train travel through Italy

Old Sep 26th, 2005, 11:17 AM
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train travel through Italy


I've got a quick question regarding train classes in Italy. After reading through various travel books I've gathered a solid understanding about rail travel costs, different types of trains, etc, but was wondering what was the real difference between 1st and 2nd class.

My wife and I will be traveling through northern Italy during early November. We are a younger couple usually accostomed to coach air travel here in the US, but were concerned that we simply didn't know what 2nd class on Italy trains would be. Is 1st class worth it? Any thoughts you could offer would be greatly appreciated.

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Old Sep 26th, 2005, 11:26 AM
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As a frequent train traveler in Europe and in Italy especially, I always take 2nd class seats and am fine with that. I even travel with my young child and that has worked great. There is no measurable difference between the 2 classes; and IMO, it is not worth the additional cost to be in 1st class unless that designation is a really big deal to you both. The seats in 2nd class are comfortable and nearly all of the Italian trains have been re-done and upgraded into non-smoking trains so the modifications have really helped the overall appearance.

When looking at, type in your city pairs at 1st class and at 2nd class and do the comparison that way. You will see, other than price, that there is no real difference between the two classes.
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Old Sep 26th, 2005, 01:25 PM
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On an ES train, I'd stick with 2nd class. All reserved seats comparable to airline coach class.

On an IC train, I'd reserve 1st class. Not all the IC trains have been upgraded, so some are are nicer (air conditioned, better repair) than others. Also, since IC trains don't require reservations, many people without reservations are searching for seats on the train. 1st class tends to be less crowded.
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Old Sep 26th, 2005, 02:17 PM
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I agree with Ellenem, because some IC trains that have not been upgraded, in 2nd class tend to be pretty clogged up during rush hours or week-ends so you can see a lot of people standing up on the corridors. First class is less crowded on ICs.
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Old Sep 26th, 2005, 03:01 PM
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I think it depends on how much luggage you have and whether or not you want to fight with your spouse about getting a seat. I had to stand in 2nd class in a hot crowded car that was filled with travelers with luggage in the seats and in the aisles. It was horrendous. Get a reserved seat in 1st class and give yourself a break. We can't afford to fly 1st class, but I will travel 1st class on the train.
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Old Sep 27th, 2005, 12:03 AM
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Frankly, I believe there ARE some "measurable differences" between First and Second.

Often there are more seats in 2nd in the same amount of space in which there are fewer seats in First.

Second usually fills up faster than First because it is cheaper.

Sometimes, but not always, First Class cars seem to be in better repair than Second Class ones.

Sometimes there is additional padding on the seats in First vs. Second.

People standing in the aisles: it happens in BOTH classes.

One of the best ways to judge for yourself is to simply BE ON a train and wander through both classes; if you don't feel there is enough of a difference once you have actually seen it then you have THE answer.
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