SNCF Winter Sales Opening on October 15th

by Malin, posted 02 October 2015 | Add comment

In short: SNCF winter sales start on October 15th, in the morning. Tickets for travel between December 13th 2015 until February 4th 2016 will be released.

We’re glad it’s this time of year again. Another SNCF sales round means another upcoming holiday season!

On the 15th of October, sometime in the early morning (judging from previous sales, we’re estimating around 6:00*) SNCF will be opening their annual christmas ticket sale. This will include tickets with departures from the 13th of December until the 4th of February, 2016. So if you’re planning a winter holiday in France, make sure you’re not late to the game. The competition will be fierce!

You can of course book your tickets with zero hassles on

*For those in other timezones, that’s 06:00 in French time, so GMT+2 timezone. Don’t forget to set an alarm!

If you need a little extra push (or reminder), we’ve created a Facebook event which you’re very welcome to join. Planning on travelling with some friends? Invite them too! We will also be sending out a reminder newsletter, so feel free to sign up here.

And to those who’d prefer to book from the comfort of their own bed, why not download our apps?

Are you planning on travelling after the 4th of February? Or not with SNCF?

No need to worry! SNCF will also be holding a second sale on the 6th of November. We’ll of course let you know more soon (and by email). In the meantime, you can find some important details here.

A few other operators will also be releasing a batch of winter sales tickets on the 15th of October, with varying booking horizons. So if you’re planning on travelling with another rail operator, such as Thalys or RENFE-SNCF, you can click here to see when your tickets will become available.

Good luck!

Two Exciting Announcements

by Malin, posted 15 September 2015 | One comment

When our founders Jean-Daniel, Martin and Valentin first launched Capitaine Train, no one could have told them that they were creating the biggest train ticket booking system in Europe.

They had only aimed to create a small reservation system; one which would allow them to quickly book their tickets and provide them with the functionality that other systems lacked. They wanted simplicity and speed. Booking a ticket shouldn’t be harder than sitting in your train seat, watching the landscape pass by. It shouldn’t take any longer than getting on board a train either. So they coupled this with their high standards and got to work. They used only the most robust technologies and hired only the best (😉). Both they and soon we had our work tested and tested and re-tested by our peers. Mediocracy wasn’t an option. And just like a new train on a rusty and ancient track, the wheels slowly but surely got moving.

The small efforts started to pay off. We, Capitaine Train, were establishing ourselves as a company that was growing by gradually changing the European rail industry.

We were the first to combine the offers and rates of multiple rail operators so we could offer our customers the best possible prices. We were the first to issue iOS Passbook tickets, to sell SNCF bike reservations and allow you to lock in your prices and seats by pre-booking your tickets. We were the first to accept American Express and PayPal, and we took care of you with our love for customer service. We also publicised our map data and our station directory, because nothing would be possible without the raw data to which we had access from the beginning.

So today, almost five years after the signing of our contract with SNCF, we have two announcements to make.


Ha. We know some of you’d like an alternate ending to the Norman Conquest but that’s a topic for later.

We’ve come to realise that as an international brand, we need an international name to go with it. So we’ve pulled a Jason Bourne and gotten our hands on a new passport. You can say goodbye to the Capitaine and welcome the Captain! But train stays the same, because the love for them is universal <3


So what happened? Well our original name was first used in and designed for France. Then we slowly began on our Napoleonic mission of European expansion, crossing the Rhine, the English Channel and the Alps. We solidified our international agreements with Deutsche Bahn, Eurostar, Thalys and Trenitalia, among others. Capitaine Train was launched throughout Europe.

Though we were quickly lost in translation with our newly found international friends. The Germans, Italians, British, Swiss, Spanish (and so on) had quite some difficulty with our name… It became clear that it would have trouble reaching anything outside of the French-speaking realm. So we did like all good things do and we got ourselves an English name!

We hope that this has made it easier for some of you to start pronouncing it.  We’re also glad that we no longer have to continously re-direct from

2. A new face

Our logo has evolved. It was beginning to get a little old and had lost most of its motor skills. So we had to put it to retirement. The new logo should now be able to take us a little further. Our own in-house designer, Enrico, led the mission in collaboration with Boris Forconi, from the agency StéréoSuper, who had already helped our friends at Drivy.



