Blog — Trains

March 15: Book Your TGV Tickets to France’s West Coast on Wednesday

by Malin Schibler, posted 14 March 2017 | Add comment

sncf-west-map_english

 

For those who enjoy spending their summer vacations in the French region of Brittany (or Bretagne for the more seasoned travellers) and the Atlantic Coast, you’ll be pleased to know that the train tickets for France’s western coast will go on sale on March 15, sometime very early in the morning (French time – Central European Time).

Add a reminder to your calendar, get up early or stay up late (depending on wherever in the world you may be booking from) and get ready to buy some cheap train tickets! As always, the most advantageous prices will sell out quickly. See it as the first half of your preparation in the search of finding the best spot on the beach and to take in those sunny rays.

Hint: for our dear Brits and Aussies, don’t forget your sunscreen though!

A refreshing sea breeze

Be prepared to have your regular Wednesday routine interrupted so you can get your hands on the cheapest train tickets this Wednesday for all TGV destinations in Brittany and the Atlantic Coast.

Below you’ll find a list of all the TGV destinations that will be available for booking as of Wednesday morning (French time):

Brittany: Le Mans, Laval, Vitré, Rennes, Dol-de-Bretagne, St-Malo, Lamballe, St-Brieuc, Guingamp, Plouaret-Trégor, Lannion, Morlaix, Landermeau, Brest, Redon, Vannes, Auray, Lorient, Quimperlé, Rosporden, Quimper.

Atlantic Coast: Vendôme-Villiers-sur-Loir TGV, Saint-Pierre-des-Corps, Tours, Saumur, Angers, Sablé-sur-Sarthe, Ancenis, Nantes, Savenay, Saint-Nazaire, Pornichet, La Baule-Escoublac, Le Pouliguen, Le Croisic, La Roche-sur-Yon, Les Sables d’Olonne, Châtellerault, Futuroscope, Poitiers, St-Maixent-l’École, Niort, Surgères, La Rochelle.

Bordeaux and the South-West: Ruffec, Angoulême, Libourne, Bordeaux, Facture, La Teste, Arcachon, Morcenx, Dax, Bayonne, Biarritz, Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Hendaye, Irun, Agen, Montauban, Toulouse.

Cross-country coasting

Photo of a TGV bordering the sea in the South of France.

You’re no longer required to depart from Paris to visit any of the above destinations. So if you’d like to plan a Tour de France on rails, you can travel between any of these TGV stations without necessarily needing to transfer via Paris first.

Reach the seashore faster than Sally sells seashells

For our dear train enthusiasts, you’ll be pleased to hear about the two new high-speed lines that will now be connecting Brittany and Pays de la Loire (Paris to Rennes), including the long awaited the Océane line (Paris to Bordeaux), which will go into service as of July 2nd.

This means that that the travel times have massively decreased; in some cases by more than one hour for certain destinations:

The privileges of this new high-speed line are not only for departures from Paris. So for those who are in Lille or Bordeaux, you can also benefit and gain 47 minutes in travel time. So if you’re travelling from Lille to Bordeaux (or vice-versa), it will now only take 4 hours and 36 minutes in the TGV. The Bordeaux to Angoulême travel time has heavily decreased too. Now it will take only 36 minutes (compared to the previous 60 minutes) to take in the beautiful scenery on the TGV between both of these historic cities.

And for the rest of France…

Depending on where you like to spend your vacation time, you may be late or you may be early. The tickets for the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region (e.g. Nice, Cannes, Avignon and Marseille) have already been on sale since the 2nd of February. Yet they haven’t sold out, so you haven’t missed your chance! And for other destinations in France (and Europe!), a small amount of patience will be required.

SNCF Strike March 2016

by Malin Schibler, posted 07 March 2016 | Add comment

screen capture of a Wes Anderson movie

Walking is one of the options

It has just been announced that there will be an SNCF strike, starting at 19:00 on Tuesday, the 8th of March and will continue until 08:00 on Thursday morning, the 10th of March. SNCF will be compensating strike affected travellers, by offering full refunds or the possibility to use the same ticket for another train.

To find out if your trip is affected by the strike and for more information on how to proceed, please have a look at the information we’ve provided below.

Domestic SNCF trains

To find out whether your train is running and which other services are available, you can use SNCF’s real-time traffic website: www.sncf.com/en/timetables-updates-traffic

If your train isn’t running, please have a look below to find out what options and alternative travel plans are available.

