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1
Train fares and tariffs / Re: Journey through the Pyrenees: Madrid to Montpellier
« Last post by tUt on July 20, 2017, 09:28:10 pm »
Is there any rhyme or reason behind the Spanish train prices?  I’ve spent days producing a spread sheet, taking screen grabs to track all the variables but now, when the tickets are on sale they are considerably more expensive (especially when buying more than one), or I don’t know if a train that runs in all previous weeks is unavailable, sold out or just not posted yet.  I’m beginning to think I’ll hire a car just to avoid the frustration!  I can't find any festivals for the dates I'm travelling and I can't believe it's like hiring a car when the price goes up just because you've researched the dates one too many times.
I can never remember having this problem in other european countries.
Hmm... it's a long story and a guessing gaming, but indeed Renfe is very badly organized when it comes to the ticket sale logic, but sometimes you just keep wondering maybe it's intentionally done like this, so that potential tourist-passengers would just buy a Spanish pass or expensive ticket?
What concerns "researched the dates one too many times", you can check it easily by cleaning renfe cookies from your browser or using other pc ;)
2
Train fares and tariffs / Re: Journey through the Pyrenees: Madrid to Montpellier
« Last post by tUt on July 20, 2017, 09:20:17 pm »
Madrid to Girona waiting for advance purchase for the first morning train then TEISA 300 bus to Garrotxa Volcanic Nature Reserve where we’re staying.  Why are the Spanish tickets so random??
For a cheaper journey you might actually try buying separately Madrid to Barcelona and then, not necessarily in advance, Barcelona-Girona (at least check you date)
Nat Park to Valencia.  It seems the TEISA 300 bus to Girona with a 2hr transfer for Girona to Valencia via Barcelona works best. Waiting for cheap tickets to come online.  Should I buy as a through journey in case there’s a holdup on the first leg?
Again, it makes sense to check both options (meaning through ticket and Barcelona-Valencia separately). Doubt there will be any hold up on Girona-Barcelona leg, it's a major route with trains running very often
Valencia to Girona. Ditto
If you know the exact date, you can also try checking Barc.-Valencia-Barcelona return. Two one-way promo tariff ticket will be cheaper, but Renfe also offers return discount.
Girona to Collioure.  Rodalies gencat R11 to Cerbere (buy at station); then I have found the train1euro (online) tickets connecting Cerbere to Collioure.  I think I can buy a standard ticket at Cerbere if I can’t buy the 1euro online.
With the short journeys like this even full fare (3,7 euro in this case) aren't
I can have either a 1hr 10min or 11mins transfer at Cerbere.  What’s the likelihood of a missed connection on these trains?
The departing train should wait for the passengers from the arriving one, so 11 mins should be enough, but if you have time you can always stop in Cerbere for a bit longer
Collioure to Perpignan.  I’ll avail myself of the cheap 1euro fares if possible or the 1euro bus. Otherwise cash on the day.
Yep, nothing to add here
Perpignan to Montpellier.  Again the subsidised fare or do you think it more prudent to book standard fares. I’ll have just landed in HK when the 1euros come on sale for that leg!!  Or is there another way?
Why to pay more, if you can travel cheaper? Especially since Perpignan to Montpellier is already decent distance and paying almost 30 euro doesn't look like a good choice when you have a chance purchase your tickets in advance

I’m also thinking of using the Historical subsidised fares in this region.  From my understanding I can buy these at the local train stations particular to the route i.e. Nimes or Perpignan, 2 of the 5 Historical routes.
The full info is here in French - https://www.train1euro.fr/Content/I18NTempFiles/20170515_1314/fr/FAQ.pdf , but you can also read something in English (e.g. http://www.languedocliving.com/trains-at-one-euro-life-146.html )

Montpellier to Niort (closest station) or La Rochelle Ville or Poitiers. There only seems to be one train per day via Bordeaux, the others go through Paris but there is a selection. These also seem to be online now so I’m running out of cheap fares.
Well, France is often very Pariscentric, meaning that it's faster to travel via Paris, even if geographically Paris is a detour. If you want to look at some option not involving Paris, then would suggest to check the DB website for timetable (it will show you possible options, while then it will be a task to figure out how to buy it from SNCF)