Although this is a very exciting and new step, we do remember our old logo fondly. For us it’s like selling our first car. It did its job for a long time and gave us a great ride, but we needed an upgrade.

The old logo was the product of two hours spent in Adobe Illustrator by Jean-Daniel, CEO, in 2009. It was a rudimentary logo, spontaneous and not exactly shiny. It was purely created for the sake of efficiency and love of minimalism.


The logo designed by Jean-Daniel in 2009

It’s important that we communicate that this is an evolution of our old logo, not a revolution. We’ve tried to maintain a connection with the old logo so that it remains in the same frame of reference, in the same evocations, while displaying a fresh face.


The logo designed by Enrico & StéréoSuper in 2015.


Black on white version.


White on black version.


The entire family.

Overall, we want to offer a more polished appearance to our identity because we want to present it in its best light. The new logo better reflects our new ambitions. But the new logo will be useless if we do not live up to our goals. We are not fooled. A logo does not change a company like magic.

By taking this step and clearly affirming our European ambitions with our new logo, we remember something very important. We need to work hard to have our customers associate positively with our new logo. And more importantly, positively associating with what the logo represents. It will forever be an incomplete mission as there’s always more to be done. Though for now, it symbolises our promise of being the best train ticket booking service in Europe.

If you are not yet a customer, why not take a quick tour of our site (and … logo!). We would love to welcome you on board. If you already are a customer, thank you for your confidence. The goals and ambitions of Captain Train can only exist thanks to your use (and feedback!!).

Meet The New Trains Of Our Homepage

by Brice Boulesteix, posted 13 May 2015 | One comment


We keep receiving great feedback about the trains we display on the home page of our website. They have been featured on various media websites in France including Capital and Le Figaro. But the time has come to make them evolve and add a few more trains. Do you know what’s cooler than two animated trains? Nine animated trains!

A big thank you to Enrico, our designer who made the illustrations below.

Meet the cast:


EurostarBuilt between 1992 and 1996, Eurostar’s fleet consists of 38 trains, designated Class 373 in the United Kingdom and TGV TMST in France. The units have also been branded as the Eurostar e300 by Eurostar since 2015.


ThalysThalys trains are operated by Thalys International, which capital is divided between SNCF (France) and SNCB (Belgium). The newest variant of their trains is the Thalys PBKA, which benefits from the motor technology of TGV Duplex sets, but without the bi-level carriages.

TGV Duplex

TGV DuplexIntroduced in 1995, the TGV Duplex is manufactured by Alstom, and operated by SNCF. It features bi-level carriages and a seating capacity up to 526 passengers.


TERThe TER (standing for Transport Express Régional) is the brand name used by the SNCF to denote rail service run by the regional councils of France. It began operating in 1984. Every day, over 800 000 passengers are carried on 5,700 TER-branded trains.


ICE DBThe ICE (for Intercity-Express) is the flagship train of Deutsche Bahn. Introduced in 2000, the ICE 3 variant is made by Bombardier and Siemens and has a maximum capacity of 460 passengers.


FrecciarossaThe Frecciarossa, or ETR 500, is a high-speed train introduced in 1993 and operated by Trenitalia. It speeds up to 185mph (300 km/h).


NTV ItaloThe Italo is operated by NTV. It is originally named AGV (for Automotrice à grande vitesse) and built by Alstom. The maximum commercial speed is 360 km/h.


RenfeThe AVE Class 100 of the Renfe is built by Alstom and was the first high-speed train put into service in Spain, back in 1992. Its maximum speed is 225mph (360 km/h).

Guest Star: TGV Atlantique

TGV AtlantiqueThis iconic TGV is the second generation of SNCF’s High Speed trains. Introduced in 1989 to serve the LGV Atlantique line, it was the first to wear the new “Atlantique” design (blue & gray) which replaced the original orange of the original TGV.

Capitaine Train For Apple Watch

by Malin, posted 24 April 2015 | Add comment

Capitaine Train is now available on the Apple Watch. No longer do you have to stressfully search for your phone whilst making your way to the station. Instead all you need is a quick glance at your wrist and you’ll find every important bit about your trip displayed. We like to think of this as our own locomotive revolution. The Locomotion.

Taming the Apple Watch

Designed by the Californian brand of the same name, the Apple Watch is called a connected watch. Connected to who? Connected to what? Connected to your wrist, physically of course, yet also to your iPhone, since the watch efficiently synchronises the content.