TGV trains: In general, 1 out of 3 trains are running.

Intercités trains: On average, 3 out of 10 services are operating.

Intercités de nuit (night) trains): SNCF has cancelled all night train services during the strike period. So there will be no sleeper trains operating during this time.

TER trains: On average, 1 out of every 3 trains will be are running.

Eurostar trains

Certain Eurostar trains have also been affected by the strike. Eurostar has contacted all of their impacted customers and has made some changes to their timetable for the 9th of March. All customers have been re-accommodated on to alternative trains. Please have a look at Eurostar’s traffic information page for a more detailed overview of the revised schedule.

Lyria Trains

SNCF has reported that 5 out of 10 trains are running. You can check whether your train will be running on SNCF’s real-time traffic website: www.sncf.com/en/timetables-updates-traffic

If your train isn’t running, please have a look: below to find out what options and alternative travel plans are available.

RENFE-SNCF trains

It has been announced that 1 out of every 2 RENFE-SNCF trains will be running. We advise that you check SNCF’s real-time traffic website to see if your train will be running.: www.sncf.com/en/timetables-updates-traffic

If your train isn’t running, please have a look below to find out what options and alternative travel plans are available.

Thalys trains

Traffic for all Thalys services have been reported as normal and on time. So far it looks like they will remain unaffected by the strike.

OUIGO trains

OUIGO has announced that 4 out of trains are still running. OUIGO will contact all customers directly that are affected and will inform you of an alternative timetable or possibilities for compensation. If you would like to check the status of your train, please have a look at www.ouigo.com.

iDTGV trains

iDTGV has not yet announced an alternative timetable. iDTGV will be contacting any of their affected customers directly with more details about your compensation and travel options. If your train is affected then you can either be refunded with a voucher or directly to your payment card.

If you wish to receive a refund to your payment card instead of the voucher, you must inform iDTGV of this (by replying to their email).


 Compensation measures for affected travellers

All SNCF tickets with departures during the strike period (from 19:00 March 8th until 08:10 March 10th), can be used for any other train (travelling the same route) without any additional charge. However, a seat is not guaranteed and instead you will need to find your own.

TGV and Intercités tickets:

You can take any train (travelling the same route) between the 8th of March until midnight March 10th.

Intercités de nuit (SNCF night trains):

SNCF does not recommend taking another night train with your existing ticket. This is because there is a risk that you may not find a seat or couchette and risk having to stand. Instead they recommend to take a train during the day, at any time between the 8th and 10th of March.

How to receive a refund

If you are booked to travel during the strike period and you wish to cancel or postpone your trip, please contact Captain Train and we will of course arrange a refund promptly. Though please do not cancel the tickets yourself under any circumstance. It is very important that we make the cancellation as otherwise the refund may fail.

As a reminder, this includes all tickets with travel scheduled between 19:00 Tuesday March 8th and 08:00 Thursday, March 10th.

If you have booked an OUIGO or iDTGV ticket, we cannot refund you directly. Instead have a look at the relevant section above to find out how iDTGV or OUIGO will refund you.

How to exchange your tickets

If you are scheduled to travel during the strike and wish to exchange your tickets to postpone your travel, please contact us and we will arrange a complete refund of your tickets. Please do not exchange the tickets yourself under any circumstance. 

If you wish to exchange your tickets for another train during the strike period (i.e. from the 8th until 10th of March), please follow the instructions given in the section about compensation measures above.

SNCF Summer Sales Start on February 2nd

by Malin Schibler, posted 28 January 2016 | 52 comments

Just a small selection of available destinations

Just a small selection of available destinations

Next Tuesday, SNCF will be holding a ticket sale for a huge number of beach destinations in France. So if you were thinking about visiting the French Riviera or Basque Coast this summer, you have one week to do some planning!

This sale will include tickets with departures from the 1st of July until 28th of August. As per usual, those who are earliest to book get their hands on the best tickets.

***Correction: January 28th
We had previously advertised that this sale would include RENFE-SNCF, TGV Lyria and TGV France-Italy tickets. These dates have now been changed and these tickets will be released on the 3rd of March instead.

Head to the Mediterranean coast

In one week, you’ll be able to book your tickets to a large variety of destinations on the Mediterranean coast. The great thing is that you will also be able to book tickets between these destinations and not only just from Paris.

