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Why doesn't RailEurope show all the train schedules?

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Why doesn't RailEurope show all the train schedules?

Old Apr 4th, 2008, 11:52 AM
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Why doesn't RailEurope show all the train schedules?

In the course of researching which rail pass to buy for our trip this summer, I mapped out each train I think we will take to compare the point to point costs vs. the cost of the pass. I met with a local travel agent who sells Eurail passes today to go over my calcuations and to ensure I was getting the right pass for our needs. During the course of our meeting, a couple of things confused me so I held off on purchasing until I felt like I had a better understanding of how this train stuff works!

When I was doing my research, I used the German website to plot out my itinerary and the train schedules. Today, when the travel agent was on the RailEurope site, the train schedule/times she came up with were different than what I had found. For example, if I search for a train from Barcelona to Montpellier for a Friday morning (I used April 25 as a dummy date), the German site (http://bahn.hafas.de/bin/query.exe/en) shows an 8:00 train from Barcelona Sants to Montpellier and an 8:45 train from Barcelona Franco to Montpellier. However, a search on www.raileurope.com only shows the Franca route. Does anyone know why? If I am being a complete idiot and overlooking something obvious, please be kind - it's been a long day!!

It worried me that the travel agent and I had different information - and I don't want to rely on her to make reservations for us (for our overnight trains) if she doesn't have access to all of the train schedules.

Maybe there is a simple explanation, or maybe I have made a mistake in my research, but right now I am getting a migraine so I thought I'd post a plea for help!

Thank you very much,
Attnymom
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Old Apr 4th, 2008, 12:18 PM
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I don't know.... But I can tell you that apparently a lot can depend on which web portal you use and also how you put in what you want.

I've noticed for example that bahn.de and cd.cz will occasionally show different availability and schedules.

The only think I can think of is that the schedules are kept in many different databases by the various train companies and the portals run updates at different times, so changes to the schedules don't propagate instantly and simultaneously.

Of course, that's just a guess.
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Old Apr 4th, 2008, 12:31 PM
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RailEurope interest is to sell you tickets (usually with a hefty markup), that they can book for you. They are not to provide comprehensive timetable.

Use www.bahn.de or other European national train companies' websites to get schedule.
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Old Apr 4th, 2008, 12:34 PM
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If you use bahn.de and ask for a connection from Barcelona Sants to Montpellier it does show a 8am train. But if you click on details for that connection, it shows that you'd have to use public transportation from Sants to Franca to catch the 8.45am train from Franca (which you got both from bahn.de and RailEurope).
So there is also no real 8am train from Sants to Montpellier on bahn.de
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Old Apr 4th, 2008, 12:42 PM
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I often recommend calling BETS 800-441-2387 for any railpass rail info as though they are RailEurope agents like practically all agents they are IME extremely knowledgeable and if you want to query someone who's been traveling trains for years that's it. I know of no other such service with such knowledge - ask for Byron IMO. www.budgeteuropetravel.com - www.ricksteves.com also has great rail and pass info. Travel agents often can't have a grasp of helping you decide which pass, etc. since railpasses are a minor part of their business and one that is not all that profitable for the measly commissions i think Raileurope pays. And RE operators themselves don't always seem that knowledgeable as well.
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Old Apr 4th, 2008, 12:50 PM
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They don't think it's worth their time or money to try to keep up with every single train schedule in Europe, and they only list main ones that people who buy from them are most likely to want.

Your travel agent has access to train schedules, just not on Raileurope.

I've always been surprised that deutschebahn updates all those other countries' schedules, it's amazing to me.
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Old Apr 4th, 2008, 01:51 PM
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Thank you very much for all your great replies - you all are so knowledgeable! I feel like I am a student getting a master's degree in travel (how I wish!!)

Cowboy - from now on I will always check the "details" button - I'm embarrassed that I hadn't. I can assure you that would not have gone over well if we had schlepped to the train station only to have to take public transportation to the other station!


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Old Apr 6th, 2008, 06:40 AM
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Raileurope IME lists trains as Sold Out sometimes simply because they have not loaded them on their system - perhaps for the very possible reason to me Christina notes

And yes they do not nearly book all the trains that you can actually book thru them or travel agents manually can book thru them IME
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Old Apr 6th, 2008, 07:31 AM
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Another really goood site for European train schedules is the Swiss website:

http://www.sbb.ch/en/

I agree with what the others have said about the travel agent. In my case, I needed to pe-purchase 4 tickets for Bern to Florence (train change in Milan). The SBB website showed dozens of daily trains and connections for that route. The Rail Europe site showed only one train per day.

