Opening of the 2015 European Summer Train Ticket Sales!

by Malin, posted 26 February 2015 | 13 comments


Ready, set, go!

Very soon you will be able to book your European train ticket tickets to your favourite holiday destinations.

As of the 17th of March, there will be a huge range of early-bird specials on train tickets. Fancy a trip to Barcelona in August? Or a visit to Zurich in July? Very soon you’ll be able to get your hands on super cheap tickets thanks to the extended booking horizon this summer.

So, what tickets are on offer?

The summer sales will affect all train tickets for trips between the 17th of March until the 30th of August 2015, for the following destinations and rail operators:

  • Renfe-SNCF: all destinations are covered, so this includes trains from Paris to Barcelona, Perpignan and Girona (just to name a few). Click here to view destinations.
  • TGV France-Italy: all destinations are covered except journeys between Paris and Milan (sales will open on 2nd of April). Click here to view destinations.
  • TGV Lyria: all destinations are covered, except journeys between Geneva – and the south of France (e.g. Marseille, Nice or Montpellier) as these tickets are already on sale. Click here to view destinations.
  • Deutsche Bahn-SNCF: all destinations are covered except Paris – Frankfurt and Paris – Stuttgart/Munich (sales will open on the 2nd of April). Click here to view destinations.

What if my tickets aren’t a part of this sale?

If your destination isn’t covered in this sale then luckily you won’t be missing out! There will be another round of summer sales which open on the 2nd of April.

This sale will include all routes within France (e.g. Paris to Normandy) and many international destinations such as northern France to Brussels or Paris to Luxembourg (just to name a few). As per usual, we will be communicating this through our newsletter before the sales open, so click here to sign up to make sure you can be the first to get your hands on these tickets.

Renfe-SNCF Celebrates 1 Year Anniversary With Huge Discounts on Paris-Barcelona Line!

by Malin, posted 15 December 2014 | Add comment

paris barcelona cheap train tickets

¡Feliz Cumpleaños!

It’s hard to believe that the high-speed rail network between France and Spain has already been running for a year. To Capitaine Train, it feels just like yesterday that we celebrated the opening of this long awaited service. So we’d like to wish Renfe-SNCF a happy birthday and give them a big round of thanks for revolutionising travel between France and Spain.

Super cheap train tickets

What would a one year anniversary be without presents? Not much at all, according to Renfe-SNCF. Starting today, there will be a huge flash sale for all services running between France and Spain, which means 50% off all train tickets!*.

This sale will last exactly three days, from the 15th of December until the 18th of December. It will include all tickets for any trips between the 7th of January 2015 up until the 16th of April 2015.

The booking horizon has also been expanded to 120 days in advance, so bookings for dates later than the 13th of April can be booked in the next few days.


2nd class one way 2nd class return 1st class one way 1st class return
Paris €29.00 €59.00 €49.50 €99.00
Lyon €24.00 €48.00 €39.00 €78.00
Marseille €24.00 €48.00 €34.50 €69.00
Toulouse €19.00 €38.00 €27.00 €54.00
Perpignan €14.50 €29.00 €19.00 €38.00

There are plenty more discounts for other routes as well, so check them out yourself on

Paris barcelona cheap train tickets

What should I expect?

One of the reasons why this route is so immensely popular is because of the fantastic views. If you are travelling all the way from Paris to Barcelona (or the other way around), in less than 6.5 hours your train will take you through the French country side, pass by the historic cities of Béziers, Perpignan, Narbonne and Figueres (any Dalí fans?), and lastly you’ll catch a sight of the Pyrenees mountains whilst crossing the border. The best way to enjoy this scenic route is to book a ticket for the upper deck, so you can be sure to get some great views.

What is the train like: can I bring luggage and is there food?

Yes you certainly can and yes there certainly is! Both the TGV (the French high speed trains) and the AVE (the Spanish variant of the TGV) have excellent luggage facilities and offer an on board bistro.

You can bring your suitcases on board and store them in the luggage compartments (found at the end of each carriage) plus any small hand luggage will fit into the in the overhead compartments. If you’re after a snack, meal or beverage, then you can make use of the bistro carriage and the seasonal meals offered (sandwiches, hot and cold dishes and kids meals). A variety of different alcoholic beverages are also sold but you are always welcome to BYO, just like the Man in Seat 61 recommends!

Should I travel in first or second class?

We covered this topic a while ago, so why not read this article and decide for yourself! Considering these super low prices, it is a great opportunity to take advantage of the benefits that first class tickets offer, such as lounge access before departure (free food and drinks anyone?).

*Please note that for certain services that the amounts have been rounded by €0.50, so the discount may be slightly higher than 50%.

SNCF Winter Sales Start On October 16th

by Malin, posted 14 October 2014 | 2 comments


SNCF Winter Sales Are Starting Soon!

This year, the SNCF Christmas sales will start on Thursday, the 16th of October. This sale will include all train tickets for trips between the 14th of December 2014 until the 6th of February 2015.

Be Quick

To benefit from the best prices, there is only one magic rule: first come, first served. This is the busiest train travel period of the year, as thousands of Europeans are busy travelling during their winter holidays.

Unfortunately the exact opening time is never communicated but we can give you a big hint: it will be very early in the morning in France (time zone: GMT+1). So depending on where you live, you might have to wake up in the middle of the night or be ready to go in the afternoon.

Luckily, you can book your tickets in the fastest way possible with Capitaine Train. It’ll take you less than a minute! For those in other time zones, rest assured (literally) that you can book straight from bed or from the office with our iOS and Android apps.

Don’t miss out

As per usual, we have created a Facebook event for the sales to make sure you don’t miss on out on the cheapest tickets. Just join the event so you can receiver a reminder on Thursday.

Join Event


Christmas has come early: €10 for you equals €10 for a friend!

To keep up the Christmas spirit, we’ve decided to increase the value of our Ambassador Program vouchers. From the 13th until the 26th of October, every friend that you invite to use Capitaine Train will receive a €10 discount voucher. Once an invited friend has completed their first trip, you’ll also earn €10 and receive a voucher credited to your Capitaine Train account.

For those who won’t be travelling in Europe, why not share the good news and invite your friends, family and colleagues who are, so they can earn a €10 discount.

Invite Friends

Our Ambassador vouchers can be used for SNCF, Lyria, Thalys and Eurostar tickets.

Thello Has Added a New Route Between Marseille, Nice and Milan!

by Malin, posted 24 September 2014 | One comment


As of December 14th, Thello (the sleeper train operator) will be running a direct daily service between the South-East of France and Italy.

This route will allow passengers to conveniently travel between France and Italy at a very affordable price. These train tickets will be in the price range of €30 to €70 for a journey between Marseille and Milan, and between €15 to €45 for a train from Nice to Milan (second class).

Of course, you can book these train tickets with us! The ticket sales will open in mid-October, so we will keep you posted on our Facebook and Twitter with the exact dates.

Day time trains between Nice and Milan

Although Thello mainly specialises in overnight trains, this new route will in fact be a day-time service. So you can now travel from Marseille to Ventimiglia in just a few hours. If you want to go all the way to Milan, you will arrive just in time for a late dinner.

For more information on Thello services (prices, other routes and accommodation), just click here!

Become an Ambassador for Capitaine Train (Round Two!)

by Malin, posted 27 August 2014 | Add comment


Update: our discount vouchers for our Ambassadors are now valid for six months! So if you’ve invited a few friends, you can keep your voucher for longer.

We launched our Ambassador Program last December to honour the strength of word of mouth. We’ve always known that it is best if we just let our customers speak for themselves. That’s why today we have unveiled an even simpler and more generous program, which is going to give you and your friends more spending money!

€5 for your friends, €5 for you

We’re finished with giving you points and assigning levels. Instead you will be rewarded straight away once a friend travels with Capitaine Train.

Here’s how it works:

  • Your friends sign up with Capitaine Train, using your invitation code. Then they automatically receive a €5 discount towards their first train ticket purchase.
  • As soon as your friend has completed their first trip, you’ll also earn a €5 discount!

For now the program is only available on our website. Though in September it will also be available on our iOS and Android apps (which will also support payments with American Express).

What about points earned so far?

We certainly haven’t forgotten those who have participated in our previous Ambassador Program. To thank you for your support, we have converted all of your existing points in vouchers, using our exchange rate of 1 point = €5. These vouchers are already awaiting you in your cart.

I’m not from Europe so who do I invite?

Well this one is easy. You may not know anyone who needs to buy a train ticket straight away but surely you know a few people who are travelling in Europe within the next few months. If not, you can always share your code via Twitter or Facebook. This will surely help you increase your follower/friend count!

Buy Your Train Tickets With American Express

by Malin, posted 22 August 2014 | 2 comments

American Express

The Amex question has probably generated the most debates and comments from our users ever. Only recently we were finally able to provide an answer. You can now buy your train tickets on Capitaine Train with American Express!

Didn’t you vow to never accept Amex?

