Cross border ticket purchase

Discussion in 'International Transport' started by riceuten, 17 Jun 2019.

  1. riceuten

    riceuten Member

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    Just been struggling to buy a ticket from Saarbruecken (D) to Forbach (F) online - it appears that this ticket - like many cross border tickets, is not (unless you buy an uber expensive ICE ticket) available on line.

    All the more annoying because the train my partner wants to catch actually runs Saarbruecken to Metz, it's just she can't buy tickets in advance (unless you pay €4.90 for them to be posted to you, or you collect them from a ticket machine in France - bit difficult if you're not actually passing through France enroute). The Forbach to Metz segment is available as a downloadable ticket or barcode on the phone, as is the Pirmasens to Saarbuecken. It's just this 9 minute segment that appears unavailable, unless you go to a travel agent or ticket office and pay a hefty supplement for a ticket that's neither available online or from a ticket machine.

    So it got me to thinking where this is and isn't possible, and my adventures in purchasing cross border tickets. I remember flying to Biarritz to go to San Sebastian once, and going to the SNCF station, attempting to buy a ticket to the Spanish border station of Irun (from where I would be able to buy a Renfe ticket to San Sebastian). Firstly, the ticket seller told me "there are no trains from Biarritz to Irun" - and then, one popped up on the screen, she conceded that, yes, there were indeed trains from Biarritz to Irun, but she couldn't actually sell me tickets to there. We ended up taking the train to the French border, (Hendaye) and then "El Topo" (the narrow gauge railway) from there to San Sebastian. We arrived to find our hostal directly opposite the Renfe station, and we would have been there an hour previously had we been able to purchase a ticket for it.

    Bizarrely, SNCF were able to sell me a ticket to Portbou in Spain from Perpignan, but the Renfe ticket seller wasn't able to sell us a ticket from there to Perpignan - only to Cerbere at the French side of the frontier.

    Have any of you had similar experiences and/or suggestions to get round this nonsense? Other than pleading with the conductor ;) ?
     
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  3. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    Learnt something new today (text not on bahn.com BTW)

    https://www.bahn.de/p/view/angebot/regio/regionale-tickets/saar/saar-lorraine-tarif.shtml
    The Saar-Lorraine tariff is valid between all DB stations in Saarland and selected SNCF stations in Lorraine...in regional trains ...and can be bought at all ticket offices and machines in Saarland
    Saarbruecken to Metz was EUR 9.60 in 2014 (latest Google throws up) which undercuts the international fare considerably. Typical that it's only obtainable locally.
     
  4. duesselmartin

    duesselmartin Member

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    Buying international tickets is often tricky.
    Regional fares are a classic example. As mentioned using a local ticket machine ist the best option.
     
  5. Cloud Strife

    Cloud Strife Member

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    Oh yes, it's a very common problem.

    To give an example: there are two (three?) local trains a day that run between Terespol (PL) and Brest (BY), operated by Belarusian Railway. You can buy tickets for Brest-Terespol online, though you need to exchange the voucher for an actual ticket at any international ticket window. There are many of them throughout Belarus, so this is no problem.

    From Terespol to Brest, it's much more difficult. The trains aren't visible on the reservation system that PKP Intercity uses, and PolRegio (who sell tickets for the service and advertise it) only sell the ticket at international ticket windows. They have barely any such windows, so the only option is to go to Terespol and buy the ticket in person without any possibility of buying in advance.
     
  6. riceuten

    riceuten Member

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    I saw this - but, as you say, only available from a ticket machine. Which, when you have 25 mins to change, is not always that easy. I remember the ticket machine there previously not selling tickets to Forbach there, and having to buy them from the ticket office, and being stuck behind a granny for 10 minutes wanting to check the timetable of every train to Trier, and then waltzing off without buying a ticket ! I also got charged a supplement for buying the ticket at the ticket office, despite the ticket not being available online or at the ticket machine!
     
  7. riceuten

    riceuten Member

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    If they sell the ticket...which in the case of Renfe at Portbou, they don't...
     
  8. riceuten

    riceuten Member

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    There is a postscript ! My partner was able to buy the mysterious Saarbruecken to Forbach portion of the ticket - €5 for 9km (and 10 mins) - ouch ! - at the Regionalbahnhof of Frankfurt Airport. It appears this ticket is only available to purchase from DB ticket offices. They waived the supplement for buying the ticket at the station as well.
     
  9. childwallblues

    childwallblues Established Member

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    On Tuesday I travelled from Liege (Belgium) to Aachen (Germany) a distance of 40km. I went to the enquiry office at Liege Station and asked the clerk for a return for that day and a single for Wednesday. I was sold three single tickets at 2 euros each FIRST CLASS!
     
  10. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    Sounds suspiciously like the fare from the border only - or is there a special offer? And which route did you use? (Sorry, just caught up with the other thread - via Welkenraedt.)
     
  11. blackfive460

    blackfive460 Member

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    According to SNCB the single adult first class fare from Liege-Guillemins to Aachen Hbf is 12.30€. Even a pet ticket is 3€ so quite what you've been sold is a bit of a mystery. Let us know how you get on with it.
     
  12. duesselmartin

    duesselmartin Member

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    Aachen is also a SNCB fare point. So it is seen as a domestic service.
     
  13. paddington

    paddington Member

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    I found it impossible to buy a ticket from Longwy to Luxembourg when the ticket office was closed. The conductor only came by after Rodange by which time my Luxembourg national ticket was valid.
     
  14. childwallblues

    childwallblues Established Member

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    I had a return from Liege Zone to Aachen and a single to Aachen the following morning. My tickets were punched by the conductor on all journeys.
     

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