Blog — Features

The Austrian WESTbahn Tickets Have Arrived on Trainline Europe!

by Malin Schibler, posted 10 May 2017 | One comment

westbahn train austria

Our goal is to be your ultimate gateway to buying tickets for all rail operators in Europe; a booking platform that allows you to travel to where ever you wish to go. For that reason, we’re very proud to announce our partnership with WESTbahn. This is yet another step for us to enable your travel opportunities and master our ability in providing you with a comprehensive European booking platform. As of today, you’ll be able to book your WESTbahn tickets on Trainline Europe. So let’s get started and let us introduce you to our newest partner in the rail world.

The Express between two Austrian Metropoles: Vienna and Salzburg

WESTbahn has connected Austria’s capital city since 2011 with the birthplace of Mozart. You may know Mozart as the legendary composer or simply the name behind the delicious chocolates that reflect the delicacy of his music. WESTbahn was named after the same the route that has been operative since 1860, when the first train steamed it’s way from Vienna to Salzburg. Back then, the journey would take around nine hours, though you can be glad it now only takes about two and half.

For those looking to explore Austria, you can check many sightseeing wonders off your list with this route. In Vienna, you’ll begin by getting a full tank of cultural fuel by visiting the Museumsquartier, St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the beautiful baroque Belvedere castle. Fill yourself up with some culinary energy with nothing less than a hearty Schnitzel, potato salad and some good old apple strudel. Then digest it all on the WESTbahn as you travel towards the east of the country.

Make an In-Between Stop in Linz!

As WESTbahn tickets allow you to get on and off the train in between your final destination, we recommend making a stop at Linz. Step out of the train, stretch your legs along the Donau river and admire the ROA street art by the harbour. For the young: it’s your chance to take a nice picture for your Instagram and them hipster credits. For those who are a bit older, it’s your opportunity to familiarise yourself with a more civilised form of what used to be called graffiti art.

If you simply would like relaxing some beach-time in this land-locked country, then make yourself comfortable in the city’s Sandburg. Be sure that you stock up on some provisions for your onward journey by getting an aptly named Linzertorte. What is it you may ask? It’s a traditional cake from Linz, rumoured to be the oldest cake in the world and a holiday season classic! Though we recommend eating it all year round (and certainly not one that has been around since the dawn of time – that certainly wouldn’t digest well). Once you’re done, get yourself back on board and continue on to Salzburg, where you can walk and trace the tracks of Mozart – right up to his birthplace – in the UNESCO world heritage historic centre. You’ll certainly not be short of any further desserts – the famed Salzburger Nockerl soufflé are certainly worth the journey (and calories)!

Sunny panoramic image of Salzburg's famous old town with Alps in the background

Salzburg, Austria.

Cheap Train Tickets and Friendly Fare Conditions

The standard price of WESTbahn tickets are up to 50% cheaper than the national rail operator ÖBB’s tickets for the same route. The prices are fixed and unlike other rail operators, do not depend on how far in advance you book, which is what they call yield management in the rail industry. So you can book these tickets on a whim, especially if you feel like a day trip to or from any of the destinations served by WESTbahn:

Wien Westbahnhof to Salzburg: Standard fare €26.50; WESTbahn Plus €46.40.
Salzburg to Westbahnhof: Standard fare €26.50; WESTbahn Plus €46.40.
Wien Westbahnhof to Linz: Standard fare €19,60; WESTbahn Plus €39.50.
Linz to Wien Westbahnhof: Standard fare €19.60; WESTbahn Plus €39.50.
Linz to Salzburg: Standard fare €13.40; WESTbahn Plus €27.30.
Salzburg – Linz: Standard fare €13, 40; WESTbahn Plus €27.30.

If you indulged on some sweet and hearty Austrian desserts then do not worry – you can spare yourself some extra room! With the WESTbahn Plus ticket, you’ll have an extra free seat next to you. This will provide you with greater legroom, food and drinks served to your seat (in case you want to treat yourself some more) and you’ll get a daily newspaper too – so get ready to practice your German!

What about an offer for kids?

WESTbahn has made sure that kids are also covered with some great fare prices. Children up to 6 years travel free of charge and they do not require a ticket. Please note that these children must not travel unaccompanied and that WESTbahn cannot offer any assistance for them. So they will have to be in the company of someone older that can assist them with their travels e.g. a parent, friend or sibling.

For children aged 6 to 14 years (on the day of travel) who travel in the company of an adult with a valid WESTbahn ticket, are charged € 1.00 – irrespective of the distance travelled. An adult can take along a maximum of 4 children paying €1.00 each. If you travel with a WESTbahn PLUS ticket, the upgrade fare will be charged for all accompanying children older than 6 years.

