Getting ready for our trips is half (well…1/8th) of the fun as the trips themselves.
I love going over my notes from the past year, looking through photos, recharging my Italian phone..it's just the thing to put me in the travel mood.
As I was flipping through photos, I came across a series I took at the train station last year. I had decided that a travel-tip post on taking the train would/could be helpful to someone. I know I would have benefitted from one, back in the day.
There are most likely YouTube videos, etc. that go over this stuff, but what the heck. I hope someone out there gets some good info from this….
Our local train station, just a twenty minute drive from Panicale, is in Chiusi. It's a great spot, halfway between Rome and Florence. We can take a day trip to either of these standout cities, and be back by evening, no problem.
We love having the option to hop the train instead of dealing with the stressful city driving and nightmarish parking. In most cases, the train station is a short bus ride, or an easy walk to where ever we want to go, so it's a no-brainer.
First, decide where and when you want to go. Trains run all day, and you can often have several choices of departure times. Go into your train station, and find the displays of departures and arrivals. Even small stations without an actual attendant have these posted, with machines to purchase the tickets.
|A typical glass cased "departure" schedule for this particular day.|
|Arrivals are on the other side of the case...|
So, they break down the day by hour, and it's on a twenty four hour clock, thirteen being one o'clock in the afternoon, etc.
On this day, we were going to Bologna. We looked at the times and stops, above photo, and found Bologna was on the train that was ending it's trip at Trieste Centrale.
In the photo, below, we can see what's up. We are just looking at the "top" box.
It would depart our station at 12:10(on the upper left), stopping at each station listed in this box, so the first stop after us would be Arezzo. We also see the train number is TI 588.
Anyhow, here you can see that the Bologna stop is the fourth stop, at 14:43(2:43). Then the train moves on to Ferrara, etc.
You can also see that the train leaves from "BIN 3"on the upper right. This is "binario" three, or "track" three.
|It also gives days of the week it runs,|
or whether it runs on holidays...
If you have questions, the attendants are helpful. I try to do as much as I can on my own, just because.
You can go straight to the window and get it all done, though.
|Above the window it says|
"Tickets , Reservations"
I like to use the ticket machines. Especially when there is a long line at the windows. It's so easy. Choose a language, pick your destination, choose a time and pay. Either with cash, or a credit card. Below, there are two machines. The one on the right only takes credit cards, the other takes both cash or credit cards.
Don't get tricked into letting someone "help" you. This may happen in the bigger stations…some guy or gal will help you figure the machine out, help you buy your tickets
Then they want to be paid for their service. These people are basically harmless, but I always get a little bugged when they close in on me. I just say "No, grazie" in a firm voice.
|The lines can get really long at bigger stations, like Florence and Rome. This is when I choose the machines. They are easy, and take you through, step by step.|
The ticket, below, shows the full price for two adults(top right), when it leaves, where it is going, and when you will arrive at your destination(Chiusi/Chiancino - Bologna Centrale).
In the middle section, you will see the train number, 588, which car the seats are in, 005, the car is a second class car(no big deal) and the seat numbers, 55 and 56. We also see that we have window seats, "finestrino".
This is a train ride with reserved seats, in a certain car. Sometimes, it's just a general ticket and you can sit wherever there is a seat available.
|Here is the return ticket, with all info.|
Next, we check the big board…which can be really big and full of trains coming and going…Here it's a small local station, with few tracks to worry about.
Give yourself time to figure it all out, if possible. It gets easier each time, honest.
Ok. The schedule board shows us the Trains(treni) in Partenza(departing).
On the left is a list of trains departing, with the final destination. In our case, Trieste Centrale. It stops in Bologna along the way, at 12:10.
On the right, just out of the photo(sorry), it tells us this train is coming in and leaving from track(BIN) 3.
Now that we have our tickets, and know where we need to jump on the train, and know what time it leaves…we can RELAX.
Train stations have full on cafe/bars. With snacks.
|It's never too early for a glass of Proseco!|
We aren't done yet, though….
DON'T FORGET TO VALIDATE YOUR TICKET BEFORE YOU GET ON THE TRAIN.
You will see little machines like this in the ticket office, as well as near the tracks. Just stick the ticket in the slot thing and it will get "punched" and validated.
|Some of the models are yellow. These are pretty new.|
You can get fined if you don't validate.
Seems there are almost always stairs. Look for a small elevator to make things easy, if you have big bags to carry.
|Elevator at our local station.|
|Here's where we need to be:|
Track 3, going to Trieste at 12:10.
|Mr. J loves a train ride.|
Note the signs. Track 3 and 2, on the other side.
Also, again the destination and time confirmed.
|Another validation box, in case you forgot inside.|
There will be big station signs as you get close to each stop. Another way to know when to get off. Sometimes they announce it, but not always.
|Our local station.|
|Here she comes….|
|We find our car…..|
|We find our seats, 55 & 56, next to the window.|
Be careful, each car has the same numbered seats…make sure you
are in the correct car. We have made this mistake…no big deal, you just move.
Now we just make ourselves comfy and enjoy the ride.
I bring a book, some munchies and always water.
Hopefully the company is nice.
Can't wait to get back on the train!
See you soon-