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Paris -> Brussels -> Amsterdam

Paris -> Brussels -> Amsterdam

Old Jan 23, 15, 8:44 am
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There are two European startups trying to disrupt the rail booking space by making the experience quick, easy and effective. Capitaine Train is one, based in Paris, and Loco2 based in London is the other.

Both offer tickets from a fair variety of European train operators to book online - France, Germany, Spain, UK, Eurostar etc. It's not all operators, but they're both working hard to add more countries. (I know many of the girls and guys at Loco2, a friend knows the Capitaine Train crowd, both companies are made up of smart, passionate people).

The biggest difference is that Capitaine Train sells tickets priced+billed in Euros, while Loco2 sells in GBP (). Depending on the card used, the FX/fees savings may swing you one way or the other! Prices should be about the same between the two, modulo exchange rate movements, though there's the very odd case where the SNCF France and UK booking systems see different availability of cheap tickets so the prices will be different between the two. (CT talk to SNCF in France, Loco2 in the UK, and they're almost always but not always the same...). CT also offer a few more advanced things like certain loyalty cards, but Loco2 are set to add that soonish. Otherwise, if the currency doesn't swing it for you, try both and pick the UI you prefer!

Also, until the 31st of January, Capitaine Train are offering a signup bonus. If you sign up with This Capitaine Train Signup Link, you'll get €5 off your first booking. Sadly that bonus then goes away.

I've used both Loco2 and Capitaine Train, and they're both good
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Old Jan 23, 15, 9:05 am
  #17  
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Thanks guys, I'll probably be looking into just booking all in advance.

I'll also look into capitainetrain.com, are there other sites that you would normally book Thalys and TGV tickets on, or just through their sites directly?
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Old Jan 23, 15, 9:07 am
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Thanks Gagravarr, I was in the middle of posting my question as you posted that!
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Old Jan 23, 15, 10:29 am
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Both CapitaineTrain and Loco2 will sell you TGV and Thalys tickets, and the general consensus is that both have better sites than the train's own operators do, so I'd probably suggest you just use Loco2 or CT for your TGV or Thalys bookings!
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Old Jan 23, 15, 3:00 pm
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I used Capitaine Train a couple of years ago when I was having trouble with the SNCF site. Worked like a dream, I got my TGV tickets for the same price that the SNCF site was selling them for, I'd happily use them again any time. I couldn't buy idTGV tickets from either site (CT or SNCF), seems that idTGV don't like foreign credit cards.
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Old Feb 25, 15, 9:36 pm
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Originally Posted by farci View Post
There's a new(ish) website Capitaine Train (Capitainetrain.com) which claims to be a one stop shop for all the tickets you might need. I haven't tried it yet myself, so if you decide to please feedback
Farci - thanks so much for mentioning the capitainetrain site, had never heard of it before until today. I was going bananas trying to book through Thalys with no luck (transaction would error put at the end; wouldn't accept my US CC). Anyhow capitainetrain could not have been easier & the price was exactly the same as through Thalys. Learned something new today - thanks!!
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Old Feb 26, 15, 2:53 am
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Originally Posted by ARR72 View Post
Farci - thanks so much for mentioning the capitainetrain site, had never heard of it before until today. I was going bananas trying to book through Thalys with no luck (transaction would error put at the end; wouldn't accept my US CC). Anyhow capitainetrain could not have been easier & the price was exactly the same as through Thalys. Learned something new today - thanks!!
FYI I've had similar problems at times with the Thalys site. What I learned is that the credit card processing works different if you are on the French, Belgian, Dutch or German sites. For instance, the Amex option doesn't even show up on the Dutch or Belgian sites. But it works fine on the French site. I recently booked a trip there using a US Amex.

Also if you use an alternative site you won't get points! If you are just a tourist that's no big deal, but for us regular travelers (I have Platinum status), it is a big deal.
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Old Feb 26, 15, 3:58 am
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Originally Posted by stimpy View Post
Also if you use an alternative site you won't get points! If you are just a tourist that's no big deal, but for us regular travelers (I have Platinum status), it is a big deal.
I believe that Capitaine Train can pass along your Thalys The Card number with the booking (they certainly can for Eurostar and SNCF Voyageur numbers). If the number goes on at the booking time, isn't that enough to get the Thalys points?

