Passes and Tickets: Delivery options explained.

Unlike airline tickets, not all rail products can be issued electronically. Train ticket and rail pass delivery options vary between carriers and product types. That’s why it’s important to understand how your rail pass or train ticket will be delivered to you, to ensure you have all your necessary travel documents onboard the train. The delivery options offered for each product in your booking depend on two factors:
  • The delivery option supported by each product
  • Whether you’re still in North America, and if so how close you are from your date of departure to Europe when placing your booking – or if you’re already in Europe.

First, let’s go over the possible delivery methods that exist for European train tickets and rail passes.

  • Paper delivery: The rail pass or train ticket is physically printed by us at the Rail Europe fulfillment center and shipped to you via UPS. For paper delivery, you can choose between 2-3 day shipping, overnight shipping (not available for international deliveries), and international shipping (for shipping to Mexico or the Caribbean islands).
  • Print at home e-ticket: There are 3 different types of Print at Home e-tickets.
    • The first type of e-tickets are those issued as a PDF’s which will be emailed to you and can be downloaded via a link contained in your Rail Europe email confirmation. You must print the PDF (using a printer) and bring your ticket with you to board the train.
    • The second type of e-tickets are those that are individually emailed to you. You must print the email (using a printer) and bring it with you to board the train – this is your train ticket. Each ticket will be in a separate email, so if you booked more than one ticket, please be sure you print all tickets that were emailed to you.
    • The last type of e-tickets are those which have a unique e-ticket confirmation code that is printed on your Rail Europe confirmation email. You must provide the e-ticket confirmation code along with your id to the conductor on board the train. You can either print your Rail Europe confirmation email that contains this code, access the email on any device (smartphone, tablet, laptop) that you can retrieve your email on while abroad, or write it down in a safe place. Be advised, if you write the code incorrectly, your ticket will not be honored on board the train.
  • Print at the station e-ticket: You will receive a 6 or 8 letter e-ticket confirmation code (also known as a PNR or Passenger Name Record) in your Rail Europe confirmation email, which you then enter into a self-service kiosk at the train station in Europe to print out your actual train ticket.

Print at home e-tickets and print at the station e-tickets are considered “electronic” delivery methods, since no physical shipment is made.

It must be noted that a given product does not always offer all three delivery methods. In fact, most products support only one or two of these methods, and many products are still only offered as paper document. For instance, all rail passes are only offered as paper document. Here are some examples:

  • a train ticket from London to Paris offers all three delivery methods
  • a train ticket from Paris to Amsterdam offers all three delivery methods
  • a train ticket from Paris to Berlin only offers paper delivery
  • a train ticket from London to Edinburgh Waverley only offers print at the station e-tickets

Therefore, if you purchase multiple train tickets or rail passes in a single booking, it’s possible the products you’ve picked will arrive by different delivery methods, as per the delivery option selected by you at checkout. You may receive part of your booking as paper documents via UPS, while other parts of your booking may be issued as print at home or print at the station e-tickets. It’s important to pay attention to the delivery option selected for each product when you checkout so you’ll know what’s coming via UPS and what will be delivered electronically.

Now let’s see how booking from Europe or North America influences your delivery options.

If the date you place your booking is too close to your date of departure to Europe, or if you’re already in Europe, paper delivery won’t be available. This means that if the product you want to book can only be issued as paper document, we won’t be able to sell you this product at all. Products that support print at home or print at the station e-tickets can be sold at any time, whether you’re in North America or Europe, up to 1 hour before train departure. Here’s a list of available delivery options based on how far in advance you book from your date of departure:

  • In North America, more than 5 days before departure to Europe: all delivery options possible, paper and electronic.
  • In North America, within 3 to 5 days of departure to Europe: overnight delivery only for paper tickets, electronic delivery anytime for the products that offer it.
  • Less than 3 days from departure to Europe or in Europe: no paper delivery possible, only products offering electronic delivery can be sold.

If you have a booking containing a mix of products, some of which are only eligible for paper delivery and some which offer electronic delivery, and if you are placing your booking within 3 days from your date of departure to Europe or are already there, we will not be able to sell you the products that only offer paper delivery. You will be prompted to remove them from your itinerary during checkout on our website.

A last word about print at the station e-tickets. As explained, these train tickets must be retrieved using a self-service kiosk at the train station before departure. For certain routes where this ticketing method is offered, it’s possible that the kiosk to print out the ticket can only be found in the station of origin but not in the station of arrival. For instance, if you have purchased a roundtrip journey as a print at the station e-ticket, you need to make sure to print out both your outbound and inbound train tickets in the station of origin- you will not be able to retrieve your inbound ticket (return ticket) in the station of arrival. An example of this is trips originating in France and going into Italy, or trips from Paris to Amsterdam on the Thalys.

 

European Trains