Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > Europe > European Rail Travel
Reload this Page >

South Italy Train - first or second class?

South Italy Train - first or second class?

Old Jun 27, 15, 11:45 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Glasgow
Programs: BA Silver
Posts: 513
South Italy Train - first or second class?

I'll be travelling from Naples to Praia a Mare at end of July. What's the difference between first and second class?
MsCapricorn is offline  
Old Jun 27, 15, 2:44 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: SFO, VCE
Programs: AA EXP >4 MM, Lifetime Plat
Posts: 2,881
Once you get below Naples services in Italy decline drastically, even though Italy gets better. Better food, better beaches, ancient ruins. Like going to the best parts of Greece. For political reasons, Italy has just not put any money into it, or else everyone would go there instead.

I don't think there is a train to Praia a Mare from Naples. You have to go to Praja-Ajeta-Tortora, which is a few miles away, then you'll need a cab.

You're most likely going to be on regional trains. Sort of like a NYC subway, for two and a half to three hours, but outdoors, and an OK ride. Unless you get one of the few Trenitalia Frecciabiancas, but most require a train change in a small town. Once you hit Naples and further south you don't find too many english speakers, and train stations are generally unmanned. They just have machines to buy and validate tickets. If you don't speak Italian it could be difficult for you to take a train that requires a change, regardless of class.

I wouldn't worry about what class because once you get below Naples class doesn't have that much effect, they're not luxury trains.

There are a few non-stop Trenitalia Frecciabiancas from Naples to Praja-Ajeta-Tortora, and it would be worth seeking them out as first choice, because those are the best ones you are going to get. More than class, I'd worry about it being non-stop. Otherwise, if you have to make a train change you will really be on your own in an empty train station if you don't speak Italian or know the system.

If you decide to go with a regional, which is perfectly acceptable although it's going to be hot, train tickets don't go on sale until 7 days before departure.

In any case, the difference between a regional train, and a non stop Trenitalia is fairly substantial. However, the difference between first and second class Trenitalia that far south is negligible. Try to get a Trenitalia Frecciabianca non-stop, class doesn't matter, that's your decision whether to spend another 20 euros for a marginally more empty train.

If you can't get that, I'd take a non-stop regional, even if it's a bit hot and crowded, over a Trenitalia that will require you to make a train change in rural southern Italy, unless you are experienced with the train system and language there.

Last edited by Perche; Jun 27, 15 at 2:56 pm
Perche is offline  
Old Jun 27, 15, 2:55 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: ORD (formerly SAN)
Programs: Hilton Diamond; IHG Spire; AA Gold and free agent (DH = AA EXP)
Posts: 1,763
Originally Posted by Perche View Post
In any case, the difference between a regional train, and a non stop Trenitalia is fairly substantial. If you can get one of the few non-stop Trenitalia's, the difference between first and second class is non-existent. You wouldn't know if you were in one or the other.
I don't know if you've taken trains in Europe before, but I had never until visiting Italy in 2013. And I will never again. Paid lots more money for "first class" just because coach was sold out. It's dirty, smelly, and disgusting. It reminds me of the "L" trains in Chicago but at a much higher premium. Then the train conductor reminded us to keep our wallets hidden and close to your body because your seatmates might try to pick-pocket you. Made me feel very safe. We ended up getting a car service after that. I was willing to pay whatever they wanted to charge not to experience that train ride again. But to Mr. AtomicLush who has traveled on trains in Europe before didn't seem fazed at all.
TravelLawyer is offline  
Old Jun 27, 15, 3:02 pm
  #4  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Atherton, CA
Programs: UA 1K, AA EXP; Owner, Green Bay Packers
Posts: 21,693
Taking trains in Northern Italy last year was a wonderful experience, clean, quick, and on time. As Perche mentioned, no real difference between 1st and 2nd class.

I used Trenitalia and some of the local trains. I can definitely recommend Trenitalia.

Please note that automated ticket machine require a pin and chip credit card and won't take magnetic strip only cards. Some machines will take cash, but some in rural areas won't, so you may have to buy tickets from a local shop.

Perche can likely give more details regarding this.

Last edited by Doc Savage; Jun 27, 15 at 3:08 pm
Doc Savage is offline  
Old Jun 28, 15, 12:37 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: ORF
Programs: Amex Plat, AA, BA Silver, WN, Marriott, Choice Diamond, HHonors Gold, IHG Spire, Club Carlson Gold
Posts: 3,542
Originally Posted by AtomicLush View Post
I don't know if you've taken trains in Europe before, but I had never until visiting Italy in 2013. And I will never again. Paid lots more money for "first class" just because coach was sold out. It's dirty, smelly, and disgusting. It reminds me of the "L" trains in Chicago but at a much higher premium. Then the train conductor reminded us to keep our wallets hidden and close to your body because your seatmates might try to pick-pocket you. Made me feel very safe. We ended up getting a car service after that. I was willing to pay whatever they wanted to charge not to experience that train ride again. But to Mr. AtomicLush who has traveled on trains in Europe before didn't seem fazed at all.
Wow. Just not my experience at all. Even when I stumbled onto a regional train instead of the high-speed train I intended to take (and had paid for) several years ago from Rome to Florence. The regional train was certainly not as nice as the high-speed train but was still acceptable--just older, slower, and more rickety. And the conductor was extremely nice when he came around to collect tickets--seeing that I had purchased a ticket for another train from another company and had paid nothing to get on the train I was on. He let me off with a warning (which, with my then-pidgin Italian, I basically understood and appreciated).