Children from 6 to 14 years (on the day of travel) who travel on their own, the fifth (or more) accompanying children only pay half of the regular full fare. Lastly, please be aware that the ticket inspector is allowed to ask for a photo ID in cases of doubt about the age of a child. So it’s always useful to make sure the kids have some ID with them!

Flexibility all year round

For those that suffer from commitment issues and like to leave their plans open, you can be glad to know that if your ticket is purchased online, it’s valid for an entire year! Plus you can make as many stops as you like on the way.

With Trainline Europe, you will of course also be receiving a special promotional offer with WESTbahn, such as the Spring WESTsavers Days (WESTspartage Frühling), which is valid until the 29th of June.

WESTbahn’s Blue, White and Green Speedsters

westbahn train inside

The double decker (duplex) trains provide you with plenty of amenities. You’ll find the WESTcafé, which provides you with a vending machine for drinks, an air-conditioned and filtered smoking lounge. Yet the non-smokers have no need to worry, you can easily steer free from it as it’s closed off from the rest of the train. Toilets are of course provided on board. Plus there are bike spaces available, for which you can buy a reservation online for €5 or for €10 on board the train.

On top of this, there is free WiFi in all WESTbahn trains, so you’ll be able to keep your friends up to date and make them jealous with your holiday pictures as you’re on the go. Don’t forget to send them to us either, we’d love to receive a picture of your trip on Twitter. The top speed of these trains is 200 km/h (that’s around 124 miles per hour), which isn’t as fast as some of the other high-speed trains, yet it gives you all the more opportunity to enjoy the beautiful scenery that passes you by.

Head to Austria and Beyond with WESTbahn

Westbahn Network Map

WESTbahn rail network and international connections

Thanks to the cooperation with WESTbahn and Meridian (a regional rail operator) in Germany’s Bavaria, there are 15 daily services between Vienna and Munich. You can simply step off in Salzburg and hop on to a Meridian Train – on the same platform – and it will bring you to Munich. The journey from Salzburg to Munich (via Rosenheim) takes just about 2 hours, so you can enjoy a creamy dose of caffeine in a traditional Viennese coffee house in Vienna and 4.5 hours later, you’ll already be drinking a cold beer in one of Munich’s famed beer halls.

From Munich, you’ll find plenty of trains and connections heading in any direction that you wish: whether it’s onwards to Berlin for some sightseeing and night clubbing or to Zurich for some delicious chocolate tasting. From Zurich, you can take a Trenitalia train directly to Milan if you’re after some good old shopping. You can also jump off the train at Rosenheim instead of heading to Munich and there you’ll find plenty of Deutsche Bahn trains that will take you to Innsbruck, Bozen, Verona, with a final stop in Venice, where you can finish off the journey with a sunset gondola ride.

High-Speed Payments

by Malin Schibler, posted 21 January 2016 | Add comment

one click payment header image displaying two phones

It’s so fast that our camera’s frame rate can’t even handle the speed.

Since its beginning, Captain Train has been designed with speed in mind. It takes only three simple steps — search, book and pay — to get your train tickets. Yet it’s often the final step that causes the entire process to slow down and start lagging behind like an old steam engine.

The problem lies at checkout

It’s usually during checkout when things can get complicated. Suddenly you realise  that in order to pay, you need to look for your wallet – knowing it’s not going to be where you think it is, remembering it’s in fact in the other coat, which you finally find downstairs in the other room and proceed to bring back to your computer, typing out the 16-digits, making an error with the last two, then realising it’s actually the wrong card, taking out the other one and entering its details, managing to get through the 3D Secure verification process on your second try – to finally confirming and receiving your tickets. In short, it can be painful for some.

Store your card to pay faster

stored-credit-card-en

Your cards are saved in your Preferences, where you can modify or delete them.

To save yourself time in the future you can now save your card to your Captain Train account after completing a payment. And this will allow you to use that card across all of your devices. Picture it working like a memory foam mattress: we store your card so you can always come back to it in the most comfortable position and use it during checkout. There’s no need to get up and get your wallet. No need to enter your 16-digit card number. Simply type in your security code (the 3-digit CVV code on the back of your card) to confirm any of your future payments.

Linked across your devices

Once you link a credit card to your Captain Train account, you will be able to find it everywhere: whether you access your account through our website or our app. If you’re one of those people living in the future and have a phone capable of reading the impression left by the friction ridges of a human finger, then you can confirm your payments simply by using your fingerprint — without needing to enter a security code (CVV).

one click payment iOS and Android comparison

Works on both iOS and Android

If you have an iPhone, you can use Touch ID to validate your payments. On Android, you can use Fingerprint for it. In both cases, the fingerprint validation replaces the need to enter your card’s security code (CVV). If your phone can’t read fingerprints, you can try asking it very nicely, or enter your security code for the payment confirmation, just like on our website.

