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So currently traveling at the moment and last night i booked a train from Barcelona to Lyon. I used the tgv-europe.com and the last time I ordered a ticket from there it was easy, it just sent me a ticket via email.

This time however, it only had one option which was to send a ticket to a physical address. As I'm on the road, and I don't have a physical address, this is not possible.

However, as it also asked for my email and it also contained text under email text field that said "you will need this in order to collect or print your ticket", I thought well maybe they'll send me a real ticket but I should still be able to just show my email ticket.

When I received the email, it ended up saying that my ticket was being sent to me (I put down the address of the place in Lyon I'm going to) and that I can't use the email as a replcaement for a valid ticket.

What to do now? I've emailed them and not sure when they'll get back to me, I take this trip in about 12 days and not sure where I'll be in getting to Barcelona.

How strict are they with this not being able to use your email rule? If I had my passport with my identity, my credit card for which I made the booking and the email printed out with the correct seat numbers, would they be likely to let me on?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I think you can still negotiate that with the agent, saying also that you can some later to the train office to show the ticket (I guess the ticket could only be used on this specific train). But I don't guarantee anything, I usually avoid to ride a train ticket-less.

But honestly what I would do is use the regular train offices/websites to book trains, like www.voyages-sncf.com or the Spanish equivalent. They usually offer to collect it in a station if you have a chip card, you can print them, you can pre-book them and then buy in the station if you don't have a card, ...

So, where are you now? if you are in Spain, did you try to go to any station and use a ticket machine or ask someone to buy a ticket? if it's the same price/conditions, just buy it there and try to get a refund for the other.

If it's too complicated because there is a border, maybe you can try to buy a ticket to perpignan or wherever the train stops first in France, and book another ticket from there, that you collect when you are there.

Anyway, to summarize the answer, there are a lot of tricks to be aware to travel by train in Europe. But yeah, I consider not a good idea to try to board with a fake ticket. What I would do is figure what are the refund/change fare conditions, and see if I can get an actual ticket.

EDIT : I just tried to book this trip on voyages-sncf.com. So there is a 15% refund/exchange fee on tickets on Spanish trains, and it's free for the French part (using the standard fare). They offer to send it by mail, to print it at home and to collect it in a train office (with a 10 euros fee if done abroad). So first, don't book on tgv-europe, I believe it's a crappy website.

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i cant get it refunded until the ticket arrives and I only had one option which was to get it posted. it was only the fact that it said I could use my email to print the ticket they I proceeded. I've emailed them, hopefully there's a way. it must happen quite often that ppl don't receive their tickets esp if there is a postal delay. –  Mr Pizzzzzza Sep 16 '12 at 11:19
    
yeah indeed they should have some people like that. if you have a connection, you can still take some time to ask at the counter, maybe they can even print you a ticket, it's worth trying. Also, is the shipping confirmed by reception acknowledgement? in this case, they can't prove you received your tickets and so you can't cheat. I think that's the biggest risk: they will tell you, what if someone else is travelling with your ticket and you travel with just a receipt? –  Vince Sep 17 '12 at 8:52
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i ended up ringing the place in Barcelona where I'm staying before I catch the train and asking if they'll let me send the tickets there and they were OK about it. so i think it should all work out as long as the tickets arrive in time. –  Mr Pizzzzzza Sep 17 '12 at 22:06
    
ok, good, have a good trip then! –  Vince Sep 17 '12 at 22:23

The answer to this is that you definitely need to either have the posted tickets, or get a refund and then buy new tickets that you can either print-at-home or collect at the train station. You will not be allowed to travel with the email confirmation + identification, unless the train conductor on that train breaks the rules for you, but this is unlikely.

It is not is possible to buy print-at-home or collect-at-station tickets for this journey from a French SNCF website (TGV-Europe.com is owned by SNCF along with a load of other sites, including all Rail Europe sites and voyages-sncf.com). You can purchase print-at-home or collect-at-station tickets for any domestic French journey but as this is a cross-border journey (i.e. it starts in Spain) it is only possible to buy posted tickets. I know this because my website loco2.com is currently integrated with the French booking system and we offer the same delivery options.

I think the Spanish rail company Renfe does sell print-at-home tickets for this journey, but you may have problems using a foreign credit card (see this post).

I hope that helps anyone reading this who is in a similar situation to the original poster.

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