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I want to travel from Strasbourg to Paris in October and found a price for 2 passengers for around €314 return.

I then found a connection from Karlsruhe (Germany) and got a price of €240 return. I'm 99% sure that the train stops in Strasbourg on the way.

Traveling via Karlsruhe would easily add over 2 hours to my journey. Strasbourg is closer for me (I live in Germany)

Why the price difference? Are there any restrictions for boarding in Strasbourg?

[Prices from voyages-sncf.com and bahn.de are very similar]

  • Are you sure that the price is for the same type of ticket? I'd imagine that the cheaper one is a discount price where you have to choose a specific train at time of booking (Sparpreis Europa Frankreich in DB-language). – martin.koeberl Sep 26 '17 at 18:04
  • Also depending on the exact date in October, you might be affected by the track closure between Karlsruhe and Strasbourg. At the moment all connections from Karlsruhe to Paris run through Saarbrücken. – dunni Sep 26 '17 at 19:55
  • @martin.koeberl - same web site, same seach (except for starting station), same cancellation policy - so identical conditions it seems – paul Sep 27 '17 at 5:06
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To answer your first question: If you compare the regular prices to each other, you will see that a one-way ticket Strasbourg-Paris is 93€ while a one-way ticket Karlsruhe-Paris costs 114€, so as expected the longer trip costs more. It seems to me that the ticket prices you quote are for discount tickets (which at SNCF you can find in the first and the second column):Different ticket prices for a connection from Strasbourg to Paris

These discount tickets are only available on some (and not an all) routes and their availability is limited. They are sold on a first-come-first-served basis, so either there are no discount tickets for most trains from Strasbourg to Paris or they are already sold out (at least the cheapest ones). Also there availability might be different between SNCF and DB.

Luckily for you, it seems SNCF allows you to board the train in Strasbourg when you have a ticket Karlsruhe-Paris. This is supported by a certified answer on Questions SNCF.

Note though that according to above link if you have a seat reservation and you don't take your seat at the origin of the reservation, the conductor might give your seat to somebody else. I'm not sure whether you can buy a separate seat reservation with SNCF but SNCF only sells a limited number of tickets without assigned seat, so you might find a seat anyway.

Please note though that different rules might apply to trains in international traffic between Germany and France. I couldn't find anything though limiting above answer to only national trains.

  • (+1) I seem to recall that the 15-min rule for seat reservation is a DB rule and doesn't really exist in France. Do you know if that's the case? And how SNCF and DB rules might interact for an international train? – Relaxed Sep 27 '17 at 11:41
  • @Relaxed Oh, I stumbled upon this yesterday and couldn't remember anymore whether it was about DB or SNCF. The answer on Questions SNCF I linked to touches upon this issue though. It could very well be that the rules are different for international travel, but I couldn't find anything about it yet. – martin.koeberl Sep 27 '17 at 12:19
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If you look at the map, you will see that the way from Karlsruhe to Paris does not go through Strasburg, not even near it. It is actually a shorter distance, so cheaper makes sense.

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    (-1) That's mostly irrelevant and simply untrue. Trains might or might not go through Saarbrücken at the moment (cf. comments) but the regular route to Karlsruhe has always been through Strasbourg since the East European High-Speed Line opened. Even trains going as far north are Frankfurt are faster through Strasbourg as they can use faster lines all the way (but in this case, there are also a few trains going through Saarbrücken). – Relaxed Sep 26 '17 at 22:19
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    I did think about this and checked the plan. The train stops once - in Strasbourg. – paul Sep 27 '17 at 5:11
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    @O.R.Mapper Well, the assumption here is that the train must take the shortest route and does not go through Strasbourg at all, which is clearly false. That's why it's irrelevant in this case. But more broadly, I don't see why you would care at all as a passenger, what's relevant are the options available to you. What would you do if it felt more expensive than it ought to according to your system? Take a taxi out of spite? Also, “mostly” != “completely”. – Relaxed Sep 27 '17 at 18:39
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    @O.R.Mapper OK, so you're deciding whether Paris is worth a visit based on minute details of the train companies pricing policy? That's an interesting outlook on life… – Relaxed Sep 28 '17 at 10:24
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    @O.R.Mapper Unreasonably expensive compared to what? Would you forgo going to A even if going to B is more actually expensive? If A is more interesting and cheaper to go to than B, what does the “justifiability” matter? Conversely if you just mean you'd rather go to a cheaper place, I get it, but that has absolutely nothing to do with the relationship between distance and price. – Relaxed Sep 28 '17 at 11:17

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