I'm not doubting your experience, but I've also ridden on trains in Ireland and Scotland--not Italy but still parts of Europe, with similar results. I'd love to know the route you were on and the operating company--perhaps that is the issue rather than a generalized "I won't take trains in Europe because they all must be as disgusting as the one I was on once."
lwildernorva is offline  
Old Jun 28, 15, 12:44 pm
  #6  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: south of WAS DC
Posts: 10,131
i don't know what lush is talking about. i have taken quite a few trains in italy. we rode the premium super fasts for a couple years, then found out the first class trains (IC) were almost as fast, cost a whole lot less, and less crowded and did not require a reservation . there was also a second class on that train. everyone in second tried to sneak into first class. first class trains were immaculate.

below that was a local, which stopped every 25km, and took forever.

Last edited by slawecki; Jun 28, 15 at 12:50 pm
slawecki is offline  
Old Jun 29, 15, 2:47 pm
  #7  
Moderator: Avianca, Travel Photography, Travel Technology & USA
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Far western edge of the La-La Land City limits
Programs: Emeritus VIP Fromins Deli Encino grandfathered successor program - UA Plat / DL & HH Diamond
Posts: 3,648
A reminder about difference in opinion is appropriate.

Flyertalk encourages alternative viewpoints, and even to a limited extent calling out others when statements are made that might appear to be alien to conventional wisdom. The key is to be direct, courteous, and more objective then your adversary. Invective, vague innuendo, and immature spouting off may instigate moderator activity.


Moderator2 is offline  
Old Jun 30, 15, 2:33 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: NAP
Programs: LH, BA, TK
Posts: 2,391
Originally Posted by MsCapricorn View Post
I'll be travelling from Naples to Praia a Mare at end of July. What's the difference between first and second class?
No real difference on regional trains, although in summer the 1st class car might be less crowded and thus more relaxing.
Do search Praja-Ajeta-Tortora for your destination.

Only Trenitalia operates south of Salerno.

It is direct with no changes needed.
You can select a seat on these trains.

The differentiation of the cabin is more consistent on high-speed trains (whose service terminates at Salerno).

Trenitalia: Standard/Premium/Business/Executive

Italotreno: Smart/Extra Large/Prima/Club Executive

Most of the times the fare difference with the next higher class of service is so slim that is worth trying.
Forrest Bump is offline  
Old Jun 30, 15, 5:31 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: UK
Programs: BAEC GGL, HHonors Diamond, IHG Uninspired, Marriott Bonvoy Titanium, UK AMEX Plat
Posts: 1,879
If you have a look on the Seat61 page on Italy, you'll find photos and descriptions of the different classes on the trains you'll be taking. I'd suggest having a look at those, comparing the prices, then deciding!
Gagravarr is online now  
Old Jul 1, 15, 3:26 am
  #10  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Four Seasons Contributor BadgeMandarin Oriental Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: Seat 1A, Juice pretty much everywhere, Mucci des Coins Exotiques
Posts: 33,105
When a particular train doesn't have much of a material difference between first and second class, the determining factor is, for me, tourist season. When there are hordes of tourists taking the train, the vast majority ride in 2nd class. In that case I always pay for 1st class where I'm pretty much always guaranteed a seat and elbow room. Even up north in Belgium and the Netherlands I've been on trains in the summer where the 2nd class aisles are clogged with people sitting on the floor. But I was comfortable in a 1st class cabin.
stimpy is offline  
Old Jul 1, 15, 8:39 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: ORD
Programs: AA PLT
Posts: 2,740
Originally Posted by AtomicLush View Post
I don't know if you've taken trains in Europe before, but I had never until visiting Italy in 2013. And I will never again. Paid lots more money for "first class" just because coach was sold out. It's dirty, smelly, and disgusting. It reminds me of the "L" trains in Chicago but at a much higher premium. Then the train conductor reminded us to keep our wallets hidden and close to your body because your seatmates might try to pick-pocket you. Made me feel very safe. We ended up getting a car service after that. I was willing to pay whatever they wanted to charge not to experience that train ride again. But to Mr. AtomicLush who has traveled on trains in Europe before didn't seem fazed at all.
I have never seen anyone defecate or urinate on themselves, threaten to stab anyone who dares to look at them, or seen homeless people fighting each other on a train anywhere in Europe. I have, however, seen all of those things within the past month on the L. (And don't get me started on the Metra during the weekends of Spring Awakening or Lolla.)

As lwildernorva mentioned, "Europe" is a big place. Generalizing a mode of transport used by tens of millions of people a day that can vary wildly from country to country doesn't do anyone any good.
linglingfool is offline  
Old Jul 5, 15, 5:37 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 754
We spent about three weeks in Italy, travelled exclusively by train, all second class.

The Freccia trains are quite comfortable in Second class. The regionales are no-frills workhorses, but they get you where you are going.

If the fare difference is large, it's not really worth it, IMO.

One word to the wise, pack lighter! Luggage space is at a premium, and anything over a medium sized suitcase will be problematic.

Apologies, OP, saw you're a Scot after posting, but the comment below I'm going to leave - in case any other Americans find this thread in a later search!

American steamer trunks and Italian trains ... Ain't gonna end well!

Last edited by LowlyDLsilver; Jul 5, 15 at 5:43 pm
LowlyDLsilver is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: