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I'm going from the UK to Merate, Italy next month. I'll be flying into MXP and really don't fancy driving, so I booked an advance train ticket to get me from Malpensa Aeroporto to Cernusco-Merate. So far, so good! EDIT: I'm taking the Malpensa Express into Milano and then a Regionale train out to Merate. I booked through Italiarail.com.

However, when I received the information on how to pick up my tickets, it included a note which seems to imply that all the self-service ticket pickup kiosks in Italy are out of order and that I have to visit a larger Trenitalia station before I travel, where an assistant will print out the ticket for me:

Your departure station is a small station and does not have a ticket window that can print your ticket. You must print this ticket in advance at any larger train station (click here for list) in Italy. At larger stations, you can collect this ticket at a Trenitalia ticket window. You will need your PNR number and the Lead Passenger Name (above). If you will not be able to print this ticket in advance at a larger station in Italy, then please immediately contact customer service at 8773757245 and reference order #######.

Because I won't be in Italy at all before I want to travel, I may have an interesting time trying to get my tickets. For information, a page of ticket pickup advice from the train booking website.

Has anyone here experienced this Italian train ticket pickup problem first hand? Can someone who has first-hand experience explain to me what is going on with the kiosks, how long you'd expect to wait, and why there's no warning before you book that you can't easily collect these tickets?

I'd like to know exactly what the situation is so that I can alter my plans accordingly. If it becomes too much hassle, I will probably just attempt to get a refund and buy a ticket on the day.

EDIT 2: I may have found out what the problem with the kiosks is: Trenitalia kiosks now require an additional CP code (as well as the PNR) which is not supplied by Italiarail for non-refundable or regional tickets. This comes from this staff comment from Italiarail support forum. So now we all know!

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    What exactly does the note say? Also, what trains did you book and how? Most Italian regional trains can't be booked in advance. – JoErNanO Jan 22 '15 at 17:01
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    Note says: "Your departure station is a small station and does not have a ticket window that can print your ticket. You must print this ticket in advance at any larger train station (click here for list) in Italy. At larger stations, you can collect this ticket at a Trenitalia ticket window. You will need your PNR number and the Lead Passenger Name (above). If you will not be able to print this ticket in advance at a larger station in Italy, then please immediately contact customer service at 8773757245 and reference order ITE#####." Which is ok, I can contact customer services, but... – Ellie Jan 22 '15 at 17:20
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    ...I'm really interested in finding out what the deal is with these pick-up kiosks and why they didn't tell me until after I'd booked. – Ellie Jan 22 '15 at 17:22
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    Who did you book your ticket through? – Gagravarr Jan 22 '15 at 17:25
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    @JoErNanO My question isn't actually 'How will I get my tickets?' because, as I say, I think the answer is to buy them on the day. My question is more like 'Can someone who has experience of the self-service ticket system in Italy explain to me what is going on with the kiosks, how long you'd expect to wait, and why there's no warning before you book that you can't easily collect these tickets?' – Ellie Jan 23 '15 at 9:31
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Personally I think the note you received is misleading.

Your departure station is a small station and does not have a ticket window that can print your ticket.

For starters Malpensa is not a small station. Moreover there is a ticket office that is manned during normal office hours. You should therefore have no problem in picking up your tickets there (if the whole CP code story turns out to be true) provided you arrive during office hours.

Having said this, if you want to be extra safe, you can ask for a refund and ditch the whole italiarail service altogether. Paperless tickets for the Malpensa express can be booked online easily on the official site, or can be purchased at automatic ticket machines which are conveniently placed next to the luggage collection conveyor belts so that you do it as you wait for your luggage. You'll also find ticket machines before reaching the train platform at Malpensa.

Tickets for national railway services can be purchased on the Trenitalia website. Normally these come in the form of a paperless booking identified by a PNR code which is your ticket. The ticket officer checking your ticket will ask solely for the PNR. Nevertheless should you need to print paper tickets, you should have no problem doing so at Milano Centrale station, which is the biggest station in Milan and is this served by manned offices as well as self service machines. Just make sure you have enough transfer time between your trains to allow for these bureaucratic operations.

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