The Apple Watch works hand in hand with the iPhone. From our end, the watch allows us to accompany you throughout your entire journey. We designed it as a second screen, continuing intermittently. A discreet companion on your wrist, which complements our iOS application with all the precise details, yet not in the manner of replacing it.

Instead of displaying a skimpy booking interface on the watch, we have focused on practical real-time information. You’ll see the departure platform of your train displayed 20 minutes before the start of your trip, alongside your seat and carriage numbers. We use the watch to give you the right information at the right time, taking into account the context of your location.

The Watch App in Action





Real-time Contextual Information

At every moment, the Apple Watch gives you access to two levels of information:

  • The glance that appears when you take a look at the watch,
  • The application itself, which is only displayed when you make contact with the watch

Inline with the context, you will only receive notifications when they are necessary; your wrist will only show you what you need when it’s needed.

Days prior

The connection has been made. As soon as you have purchased your tickets on Capitaine Train, the watch displays your upcoming trips. A glance at your wrist and you know exactly where you are going and when you have to be there.

Day of departure

It’s all walk and no more run from here. Now on you’ll always be leaving on time. A few hours before you make your way to the station, the watch app will let you know exactly how much time you have left to get on board the train. To make sure you don’t get lost on your way, we also provide directions and a small map to help get you to the station. Missing the train whilst travelling has become a thing of the past.

At the station

Capitaine Train will be awaiting you at the platform. We’ve farewelled the gruelling wait at the departure and arrival boards, by sending a notification to your phone to announce the departure platform. If you have a connected watch, this will of course also be displayed on your wrist. At a glance, you are informed and on the right track. Pun intended. The number of your train, your carriage and your seat are all displayed neatly on the screen of the Apple Watch.

On the train

Throughout your journey, you will see the remaining time before arrival at your destination or transfer station. Listening to (and guessing) station announcements is no longer necessary. Just one glance and you know. When it’s time for ticket inspection, fumbling for your tickets or phone can also be forgotten. The barcode of your E-Ticket can be displayed directly from the app on your connected watch. Not only will you surprise the inspector but most likely impress everyone around you. For the grand finale, your arrival platform is displayed on the watch as soon as it becomes available.

Available Today

To use our Apple Watch app, all you need to do is have our iPhone/iPad app installed and updated to the latest version. Don’t have an Apple Watch nor an iPhone? No problems! Try out our Android Wear app instead.

Opening of the 2015 European Summer Train Ticket Sales!

by Malin, posted 26 February 2015 | 34 comments


Ready, set, go!

Very soon you will be able to book your European train ticket tickets to your favourite holiday destinations.

As of the 17th of March, there will be a huge range of early-bird specials on train tickets. Fancy a trip to Barcelona in August? Or a visit to Zurich in July? Very soon you’ll be able to get your hands on super cheap tickets thanks to the extended booking horizon this summer.

So, what tickets are on offer?

The summer sales will affect all train tickets for trips between the 17th of March until the 30th of August 2015, for the following destinations and rail operators:

  • Renfe-SNCF: all destinations are covered, so this includes trains from Paris to Barcelona, Perpignan and Girona (just to name a few). Click here to view destinations.
  • TGV France-Italy: all destinations are covered except journeys between Paris and Milan (sales will open on 2nd of April). Click here to view destinations.
  • TGV Lyria: all destinations are covered, except journeys between Geneva – and the south of France (e.g. Marseille, Nice or Montpellier) as these tickets are already on sale. Click here to view destinations.
  • Deutsche Bahn-SNCF: all destinations are covered except Paris – Frankfurt and Paris – Stuttgart/Munich (sales will open on the 2nd of April). Click here to view destinations.

What if my tickets aren’t a part of this sale?

If your destination isn’t covered in this sale then luckily you won’t be missing out! There will be another round of summer sales which open on the 2nd of April.

This sale will include all routes within France (e.g. Paris to Normandy) and many international destinations such as northern France to Brussels or Paris to Luxembourg (just to name a few). As per usual, we will be communicating this through our newsletter before the sales open, so click here to sign up to make sure you can be the first to get your hands on these tickets.

Renfe-SNCF Celebrates 1 Year Anniversary With Huge Discounts on Paris-Barcelona Line!

by Malin, posted 15 December 2014 | Add comment

paris barcelona cheap train tickets

¡Feliz Cumpleaños!

