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Pontorson rail station help

Carrollton...
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Pontorson rail station help

Traveling from Bayeux to Mont St. Michel March 22 and from Mont St. Michel to Paris March 23 via rail. Will i have a problem buying train tickets the days of our departures? Also, the Pontorson rail station is not working on the Rail Europe website right now. Is there are reason for this anyone knows of? Thank you!

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1. Re: Pontorson rail station help

I don't have an answer for you about buying tickets on Pontorson, but I want to caution you about RailEurope. This is an agency that has an agreement with SNCF for the US market and you want - and can - avoid the site's inflated prices and incomplete schedule. Read how to do this on these websites:

http://nickbooth.id.au/Tips/FrenchTrain.htm

http://www.seat61.com

Perhaps you can solve your ticket issues through the steps described on these sites.

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2. Re: Pontorson rail station help

Do not use RailEurope as they don't show all the trains and charge higher prices. Avoid them. Use www.capitainetrain.com for schedules, prices and ticket purchase. Buy your ticket from Rennes to Paris now as prices will only increase.

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3. Re: Pontorson rail station help

I am planning to travel from Paris to MSM on April 7, and then I hope to spend the night in Bayeux before touring the beaches the next morning. I second the Rail Europe comments above, but even on the regular SCNF site, Pontorson isn't available in April. When I tested the station for June 2014, however, it does work. It turns out that there is construction/closure on the line between Rennes and Caen affecting Pontorson from Dec 2013 to May 2014.

Here's the temporary schedule for that line during construction. Unfortunately, it's in French, so if anyone could interpret that would be most helpful:

http://telechargement.ter-sncf.com/Images/Basse_Normandie/Tridion/Horaires_Caen_Rennes_du_15_déc_2013_au_02_mars__et_du_05_avril_au_5_juil_2014_(mise_à_jour_le_14_fév)_tcm-14-97450.pdf

For now, maybe I'll look into grabbing a cab from MSM to Granville, then take the train to Bayeux. Any other suggestions?

Edited: 12 March 2014, 16:50
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4. Re: Pontorson rail station help

You're not the only one having this problem Steve. I don't know exactly whee you're having problems reading the schedule but I'll see if I can give some tips. You'll have to know the days of the week in French and at the top of each page where you see Lun à Ven (abbreviations) that means Monday through Friday. You'll also have to know the months in French and on the schedule they'll use abbreviations. When you see "sauf" that means except but when you see "du" (from) that means they're telling the dates of validity. Looking below that you'll see Intercités, TER and CAR. Intercités and TER are trains and CAR is a bus. Of course there's a lot more to explain so I'll tell you what I was able to determine.

April 7th is a Monday and if you're going to spend the morning and afternoon at MSM it appears there is a train leaving Pontorson for Bayeux at 17:49 and arriving in Bayeux at 19:33. Hope that helps and please someone correct me if I am interpreting the temp schedule incorrectly (but I don't think I am).

Edited: 12 March 2014, 17:27
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5. Re: Pontorson rail station help

For that train (and a lot of others) the timetable says "except from the 10th Jan to the 23rd of May". In other words, the train won't run when the OP wants to travel.

Edited: 12 March 2014, 21:48
Carrollton...
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6. Re: Pontorson rail station help

Steve, I ended up choosing to go from Bayeux to Caen (train), Caen to Rennes (train), and Rennes to MSM (bus). We changed the trip a bit to spend some time in each city since it is a longer route to get there. You could go from Paris to Rennes via train, then take the bus into MSM. I have been advised not to use Rail Europe, but if you type in Paris to Le Mont St Michel (instead of Pontorson) it will show you the route via train and bus. There are also shuttles from Bayeux if a day trip works for you (it did not for us). Hotel Churchill runs one. Thanks to all for the help!

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7. Re: Pontorson rail station help

Thanks for the update Becky. As the other commenter noted, the train schedule appears to say the Pontorson stop would work "except for Jan XX to May XX."

As a result, I'm looking for alternate transport from MSM to Bayeux. One advantage of doing the taxi to Granville is that we could stay later (than 4:50pm) before catching the last train to Bayeux. Any other options?

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8. Re: Pontorson rail station help

From the schedule for the 17:49 train from Monday to Thursday running from Rennes to Caen (on page 5 of the pdf train schedule doc):

sauf les

24 et 31

déc, du 6

jan au 28

mai

As I'm reading that the train won't run on the 24th and 31st of December of 2013 but the times are valid from the 6th of January to the 28th of May 2014. So the 17:49 train will be running on April 7th.

Becky, the trains run from Caen to Rennes. The train will therefore start in Caen and the third stop will be Bayeux. It is impossible to go from Bayeux to Caen and then on to MSM without first going back through Bayeux. If you look at the train schedule provided in the link Steve gave that is evident but if you want further proof you can look at this map of the train lines:

ter-sncf.com/Regions/…Carte_Flash.aspx

Further, these are local trains that don't accept reservations so there's no need to buy an advanced ticket as the trains can't sell out and the prices are fixed at 23.90€. Just show up and buy a ticket from the counter and get on the train. Don't use RailEurope.

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9. Re: Pontorson rail station help

Regarding the train from Pontorson, I think it could also be interpreted that the train will not run on the 24th or 31 December and also will not run from January 6 until May 28.

Otherwise, why would they bother to specify the two dates in December when they say the train would run starting in January . Further, looking at the other columns for the same route at the same time, they specify other options during January 6 to May 28.

I don't mean to argue, and I appreciate your help. I'm just hoping to clarify the situation. Thank you!

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10. Re: Pontorson rail station help

I'll be back to comment on that Steve but for now I'd just like to say to Becky that I may have made an error in my comment to you. I don't know your travel date so perhaps it is possible there are trains running between Caen and Rennes that don't stop in Bayeux so your statement could ring true. However, if you are using RailEurope to get schedules I'd be wary as their schedules sometimes are not as updated as you'd find on SNCF and Capitainetrain. Just the other day here on TA a poster commented that they bought tickets from RailEurope for a specific date and time and later received notice from them that the train they had purchased tickets for was in fact not available and they had to switch times and dates. RailEurope is also notorious for having higher prices than SNCF and Capitainetrain as well as not showing all the trains available, as well as other problems. In rare instances it has been noted here that folks have gotten a better deal from RailEurope but that is overwhelmingly the exception and not the norm. So you can look at RailEurope but don't rely on them until comparing with SNCF and Capitainetrain.

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