(Loco2 don't currently support loyalty card numbers, but they tell me they're working on it. For Eurostar bookings that means you have to claim it later, but for SNCF you can't get the points if the number isn't given at booking time, and I think for Thalys too?)
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Old Feb 26, 15, 4:50 am
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Originally Posted by Gagravarr View Post
I believe that Capitaine Train can pass along your Thalys The Card number with the booking (they certainly can for Eurostar and SNCF Voyageur numbers). If the number goes on at the booking time, isn't that enough to get the Thalys points?
I don't know, plus the other factor is my Thalys card also serves as my ticket. The controller scans my card to see my reservation. I am very well used to using the Thalys site so would have no reason to try out a new site, no matter what the bells and whistles are. If it has the same inventory as the Thalys site, why change?
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Old Feb 26, 15, 5:57 am
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I guess the main reason why you might want to switch would be through tickets - Capitaine Train can sell you more combinations of countries tickets than Thalys can. Once Loco2 get their Frequent Traveller stuff working, with their new Italian offerings you could buy a ticket for Thalys + TGV + Trenitalia all in one transaction, should you so want!

I've bought tickets from Capitaine Train to be loaded onto my SNCF Voyageur card, which worked fine when the card was scanned by the staff on the train. (Once I'd remember where my seat was!). I'd guess that the same thing would work for Thalys, but can understand if you don't want to be the one to test that out...
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Old Feb 26, 15, 6:51 am
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Originally Posted by Gagravarr View Post
I guess the main reason why you might want to switch would be through tickets - Capitaine Train can sell you more combinations of countries tickets than Thalys can. Once Loco2 get their Frequent Traveller stuff working, with their new Italian offerings you could buy a ticket for Thalys + TGV + Trenitalia all in one transaction, should you so want!

I've bought tickets from Capitaine Train to be loaded onto my SNCF Voyageur card, which worked fine when the card was scanned by the staff on the train. (Once I'd remember where my seat was!). I'd guess that the same thing would work for Thalys, but can understand if you don't want to be the one to test that out...
The SNCF card scans with a laser and the Thalys is magnetic coded. Not sure if that makes a difference though. Anyhow I never need through tickets. With the Thalys I just go between Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam and the occasional trip to DUS. With SNCF I just go domestic, although I recently bought Eurostar tickets on the SNCF site and got some good bonus points.
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Old Feb 27, 15, 10:52 am
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What I've always disliked about Thalys is that you cannot buy a connecting ticket from them. Some time ago, I used them to go from Aachen to Amsterdam Schiphol a number of times (usually less expensive and a tiny bit quicker than the ICE via Cologne), and I always had to book two separate tickets Aachen-Brussels and Brussels-Amsterdam.

Is it possible to book such a "through ticket" on any of the mentioned platforms?
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Old Feb 27, 15, 11:57 am
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Originally Posted by bruce80 View Post
What I've always disliked about Thalys is that you cannot buy a connecting ticket from them. Some time ago, I used them to go from Aachen to Amsterdam Schiphol a number of times (usually less expensive and a tiny bit quicker than the ICE via Cologne), and I always had to book two separate tickets Aachen-Brussels and Brussels-Amsterdam.

Is it possible to book such a "through ticket" on any of the mentioned platforms?
I don't think their website is setup for that, but you can certainly buy such a ticket over the phone or at the Aachen ticket office.
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Old Feb 28, 15, 12:29 am
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Loco2 certainly can sell you a ticket from Aachen to Schipol in one go, for Thalys+Thalys or ICE+Thalys or Regional+Intercity. Here are the options for a random Wednesday morning, to give you an idea. Capitaine Tren seems to have the same options as well for that Wednesday, but requires you to have a Thalys The Card as they only offer print-at-station in France or The Card

Have a play with both websites, and see which one's style you prefer!
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