Yes, we did indeed. In July 2011 we published a post which explained that we are likely to never accept Amex. Why? Because then the Amex commissions were much higher than the commission we earned from the operators for each sale. We didn’t want to lose money on every ticket sold, so we simply said no.

Though since 2011, our sales have increased significantly and we have more professionals using our service than ever. Most private travellers can always fall back on their Visa or MasterCard. However when someone must use their company credit card, the options fall short. So we needed to find a solution to this problem.

Adding PayPal to our services was already the first step in this direction. This meant our customers could add their Amex card to their PayPal account and then use it for payment. However this solution was only temporary.

After reviewing the latest business proposal by Amex and redoing our calculations, we decided to take the plunge. We realised that it may be possible to accept Amex without losing money on each transaction. It’s a bit of a risky gamble, but we will have to see how it plays out in the next few months.

Using Amex with Capitaine Train

You can pay with American Express on our website and should soon be able to do so with our iOS and Android apps. You can use your Amex card to purchase SNCF, Lyria, Thalys, Eurostar, Deutsche Bahn and Thello tickets (which we have only recently added). Unfortunately American Express is not yet compatible with iDTGV, OUIGO and iDBUS. These operators handle the payment process on their own and they do not accept this type of card.

Pay in your preferred way

By adding American Express, we have greatly enhanced our payment services. So you can now pay in anyway that you wish (except BitCoin … we haven’t come that far yet)

Transporteur Visa &
DB Bahn -
iDTGV - -
iDBUS - -

Booking Thello Train Tickets: What Is On Offer?

by Malin, posted 21 August 2014 | One comment

buy thello tickets

A few weeks ago we added Thello night trains to our booking platform. So we thought it might be wise to give a detailed explanation of exactly what you will find on offer from Thello and Capitaine Train.


Thello trains run every evening between Paris Gare de Lyon and Venice, with intermediate stops in Dijon, Milan, Brescia, Verona, Vincenza and Padua. The departure and arrival timetable do not vary; trains depart Paris at 19:59 and arrive the next day at 09:35 in Venice on daily basis.

Cabin or compartment

Thello offers you two types of comfort: cabins and couchette compartments. The 6 couchette compartments are great for the budget conscious traveller, where you can choose to stay with a group or travel with friends at a super low price. The 4 couchette compartment is a perfect solution for families or those wanting to save on costs but not to skimp on comfort. If you prefer a more private environment, then the 3 to 1 bed cabins will be a perfect solution. They offer wide and comfortable beds, an free breakfast in the dining car plus an electrical power point outlet, a washbasin and a toiletries kit. These cabins can be shared with other passengers or booked privately.

To make it easy for you, we have added the couchette apartments as second class seating and the cabins as first class.
You’ll find the following offers in each class:

Service Couchette compartment Cabin
Passengers 4 to 6 1 to 3
Mattress 180 cm x 60 cm 180 cm x 80 cm
Bedding Blanket Duvet/quilt/doona
Wash basin Shared Private
Water bottle
Toiletry kit -
Electrical socket -
Breakfast -



Thello offers three pricing categories (tarifs) which are relative to flexibility and refund conditions:

  • Smart: this ticket type is strictly not exchangeable and non refundable. Though it is also the cheapest one available.
  • Go: these tickets are refundable up to 24 hours before departure, with a deduction of 50%. This means you will only receive 50% of the original price paid as a refund.
  • Flexi: these tickets are refundable up to 24 hours before departure, with a deduction of 10%. This means you will receive 90% of the original price paid as a refund.

Please note: the Smart and Go tickets are limited and can only be purchased up to seven days before departure. If you are booking last minute, then you will only be able to purchase a Flexi ticket.


Thello ticket prices are fixed and do not fluctuate over time. They start at €35 for a spot in a six person couchette compartment and go up to €275 for a one bed cabin purchased at the last minute. The ticket categories have also been simplified, so your departure or arrival station do not alter the prices. Instead everyone pays the same regardless of their departure or arrival station. The only exception is if you are travelling to or from Milan, which gives you receive a 20% reduction.

Comfort Smart Go Flexi Imminente
All Milan Other Milan Other Milan Other
6 couchettes compartment 35 € 64 € 80 € 90 € 110 € 105 € 125 €
4 couchettes compartment 55 € 77 € 96 € 106 € 130 € 121 € 145 €
3 bed cabin - 112 € 112 € 140 € 140 € 155 € 155 €
2 bed cabin - 145 € 145 € 180 € 180 € 180 € 180 €
1 bed cabin - - - 275 € 275 € 275 € 275 €

Children younger than four years are able to travel for free. However, they will not receive a reserved bed/couchette and are expected to share with their parents/guardians. Children between 4 and 14 are required to purchase a ticket but they will benefit from a reduced rate.