Here’s what you will be able to book:

  • Paris – Avignon TGV
  • Paris – Aix en Provence
  • Paris – Marseille
  • Paris – Nice
  • Paris – Toulon
  • Paris – Hyères
  • Paris – Les Arcs Draguignan
  • Paris – Saint Raphaël Valescure
  • Paris – Cannes
  • Paris – Antibes
  • Paris – Monaco
  • Paris – Menton
  • Paris – Ventimiglia

The good news is that the tickets are not limited to departures/arrivals from Paris. So you can combine trips between any of these destinations as well. For example, you could book a ticket from Nice to Avignon, Toulon to Ventimiglia or Cannes to Antibes. There are plenty of options!

Visit the Basque Coast (minus Bordeaux)

If you’re someone who prefers their beaches to have some bigger waves, then you can be glad your destination (if it’s in the south west of France) will also be included next Tuesday.

The following destinations will be covered:

  • Paris – Agen
  • Paris – Montauban
  • Paris – Toulouse
  • Paris – Tarbes
  • Paris – Lourdes
  • Paris – Pau
  • Paris – Orthez
  • Paris – Dax
  • Paris – Bayonne
  • Paris – Biarritz
  • Paris – Saint Jean de Luz
  • Paris – Hendaye

Of course, you can again book tickets between any of these destinations as well. So that could include a train from Lourdes to Pau, Biarritz to Toulouse, or Agen to St Jean de Luz.

Is your destination not included?

Many remaining destinations in France that are served by TGV and Intercités trains (including Bordeaux!) in France will go on sale on the 31st of March, for the upcoming summer. This will also include tickets for northern France (destinations towards Belgium).

This means that if your destination is not listed above, then your tickets will become available on March 31st and not in this upcoming sale.

Want to Visit Switzerland, Spain or Italy?

As of the 3rd of March, you’ll also be able to get your hands on a range of tickets for journeys between France and Spain, Italy, and Switzerland. Specifically, it will include RENFE-SNCF tickets for trips between France and Spain, which that includes Paris – Barcelona, Perpignan, Girona and more. Plus  TGV Lyria tickets for trips between France and Switzerland (e.g. Paris – Zurich or Geneva) and TGV France – Italy tickets, for trips between Paris and Milan

To see exactly which destinations are included, you can find some route maps by clicking here.

Meet The New Trains Of Our Homepage

by Brice Boulesteix, posted 13 May 2015 | One comment

banner-blog-en

We keep receiving great feedback about the trains we display on the home page of our website. They have been featured on various media websites in France including Capital and Le Figaro. But the time has come to make them evolve and add a few more trains. Do you know what’s cooler than two animated trains? Nine animated trains!

A big thank you to Enrico, our designer who made the illustrations below.

Meet the cast:

Eurostar

EurostarBuilt between 1992 and 1996, Eurostar’s fleet consists of 38 trains, designated Class 373 in the United Kingdom and TGV TMST in France. The units have also been branded as the Eurostar e300 by Eurostar since 2015.

Thalys

ThalysThalys trains are operated by Thalys International, which capital is divided between SNCF (France) and SNCB (Belgium). The newest variant of their trains is the Thalys PBKA, which benefits from the motor technology of TGV Duplex sets, but without the bi-level carriages.

TGV Duplex

TGV DuplexIntroduced in 1995, the TGV Duplex is manufactured by Alstom, and operated by SNCF. It features bi-level carriages and a seating capacity up to 526 passengers.

TER

TERThe TER (standing for Transport Express Régional) is the brand name used by the SNCF to denote rail service run by the regional councils of France. It began operating in 1984. Every day, over 800 000 passengers are carried on 5,700 TER-branded trains.

ICE

ICE DBThe ICE (for Intercity-Express) is the flagship train of Deutsche Bahn. Introduced in 2000, the ICE 3 variant is made by Bombardier and Siemens and has a maximum capacity of 460 passengers.

Frecciarossa

FrecciarossaThe Frecciarossa, or ETR 500, is a high-speed train introduced in 1993 and operated by Trenitalia. It speeds up to 185mph (300 km/h).

Italo

NTV ItaloThe Italo is operated by NTV. It is originally named AGV (for Automotrice à grande vitesse) and built by Alstom. The maximum commercial speed is 360 km/h.

Renfe

RenfeThe AVE Class 100 of the Renfe is built by Alstom and was the first high-speed train put into service in Spain, back in 1992. Its maximum speed is 225mph (360 km/h).