It’s hard to believe that the high-speed rail network between France and Spain has already been running for a year. To Capitaine Train, it feels just like yesterday that we celebrated the opening of this long awaited service. So we’d like to wish Renfe-SNCF a happy birthday and give them a big round of thanks for revolutionising travel between France and Spain.

Super cheap train tickets

What would a one year anniversary be without presents? Not much at all, according to Renfe-SNCF. Starting today, there will be a huge flash sale for all services running between France and Spain, which means 50% off all train tickets!*.

This sale will last exactly three days, from the 15th of December until the 18th of December. It will include all tickets for any trips between the 7th of January 2015 up until the 16th of April 2015.

The booking horizon has also been expanded to 120 days in advance, so bookings for dates later than the 13th of April can be booked in the next few days.


2nd class one way 2nd class return 1st class one way 1st class return
Paris €29.00 €59.00 €49.50 €99.00
Lyon €24.00 €48.00 €39.00 €78.00
Marseille €24.00 €48.00 €34.50 €69.00
Toulouse €19.00 €38.00 €27.00 €54.00
Perpignan €14.50 €29.00 €19.00 €38.00

There are plenty more discounts for other routes as well, so check them out yourself on

Paris barcelona cheap train tickets

What should I expect?

One of the reasons why this route is so immensely popular is because of the fantastic views. If you are travelling all the way from Paris to Barcelona (or the other way around), in less than 6.5 hours your train will take you through the French country side, pass by the historic cities of Béziers, Perpignan, Narbonne and Figueres (any Dalí fans?), and lastly you’ll catch a sight of the Pyrenees mountains whilst crossing the border. The best way to enjoy this scenic route is to book a ticket for the upper deck, so you can be sure to get some great views.

What is the train like: can I bring luggage and is there food?

Yes you certainly can and yes there certainly is! Both the TGV (the French high speed trains) and the AVE (the Spanish variant of the TGV) have excellent luggage facilities and offer an on board bistro.

You can bring your suitcases on board and store them in the luggage compartments (found at the end of each carriage) plus any small hand luggage will fit into the in the overhead compartments. If you’re after a snack, meal or beverage, then you can make use of the bistro carriage and the seasonal meals offered (sandwiches, hot and cold dishes and kids meals). A variety of different alcoholic beverages are also sold but you are always welcome to BYO, just like the Man in Seat 61 recommends!

Should I travel in first or second class?

We covered this topic a while ago, so why not read this article and decide for yourself! Considering these super low prices, it is a great opportunity to take advantage of the benefits that first class tickets offer, such as lounge access before departure (free food and drinks anyone?).

*Please note that for certain services that the amounts have been rounded by €0.50, so the discount may be slightly higher than 50%.

SNCF Winter Sales Start On October 16th

by Malin, posted 14 October 2014 | 2 comments


SNCF Winter Sales Are Starting Soon!

This year, the SNCF Christmas sales will start on Thursday, the 16th of October. This sale will include all train tickets for trips between the 14th of December 2014 until the 6th of February 2015.

Be Quick

To benefit from the best prices, there is only one magic rule: first come, first served. This is the busiest train travel period of the year, as thousands of Europeans are busy travelling during their winter holidays.

Unfortunately the exact opening time is never communicated but we can give you a big hint: it will be very early in the morning in France (time zone: GMT+1). So depending on where you live, you might have to wake up in the middle of the night or be ready to go in the afternoon.

Luckily, you can book your tickets in the fastest way possible with Capitaine Train. It’ll take you less than a minute! For those in other time zones, rest assured (literally) that you can book straight from bed or from the office with our iOS and Android apps.

Don’t miss out

As per usual, we have created a Facebook event for the sales to make sure you don’t miss on out on the cheapest tickets. Just join the event so you can receiver a reminder on Thursday.

Join Event


Christmas has come early: €10 for you equals €10 for a friend!

To keep up the Christmas spirit, we’ve decided to increase the value of our Ambassador Program vouchers. From the 13th until the 26th of October, every friend that you invite to use Capitaine Train will receive a €10 discount voucher. Once an invited friend has completed their first trip, you’ll also earn €10 and receive a voucher credited to your Capitaine Train account.

