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Train Reservations and Departure Times

Help! To anyone who has any sort of train knowledge in Europe! I have traveled by train in Paris, Belgium, and Luxembourg but it has always been with someone! This time I am traveling alone and will be taking the Chunnel from London Waterloo to Paris Nord, and then the Artesia Night Train from Paris Bercy Station in evening to Roma Termini Station arriving in morning. I am wondering how early I should plan on arriving at the train stations before the time departure. I already have my train tickets purchased in advance like a smart traveler. But should I plan on arriving at station and 2 hours before departure to make it through security and find the correct train etc. To anyone that has any advice on this subject I am very grateful! Thankyou

Posted by
21843 posts

About 30 minutes. First, there is no security checks or clearance. Second, the actual track is not posted until about 30 minutes before departure and sometimes later. The general schedule posted in the train station with given the track most often used by that train but it can change so don't go to the track until it is posted on the board. Other than night trains, purchasing tickets in advance is not always a smart traveler.

Posted by
705 posts

I must admit I purchase tickets in advance because I always stress about not being able to get the train I want. 20 - 30 minutes is heaps. There are no security gates etc like an airport and do check that you are on the right platform. I have had instances in Italy where they have changed the platform number and Ive had to hot foot it to the new platform to make sure I caught the right train.

Posted by
1353 posts

I believe Frank is incorrect. For most trains you don't have to go through security, however I believe you do for the chunnel train from London to Paris. It's handled a little differently than most trains, and I believe you must check in a little earlier for that train.

Posted by
1353 posts

Here is some check in info from the railpass section of this website under chunnel tickets...."Security measures are similar to airlines and you must check in 30 minutes before departure with most tickets."

I think when we took it we got there an hour early just to be sure.

Posted by
2664 posts

From Eurostar website

Eurostar terminals are located downtown and are well connected by public transport and taxi services. Arrive at least 45 minutes prior to your train departure time. Check in closes twenty minutes prior to the scheduled departure time. You will check-in through the automated gates if your ticket has a magnetic stripe on the back. If it doesn't, you'll present your non-magnetic ticket to a member of Eurostar staff at one of the check-in booths. To ensure total comfort and security during the journey, all Eurostar passengers must follow an airport style boarding process, passing through security and passport control before arriving in the departure lounge. For travelers with large baggage there are readily available trolley carts and a porterage service.