Guest Star: TGV Atlantique

TGV AtlantiqueThis iconic TGV is the second generation of SNCF’s High Speed trains. Introduced in 1989 to serve the LGV Atlantique line, it was the first to wear the new “Atlantique” design (blue & gray) which replaced the original orange of the original TGV.

Booking Thello Train Tickets: What Is On Offer?

by Malin Schibler, posted 21 August 2014 | One comment

buy thello tickets

A few weeks ago we added Thello night trains to our booking platform. So we thought it might be wise to give a detailed explanation of exactly what you will find on offer from Thello and Capitaine Train.

Destinations

Thello trains run every evening between Paris Gare de Lyon and Venice, with intermediate stops in Dijon, Milan, Brescia, Verona, Vincenza and Padua. The departure and arrival timetable do not vary; trains depart Paris at 19:59 and arrive the next day at 09:35 in Venice on daily basis.
horaires-thello

Cabin or compartment

Thello offers you two types of comfort: cabins and couchette compartments. The 6 couchette compartments are great for the budget conscious traveller, where you can choose to stay with a group or travel with friends at a super low price. The 4 couchette compartment is a perfect solution for families or those wanting to save on costs but not to skimp on comfort. If you prefer a more private environment, then the 3 to 1 bed cabins will be a perfect solution. They offer wide and comfortable beds, an free breakfast in the dining car plus an electrical power point outlet, a washbasin and a toiletries kit. These cabins can be shared with other passengers or booked privately.

To make it easy for you, we have added the couchette apartments as second class seating and the cabins as first class.
You’ll find the following offers in each class:

Service Couchette compartment Cabin
Passengers 4 to 6 1 to 3
Mattress 180 cm x 60 cm 180 cm x 80 cm
Bedding Blanket Duvet/quilt/doona
Wash basin Shared Private
Water bottle
Toiletry kit
Electrical socket
Breakfast

thello_cabine_lit

Tarifs

Thello offers three pricing categories (tarifs) which are relative to flexibility and refund conditions:

  • Smart: this ticket type is strictly not exchangeable and non refundable. Though it is also the cheapest one available.
  • Go: these tickets are refundable up to 24 hours before departure, with a deduction of 50%. This means you will only receive 50% of the original price paid as a refund.
  • Flexi: these tickets are refundable up to 24 hours before departure, with a deduction of 10%. This means you will receive 90% of the original price paid as a refund.

Please note: the Smart and Go tickets are limited and can only be purchased up to seven days before departure. If you are booking last minute, then you will only be able to purchase a Flexi ticket.

Pricing

Thello ticket prices are fixed and do not fluctuate over time. They start at €35 for a spot in a six person couchette compartment and go up to €275 for a one bed cabin purchased at the last minute. The ticket categories have also been simplified, so your departure or arrival station do not alter the prices. Instead everyone pays the same regardless of their departure or arrival station. The only exception is if you are travelling to or from Milan, which gives you receive a 20% reduction.

Comfort Smart Go Flexi Imminente
All Milan Other Milan Other Milan Other
6 couchettes compartment 35 € 64 € 80 € 90 € 110 € 105 € 125 €
4 couchettes compartment 55 € 77 € 96 € 106 € 130 € 121 € 145 €
3 bed cabin 112 € 112 € 140 € 140 € 155 € 155 €
2 bed cabin 145 € 145 € 180 € 180 € 180 € 180 €
1 bed cabin 275 € 275 € 275 € 275 €

Children younger than four years are able to travel for free. However, they will not receive a reserved bed/couchette and are expected to share with their parents/guardians. Children between 4 and 14 are required to purchase a ticket but they will benefit from a reduced rate.

Booking horizon

Thello tickets go on sale four months minus one day before the departure date. For example, if you want to travel on April 30th, first of all, go back 4 months until December 30th. Now move to the next day and hop you are on December 31st. So, if you want to travel on April 30th, you can reserve as from December 31st.

Compulsory ID check

It is mandatory to provide an ID document when making your Thello reservation through Capitaine Train. All you need to do is fill out your ID card, driver’s licence or passport number during the booking process. This also means that your ticket must be in your own name. You will of course have to bring your the same ID on board (so don’t forget it) and present it to the inspector. Better yet, hand in your ID when boarding so you don’t get woken up in the middle of the night when crossing the border. Your ID will then be returned safely the next morning.
buy thello tickets

Your tickets

Theoretically you will only need your booking reference (this is displayed in the ticket section of your Capitaine Train account). We do advise that you print out your proof of purchase just in case. Within a few weeks, we will have integrated Thello into our iOS and Android apps. This means that you will have to do nothing at all, as your booking information will be stored on your phone.