For those who won’t be travelling in Europe, why not share the good news and invite your friends, family and colleagues who are, so they can earn a €10 discount.

Invite Friends

Our Ambassador vouchers can be used for SNCF, Lyria, Thalys and Eurostar tickets.

Thello Has Added a New Route Between Marseille, Nice and Milan!

by Malin, posted 24 September 2014 | One comment


As of December 14th, Thello (the sleeper train operator) will be running a direct daily service between the South-East of France and Italy.

This route will allow passengers to conveniently travel between France and Italy at a very affordable price. These train tickets will be in the price range of €30 to €70 for a journey between Marseille and Milan, and between €15 to €45 for a train from Nice to Milan (second class).

Of course, you can book these train tickets with us! The ticket sales will open in mid-October, so we will keep you posted on our Facebook and Twitter with the exact dates.

Day time trains between Nice and Milan

Although Thello mainly specialises in overnight trains, this new route will in fact be a day-time service. So you can now travel from Marseille to Ventimiglia in just a few hours. If you want to go all the way to Milan, you will arrive just in time for a late dinner.

For more information on Thello services (prices, other routes and accommodation), just click here!

Become an Ambassador for Capitaine Train (Round Two!)

by Malin, posted 27 August 2014 | Add comment


Update: our discount vouchers for our Ambassadors are now valid for six months! So if you’ve invited a few friends, you can keep your voucher for longer.

We launched our Ambassador Program last December to honour the strength of word of mouth. We’ve always known that it is best if we just let our customers speak for themselves. That’s why today we have unveiled an even simpler and more generous program, which is going to give you and your friends more spending money!

€5 for your friends, €5 for you

We’re finished with giving you points and assigning levels. Instead you will be rewarded straight away once a friend travels with Capitaine Train.

Here’s how it works:

  • Your friends sign up with Capitaine Train, using your invitation code. Then they automatically receive a €5 discount towards their first train ticket purchase.
  • As soon as your friend has completed their first trip, you’ll also earn a €5 discount!

For now the program is only available on our website. Though in September it will also be available on our iOS and Android apps (which will also support payments with American Express).

What about points earned so far?

We certainly haven’t forgotten those who have participated in our previous Ambassador Program. To thank you for your support, we have converted all of your existing points in vouchers, using our exchange rate of 1 point = €5. These vouchers are already awaiting you in your cart.

I’m not from Europe so who do I invite?

Well this one is easy. You may not know anyone who needs to buy a train ticket straight away but surely you know a few people who are travelling in Europe within the next few months. If not, you can always share your code via Twitter or Facebook. This will surely help you increase your follower/friend count!

Buy Your Train Tickets With American Express

by Malin, posted 22 August 2014 | 2 comments

American Express

The Amex question has probably generated the most debates and comments from our users ever. Only recently we were finally able to provide an answer. You can now buy your train tickets on Capitaine Train with American Express!

Didn’t you vow to never accept Amex?

Yes, we did indeed. In July 2011 we published a post which explained that we are likely to never accept Amex. Why? Because then the Amex commissions were much higher than the commission we earned from the operators for each sale. We didn’t want to lose money on every ticket sold, so we simply said no.

Though since 2011, our sales have increased significantly and we have more professionals using our service than ever. Most private travellers can always fall back on their Visa or MasterCard. However when someone must use their company credit card, the options fall short. So we needed to find a solution to this problem.

Adding PayPal to our services was already the first step in this direction. This meant our customers could add their Amex card to their PayPal account and then use it for payment. However this solution was only temporary.

After reviewing the latest business proposal by Amex and redoing our calculations, we decided to take the plunge. We realised that it may be possible to accept Amex without losing money on each transaction. It’s a bit of a risky gamble, but we will have to see how it plays out in the next few months.

Using Amex with Capitaine Train

You can pay with American Express on our website and should soon be able to do so with our iOS and Android apps. You can use your Amex card to purchase SNCF, Lyria, Thalys, Eurostar, Deutsche Bahn and Thello tickets (which we have only recently added). Unfortunately American Express is not yet compatible with iDTGV, OUIGO and iDBUS. These operators handle the payment process on their own and they do not accept this type of card.

Pay in your preferred way

By adding American Express, we have greatly enhanced our payment services. So you can now pay in anyway that you wish (except BitCoin … we haven’t come that far yet)

Transporteur Visa &
DB Bahn