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Train from Budeapest to Vienna

We are looking at the MAV-START website for travel times and cost for a trip on June 4 one way, on the RailJet (3 hours). It appears that if you wait to purchase tickets just before you ride, there may not be tickets available. We looked at the first two weeks in April to test this. Since the train is every 2 hours we can purchase the tickets now with much certainty on making the train, there are 6 of us in the group. With the cost at 13 euro per person, while it is not expensive, we do not want to buy now if we can wait till we get to Budapest.

Are we looking at the correct website? Do tickets sell out on these trains? Do we have the correct price if we buy now or just before the train trip?

Thanks for your help, Mike

Posted by
10707 posts

First, not all the fast trains are labeled as RailJet so choose on the travel duration and not the name. Second, I would love to say if you arrive in Budapest on Tuesday there will be plenty of tickets for Friday's departure to Vienna. My guess from past experience is that there will be but...... In the handful of trips we have taken on the Vienna train we have yet to see a sell out but that really means nothing. They are really listed at 13 euro? That's a deal alright I guess if I were you and I wanted the comfort level I would buy them now.

So, off subject, you might also take a look at Budapest to Gyor and then continuing to Vienna the next day. Gyor is a great small town halfway between the two cities on the same set of tracks. Just outside of Gyor is the Archabbey at Pannonhalma. After seeing the Archabbey you can compare it to the (not Arch) Abbey at Melk if Melk is in your plans. http://bences.hu/ I think thee town and the Archabbey are two of the best kept secrets in the region.

Sorry I wasn't more help on the train.

Posted by
13904 posts

The DB Bahn site (bahn.de) shows 7 trains on Fridays, 5 are Railjet, the last 2 are Euronight (leaving at 7.10 and 9.10 p.m.). The German website doesn't show prices for trains not originating in Germany, but it does list all the scheduled trains on most any route.

I doubt that all 7 trains would sell out several days in advance. Worst case is probably that you have to take an earlier or later train than you want. Also you may not get 6 seats together, but probably 6 in the same car. But as James says, the price is right, so why not buy now?

Posted by
4063 posts

Trains do not sell out! If you can't find a seat, you just stand (yes, even on the RailJet). There is no one collecting tickets before you board the train to count the number of passengers (like is done for airline boarding). It would also be impossible to keep track of those getting on and off at stops in between.

As for the price, it doesn't get any better than 13 Euro. This price, as you have probably figured, is tied to a specific train. It cannot used on another train. Only a limited number of tickets are available at this fare. Once these sell out, the next tier of tickets at an increased cost are made available. If you want more flexibility and the ability to take any train, then buy your ticket at the station when in Budapest, just right before boarding. That will run you about 40 Euros per person.

Posted by
80 posts

Thank you all for your replies. Based on the above information we will purchase our tickets in advance, for 13 euro how could we go wrong. We will plan on leaving the apartment by 9am and take the 11am train, this will give us time to pick up some food and get to the train station. Sitting together is better then standing :)

We do have plans to go to Melk, I will share the information on Gyor with the group before we buy our tickets.
Thanks again

Posted by
10707 posts

You are probably doing the right thing. I didn't want to say it wouldn't be sold out because you never know. I've ridden the Hungarian railroad to Vienna, Gyor, Edger and Pecs and have never been on a train that didn't have plenty of extra seats; but the minute I say that ................ well.................... I "think" the tickets at the station a couple of days early will set you back 24 to 29 euro if my memory is correct. Tickets in the other direction, purchased in Vienna, do cost more; again if my memory serves me correctly..

I have never purchased Hungarian train tickets on the internet (I buy them in country or have a friend pick them up for me in advance) but if I understand correctly you have to pick them up at the train station using some sort of kiosk. I would suggest that you do this early in your stay in Budapest. Besides, Keleti Station is worth the time to see. Don't forget to go to Nyugati Station too as it is one of Eiffel's creations.

Two hours seems to be a little excessive but it depends on where are you staying and how are you getting to the train station. I believe the new metro station at the Keleti is open. Should be pretty nice based on what I could see between the barricade boards a few weeks ago. There are some places that sell food in the station and you can check that out when you go to pick up your tickets.

Let me know if I can help with anything.

And we will be in Budapest in early/mid June. Maybe we cross paths.

Posted by
4063 posts

If you want to be sure you have a seat, just purchase a seat reservation.

Posted by
10707 posts

Emily, but then you don't get it for 13euro. No, I would just get there about 20 minutes early and board a car where there are few people waiting. Its all good.

Posted by
12084 posts

@ Mike...As pointed out above, I have seen it on RailJet in summer travel, which is when you're doing this, where people do stand up, (no seats), or they get "bumped" ie, say they got on w/o reservations, say in Munich going to Vienna. They (this was a US couple I saw sitting in front of me). There is an empty seat, they take it. In Salzburg someone with reservations gets on shows the couple their reservations for the seats they're occupying, they got "bumped." It has happened to me, when I've been bumped or have bumped others when it was I who had reserved the seat. To avoid this possibility, reserve the Railjet seat.

Posted by
10707 posts

Fred, Like you I try and be honest and accurate. Me, I buy my tickets when I get to Budapest, a few days before their use, and I have never had an issue, but that doesn't mean it will never happen.

And Fred, you are absolutely correct, but "bumped" for me would mean getting a seat in the next car......in almost every case. But, to be fair there are no guarantees so you have to deal with your own personal comfort level. Buy the seat reservation.

Posted by
4063 posts

Yes, the seat reservation costs a couple of extra Euro, but might be a good investment. The seat reservation price is fixed and the reservation can be purchased from the train station even if the saver fare of 13 Euro was purchased online.

As for the "bumped" issue, all you have to do is look at the sign above your seat before you sit down to see if it is reserved at any point during the journey. It is pretty darn obvious, so no one should be surprised if someone comes along a some point with a reservation and asks someone to get out of their seat.

Posted by
12084 posts

Exactly, one should look at the sign above to see if it is going to tbe occupied at all or part of the way. True, it is pretty obvious but also presupposes that one knows the geography of the route so that if one who sits down should not be surprised to know that the seat was reserved by someone else.

Posted by
12084 posts

"a few days before their use." In May of 2010 for a day trip to Budapest from Vienna, I did exactly just that, brought the r/t ticket a day or two at Westbahnhof for that Sunday's morning departure to BP. Since it was a r/t ticket for the same day, there was even a pleasant surprise...a discount. Obviously no need to reserve. The coach turned out to be mostly empty.