Extra safety harness

You do not have to save your credit card. But if you wish to, we would like to repeat that we do not toy with security. The details of your credit card are not stored within the app (or anywhere) on your phone. So in case of loss or theft, your details will not be exposed. All of your precious payment data (card holder name, card number, expiry date) are stored securely in a dedicated vault, from which they can never ever get out. In other words, the system is designed to close the door behind your card, and that once you have decided to store it, it can enter but never leave.

We do not claim to be smarter than others. So if you have any questions or comments about the security of our system, you can get in touch with us and we will try to answer as best we can!

Pay for everything with anything

Good news never travels alone. So we’d like to take this opportunity to announce that we’ve expanded the range of tickets you can buy with PayPal and AMEX. Basically, you can now buy any ticket with any means of payment – as long as we accept those means in the first place. For example, Yu-Gi-Oh! cards are not an accepted means.

Captain Train for Business in Beta

by Jean-Daniel Guyot, posted 04 November 2015 | Add comment

captain_train_business_EN

There used to be two worlds. On one side, the normal world, you could enjoy and benefit from the best technologies and the best designs in daily life. One the other side, in the professional world, you were using a 7.5kg heavy laptop, a monitor the size of a small house and a phone limited to sending 160 character SMS messages.

The corporate world, which has long been known to be outdated and well, overly corporate, has changed recently. Smartphones are the default (yes, even you BlackBerry users belong to this category now), firewalls are a bit less inept and the words ‘Please think of the environment before printing this 18-page email’  have slowly started to disappear. Despite all of these mini-revolutions, we found that many companies were still lagging behind when it came to buying train tickets.

When we asked some of our customers about the general procedure of buying train tickets in their company, the answers were staggering: long and unnecessary email exchanges, endless fees and charges popping up, incomplete access to fares, no smartphone solution, labyrinth-like websites that require a serious mental workout and in short, a big waste of time and money.

For more than one year, we have worked a new tool that is specifically created to simplify the purchase of train tickets for businesses. We have taken the time to recognise and understand all of the problems and all of the frustrations experienced by freelancers, business travellers, entrepreneurs, assistants, travel managers and accountants to develop a product that closest meets their expectations.

We are glad to announce and offer our business customers an early bird version of Captain Train for Business.

What is it?

Captain Train for Business is now the first solution in Europe that provides a train ticket booking platform for companies on the web and mobile. What does this mean for your company? It means that you can:

  • benefit from centralised invoicing to simplify your bookkeeping,
  • share tickets between colleagues, without needing to use Outlook,
  • take advantage of the purchase and validation features on your phone.
    Yes, you read correctly. Even you corporate and business travellers now can enjoy using a 4.5 star rated app, which you can find in the App Store or on the Playstore.

It’s necessary to view Captain Train for Business like an augmented version of the regular Captain Train. It’s not missing anything that you already know or hold dear. You’ll still find all of the best fares, for all of the rail operators in our system without an exception. And in case something goes amiss, our support team will be by your side.

Test it liberally!

This is a beta version. So it will lack a few polished touches before we put it on the market. Though it is completely sufficient for you to use and for you to give us your initial remarks and feedback. The first customers of Captain Train for Business can enjoy free use of all of the features throughout the entire beta testing period.

What’s the price? We thought about this a lot. The most common model for business travel is that you are billed according to the volume of purchases made, or worse, whenever you make or change a booking, you pay a fee. Cancellation? Another fee. Exchange? Fee. We decided to move away from this billing model as it seemed too inadequate and too rigid. To make sure that your payment reflects your use-case, you can choose a billing rate that suits your business and depends on the number of people booking through Captain Train.

Captain Train for Business costs €9.00 per month for each active traveller (plus an annual fee of €5.00 per active traveller). For that price, you’ll be free to purchase, cancel or exchange as many tickets as you wish. And we promise that there will be absolutely no surprises at the end of the month. You’re free to create as many accounts as there are people in your company because we’ll only charge you per traveller.

Enjoy buying your tickets again

We are still working on a few features to improve Captain Train for Business: centralised payments, managing multiple accounts, travel policies… Overall, our goal is simple: you should find joy in booking train tickets for your company.
If you’re interested in enjoying a free Captain Train for Business beta version for your company, simply register on Captain Train for Business home page. We’ve worked very hard on this and really look forward to hearing from you!

