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Rail Europe or Strictly Train Operators

  • 17 April 2024
  • 5 replies
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I’ve been planning on going through Rail Europe to make seat reservations for my trains involving France. I’m going from London to Toulouse and Toulouse to Zurich. I did find someone saying that their tickets/reservations from Rail Europe weren’t showing up in the system at the train station, and I hadn’t come across people saying this was an issue till now. I know everyone’s experience is different, but I am doing this solo so I’m trying my best to avoid hiccups. Which, one primarily is going through the official train operators and avoiding third parties. Does Rail Europe have any risks that come with making reservations with them rather than an official train operator? If I can, should I just make the reservations through b-Europe (I’m fine with the extra cost)? 

Also, some of the seat reservations I'm getting are through OBB even though they're not the official train operator for that train (SBB, DB, Trenitalia, etc.), are there any risks with that or will I be okay since it's still an official train operator?

Thank you!

Here’s my itinerary that involves travel with France:

  • London St. Pancras intl 07:04 => Lille Europe 09:26 (June 21st)
  • Lille Flandres 11:42 => Paris Nord 12:45 (June 21st)
  • Paris Montparnasse 15:04 => Toulouse Matabiau 19:29 (June 21st)

 

  • Toulouse Matabiau 07:37 => Lyon Part Dieu 11:48 (June 24th)
  • Lyon Part Dieu 12:38 => Geneve 14:46 (June 24th)
  • Geneve 15:15 => Zuerich HB 17:56 (June 24th)

P.S. Someone just informed me Rail Europe is owned by SNCF, but I can’t tell if that’s just added confusion or eases me a bit (lol). 

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Best answer by ralderton 17 April 2024, 09:46

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There is no passholder quota except for Eurostar and TGVs out of Brussels.

Some reservations are required this summer, due to frequent overcrowding. They’re all available though OBB (https://shop.oebbtickets.at/en/ticket ). You do not have to make them right now and could wait until closer to departure.

1 and 2 : small-ish trains and popular routes. Reservations are required over the summer period.

3 : passholder supplement for the Tarvisio cross-border section (10€ 2nd class, 15€ 1st). Reservatiosn very recommended. All available through OBB as I said. ;)

4 : reservation optional, loooong trains with a thousand seats (ICE4 units). No issue to find something.

Thank you @Hektor , @thibcabe and @ralderton! I was able to make my reservations for those dates and times. I’ve come across some info about how some operators limit the number of seat reservations for Passholders and from the sounds of it, I might need to make reservations for Munich; I have a bit of travel between Zurich, Munich, Vienna, Venice, and Frankfurt, where most say seat reservations are optional or recommended. Many of those are via IC and EC, should I reserve a seat for those? 

  • Zurich HB => Munich HBF (EC)
  • Munich HBF => Wien HBF (RJX)
  • Wien HBF => Venezia Mestre (RJ)
  • Zurich HB => Frankfurt HBF (ICE or EC)
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There’s no reason to avoid Rail Europe. Of course, wherever you make your reservations there’s a chance of problems, but that chance is very small.

Often you can’t make passholder reservations direct with the operator, so you have no choice.

ÖBB and Rail Europe are both very reliable agencies.

Rail Europe is the best place for reservations London-Lille-Paris-Toulouse-Lyon.

No need for reservations for Lyon-Geneva-Zurich.

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Unless you want to visit Lille I'd take an earlier TGV towards Paris, for example 10:12 - 11:14.

The 45 min to change are plenty enough, you basically have to cross a square. You'll have enough time to get a coffee too. :)

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Please do not make seat reservations for Swiss trains, it's a waste of money. As I said in your other thread there are plenty of seats and nobody makes them (myself included). We hop on, walk down a carriage or two if needed and sit wherever we want.

If you were to make one and someone was on your seat you'll also have a hard time convincing them to move. It's very likely that your reservation won't appear onboard as well.

In Geneva go to the rear of the train (sectors G-H) to find plenty of seats.

This doesn't apply to the Munich EC on which reservations are required in summer.

I’ve been planning on going through Rail Europe to make seat reservations for my trains involving France. I’m going from London to Toulouse and Toulouse to Zurich. I did find someone saying that their tickets/reservations from Rail Europe weren’t showing up in the system at the train station, and I hadn’t come across people saying this was an issue till now. I know everyone’s experience is different, but I am doing this solo so I’m trying my best to avoid hiccups. Which, one primarily is going through the official train operators and avoiding third parties. Does Rail Europe have any risks that come with making reservations with them rather than an official train operator? If I can, should I just make the reservations through b-Europe (I’m fine with the extra cost)? 

That doesn't matter. Rail Europe is reliable. That something doesn't work may occur everywhere else, too.

Also, some of the seat reservations I'm getting are through OBB even though they're not the official train operator for that train (SBB, DB, Trenitalia, etc.), are there any risks with that or will I be okay since it's still an official train operator?

 

That's ok. If they are able to sell something, it's reliable. That something doesn't work may occur everywhere else, too.

Thank you!

Here’s my itinerary that involves travel with France:

  • London St. Pancras intl 07:04 => Lille Europe 09:26 (June 21st)
  • Lille Flandres 11:42 => Paris Nord 12:45 (June 21st)
  • Paris Montparnasse 15:04 => Toulouse Matabiau 19:29 (June 21st)

 

  • Toulouse Matabiau 07:37 => Lyon Part Dieu 11:48 (June 24th)
  • Lyon Part Dieu 12:38 => Geneve 14:46 (June 24th)
  • Geneve 15:15 => Zuerich HB 17:56 (June 24th)

P.S. Someone just informed me Rail Europe is owned by SNCF, but I can’t tell if that’s just added confusion or eases me a bit (lol). 

That's not true anymore since march 2022. But the company itself has a long history (founded about 100 years ago).

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