Niort, La Rochelle or Poitiers to London.  I looked at flying but by the time we’ve driven to the airport, hung around and taken the train/tube into London it seems to be just as easy to take the train to Paris & St P.  Trains are more frequent (Sat or Sun) and we could allow a few hours layover in Paris - once we’ve stored the bags.  Your thoughts please if there are any cheap alternative train tips.  If we’re re travelling both ways Paris to Niort (for example) is it cheaper to get a return ticket?
In France return or one-way it usually doesn't matter, more important is to catch promo tickets, however witht Eurostar trains sometimes it might be cheaper to purchase not from Paris, but from some earlier relatively big French station (in your case e.g. Poitiers) + make sure you check both Eurostar website and SNCF website, those might have a different price for the same departure :)

London to Norwich rtn
and possibly London to Chester rtn  or I could combine the two journeys i.e. London - Norwich - Chester - London
On the Nationall Rail website (as aggregator of all the UK rail operators) you can purchase so called "Advance" tickets for very decent money compared to the standard fare (10 vs. 20+), same story is for London-Chester (20 vs 80+)
3
Train fares and tariffs / Re: Journey through the Pyrenees: Madrid to Montpellier
« Last post by SEL on July 20, 2017, 01:22:14 pm »
Hi again tUt,
An extra note. 
Is there any rhyme or reason behind the Spanish train prices?  I’ve spent days producing a spread sheet, taking screen grabs to track all the variables but now, when the tickets are on sale they are considerably more expensive (especially when buying more than one), or I don’t know if a train that runs in all previous weeks is unavailable, sold out or just not posted yet.  I’m beginning to think I’ll hire a car just to avoid the frustration!  I can't find any festivals for the dates I'm travelling and I can't believe it's like hiring a car when the price goes up just because you've researched the dates one too many times.
I can never remember having this problem in other european countries.
4
Train fares and tariffs / Re: Journey through the Pyrenees: Madrid to Montpellier
« Last post by SEL on July 20, 2017, 03:28:07 am »
Thank you very much tUt, I had assumed you might be away. Hope you had a good trip.  It can annoying not to have constant internet access, but kind of refreshing too.

In the meantime I obviously did some research checking dates for tickets coming online etc.  The itinerary also changed a little to fit in with accommodation and friends joining us.  So…

Madrid to Toledo - OK. Buy on the day.

Madrid to Girona waiting for advance purchase for the first morning train then TEISA 300 bus to Garrotxa Volcanic Nature Reserve where we’re staying.  Why are the Spanish tickets so random??

Nat Park to Valencia.  It seems the TEISA 300 bus to Girona with a 2hr transfer for Girona to Valencia via Barcelona works best. Waiting for cheap tickets to come online.  Should I buy as a through journey in case there’s a holdup on the first leg?

Valencia to Girona. Ditto

Girona to Collioure.  Rodalies gencat R11 to Cerbere (buy at station); then I have found the train1euro (online) tickets connecting Cerbere to Collioure.  I think I can buy a standard ticket at Cerbere if I can’t buy the 1euro online.
I can have either a 1hr 10min or 11mins transfer at Cerbere.  What’s the likelihood of a missed connection on these trains?

Collioure to Perpignan.  I’ll avail myself of the cheap 1euro fares if possible or the 1euro bus. Otherwise cash on the day.

Perpignan to Montpellier.  Again the subsidised fare or do you think it more prudent to book standard fares. I’ll have just landed in HK when the 1euros come on sale for that leg!!  Or is there another way?  I’m also thinking of using the Historical subsidised fares in this region.  From my understanding I can buy these at the local train stations particular to the route i.e. Nimes or Perpignan, 2 of the 5 Historical routes.

Montpellier to Niort (closest station) or La Rochelle Ville or Poitiers. There only seems to be one train per day via Bordeaux, the others go through Paris but there is a selection. These also seem to be online now so I’m running out of cheap fares.