February 2016 update: Captain Train for Business is now publicly available to any company which would like to subscribe. You can find more information on Captain Train for Business home page.

Capitaine Train For Apple Watch

by Malin Schibler, posted 24 April 2015 | Add comment

apple-watch
Capitaine Train is now available on the Apple Watch. No longer do you have to stressfully search for your phone whilst making your way to the station. Instead all you need is a quick glance at your wrist and you’ll find every important bit about your trip displayed. We like to think of this as our own locomotive revolution. The Locomotion.

Taming the Apple Watch

Designed by the Californian brand of the same name, the Apple Watch is called a connected watch. Connected to who? Connected to what? Connected to your wrist, physically of course, yet also to your iPhone, since the watch efficiently synchronises the content.

The Apple Watch works hand in hand with the iPhone. From our end, the watch allows us to accompany you throughout your entire journey. We designed it as a second screen, continuing intermittently. A discreet companion on your wrist, which complements our iOS application with all the precise details, yet not in the manner of replacing it.

Instead of displaying a skimpy booking interface on the watch, we have focused on practical real-time information. You’ll see the departure platform of your train displayed 20 minutes before the start of your trip, alongside your seat and carriage numbers. We use the watch to give you the right information at the right time, taking into account the context of your location.

The Watch App in Action

Days_prior

Departure_day

At_the_station

On_the_train

Real-time Contextual Information

At every moment, the Apple Watch gives you access to two levels of information:

  • The glance that appears when you take a look at the watch,
  • The application itself, which is only displayed when you make contact with the watch

Inline with the context, you will only receive notifications when they are necessary; your wrist will only show you what you need when it’s needed.

Days prior

The connection has been made. As soon as you have purchased your tickets on Capitaine Train, the watch displays your upcoming trips. A glance at your wrist and you know exactly where you are going and when you have to be there.

Day of departure

It’s all walk and no more run from here. Now on you’ll always be leaving on time. A few hours before you make your way to the station, the watch app will let you know exactly how much time you have left to get on board the train. To make sure you don’t get lost on your way, we also provide directions and a small map to help get you to the station. Missing the train whilst travelling has become a thing of the past.

At the station

Capitaine Train will be awaiting you at the platform. We’ve farewelled the gruelling wait at the departure and arrival boards, by sending a notification to your phone to announce the departure platform. If you have a connected watch, this will of course also be displayed on your wrist. At a glance, you are informed and on the right track. Pun intended. The number of your train, your carriage and your seat are all displayed neatly on the screen of the Apple Watch.

On the train

Throughout your journey, you will see the remaining time before arrival at your destination or transfer station. Listening to (and guessing) station announcements is no longer necessary. Just one glance and you know. When it’s time for ticket inspection, fumbling for your tickets or phone can also be forgotten. The barcode of your E-Ticket can be displayed directly from the app on your connected watch. Not only will you surprise the inspector but most likely impress everyone around you. For the grand finale, your arrival platform is displayed on the watch as soon as it becomes available.

Available Today

To use our Apple Watch app, all you need to do is have our iPhone/iPad app installed and updated to the latest version. Don’t have an Apple Watch nor an iPhone? No problems! Try out our Android Wear app instead.

Buy Your Train Tickets With American Express

by Malin Schibler, posted 22 August 2014 | 2 comments

American Express

The Amex question has probably generated the most debates and comments from our users ever. Only recently we were finally able to provide an answer. You can now buy your train tickets on Capitaine Train with American Express!

Didn’t you vow to never accept Amex?

Yes, we did indeed. In July 2011 we published a post which explained that we are likely to never accept Amex. Why? Because then the Amex commissions were much higher than the commission we earned from the operators for each sale. We didn’t want to lose money on every ticket sold, so we simply said no.

Though since 2011, our sales have increased significantly and we have more professionals using our service than ever. Most private travellers can always fall back on their Visa or MasterCard. However when someone must use their company credit card, the options fall short. So we needed to find a solution to this problem.

Adding PayPal to our services was already the first step in this direction. This meant our customers could add their Amex card to their PayPal account and then use it for payment. However this solution was only temporary.

After reviewing the latest business proposal by Amex and redoing our calculations, we decided to take the plunge. We realised that it may be possible to accept Amex without losing money on each transaction. It’s a bit of a risky gamble, but we will have to see how it plays out in the next few months.

