European rail travel is more than a great selling opportunity; it’s a way to give your clients a more authentic, convenient and affordable travel experience.
It offers a scenic and exciting departure from the ‘typical’ European vacation, and is the one form of transportation that takes travelers where they want to go with such ease, they arrive refreshed and ready to explore.
So Many Benefits
The major cities and sites your clients long to see are linked by an extensive European rail network – a vast system stretching over 160,000 miles as extensive in size and scope as the North American highway system. And high speed trains are so popular, traveling at speeds up to 198 mph and giving travelers ultimate efficiency that allows for expanded itineraries. Many also have e-ticketing options.
There are many choices to enhance a client’s budget and travel; from early booking discounts; to rail passes that offer discounts on local transportation, buses, boats, attraction fees and tickets; to overnight trains that save a night’s hotel cost and allow more daytime sightseeing.
You’ll always want to offer 1st class to give your clients an even more extraordinary experience, but no matter how your clients travel, they’ll find European rail a genuinely unforgettable experience. Whether its spacious seats in air conditioned cars, ample luggage space, or interacting with locals in bar and/or buffet cars, rail travel almost always exceeds expectations.
And Rail Europe offers an exclusive Rail Protection Plan™ to ensure your client’s peace of mind while traveling (available for all European rail passes, train tickets, reservations, select city passes and tours).
This all means your clients can enjoy relaxing rail travel as they:
- Travel city center to city center (and arrive downtown!)
- Don’t have to maneuver through crowded airports located miles from the nearest city
- Don’t have to hail a taxi (or have local currency) at the airport to get downtown
- Don’t have traffic headaches driving in/ out of cities or trouble with foreign road signs
- Can get up, stretch, drink, and stretch, eat, stretch… whenever they like
- Can close their eyes because they can take their eyes off the road
- Can open their eyes and take in breathtaking scenery
Plus, we’ve got perks for you:
- Add your own service fee to any booking prior to payment and it is 100% payable to your agency
- Also receive Agent Discounts on various rail passes and on Eurostar and Thalys train tickets
A benefit for all: the train is a low-impact form of travel that preserves the authenticity of the regions and its natural beauty. Trains provide clean and environmentally friendly transportation. In fact, high speed trains are three times as energy efficient as regional trains, but even the slowest train is 25% more energy efficient than traveling by car.
European trains provide frequent service, and are comfortable, punctual, and take travelers directly from the heart of one bustling city or small town to the next. Even more importantly, train travel allows your clients to see the country they came to visit. And isn’t that the point?
Learn more in our “Why Travel by Train in Europe” video.
Today’s Rail Experience
Maybe you have clients who toured Europe by train as college students, with a backpack and a second-class rail pass, or clients whose idea of a train trip is their daily commute between home and work. These clients and others will be amazed at the authenticity, sophistication, and affordability of today’s European railways.
And you can tell your car-and-plane-weary travelers that a first class train trip in Europe is a totally different experience which offers the freedom and flexibility of hopping from city-to-city or town-to-town every few days on different trains, with schedules that run like clockwork.
First Class Rail Experiences
Today’s first class rail experience bears little resemblance to anything we’re used to here at home. It’s one of spacious, seats and the freedom to move around at will. There are magnificent landscapes through large windows, and often meals served at your seat or available in restaurant/café cars, with the opportunity to socialize with fellow travelers.
Rail For One, Rail For All
Chances are you’ll find rail products that are just right for clients planning their first European visit or their twentieth. Once you’ve determined the key considerations for their trip (the amount of time they have to spend and the places they want to visit within that time), you’ll confidently be able to choose the Rail Europe products that best suits their needs. This is Europe on their terms, and they’ll thank you for it.
What to Expect Traveling by Train in Europe
Travelers who haven’t explored Europe by train may be reluctant at first. They don’t know what to expect and don’t understand how train travel works, which is why it’s so important that you do. Common concerns are how to get around the train stations, finding the right train, train car and seat, and what to do with luggage. As a European Rail Expert™, you’ll be well suited to help your clients understand that train travel is an authentic, convenient, affordable, and amazing experience.
The Train Station
The adventure begins right in the European train stations. In most cases, these stations create the first impressions travelers have of each city. Each station is unique, often picturesque, and with its own distinct personality. Most are centrally located and have a full range of convenient services and facilities to make travels comfortable. Remember: if clients can’t find their train or need help in a station, they should look for the “i”, the universal symbol for “Information.” In most major stations, clients will find:
- Information desks/timetables
- Access to metro/subway stations
- Gift shops
- Restaurants and/or food stores
- Luggage carts
- Reservation offices
- Currency exchange
- Postal services
- Bookstores (great for purchasing maps and city tour guides)
- Amenities like a shopping mall in some cases
Finding the Right Train
Finding the right train is a simple process once your clients know what to look for. In most stations, large departure/arrival boards show departure, arrival and track/platform numbers. Poster timetables can be easily recognized by the background color. As a rule, departure timetables are printed on a yellow background and arrivals are on a white background. Trains are listed chronologically from 0 to 24 hours. The names and numbers of important intermediate stops are noted next to the time of departure, plus the track and platform number from where the train departs.
Finding the Right Car and Seat
Once your clients have found the right track/platform, the next step is to locate the right car. It’s important to find the right car because some trains split at certain junctions: one part going one way, and the other heading in a different direction or stopping altogether.
Also, travelers with reservations must match the number shown on their ticket with the correct car and seat number. If travelers are planning to get off a train at a small town not noted on the identification panel displayed directly outside the entrance to any train car, and don’t have a reserved seat, they need to ask the conductor which car they should be on, before or soon after boarding. To further assist travelers, many train stations will have diagrams located on the platforms that illustrate the location of each car on the train. These diagrams enable travelers to situate themselves on the platform very close to where their car will be arriving.
Each Train Car has an Identification Panel on its Side, Indicating:
- On top: the name of the city where it originated
- On the bottom: the name of the final destination
- In between: the names of the most important stops en route. Each car is also marked first class or second class by a number “1” or “2” displayed on its side. There may also be a yellow stripe under the roof for first class, green for second class
- Near the door: a digital panel will indicate the car number