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Train transfer time with kids

We plan to use Eurail passes for several lengthy trips with our kids in 3 or 4 countries. I'm sure that we will have several transfers to make. Can someone recommend a minimum amount of time it should take a family of 4 (with language barrier issues and luggage) to change trains? (Kids are 10 and 12) Thanks!

Posted by
1568 posts

I will use Die Bahn as a example. We print the Timetable that shows (Details) each stop and the time. A few minutes before our stop we get up.....get our luggage and stand by the door.

Posted by
9110 posts

In some cases, since you haven't said where you're going, the next train might be at another station on the other side of town. How about a little help?

Posted by
6 posts

Now I see that I need to provide more information. My question is really for a train transfer within the same station. Is 20 minutes generally enough gather luggage, get off the train, find the correct platform and board the next train? When at large stations like the main stations in Paris and Frankfort, should we allow 40 minutes? The following is a route that I pulled off of the DB Bahn website. After seeing all the transfers, I think we may be better off in a car! Station/Stop Date Time Platform Products Barcelona Sants Sa, 02.04.11 dep 13:00 ALS 219 Alaris Figueras Vilafant Sa, 02.04.11 arr 14:40 Transfer time 22 min. Figueras Vilafant Sa, 02.04.11 dep 15:02 TGV 6218 TGV Valence TGV Sa, 02.04.11 arr 18:25 Transfer time 20 min. Valence TGV Sa, 02.04.11 dep 18:45 TGV 6866 TGV 6867 TGV Runs as TGV 6866 up to Bellegarde(Ain), then as TGV 6867 Geneve Sa, 02.04.11 arr 21:14 Transfer time 31 min. Geneve Sa, 02.04.11 dep 21:45 4 IC 747 Intercity Zürich HB Su, 03.04.11 arr 00:33 8 Transfer time 5:27 h Zürich HB Su, 03.04.11 dep 06:00 15 ICE 78 Intercity-Express Bordrestaurant
Göttingen Su, 03.04.11 arr 11:41 9

Posted by
358 posts

To me the key factor in train travel is how much luggage will you have with a family of 4. I would think the minimal time would be 20 minutes and preferably you will have 30 minutes. Seems like once you have to cross to the other side you have to descend down stairs and back up the other side. If you travel light you should be fine.

Posted by
492 posts

So if I read that right, are you looking at going from Barcelona to Geneva in one day? Have you looked at the low price airlines instead? Many train stations would require just a few minutes, assuming all trains are on time. Larger stations it could really just depend on which tracks you have to move between, sometimes you might be lucky and other times you may have a haul. If I did red that correctly, that is a lot of trains in one day, is there a backup plan if any one of those trains is delayed?

Posted by
1035 posts

20 mins would be enough time if you had two toddlers, a baby and your Aunt Melba in tow. The 10 and 12 year olds will not slow you down. The 5 min transfer might be another story. I misread that. 5 hours will be plenty of time, especially since it will be after midnight!! The most critical factor is orienting yourself and determining the platform you need to get to. Forgetting all of this for a second. This looks like the day from hell. And this is just one example of a leg of your trip? Time to backup and rethink things. Air Berlin flies into multiple cities in tins area from Barcelona. Then it is a quick and easy train from there. I am curious, where are you visiting and how much time do you have? Where are you flying in and out of? There might be a more efficient and cheaper way to skin this cat while maintaining the sanity of your family.

Posted by
6 posts

I guess I planned some of our destinations without really taking the logistics into consideration! We are flying into Frankfurt (frequent flyer miles) Straight to Paris for 2 nights London for 3 nights 5 days TBD Cruising out of Barcelona for 7 days
Flying out of Frankfort 3 days after we return to Barcelona

Posted by
1035 posts

I am sure the itinerary gurus will do better than this, but here is a starter. - Think about staying close to Frankfurt the first day. You will be tired, your kids will be tired. Go easy, you have a long trip ahead. Give yourself that day to start to get adjusted. Get to bed as late as you can and the next day head for Paris. - Days 2-5. Two nights isn't enough in Paris, especially if one of them is right after flying in and then taking a train. - Days 6-10. Eurostar to London, lots to see and do. Good daytrips available too. Your railpass (more on that) doesn't work on the Eurostar or anywhere in Britain. - Fly to Barcelona. It is a haul, don't try it by rail. - Crusie. - Post cruise head for Germany by air and spend your final three days looking around OR spend a couple days in Barcelona and then fly to Frankfurt the night before you head home. If you did something like this, obviously you wouldn't need a rail pass. Just a couple point to point tickets. Make this a fun, well-paced vacation for the kids, not a forced march through Europe.

Posted by
9039 posts

The very last thing you are going to want to do after a long, TransAtlantic flight is hop onto a train and sit for another 4 hours. Please do consider staying overnight in Frankfurt that 1st night and then you can leave the next morning as early as you like for Paris. You and your kids will end up being thankful.

Posted by
4684 posts

There's also the question of whether you will be allowed to stay in the station overnight. Sometimes they chuck people out after the last train arrives/leaves. Zurich has a reputation as a squeaky-clean town, but I wouldn't like to spend midnight until five am in any big-city station, or wandering the district around it, especially with kids.

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks to all for your input. We have decided to fly to and from Barcelona to avoid the complicated train excursion. We've also decided to spend at least one night in or near Frankfort after our arrival to recover after the long flight. Any suggestions for good airline websights to search for flights within Europe? Thanks!

Posted by
4411 posts

Diane, I would suggest that you start a new thread. You might miss out on receiving some great info from someone who knows a lot about the European airlines but has already ignored this thread titled "Train transfer times"... I'm sure you'll receive many great responses!