Using Amex with Capitaine Train

You can pay with American Express on our website and should soon be able to do so with our iOS and Android apps. You can use your Amex card to purchase SNCF, Lyria, Thalys, Eurostar, Deutsche Bahn and Thello tickets (which we have only recently added). Unfortunately American Express is not yet compatible with iDTGV, OUIGO and iDBUS. These operators handle the payment process on their own and they do not accept this type of card.
Amex_CT

Pay in your preferred way

By adding American Express, we have greatly enhanced our payment services. So you can now pay in anyway that you wish (except BitCoin … we haven’t come that far yet)

Transporteur Visa &
MasterCard
American
Express
PayPal
SNCF
Eurostar
Thalys
Lyria
Thello
DB Bahn
iDTGV
OUIGO
iDBUS

Android Wear: Capitaine Train on your wrist!

by Emiland De Cubber, posted 31 July 2014 | 3 comments

Android Wear Header

Tickets and travel information in the palm of your hand. We like to use this formula when we talk about our mobile apps. Now it is truer than ever before. We are the first train travel app to integrate the Android Wear technology. The first in France. In Europe. WORLD-WIDE.

Many thanks to Cyril who developed this new part of our Android experience.

Ready-to-wear

Launched last June at the Google I/O, Android Wear is the Android version of wearable technologies. To date, only two smartwatches exist (with this technology), the Samsung Gear Live and the LG G Watch. Of course, Google plans to extend Android Wear to Google Glass and other wearable devices.

Android Wear Screenshots

New superpowers

Since the beginning of our project, we we have been focusing on the train travel experience rather than on ticket booking. These smartwatches are super convenient for accessing your travel information whilst finding your way through the station. Because let’s be honest, it’s not always easy to find your phone when you’re already carrying your bag, your laptop, your snack… And the heavy suitcase of the cute girl which you just met a few minutes ago in the newsstand queue.

Here’s what you can do with your smartwatch:

Android Wear - Notification
Receive a reminder 20 minutes before departure
A small notification will appear, giving you all the info you need to find your seat.

Android Wear - Barcode
Present your E-ticket barcode
If you have purchased a print-at-home ticket, you can access the barcode directly on your watch (WARNING: the train inspector might be really amazed).

Android Wear - Open on phone
Open our Android app from your watch
You can launch the app on your phone to quickly access further travel information and other passengers’ tickets.

To try all these new features, just update your Capitaine Train Android app.

Take Your Bike on the Train!

by Malin Schibler, posted 21 May 2014 | Add comment

Bike train France

We believe that cycling is just a great as taking as taking the train. So we have now opened our doors to cyclists around the world and have combined the two best forms of transport.

Bike + train = ♥

For many years the cyclist community (both within and outside of France) have long struggled with the complicated process of organising and reserving a spot for their assembled bikes. Up until now, you first had to visit the train station to buy a ticket for yourself and your bike, as it wasn’t possible to it online or by phone. Clearly this wasn’t a fun time for cyclo-tourists who had to bet on the off chance that their train wasn’t already full.

Luckily cyclists can now move on from the dark ages and embrace the light! Capitaine Train is pleased to be the only online booking service which facilitates bike reservations.

Taking your bike on TGV and Intercité trains

Booking a space for your fully assembled bike (and a seat for yourself) can be done in less than three clicks. Plus, this feature is now also available with our iOS app and will be released for our Android app before the summer (that’s June/July for all of you Southern Hemisphere-ians).

A space for your bike will cost €10 and can be reserved for all trains which can facilitate bikes. This means they have to have a bike storage compartment.
Of course, if you can dismantle your bike then you can always just pop it into a bag and call it luggage!

The following train lines accommodate bikes and have (limited) space available:

Unfortunately, some TGV lines have no space to accommodate bikes (e.g. Sud-Est line from Paris to Lyon) and instead you would have to take an alternative route such as the TER train from Paris-Bercy to Lyon.

Reservations are compulsory if you do not have a folding bike. Unfortunately the bike spaces are fairly limited (only four spots available on each TGV) so as always, we advise that you book in advance (90 days or less).

Bike reservation train

Taking your bike on board a TER train

We do not sell or display any bike reservations for TER (regional) trains. This is because you can always take your bike, whether it’s a folding bike or not, on board a TER without any prior reservation or extra cost. This means it is completely free and all you need to do is buy a ticket for yourself. Though there are some TER trains which do carry time restrictions.

Taking a disassembled bike on board

If your bike is disassembled or you have a folding bike, then you are able to bring it on board with you free of charge on any trains within France. However, it must be in a bicycle bag.

For more information, please consult our help page.

To reserve a spot for yourself and your beloved bike, just click here to get started!

P.S If you are new to or want to know more about cycling in France and gain some insider tips, freewheelingfrance.com is a great place to start!