #11  
Patrick
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Ben, sorry, but it was not a berth on a hotel train I am seeking, but two seats on what appears to be the only straight through train from Barcelona to Bilbao, and only running on Saturdays, during the day. Sorry, but I hate night travel on trains, can't sleep, and feel I miss the scenery. Also, I will never travel willingly anywhere that I can't take a shower first thing in the morning. We arranged our schedules in Barcelona and in Bilbao around that train. I have since tried a couple of travel agents, and they too have been unable to ticket, although they have been able to find the train listed -- the same problem I have had in train stations. This must be some very unusual situation, but it is driving me crazy. I have decided to give it up until we arrive in Barcelona. By the way, the best luck I have had in booking reservations for trains was in a travel agent office in Krakow. Although everything was for prepaid Eurail Pass tickets, the woman handled everything for us, although, she too insisted that we pay supplements for EC and IC trains.
 

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