Niort, La Rochelle or Poitiers to London.  I looked at flying but by the time we’ve driven to the airport, hung around and taken the train/tube into London it seems to be just as easy to take the train to Paris & St P.  Trains are more frequent (Sat or Sun) and we could allow a few hours layover in Paris - once we’ve stored the bags.  Your thoughts please if there are any cheap alternative train tips.  If we’re re travelling both ways Paris to Niort (for example) is it cheaper to get a return ticket?

London to Norwich rtn
and possibly London to Chester rtn  or I could combine the two journeys i.e. London - Norwich - Chester - London

Thanks again for passing on your train knowledge.  It helps makes our train travel all the more pleasurable :)
5
Train fares and tariffs / Re: Journey through the Pyrenees: Madrid to Montpellier
« Last post by tUt on July 19, 2017, 07:22:02 pm »
Dear SEL, first of all sorry for the much delayed reply, this year summer vacation wasn't rail related, but more mountaineering, thus lack of internet

Anyhow, let's go step by step

Madrid to Toledo: very short trip, which basically means no need to think about train tickets in advance (20 euro per person will get you there & back). Buses are cheaper (like 5 euro one way per person), but it takes longer.

Madrid to Valencia: an opposite situation --> buying your train ticket before departure will cost you a fortune (>70 euro for high-speed AVE train), while in advance purchase (e.g. now for September) can help you get your ticket for the same AVE train like three times cheaper. Buses are cheaper (even with the standard full fare), however it will mean 4+ hour journey. In such cases it might make sense just use slow regional train (= ticket price doesn't depend on when you buy your ticket).

Valencia to Girona: almost the same story as above, meaning rather lengthy journey will cost a lot with the ticket purchased before departure (from 40 to 60 euro depending on train choice), while in advance purchase will give you a chance to catch a promo tariff twice cheaper

Girona to Figueres: short & cheap (5 euro one way), so no need to bother with any in advance train ticket purchase, just make sure you use an ordinary regional train and not a fancy high-speed one

Girona to Cerbere: also short & cheap (=no need to buy in advance), however are you sure you want to travel to Cerbere and then again get back to Girona? Since Cerbere is very close to Perpignan, maybe it makes sense not to get back, meaning visit Cerbere on your way from Girona to Perpignan (e.g drop you luggage at the station & go for a walk, while then just continue to Perpignan)

Girona to Portlligat/Cadaques: no railway here (maximum till Figueres), so it's either bus or perhaps car rental (preferred option I guess in this case)

Girona to Perpignan: direct trains are kind of expensive, but with ticket break via Cerbere (meaning Girona-Cerbere + Cerbere-Perpignan) you can easily travel for <15 euro per person

to be continued...
6
Train fares and tariffs / Journey through the Pyrenees: Madrid to Montpellier
« Last post by SEL on July 04, 2017, 01:31:05 pm »
Hi,

Once again, thanks to you guys and your invaluable advice last year.  We had another great trip, this time through the Balkans, Poland, Germany and Netherlands.

We were also fortunate to visit Japan earlier this year using the Japan train pass.  I have to admit it was refreshing to not have to worry about organising discount fares; instead, turning up at the station, reserving our seats, (included in the pass), and hopping on quickly to ensure they kept to their strict timetable.

However Europe draws us back and I’m wondering how much flexibility and discounting is available on our trip starting mid September.  We’ve decided to stay several days in each of the Spanish/French towns * to use as our bases.  However we realise we might need to hire a car or take a bus in some instances for the side trip destinations.

The route planned so far is: (Staying in towns *)

Madrid* with rtn day trip to Toledo
Madrid to Valencia
Valencia* to Girona
Girona* with rtn side trips to Figueres, Cerbere, Cadaques & Portligat, Pyrenees
Girona to Perpignan
Perpignan* with rtn day trips to Villefranche-de-Conflent and Petit Train Jaune journey
Perpignan with rtn day trips i.e. Carcassonne; Beziers; Collioure & Ceret
Perpignan to Pyrenees (walking)
Pyrenees* to Montpellier
Montpellier* with rtn day trip to Camargue national park
An added is attraction is to visit friends near La Rochelle but I’m waiting to see if our dates match up.
La Rochelle* or Montpelier to London (either by train or plane)
London* to Norwich* & maybe Chester*

I’ve started checking fares but not yet calculated the total costs and whether passes might actually be worthwhile if I'm too late for cheap fares. I hope to get your advice before I get too far and find I’ve got to reorganise everything.