(As an aside, I wanted to find out how much a ticket would cost from Bern to Florence before the Rail Europe mark up, but the SBB website didn't have the price listed and instead prompted me to email their customer service department to ask. I sent an email but never expected to get a reply, so I was very surprised when I received an answer to my question within two days. It wasn't even an automated reply, it was personalized and written out by an actual human being. You could have knocked me over with a feather. He told me the price of the ticket, explained that because I was in Canada I'd have to buy from Rail Europe if I wanted to pre-purchase for that route, provided me with links, told me to have a nice day and a nice trip and signed his name and everything)

To purchase with Rail Europe in Canada, you have to book through the Travel Cuts agency. So I called up, and told the agent that I wanted to purchase tickets but the particular train I wanted wasn't showing up on the Rail Europe timetable, only on the SBB site. I told her the train number, the exact departure and arrival times, etc. that I got off SBB. And she was able to book it for me no problem. I got the tickets a couple of days later via registered mail.

So, what I'm taking way too long to say is, don't rely on the travel agent to work out the best deal for you. Do your own research on the schedules and the point-to-point prices, and make the decision whether or not to go with a pass yourself. Then use the authorized Rail Europe agent to either buy your rail pass, or to pre-purchase the tickets and reservations that you need to buy ahead of time for the trains that YOU want. In other words, use the agent as a booking service, not an information service.

It's more work that way, but in the process you'll get lots of help from other posters here (I sure did)and you can be secure in the knowledge that you will really get what you want and not just what is easiest for Rail Europe agents provide.
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Old Apr 8th, 2008, 12:02 PM
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I thought Canadia(e)ns could buy RailEurope products in loonies thru raileurope.com and this routes you to some office in Chicago which then would mail out the tickets/passes. Or raileurope.ca?
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Old Apr 8th, 2008, 12:29 PM
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Question about the Eurostar- Paris to London- is the "Economy Restricted 2nd class" ticket fine to get? That's the best price! Is it still a reserved seat?
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Old Apr 8th, 2008, 01:02 PM
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Yup

Yup
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Old Apr 8th, 2008, 02:35 PM
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thanks, PalenQ.
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Old Apr 11th, 2008, 10:36 AM
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nvl325

all standard class (2nd) tickets are the same and seats they get you are the same

the only difference is the price you may pay - bloke next to you may have bought that day and paid full fare of $200 or more and you may have paid half that in advance, or because you're under 26, 60 or over, etc.

It's like economy class on an airline - everyone pays a different fare perhaps but they all sit together and all get the same treatment.
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Old Apr 12th, 2008, 08:22 AM
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IME on Eurostar London-Paris v.v. if the train is not full the computer still blocks everyone together and after take off you are free to relocated - in Standard class Eurostar seats are more cramped than on most trains IMO so scope out cars that may be fairly empty and relocated after blast off

But trains may stop a few times en route so look to make sure that seat you relocated to is not reserved say in Calais-Frethun, Lille, etc. though i'mnot sure this is indicated in actuality

but many Lon-Par trains are non-stop so them relocated even before the train takes off is possible
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Old May 28th, 2008, 01:22 PM
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Currently if you search Raileurope.com for Italian train schedules you may see a paucity of trains - say only a few a day between Florence and Venice when in fact they go about hourly or so

seems the Italians as usual have yet to load summer schedules for many trains after summer schedules start around June 12 or so

so sometimes it's not RE's fault though normally they do not show many or most of the possible trains. Go to www.bahn.de for a comprehensive listing and accurate for the date you want. But even bahn.de now is showing at times a skeletal Italian train service for the summer
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Old May 28th, 2008, 02:07 PM
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RailEurope could not possibly do justice to ALL of the train schedules in the nations of Europe. They are extremely detailed, and far too extensive to duplicate.

If you want to know specific rail schedules, I suggest going to the national web site for the country involved.

You can find a panel of icons for train timetables for many of the European nations at this location:

http://www.railfaneurope.net/frameset.html

Go to the timetable page of the national web site in question.

For example, the train you asked about is listed on the Spanish site. This site shows that the train to Monpellier leaves from BARCELONA-ESTACIO DE FRANCA at 8:45 and arrives at 13:16.

Unfortunately, I could not get it to tell me a price!!!!

The German website is good, and I rely on it for Germany, France, and the smaller countries of Belgium, Netherlands, and Denmark.

Austria has a good web site also; it and the German site are hand in glove.

For Switzerland nothing beats SBB.CH.

Some of the eastern European sites are dicey nor did I find the Spanish one too thrilling. I usually look at the national site if it has English captions and then see if I can duplicate the schedule at the German or Austrian site.

When you get to places like Bulgaria, I am not sure what to do!!


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Old Jun 26th, 2008, 01:22 PM
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RE is finally up to speed on Italian schedules on their site - was a paucity until a few weeks back but now summer schedules are on - i guess it was more a problem of the Italian railways getting their act together and setting the schedules.
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