Booking horizon

Thello tickets go on sale four months minus one day before the departure date. For example, if you want to travel on April 30th, first of all, go back 4 months until December 30th. Now move to the next day and hop you are on December 31st. So, if you want to travel on April 30th, you can reserve as from December 31st.

Compulsory ID check

It is mandatory to provide an ID document when making your Thello reservation through Capitaine Train. All you need to do is fill out your ID card, driver’s licence or passport number during the booking process. This also means that your ticket must be in your own name. You will of course have to bring your the same ID on board (so don’t forget it) and present it to the inspector. Better yet, hand in your ID when boarding so you don’t get woken up in the middle of the night when crossing the border. Your ID will then be returned safely the next morning.
buy thello tickets

Your tickets

Theoretically you will only need your booking reference (this is displayed in the ticket section of your Capitaine Train account). We do advise that you print out your proof of purchase just in case. Within a few weeks, we will have integrated Thello into our iOS and Android apps. This means that you will have to do nothing at all, as your booking information will be stored on your phone.

The dining car

Lastly, you will find an on-board restaurant which is open until 23:00. This is super practical if you wish to have dinner (and if course breakfast) on board, or if you wish to stretch your legs a bit rather than spending all evening in your compartment. The menu offers various meals to suit every budget. This includes a selection of warm and cold dishes (French and Italian cuisine), plus a range of wines. The following payment methods are accepted: cash (€), Master Card, Maestro, Visa and Visa Electron.

Android Wear: Capitaine Train on your wrist!

by Emiland, posted 31 July 2014 | 3 comments

Android Wear Header

Tickets and travel information in the palm of your hand. We like to use this formula when we talk about our mobile apps. Now it is truer than ever before. We are the first train travel app to integrate the Android Wear technology. The first in France. In Europe. WORLD-WIDE.

Many thanks to Cyril who developed this new part of our Android experience.


Launched last June at the Google I/O, Android Wear is the Android version of wearable technologies. To date, only two smartwatches exist (with this technology), the Samsung Gear Live and the LG G Watch. Of course, Google plans to extend Android Wear to Google Glass and other wearable devices.

Android Wear Screenshots

New superpowers

Since the beginning of our project, we we have been focusing on the train travel experience rather than on ticket booking. These smartwatches are super convenient for accessing your travel information whilst finding your way through the station. Because let’s be honest, it’s not always easy to find your phone when you’re already carrying your bag, your laptop, your snack… And the heavy suitcase of the cute girl which you just met a few minutes ago in the newsstand queue.

Here’s what you can do with your smartwatch:

Android Wear - Notification
Receive a reminder 20 minutes before departure
A small notification will appear, giving you all the info you need to find your seat.

Android Wear - Barcode
Present your E-ticket barcode
If you have purchased a print-at-home ticket, you can access the barcode directly on your watch (WARNING: the train inspector might be really amazed).

Android Wear - Open on phone
Open our Android app from your watch
You can launch the app on your phone to quickly access further travel information and other passengers’ tickets.

To try all these new features, just update your Capitaine Train Android app.

Thello Night Trains Are Available On Capitaine Train!

by Malin, posted 23 July 2014 | One comment

Logo ThelloToday is a great day for our team! We can proudly announce that Thello, the first private rail operator in Europe, is now available on Capitaine Train. Not only is this addition super exciting for us, but it is also very symbolic. We are now the only distributor that sells the tickets of every single rail operator within France. So only with Capitaine Train will you find all of these tickets and operators offered on a single platform.

Exclusively at Capitaine Train

Thello is the first private rail operator in Europe, founded by Trenitalia (the national Italian rail operator) and Transdev. The company was created once international rail transport was opened for competition and no longer remained privatised. Since the 11th of December 2011, Thello trains run nightly between Paris Gare de Lyon and Venice with intermediate stops in Dijon, Milan, Brescia, Verona, Vicenza and Padua. They are the only rail company which is completely independent from SNCF in France. For this reason, you will not be able to book Thello trains with our main competitor.

Combination tickets

Just like with iDTGV and OUIGO, we have added Thello into our combination booking engine. This means you can now purchase tickets which combine a Thello route with another carrier.