As usual, many many thanks in advance.
7
Travel plans, routes and timetables / Re: Albania train travel
« Last post by ClaudF on May 20, 2017, 05:57:57 am »
With Albania you hardly can be certain about anything, unfortunately :(

Albanians provide a very outdated train schedule, while the last on spot report we had is only from the summer 2016 (at that point the only Shkoder-Durres train was running 5:45-9:35, while the only Durres-Vlore was 13:30-18:30). As a guess, roughly the schedule should be similar to the 2016 version, perhaps some minor +/- dep./arr., but overall picture (meaning morning Shkoder-Durres & afternoon Durres-Vlore departure) shouldn't be much different.

You are so right tUt. In Albania you can always expect the trains to be very late. So it's very hard to build a schedule around it.
8
Train fares and tariffs / Re: Cheper Ticket? (Austria - Czech Republic)
« Last post by Username: on April 08, 2017, 03:44:59 pm »
I dont speak CZ... https://old.cd.cz/mezinarodni-cestovani/jizdenka/cestovani-v-prihranici-s-rakouskem/-9044/
Quote
Where you can use an EURegio Austria ticket
    for 2nd class travel on ČD regional (Os), regional fast (Sp), fast (R, Rx) trains and express trains (Ex)
    for 2nd class travel on Austrian Railways (ÖBB) category REX, R and S regional trains
Quote
In real life it might be easier just to go with the direct international ticket and not to think about tricks
Sure in my case i will help travellers who travel from/ to Austria to get the best offer but at a point its insane to split the tickets.
The CZK/ € exchange also cost. So 27 CZK cost more because it cost me X€ for exchange.

And you forgot something important! Split Ticket mean I an screwed up if something happen!!!
9
Train fares and tariffs / Re: Cheper Ticket? (Austria - Czech Republic)
« Last post by tUt on April 08, 2017, 03:35:41 pm »
On the "EX" Train the Ticket cost more. And which "Euregio" do you mean? The ÖBB Cancel all Euregio Offer.
The Ticket for the EX Train cost 2Class 4,20€.
Hmm... apparently CD didn't cancel it - https://www.cd.cz/typy-jizdenek/mezinarodni-jizdenky/-27145/ . And it is valid on "osobních vlaků (Os), spěšných vlaků (Sp), rychlíků (R), rychlíků vyšší kvality (Rx) a expresů (Ex) Českých drah", no separate price for EX (on the bottom of "Cenik" you can find the price-table per km for Czech & Austrian parts)
The "direct CD Ticket" cost me 30€ and I get more CD Points.
Well, choice here is totally yours + in this case difference of couple euro isn't something essential, so... it's just a simple train geek matter whether there is a cheaper option or not. In real life it might be easier just to go with the direct international ticket and not to think about tricks
10
Train fares and tariffs / Re: Cheper Ticket? (Austria - Czech Republic)
« Last post by Username: on April 08, 2017, 12:27:18 pm »
Quote
Does Czech conductors really ride all the way to Summerau and check the tickets on leg Rybnmik-Summerau?
When he scan my InKarta he will see it.
And yes the CD/ ÖBB will change in Summerau. I dont want make a research but it look like the Boarder is between the 2 Station.
Quote
you purchase 2 euro 2nd class ticket Rybnik-Summerau Bahnhof (EURegio offer)
On the "EX" Train the Ticket cost more. And which "Euregio" do you mean? The ÖBB Cancel all Euregio Offer.
The Ticket for the EX Train cost 2Class 4,20€.
Quote
and additionally to that 1st class Czech domestic(!) ticket Rybnik-Summerau (Gr.), it cost 27 CZK.
+ CZK/ € change.
so 27CZK are ~1€.
It cost min. 29,20€ (+ for €/ CZK exchange)

The "direct CD Ticket" cost me 30€ and I get more CD Points.
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