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Are the Fast trains loud?

Next week I will be able to pre-purchase my tickets from Venice to Rome on one of the fast trains. I'm not sure if I'm doing 1st or 2nd class. It all depends on the price of course. It would be fun to do 1st class of anything, but if the price at the discount is still alot more than 2nd class...well, then I'll do second class. My question is about seating and noise.

I have issues hearing and wearing HA's. They are fancy schmancy..but still if there is alot of noise inside the train compartment, sitting across from someone can still take "work" in listening, than if I'm sitting right next to DH. We will be taking the 2nd tier of fast train, and Seat61.com said there there are the seats that look at each other, and alot that are more like airplane seating. If we do 2nd class, I will definetly want that if available, as I don't want to be looking straight at other people. If we do 1st class, I would have the option of the 2 seater side looking at each other, or just finding seats that are more traditional all looking the same way in a different area of the train (at least that is what I read, is that true).

So, just wondering what your experience is.

Posted by
11613 posts

The fast trains are pretty quiet. There are several different types of carriage configurations, so what shows on the seating chart may not be the exact configuration available.

You might enjoy first-class (some trains also have business class, meant for passengers to be quiet so people can work).

If you purchase 120 days in advance, there will be a big savings for first and second class.

Good news is the trip is only four hours.

Posted by
16894 posts

Seats facing each other are also probably among the first choices to sell out, so booking early gives you a better shot at those. They may have a better table between, which I prefer for longer trips when I'm bringing my lunch, or some travelers may prefer for using laptop computers. Faster trains are newer construction and run on smoother rails, so they can be less "rattley" than older, regional and mid-speed trains.

Posted by
524 posts

Thanks to you both. I didn't think about using the tables for lunch or laptop. That is a good idea, I think I'll go ahead and purchase that arrangement. i went to the website to see how much the tickets would be (I can purchase in 2 more days) and for 1st class (with the opportunity to change once), it's only $40 more for the both of us. I think that's a pretty good deal. Don't know what more I'll get other than less people on the train, and not having to sit next to someone...but for that amount it might be worth if for 4 hours. It's a GREAT deal if you do the "no change" policy...but I would like to give myself some wiggle room.

Posted by
20461 posts

If you are expecting the clickety-clack of the wheels, you will not hear it. They use all welded rails so there are no joints, and concrete railroad ties with the rails screwed down on a very solid base. You have to do that to run trains at 150 mph. The result is a surprisingly smooth and quiet ride. And with electric trains running on overhead catenary wires, there is no engine noise.

Posted by
32268 posts

Lulu,

As the others have said, the trains are very quiet, except for repeated "swish" noises as the train passes each metal support tower for the overhead wires. One point to be aware of though is that when two high speed trains pass each other, the effect is like a small sonic "boom". As these happen without warning, it's a bit of a shock if you're not used to it.

Posted by
7463 posts

The high speed trains are very quiet. If you select 1st class, you will have much less traffic walking through your car.

Personally, we prefer two seats side-by-side that don't face each other. They still have the airplane seat-type fold-down table from the seat in front of you but are more private. If you have two seats facing each other, your seats will be next to two other people with the same arrangement. If you have the 2 window seats, you need to ask the people next to you to stand up, etc. to walk anywhere.

Posted by
23471 posts

If you are expecting airplane type of noise, you will be disappointed. I would compare the noise closer to car at high speed with a little age. You can easily carry on conversation at normal tone levels. We always fine 2nd class very acceptable. The seats size and space about that of business class on an airplane. Seats recline and no one will yell at you. First class will give a wider seat but not much increase in leg room. Fewer people will be in first. There is no other advantage.

The economy ticket allows one change BUT you will have to pay the difference to Base fare IF no economy tickets are available when you make the change. You can change it but the cost may be much higher.

Posted by
4684 posts

In terms of mechanical noise (can't guarantee noise from fellow passengers) fast trains are quieter than aircraft. Local trains are the noisiest, partly because of lighter construction as stated but also because on non-electric lines they may be powered by diesel engines underneath the floor.

Some railway companies offer specific quiet carriages where use of phones and AV equipment is officially banned, although the level of enforcement varies.

Posted by
524 posts

Sorry Ben. DH stands for Dear Husband. I thought that abbreviation was fairly well know, but it's just probably more do in the parent forums I participate in, DH, DW, DS, DD...husband wife, son, daughter is you encounter those elsewhere.

I did write hearing problems before HA, assuming most would realize that stood for Hearing Aids. I shouldn't assume.

Posted by
524 posts

Oh, and thanks to all for answering my question. Glad to hear it's not noisy and the difference between the 2 classes.

Posted by
4600 posts

Yes, high speed trains are delightfully quiet. As noted, there's a surprising amount of commotion when passing another train and also a big sudden pressure differential when entering and exiting a tunnel, of any size.

Also note that on some routes in first you will get a meal at your seat, which was quite delightful and saved us from looking for somewhere to lunch. There will be outlets nearby so bring any necessary plug converters with you.

Posted by
47 posts

Thankyou for this post OP! I also wear HA's and will be traveling solo and was worried about this. My mind is a bit more at ease about my upcoming adventure!

Posted by
18 posts

In 2012, I was on a two month sabbatical in Rome. I took the high speed Eurostar train to Venice, and yes, they're pretty quiet and pretty fast. At the time, I was unfamiliar with Rick Steve's book "Europe through the Back Door." I'd recommend getting a 2nd class ticket with seats facing each other. Feel free to strike up conversations with people and make new friends. On my return trip back to Rome, the person opposite me was busy on his laptop the whole train ride, but he still carried on a conversation. Also, head to the restaurant car, order a cappuccino (or espresso), and make new friends down there as well. Rick's "back door" advice is wonderful for these kinds of excursions.