The dining car

Lastly, you will find an on-board restaurant which is open until 23:00. This is super practical if you wish to have dinner (and if course breakfast) on board, or if you wish to stretch your legs a bit rather than spending all evening in your compartment. The menu offers various meals to suit every budget. This includes a selection of warm and cold dishes (French and Italian cuisine), plus a range of wines. The following payment methods are accepted: cash (€), Master Card, Maestro, Visa and Visa Electron.

Thello Night Trains Are Available On Capitaine Train!

by Malin Schibler, posted 23 July 2014 | One comment

Logo ThelloToday is a great day for our team! We can proudly announce that Thello, the first private rail operator in Europe, is now available on Capitaine Train. Not only is this addition super exciting for us, but it is also very symbolic. We are now the only distributor that sells the tickets of every single rail operator within France. So only with Capitaine Train will you find all of these tickets and operators offered on a single platform.

Exclusively at Capitaine Train

Thello is the first private rail operator in Europe, founded by Trenitalia (the national Italian rail operator) and Transdev. The company was created once international rail transport was opened for competition and no longer remained privatised. Since the 11th of December 2011, Thello trains run nightly between Paris Gare de Lyon and Venice with intermediate stops in Dijon, Milan, Brescia, Verona, Vicenza and Padua. They are the only rail company which is completely independent from SNCF in France. For this reason, you will not be able to book Thello trains with our main competitor.

Combination tickets

Just like with iDTGV and OUIGO, we have added Thello into our combination booking engine. This means you can now purchase tickets which combine a Thello route with another carrier.

So how does lunch in London, dinner in Paris and breakfast in Venice sound to you? With Capitaine Train it is now possible to book this trip in a single click.

book thello

Travel in comfort

Thello offers you two types of accommodation: cabins and couchette compartments. The 6 couchette compartments are great for the budget conscious traveller, where you can choose to stay with a group or travel with friends at a super low price. The 4 couchette compartment is a perfect solution for families or those wanting to save on costs but not to skim on comfort. If you prefer a more private environment, then the 3 to 1 bed cabins will be a perfect fit. They offer wide and comfortable beds, an free breakfast in the dining car plus an electrical power point outlet, a washbasin and a toiletries kit. These cabins can be shared with other passengers or booked privately.

Pay by credit card or PayPal

Capitaine Train is the only service to also accept PayPal payments for train tickets. So this is another exclusive service which we can offer you for your Thello tickets.

Additional services coming soon!

At the moment, Thello only operates one line between France and Italy. They are currently working on launching a day time train between Marseille, Nice, Genoa and Milan. This is a pretty big event, as Thello has been given permission to offer domestic routes on French soil. Once this line is operation, we will also be the first to offer you these tickets. So watch this space…

Train Thello en famille

SNCF Strike June 11 – 20 2014

by Malin Schibler, posted 11 June 2014 | 3 comments

Grève SNCF

You have probably already heard of it or are already in the midst of it; there is a nation-wide and international SNCF strike. So it is time for us to highlight our strike survival kit.

How do I know if my train is running?

If you still have a train to catch today, you can check SNCF Direct for real time information and updates. Please be aware that if you are catching a Renfe-SNCF train (e.g. Paris to Barcelona) your train information will not be displayed on this website. You will only be given a warning which says ‘Train is not running’. This is not indicative of the trains’ status and is a generic warning. So you will need to call SNCF on 3635 or speak to staff at a station to find out if your train has been cancelled or not.

Can I still use my ticket during the strike?

Yes. Luckily your ticket is valid for any other train during the day (for the same route), until the end of the strike and at no extra cost. However, there is no guarantee of seat. The strike started yesterday on June 10 at 19:00 and should cease after June 17. However, the strike is renewable so it could last longer than this. The special ticket and fare conditions will apply for the entire duration of the strike.

Can I cancel my ticket?

Yes. If your train is not running because of the strike then your ticket is fully refundable. Even if you have a non-refundable ticket such as a Prem’s then you will still be completely reimbursed. To take advantage of these friendly refund conditions, please contact us directly via email and we will be glad to assist you. Please note that we can only process refunds for bookings that have been made through Capitaine Train.