Web Sites for European Trains?

Old Jul 14th, 2001, 01:25 PM
  #1  
Betsy
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Web Sites for European Trains?

Another train question. We are taking the train from Paris to CT to Florence and from Orvieto to Rome to Salerno to Venice to Munich to Paris (a five-week trip in October-November). I have accessed the French, Italian, German and Swiss web sites. The Swiss site seems to be the easiest to maneuver by far. Are there any advantages/disadvantages of using one site over the other. Are the prices the same?

I am trying to determine if point-to-point tickets will be less expensive than a pass. If use a pass, we would buy point-to-point tickets from CT to Florence and from Orvieto to Rome.

Thanks for your help in advance.
 
Old Jul 14th, 2001, 02:09 PM
  #2  
Ed
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All the major railroad sites are pretty good, and roughly equal. Many seem to prefer the German site, though I prefer the Swiss site myself. www.rail.ch

They all price >>domestic<< trips accurately. None price international trips. And there's no source I know of for >>accurate<< pricing of international trips. There are several
e.g. http://www.railpass.com/
sites where you can get >>approximate<< fares, but they're usually high, sometimes by a large amount.

www.railsaver.com proposes to help you determine if you need a pass. Preliminary testing shows it has some value, but I think you need to double check results against some other sources.

The German server will price some (all?) internatinal trips to the first stop in the next country from Germany, so you can often construct an accurate price by using two servers. In most cases you can pick out logical points near the border and get close to accurate prices that way. And the Swiss Rail server provides a way to request prices by e-mail for international services.

If those trips are all that you are taking, I would expect that point-to-point tickets would be your best bet, but one can't really be sure without doing at least some rough pricing.

twenj
 
Old Jul 14th, 2001, 03:09 PM
  #3  
Betsy
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Thanks for your quick and thorough reply, Ed. I've used your own very helpful site a lot in planning this trip.

I typed our itinerary into the Swiss site and should get a price quote back within two days. The Swiss site did not indicate that it doesn't quote for international trips. I've experienced the German site policy. When I typed in the Munich to Paris segment, the quote was to the German border!

It looks as if the Eurail Select Pass Saver Pass for $296 per person for five countries with two people traveling the same route might be the best way to go, but I'm not sure of that yet. Looking at the sequence of the itinerary--France, Italy, Germany, France--I'm not sure how to count the number of countries. For example, if our Paris to CT route goes through Switzerland, does that count as the fourth country? I'm not sure of the Venice to Munich segment, either. Does that go through Austria and if so, does that count as the fifth country even if we don't stop there? Got to pull out the map and do some more research!

I've accessed railsaver.com and am using their quote loosely as a benchmark.

Thanks again, Ed. Hope you're feeling fine.
 
Old Jul 14th, 2001, 03:21 PM
  #4  
Ed
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Feeling well, Betsy, thanks.

I'm no expert on Eurail passes, but I do think Switzerland would count, and if your route transits Austria, likely, it would also count.
 
Old Jul 14th, 2001, 03:31 PM
  #5  
Betsy
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The quote from Railsaver just came in at $306/pp for the itinerary above. Will compare this with PTP as closely as possible. If the cost is close, it might be better to go ahead with the pass for convenience.

This is complicated!
 
Old Jul 14th, 2001, 03:33 PM
  #6  
Betsy
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To clarify, the quote is for "Eurail Select France/Germany/Italy 6-day 1st Class Adult FlexiPass Companion Saver."
Who are these RailSaver folks?
 
Old Jul 14th, 2001, 03:52 PM
  #7  
Ed
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Who?

I'm guessing they're related to Rail Pass Express, the folks to whom they send you when you say you want to buy a pass (not ticket(s).
( www.railpass.com )

Looking at all the info, if their pricing numbers are on the wrong side they're likely to overstate the cost of point-to-point tickets I believe.
 
Old Jul 14th, 2001, 04:00 PM
  #8  
Betsy
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Guess I'll just press on and wait for the report of the cost of PTP tickets through the Swiss site! Will report back here when the final numbers are in.

Hope this post will be able to help others who are on the same quest.

Ed, if you can think of anything else I need to do in trying to make this comparison, please let me know.
 
Old Jul 14th, 2001, 04:01 PM
  #9  
Betsy
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Oh, one more thing, Ed. Do you know if the Swiss RR tacks on a charge to send tickets to the US if we end up buying from them?

 
Old Jul 14th, 2001, 04:35 PM
  #10  
Ed
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Haven't a clue on whether SBB will send tickets to the US. Not something I've tried, nor have I heard reports from others. Practices vary quite a bit between other countries of whose policies I have heard.

If they do send the mail charges would be minimal. I have ordered their timetable books from them, and they charged exactly what the postage was.

In October/November unless you're hitting any national holidays I'd not think you'd have need to purchase tickets in advance.
 

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