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Old 30.12.2008, 10:13
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Italian Trains and problems

With regards to this entry, posted on "Italy Trip Misadventure"a couple of weeks ago, I'd like to suggest both a cause for the same as well as a tip for future trips:
We went to Verona and Venice from Davos by train in October, we bought our tickets and reservations from the SBB.

Everything was fine till we got to Milan, we boarded the train to Verona, we set off. the guard came, inspected the tickets, then told us we needed an Italian reservation as it was an express train, we told him we had already paid, he said no, we must pay etc, etc.

Now this really was an official guy. He charged us €30 for a reservation, which we asked for a receipt, this receipt turned out to be for a "Merchandise", we felt a bit ripped off, so when we got to Verona we reported the incident to the police and the railway authorities who confimed that the reservation should only be €5 and we'd already got it. They then said there was nothing they could do as they do not know which guards work which trains (???) and that we shouldn't have paid it so it was our own stupid fault.

When official staff are conning you what hope do you have!

Point is be very wary of the trains aswell.

While we all can concur that train + travel in Italy can eventually amount to a certain amount of discomfort, especially due to strikes, overbooking, crowding, technical issues, there are a couple of things worth mentioning that could save your day & trip.

1) log on to www.trenitalia.com and buy your tickets online. You can even have the option to have the reservation sent by SMS on to your cell phone, besides receiving it via e-mail. The trainmaster will log online with his wifi PDA and doublecheck your reservation code against the database (pretty impressive... they sure don't have this here in Switzerland, ho hum)

2) If and when possible travel 1st class. Train travel in Italy is still cheaper than over here :-/

3) Do note that there are different kinds of connections / trains. You will probably be more interested in the fast connections - EC, Cisalpino to get to your main cities. Do note that on these trains a specific reservation is mandatory and that these connections are usually more expensive. There is a surcharge if for any reason you must buy your ticket on board (!)...

as far as the incident above is concerned... I quickly checked the 1st class rates from Milano to Venezia. The price difference between a regular connection and a EC / Cisalpino is appx Eur 15 per passenger, might explain part of the problem. As far as the receipt for "merchandise" is concerned I think it's probably the one and only categorization which is programmed in the machine . All the stuff they produce electronically leaves a log / trace and nobody would want to be caught scamming, being that Trenitalia just loves to throw it's weight against it's employees (sad story, really).

Personal travel history around Italy sees only one major incident, involving a broken locomotive, which led to a semi-traumatic return from Nice, France for my 77 y/o mom.
Otherwise really no problms at all: plenty of Cisalpino trips to Venezia, a Pendolino (high speed) day trip from Milano to Rome and back, etc.

If I can be of any help feel free to pm or to post here.

Ciao

Paul
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Old 05.01.2009, 10:54
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Re: Italian Trains and problems

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<snip>You can even have the option to have the reservation sent by SMS on to your cell phone, besides receiving it via e-mail. The trainmaster will log online with his wifi PDA and doublecheck your reservation code against the database (pretty impressive... they sure don't have this here in Switzerland, ho hum)
Hey Paul,

This is a late response, I know, but to make a wee correction, this service most certainly does exist in Switzerland.

The system is called MobileTicket, and once you've registered for this service you can purchase all your tickets by dialling a freephone number from your mobile (which is certainly convenient for last-minute purchases) or you can buy them in advance using the internet. The SBB sends an MMS with your ticket to your phone, and then charges your credit card for each ticket you buy.

I don't use this service, but from what I've seen on the train, the conductors simply scan your mobile ticket from your phone as they would scan a printout of an e-ticket. The entire ticket verification process takes only a few seconds. (Note: if you have a half-fare card, you still need to present this with your Mobile Ticket.)

Terms and conditions of mobile tickets from the SBB can be seen here.

Best,

Heather
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Old 05.01.2009, 11:23
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Re: Italian Trains and problems

Thank you !
I stand happily corrected!
I do have a point against SBB's system, which calls for MMS being enabled (not the easiest solution for everyone). However - glad to know it's available!

Note to mods: maybe we should start a Travel Tips & Tricks folder / thread?

Thx

Paul
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Old 18.03.2014, 17:16
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Re: Italian Trains and problems

Hi Paul, et. al,

I'm off to Rimini on Friday, returning on Monday. I have a train booked from Zürich to Milan and back, but nothing yet from Milan to Rimini (via Bologna).

Should I book these additional legs up front now, or wait until I'm in Milan and buy a ticket there over the counter?

Last time I was in Italy on the trains was in 1993 and it seemed quite cheap at the time, and costs were directly related to the distance you were travelling. None of this demand-based pricing at the time.

Your thoughts appreciated!

Thanks,
Mr C.
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Old 18.03.2014, 18:21
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Re: Italian Trains and problems

use the trenitalia website.

I just went down to Rome for the day recently in 1st class, it's nice. And hardly cheaper.

The Frecciarossa is indeed a great service. Pick those trains if you can....!
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Old 18.03.2014, 22:46
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Re: Italian Trains and problems

+1 for the Trenitalia website.
At least your ticket is booked and done with, you can get it sent to your smartphone (you can show that in lieu of the paper ticket - but remember to keep the phone charged, LOL).

Buon viaggio!

Paul
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Old 20.03.2014, 21:05
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Re: Italian Trains and problems

So I did as you said and booked online. Printed out my ticket. Frecciarossa. Lets see how it goes...


Thanks for the advice!
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Old 20.03.2014, 21:07
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Re: Italian Trains and problems

300kph...!!
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Old 20.03.2014, 21:09
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Re: Italian Trains and problems

Probably not, I got the slower Milan to Rimini train, with no change at Bologna. It's cheaper and I've got all day...
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Old 21.03.2014, 16:19
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Re: Italian Trains and problems

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Probably not, I got the slower Milan to Rimini train, with no change at Bologna. It's cheaper and I've got all day...
Ah ... I knew that the Frecciarossa to Rimini took something like 2 hrs (from Milano Centrale)... it would have left you w/ more time on The Beach
Hope the wetter is going to be better than up here in northern Italy / South Switzerland... they're forecasting snowfalls of about 40 cm above 800 mt

P.
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Old 30.03.2014, 17:28
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Re: Italian Trains and problems

So it all went OK. Some of the trains were a bit crowded and there was too much luggage for comfort, but overall a good experience.

Tranitalia website was a good option.
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