So how does lunch in London, dinner in Paris and breakfast in Venice sound to you? With Capitaine Train it is now possible to book this trip in a single click.

book thello

Travel in comfort

Thello offers you two types of accommodation: cabins and couchette compartments. The 6 couchette compartments are great for the budget conscious traveller, where you can choose to stay with a group or travel with friends at a super low price. The 4 couchette compartment is a perfect solution for families or those wanting to save on costs but not to skim on comfort. If you prefer a more private environment, then the 3 to 1 bed cabins will be a perfect fit. They offer wide and comfortable beds, an free breakfast in the dining car plus an electrical power point outlet, a washbasin and a toiletries kit. These cabins can be shared with other passengers or booked privately.

Pay by credit card or PayPal

Capitaine Train is the only service to also accept PayPal payments for train tickets. So this is another exclusive service which we can offer you for your Thello tickets.

Additional services coming soon!

At the moment, Thello only operates one line between France and Italy. They are currently working on launching a day time train between Marseille, Nice, Genoa and Milan. This is a pretty big event, as Thello has been given permission to offer domestic routes on French soil. Once this line is operation, we will also be the first to offer you these tickets. So watch this space…

Train Thello en famille

First and Second Class on European Trains

by Malin, posted 17 July 2014 | Add comment

So it’s your first time travelling by train in Europe. As you are searching for your tickets you see that you have the option of booking either first or second class tickets. In some cases the price difference is fairly minimal, maybe €10 or so. In other cases the first class tickets are even cheaper (beware though, they will always be non-refundable fares). So you begin asking yourself a few questions:

  • What is even the difference between the two seating classes? Is it the same as airline seating classes?
  • Will I really benefit from sitting in first class? Is it worth the extra money?
  • Will I suffer and perish in second class? Do they have standards or can I base my expectations on the worst?
  • How can first class be cheaper? Is there something wrong with the website or am I missing hidden costs?

These are some pretty understandable questions to ask yourself. For that reason we thought it was best to give a simple overview of the differences between the two travel classes.


First class seats on European trains

In first class you will receive wider and plusher seats, more elbow and leg room and sometimes a more formal atmosphere. Most first class passengers are travelling for business so they spend their time working whilst on the train. Depending on the time of day, there might be fewer families and children in first class so there can be very little noise. Conversation isn’t discouraged but should be maintained in a discreet manner.

What is surprising to many is that there is no luggage allowance difference between first or second class. Some trains do have luggage restrictions, so it is wise to give this article a read to find out more.


Meal service

The one major difference between first and second class is meal service at your seat. Not all first class reservations offer a meal service, yet it can be expected on premier operators such as Eurostar, Thalys and Lyria. They offer a hot or cold meal (depending on the time of day and length of the journey) which is served directly to your seat and is included in the price of your ticket. Though these trains are exceptions. On certain TGV trains in France, you can also have a meal served to your seat if you have a Pro ticket and the train has an Espace Pro Premier available. Generally speaking, most trains in Germany and France do not offer at-seat meal service, though you can sometimes order food and drink from your seat for an extra cost. This is the case on Deutsche Bahn ICE trains.


First class lounges

If you have first class tickets, you will have access to the first class lounges (if there is one at your departure station) which can provide free food and drink (including alcoholic beverages). This can be a major benefit if you prefer to arrive at the station early or need to check out of your hotel a bit early.

Eurostar priority boarding

Eurostar has a boarding procedure which requires that you have to check-in at least thirty minutes before departure. As a Eurostar Business Premier ticket holder, you can save time and only need to check in ten minutes prior to departure. So this means that you can give yourself a bit more time in the Eurostar lounge or arrive at the station shortly before departure.

So, is it worth it?

In summation, first class tickets can definitely be worth the cost. Most carriers these days offer very minimal price differences between the two travel classes. Capitaine Train will also automatically let you know if there are low-priced first class tickets available, so you can be sure that you won’t miss out on any bargains. If you happen to find that first class tickets are cheaper than second class fares, then it only means that first class is still fairly empty whilst the cheaper second class tickets have already sold out. Though please remember, in these cases the tickets will always be non-refundable.


Second class seats on European trains

Second class seating is perfectly adequate on all European trains. You will receive a nice comfortable seat, plenty of leg room (if you are over 190cm tall then we would suggest looking into first class seating, in possibly a solo-seat) and your luggage allowance certainly won’t suffer. Only certain rail operators have luggage restrictions (click here for more details) and there are certainly no class based allowances either.

If you are travelling on a strict budget or aren’t a fussy traveller, then second class will be a great option. Although you won’t receive a meal served to your seat, you can always bring some food on board or purchase something in the train bistro or from the snack trolley. Most second class carriages are also fairly quiet so you don’t have to expect a noisy or a chaotic trip. Plus, the carriages are also kept very clean, there are always toilets available and you might even have the opportunity to make friends with your fellow travellers.