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Around the December timetable change, Trenitalia is notoriously late in loading night trains between Sicily and Northern Italy (as The Man in Seat61 writes: The Milan-Sicily night train usually gets loaded last of all! (this is about ICN 1964)). At the same time, Christmas is a popular travel time. At the time of writing (24 November), for 6/7 January, the few trains that have been loaded are partially already sold out. Therefore, one can expect that once more trains get loaded, they sell out quickly, so travellers need to be alert and book as soon as possible.

Is there any service to put an alert when a particular train gets loaded? I know Raileurope claims such a service, but it doesn't seem to be available for Sicily to Milano, and also doesn't seem to cover the idea that, for a given date, some trains are loaded but others are not.

It would be nice to not have to check the Trenitalia website three times a day; and if such a service exists, automated booking systems might well snatch up tickets so quickly that even that is not enough…

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  • This seems to be a problem not unique to travel: check when a certain website has changed and get an alert if it does. You could look into tools such as visualping, changetower, huginn or web alert but all those only work if there is an URL they can monitor. I am not making this an answer as I don't know if there is a suitable URL, so I can't test my suggestions. Nov 24, 2023 at 20:12
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    @SaaruLindestøkke I've used followthatpage myself for job openings in the past, but I don't think any of those services work for dynamic pages. As train booking systems are not only accessible over the web, there might be companies that have privileged access and can automate such checks via other interfaces.
    – gerrit
    Nov 24, 2023 at 20:44
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    I'm not sure how much effort you are willing to spend on this and if you are comfortable with scripting, but it appears you can retrieve the website response for a certain origin, destination and date as a neat json. This curl command does that for a journey query from Fiumefreddo Sicilia to Milano Centralo for 24-11-2023. I unfortunately don't have the time and know-how to setup a monitor to frequently monitor the output of that HTTP call and send an alert if a certain train is in the output, but it seems possible. Nov 24, 2023 at 21:32
  • @SaaruLindestøkke Cool! Just as I was testing your script, they loaded the trains I was looking for :D
    – gerrit
    Nov 25, 2023 at 13:49
  • If such a service did exist (assuming it currently does not), then I suspect you would probably find it even harder to book... you'd be fighting everybody who'd registered with such a service, instead of just the people who can be bothered to check for updates frequently.
    – TripeHound
    Nov 25, 2023 at 15:07

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