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Essential pre-departure time for international rail travel

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Essential pre-departure time for international rail travel

1. How early do I need to be at the train station before departure to a neighbouring country?

I leave Geneva airport train station for Florence/Firenze.

The leg is as such: Geneva Airport > Geneva > Milan > Florence.

Is arriving half an hour before train departure enough time to get my ticket stamped/validated at the station? e.g. arrive at 12:30 for a 1pm train at Geneva airport.

(Is there a difference for international/domestic trips?)

2. Is it possible to store luggage next to my seat? If not, what is the allocated storage space?

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Geneva Airport
Geneva Airport
Le Grand Saconnex, Switzerland
Florence
Florence
Province of Florence, Italy
Milan
Milan
Lombardy, Italy
canada
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1. Re: Essential pre-departure time for international rail travel

The big question is: why would you leave from Geneva airport station? I don't suppose you work there, that means you would be arriving by plane. Your question implies that you already have the tickets, which happens to be train specific, because cross-border trains need seat reservation. If your plane is delayed, you would have forfeited your train ticket, or spend the next few hours looking for authorization to an amendment. Please tell me my presumptions are wrong.

If seat reservation has been made, you only need to be at the platform a minute before to allow you to confirm the train, locate the carriage and your seat. Allow more time if you have lots of luggage. There is no pre-boarding validation/stamping. Conductors on board will check your ticket after train left station. Custom officers will check your passport on board at the border station.

2. cross border trains usually have luggage storage racks at either/both ends of the carriage. In addition, there are overhead shelves. One can also store luggage under the seat or between backs of seats, depending on seat arrangement, and if your bag is not thicker than ten inches.

Hopefully you have a through train booked, if you need to change trains at Milano Centrale, make sure you have at least 45 min interval. Trains often run 30 min late.

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Geneva Airport
Geneva Airport
Le Grand Saconnex, Switzerland
Australia
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2. Re: Essential pre-departure time for international rail travel

Thanks very much for the prompt and detailed response, bofoster.

No I don't work at the airport :) - I'll be finishing up from a Mont blanc trek tour and they (bus) will drop everyone off at Geneva airport. So I figured I'll catch the train there to Geneva Cornavin, and then onwards.

Or do you recommend another way to travel from Geneva airport to Cornavin?

I haven't booked my train tickets yet - what I've listed up there is the train schedule I plan to take. (And the Geneva > Milan > Florence portions are seat reserved.)

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Mont Blanc
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Cornavin Hotel Geneva
Cornavin Hotel Geneva
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3. Re: Essential pre-departure time for international rail travel

There is nothing to stamp, and what in all the world do you want with half an hour before departure??? If you have your ticket you just walk to your train and enter it. Surely you wont need more than 2-3 minutes for that!

Stamping is only done in Switzerland with generic multiride cards and similar, which you most probably wont have.

You can put your luggage in overhead racks, or between seat backs, or in some big luggage racks - it depends on the train.

Edited: 09 August 2013, 06:30
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Quainton, United...
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4. Re: Essential pre-departure time for international rail travel

I'd book this by splitting the journey to get the best prices.

Geneva to Milan from €22 www.sbb.ch

Milan to Florence from €19, www.trenitalia.com

With almost all trains, it's mind-bogglingly simple. If, say, a train leaves at 12:00:

If you're INSIDE the train at 1200 when it starts to roll, you go with it.

If you're OUTSIDE the train at 12:00 when it starts to roll, you get left behind.

They may close doors a minute before, I suppose!

If you book at sbb.ch you'll need time to collect your tickets from the ticket office, that's the only thing.

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Canton of Geneva, Switzerland
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Province of Florence, Italy
Martigny...
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5. Re: Essential pre-departure time for international rail travel

Trains run frequently from the airport to the main station. Your train to Milan is in fact, for quite a long part of its journey, a normal Swiss train and there are no formalities to go through at the station. You just get in from the airport, see which platform to go to (most likely 6, but check!) go there and get on the train. The trains to Milan originate in Geneva not at the airport so you will have to change.

You have other options if you have not already bought a ticket:

via Zürich

via Brig

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Milan
Lombardy, Italy
Geneva
Geneva
Canton of Geneva, Switzerland
6. Re: Essential pre-departure time for international rail travel

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