a VirtualTourist member from Barossa
Are there any specials by booking on the inernet? Friends are travelling the route mentioned, 2 children 12 and 14 and the parents.
There may be with some searching but I always just bought tickets day day I planned to travel as did my daughter.
have a look and eventually book here
That's interesting, cgf...the thello trains don't appear to show up on the SNCF website...this makes sense, I guess, since SNCF doesn't own part of thello, but since the train is leaving from Paris, this would certainly confuse some people...good eye!
P.S. I found for Feb 13, for example, a 4 person couchette for 220 euro - far cheaper than SNCF for similar trips...of course, this advanced purchase fare has restrictions (like no refunds)...
Interesting...I priced the same Feb 13 trip on Trenitalia, and it showed only the 444 or so fare - the regular fare, but not the discount fare that thello website showed (in addition to the regular fare)...
How many hours does this trip take?
As I recall from looking it up, it was nearly 15 hours...of course, it was overnight, so leave Paris about 19:14 and arrive in Rome about 10:12.
In a couchette for 4, the compartment would start out as seats, be converted to beds at some point in the evening, then likely converted back into seats before Rome...although I am not sure about the latter as I was never on a couchette that arrived so late in the morning.
Thank you for your help, I looked up Thello and it seems to cost about E384 for the 4 of them which seems very reasonable to me. I take it the cost would be higher booking over the counter.
"do not know how they can offer cheaper tickets unless they buy it from SNCF which is state owned and official transport in FRance. "
thello appears to be a joint venture between Trenitalia and Veolia Transdev, which is a private company based in France that specializes in public transportation. So while thello must have permission to operate on French track, it evidently is not using SNCF resources for its trains.
Thello is what is called an "open access" operator. They use the fact that if you have approved rolling stock and manage to buy a train path you can run a train. And charge whatever you fancy to your customers.
The night trains from Paris to Rome used to be run by a joint venture of SNCF and Trenitalia. The Italians pulled out however, because they wanted to get back at SNCF for taking a stake in NTV (aka Italo), another open access operator competing with Trenitalia in its home market...
Which is why you won't find any info on these trains on the SNCF site...
"thello must have permission to operate on French track, it evidently is not using SNCF resources for its trains"
no the tracks are own by SNCF and given permission to use them as approved by French govt.
It does not appear that SNCF owns the tracks - see the Wikipedia article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SNCF
"In the past the SNCF also owned the tracks, but this has changed due to EU Directive 91/440. Since 1997 the tracks and signalling have belonged to a separate government body, Réseau Ferré de France; this change was intended to open the market to independent train operating companies, although few have yet appeared. RFF contracts all track maintenance and the operation of signalling to the SNCF, which also retains ownership of all the stations."
Indeed, it looks like the creation of thello is exactly the sort of thing that the French government expected to happen when the track infrastructure was handed over to a separate body.
If you think the Wikipedia article is wrong, then change it...I do that all the time...but it looks to me that the SNCF can't own the tracks, or it would be in violation of EU Directive 91/440...which states that member states are required to ensure that organisations operating the infrastructure (track, signalling etc.), and those operating services (trains) are separate and run on a commercial basis...are you saying that France is violating that EU Directive?
No, you don't have to answer, because I imagine that there is still a lot of overlap as France slowly disengages the two - for example, in the long run, the SNCF shouldn't be responsible for track maintenance, either...
As for the quality of thello's books, well, I have no idea...but I can hope(?) that the French government set up some minimum standards for enterprises to be qualified to use its national track... ;-)
RFF actually does own the network, but it has subcontracted most of the management back to SNCF. As elsewhere in Europe private (and foreign) companies, can (and do) operate in France, as long as they meet the technical standards and pay the access fees... Thello is such a company.
SNCF in turn also runs in other countries in open access, but only for freight at the moment.