I'm travelling on business by rail from the UK to Stuttgart via Paris next month and the trip has been booked for me by my employer via a travel agent.

For the Paris-Stuttgart leg of the trip, I've been told I need to collect the ticket from the station. I have a six-character 'trip locator' code (like a PNR for a flight) and an eight-digit 'rail confirmation' number.

The only information I can find about ticket collection on the SNCF website says

For outward travel from France, you can collect your tickets from a station or SNCF shop in France. You must present the valid bank card and the confidential code you used for making the payment.
Bank card used for booking must be shown. The bank card has to be still valid when you retrieve your tickets.
If the traveller cannot present the bank card and there is insufficient time for home delivery, he must cancel his tickets.

Obviously I don't have the bank card that was used to buy the ticket. Can I collect my ticket when I arrive at the station in Paris using one of the codes I have, or do I need to do something else to make sure I have the ticket before I travel?

(Note, I'm certain that the SNCF ticket is separate from my London-Paris Eurostar ticket.)

  • 2
    Have you tried to ask the corporate travel agent about this? Jun 11, 2019 at 13:01
  • "If the traveller cannot present the bank card and there is insufficient time for home delivery, he must cancel his tickets." indicates that home deliver is the only alternative. Or contact SNCF directly.
    – nohillside
    Jun 11, 2019 at 13:01
  • If it has been booked as a single trip with Eurostar it may mean you have to collect the French rail ticket from the Eurostar machine in London although in that case I would have thought you had to collect both there. Try checking that too.
    – mdewey
    Jun 11, 2019 at 13:08
  • @mdewey I'm sure it's a separate booking from my Eurostar journey, that has a different six-character PNR and when I enter it on the Eurostar website it comes up with just my London-Paris journey details; the PNR for my Paris-Stuttgart booking isn't recognised.
    – nekomatic
    Jun 11, 2019 at 14:11
  • 1
    Ah, I've now figured out how to send an actual message to oui.sncf rather than 'talk to' a useless chatbot! Watch this space…
    – nekomatic
    Jun 11, 2019 at 16:56

1 Answer 1


oui.sncf told me they couldn't find my booking as it wasn't made through their own site, and advised me to contact either the agency that the ticket was bought from, or SNCF themselves by phoning +33 892 353535 - it seems oui.sncf is just the online ticket sales operation, but I couldn't find a public-facing website for the SNCF parent company. It turns out I would have been well advised to phone the number! However I discovered this page on thetrainline's site, which says

On some occasions Trainline is only able to issue print-at-station tickets which need to be printed using a self-service machine at the station or can be collected from the ticket office at a train station in France.
Important! Your print-at-station tickets must be retrieved using your six-letter reference number and not your credit card.

So I concluded that I should be able to collect my ticket using the reference number and my surname. (My ticket wasn't booked with thetrainline as far as I know, but I assume this information applies to tickets sold by third-party agents in general, as implied by the text billet agence on the ticket machine screen as shown at the link.)

However when I got to Gare de l'Est (without much time to spare, as my Eurostar ran 30 minutes late due to boarding delays) the machines wouldn't recognise my reference number, and nor did the staff member in the ticket office - he said an SNCF booking reference should be all letters whereas mine contained a digit. With no time to spare before my train I had to buy a new ticket to Stuttgart.

My admin colleague is taking this up with the travel agent, but in the meantime the question is unanswered and I would definitely advise anyone else in this situation to contact SNCF themselves to make certain!

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