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Mlhduck Apr 14th, 2017 08:47 PM

Vernazza-->MXP (Milan)
My flight leaves MXP on Easy jet (terminal 2) to Paris at 1925 (pm) 29 April, 2017. I will be spending the night before in Vernazza and planning to train to MXP/Milan Centrale and then transfer to a bus or train to terminal 1. Does anyone have a good estimate of when I should leave Vernazza by? There is a train with one change to Milan Centrale that leaves at 12:34 pm and arrives Milan Centrale at 1550. Is this enough time to get from Centrale to Terminal two for check in, etc. I will be checking a bag on the way home! Thank you!

Andrew Apr 14th, 2017 10:54 PM

Yes, that sounds like plenty of time. You can catch a train from Milano Centrale to MXP. They run about 2X an hour as I recall, so if your first train is on time, you should get to MXP by about 17:00. I did something similar (Levanto to MXP via Milano Centrale) a few years ago.

Your train could be late, of course, so you are taking a chance. If you were an hour late, I'll bet you'd still make the flight. Some people would never do it and leave hours earlier, but I'm not quite that cautious. I'd check to see if there's a flight after 19:25 on to Paris in case of a big delay. (perhaps not free for you to take the next flight - if you have trip delay insurance, it might cover something like this). If there's a train 2 hours earlier (probably an extra train connection) you might take that one instead, just to be extra safe.

greg Apr 14th, 2017 11:01 PM

If you are starting from Milan instead, would you be leaving Milan before 15:50 or after 15:50?

While you are concerned with the timing between Milano-Centrale to the MXP, I think the more relevant issue, which you have not mentioned, is whether the trains are running on that day and on time. I don't see any Trenitalia strike posted for that day at this point, so that is good.

You itinerary is actually like this. This is risky for my taste.

12:34-12:38 Vernazza-Monterosso R24456
12:55-15:50 Monterosso-Milano Centrale IC670

The R24456 starts from La Spezia.

In my experience, that milk run train serving Vernazza has been chronically late. While April is not a high season, I have had to deal with more than 20 minutes delay during a shoulder season. While the IC670 trains should usually follow the R24456 train, I see that the Corniglia station has a passing track. It seems if the R24456 is hopelessly late and the IC670 is on it tail, it seems it is possible to let IC670 go ahead of R24456 at Corniglia. If they can do this, your IC670 connection train arrives in Monterosso ahead and leaves there before your train from Vernazza.

The IC670 is a capacity limited train that stops only at selected stations, so it tends to be on time. The R24456 is a Regionale train stopping at every station for unpredictable amount of time depending on the number of passengers.

Andrew Apr 14th, 2017 11:24 PM

Actually, Trenitalia's website suggests changing in Levanto (the next station after Monterosso).

They also show a "Cinque Terre Express" train 21194 running from Vernazza 20 minutes earlier (12:14, to Levanto by 12:25), and the train to Milano Centrale departs Levanto at 13:02). That's a long layover at Levanto (nothing much around the station) if the first train is on time, but it would reduce the risk considerably of missing the connection. (You might have to change tracks at Levanto, I don't remember. You could change at Monterosso too, maybe you wouldn't have to change tracks there, I don't remember.)

You could probably buy the earlier departure from Vernazza as a single ticket all the way to MXP from an agent but maybe not from a ticket machine. Just write down exactly which trains you want - probably the same price.

I guess I was a bit optimistic about arrival at MXP; the Trenitalia site says you'd get in at 17:22 with 35 minutes to change at Milano Centrale. Maybe if you run you could catch the earlier train to MXP at 15:55 (5 minutes to change trains!) and get to the airport a half hour earlier. Not sure if the tracks at Milano Centrale are too far apart to make it - maybe. It's a big station, but it is level so no steps to change tracks.

Mlhduck Apr 15th, 2017 08:14 AM

Thanks for the help! This will be my first time in mainland Europe and also first time really dealing with trains aside from the rest of the time I'm in Europe that week! So maybe I will just plan on taking the cautious route to allow myself more time in case one is running late. Although I'm a bit of a risk taker and really dislike sitting and waiting in airports! I'll keep looking at my options!

Is prebooking on trenitalia a good idea or should I wait to buy my tickets when I'm in CT and Milan centrale? Thanks again Everyone!

Andrew Apr 15th, 2017 01:20 PM

You might have saved a few euros (not many) by booking this a few weeks or months ago, on the train from the Cinque Terre to Milan. Looking now, it looks like the IC670 is already at full price (26 euros) for that train, for April 29. So there is no benefit to buying it now. Two months ago, maybe it would have been 13 euros or something.

The other trains are regional trains so no benefit booking them ahead of time.

So - I'd just wait and book it all when you get there. Maybe you can book this as all one ticket, all the way to MXP.

CAUTIONARY NOTE ABOUT ITALIAN TRAINS: for regional trains (non-reserved), you *MUST* validate your ticket for that train BEFORE you board! Otherwise, you could wind up with a steep fine, even if you are just a "dumb tourist" - no warning for first-time visitors to Italy.

There are ubiquitous yellow validation boxes at the stations where you insert/stamp your ticket before boarding - like this:

Inspectors on the trains randomly check tickets on various trains to make sure they are validated. It's a real thing.

You don't need to do this for reserved trains (like IC670) where you are booked for a specific time and day, with a reserved seat. That's because that ticket can't be used on another train. But if you are ever unsure - no harm to validating the ticket anyway.

If you buy a Cinque Terre pass with unlimited train use (and hiking) in the region, that pass is validated too, once, and doesn't need validation after the first time.

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