Rail ticketing first for Europe through-journeys

15 Nov 2013 by Alex McWhirter

UK-based rail passengers can now book through-journeys to mainland Europe, combining domestic and international legs, in one transaction.

The new facility, available from rail agent, is believed to be an industry first.

It means that even when you book restrictive tickets your connection will be honoured under CIV rules* should one train be delayed for whatever reason.

Passengers who at the present time may be booking separate but restrictive fare tickets — i.e. one ticket for Swindon-London plus another for London-Brussels-Cologne — using separate websites do not have this security.

Rail expert Mark Smith, founder of, said: "For the first time, you can enter the name of your local station, however small and insignificant, then enter Amsterdam or Venice or Lucerne or Berlin or Barcelona or Copenhagen and it'll work out and book all your trains."

Loco2's display for the UK uses the national rail ticketing and booking system, and for mainland Europe uses the booking systems of SNCF (French Railways) and DB (German Rail), providing prices for thousands of destinations. It also covers all high-speed networks such as Eurostar, Thalys, TGV and ICE.

So someone booking a one-way fare from Leeds to Lyon would be presented with the complete itinerary and prices.

The traveller first selects the fare type (all full and promotional rates are displayed) for Leeds-Kings Cross, followed by a similar selection for the London St Pancras-Paris Nord and Paris-Lyon sectors. Unlike with air travel, the system allows travellers to mix and match fares and classes of travel for each sector.

The displayed schedules are calculated and allow adequate connecting time between the various termini.

It is true that once you head beyond Brussels and Paris, the train takes longer than the plane. But rail allows you to access towns and cities unserved by air, plus you can break your journey en route to make your trip most cost-effective.

* CIV (Convention Internationale Pour Le Transport des Voyageurs) is an age-old European rail regulation dreamt up long before the days of the Channel Tunnel. It basically means that one operator will look after another's passengers should a connection be missed. In the case of tickets issued by Loco2, the journey also covers the London Underground ride (if needed) between the capital's termini.

Alex McWhirter

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