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European train transfer times

Austin, Texas
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European train transfer times

Are 5 min transfers from train to train realistic if suggested by Eurail timetable as suggested routes from city to city?

Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: European train transfer times

Do not use Eurail. It does not run any trains, it often does not list all the trains, and it has high prices. Use the web site of the national train operator in the country where you will be travelling. See www.seat61.com

At some small train stations, a 5-minute transfer is just possible, but not at any big station. For example, Trenitalia (the Italian train operator) specifies a minimum connection time of 15 minutes at Milan Central.

London
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2. Re: European train transfer times

>>> Are 5 min transfers from train to train realistic <<<

Welcome to the world of European train travel.

Connections of five minutes or even less are commonplace, especially where it is simply a matter of getting off one train and crossing the platform to the next. Thousands of people make these connections every day. And if you miss the connection, usually all you do is wait for the next train.

Wouldn't it be absurd if the connecting train was waiting at the next platform, but we were told that nobody was allowed to get on it because a few people might not think five minutes is long enough to walk across the platform?

Imperia, Italy
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3. Re: European train transfer times

Wirewiper's view is OK for countries such as the UK, Germany and Switzerland where access is possible to all trains without prior reservation, so it often does not matter if you miss your expected train. However even in the UK, if you have a cheap advance ticket valid only on one particular train and you miss that train because of too tight a connection time from another operator's train, you could well have an expensive day.

For a country like Italy, where travel on all fast trains requires a compulsory seat reservation, it makes a great deal of sense to have official minimum connection times - 15 minutes for major stations and ten minutes for all others. If you miss your connection, you cannot normally board another train without a new seat reservation being issued to you, at the booking office where you will often join a queue with many others, or at some major stations a special help desk on the concourse.

Eurail's, and some other European timetable websites, are not programmed to show Trenitalia's minimum connection times. But if you do not respect them and miss your train because of too short a time, you will have to buy a completely new ticket rather than being allowed to transfer your reservation to a later train. Unless you have a full price Base ticket, in which case you have one hour to change the reservation free.

Edited: 08 August 2014, 10:24
Stirling, United...
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4. Re: European train transfer times

<< However even in the UK, if you have a cheap advance ticket valid only on one particular train and you miss that train because of too tight a connection time from another operator's train, you could well have an expensive day. >>

No. Provided your connection time is more than the minimum for each station (which is programmed in to the UK journey planners) you would be carried on the next available train at no extra cost. If you miss the last train of the day due to a missed connection which is the railway's fault then you would have alternative transport or accommodation arranged.

Imperia, Italy
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5. Re: European train transfer times

<Provided your connection time is more than the minimum for each station (which is programmed in to the UK journey planners)>

So let's hope these minimum connection times are also programmed into the Eurail website as well as UK journey planners.

Albufeira, Portugal
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6. Re: European train transfer times

I would always see a five minute connection as having no room for error. It's fine if there is a train every 20 or 30 minutes where reservations are not needed or held, as is often the case even with long distance trains in UK, Germany, Swizterland etc but not in France, Spain or Italy where it might be 3 hours until the next one.

In theory a ticket involving connections will not be issued unless the connection is viable. However if it is a Eurail issued ticket the local railway administrations are not obliged to deal with any problems. Another good reason to buy your ticket from the railway company that runs the train(s).

Liverpool, United...
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7. Re: European train transfer times

I'm travelling from Schipol to Antwerp in October on Thalys (dep 9.33), but if I miss that train (due to my flight being delayed) the next train (dep 9.39) is a normal IC to Rotterdam where the transfer time for a conecting IC train to Antwerp is just 2 minutes - and this is the recommended transfer time on the NS Hispeed website!

The website even lists that the train from Schipol arrives into platform 3, but you then have to get to platform 7 for the connection to Antwerp!

The following trains after this (dep 9.46, 10.09) all go via Roosendaal where transfer time is 5 mins which is okay - but 2 minutes at Rotterdam, that is just ridiculous!

Austin, Texas
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8. Re: European train transfer times

Thanks! Unfortunately already bought from Eurail : (

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9. Re: European train transfer times

> Are 5 min transfers from train to train realistic

5 minutes transfers are normally transfer at the same platform. Often between coordinated trains which will wait a few minutes if it must be. Such a change of trains can be done also in 2 minutes. How long do you need for 10-15 meters.

> if suggested by Eurail timetable as suggested routes from city to city?

Eurail is not a train operator or train station owner. They rely on third party sources. A good first hand source is e.g. the DB timetable.

http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en

Which will have more up-to-date information on platform numbers and potential schedule changes.

Austin, Texas
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10. Re: European train transfer times

Thanks for the DB suggestion!!!