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SNCF Summer Sales Start on February 2nd

by Malin Schibler, posted 28 January 2016 | 43 comments

Just a small selection of available destinations

Just a small selection of available destinations

Next Tuesday, SNCF will be holding a ticket sale for a huge number of beach destinations in France. So if you were thinking about visiting the French Riviera or Basque Coast this summer, you have one week to do some planning!

This sale will include tickets with departures from the 1st of July until 28th of August. As per usual, those who are earliest to book get their hands on the best tickets.

***Correction: January 28th
We had previously advertised that this sale would include RENFE-SNCF, TGV Lyria and TGV France-Italy tickets. These dates have now been changed and these tickets will be released on the 3rd of March instead.

Head to the Mediterranean coast

In one week, you’ll be able to book your tickets to a large variety of destinations on the Mediterranean coast. The great thing is that you will also be able to book tickets between these destinations and not only just from Paris.

Here’s what you will be able to book:

  • Paris – Avignon TGV
  • Paris – Aix en Provence
  • Paris – Marseille
  • Paris – Nice
  • Paris – Toulon
  • Paris – Hyères
  • Paris – Les Arcs Draguignan
  • Paris – Saint Raphaël Valescure
  • Paris – Cannes
  • Paris – Antibes
  • Paris – Monaco
  • Paris – Menton
  • Paris – Ventimiglia

The good news is that the tickets are not limited to departures/arrivals from Paris. So you can combine trips between any of these destinations as well. For example, you could book a ticket from Nice to Avignon, Toulon to Ventimiglia or Cannes to Antibes. There are plenty of options!

Visit the Basque Coast (minus Bordeaux)

If you’re someone who prefers their beaches to have some bigger waves, then you can be glad your destination (if it’s in the south west of France) will also be included next Tuesday.

The following destinations will be covered:

  • Paris – Agen
  • Paris – Montauban
  • Paris – Toulouse
  • Paris – Tarbes
  • Paris – Lourdes
  • Paris – Pau
  • Paris – Orthez
  • Paris – Dax
  • Paris – Bayonne
  • Paris – Biarritz
  • Paris – Saint Jean de Luz
  • Paris – Hendaye

Of course, you can again book tickets between any of these destinations as well. So that could include a train from Lourdes to Pau, Biarritz to Toulouse, or Agen to St Jean de Luz.

Is your destination not included?

Many remaining destinations in France that are served by TGV and Intercités trains (including Bordeaux!) in France will go on sale on the 31st of March, for the upcoming summer. This will also include tickets for northern France (destinations towards Belgium).

This means that if your destination is not listed above, then your tickets will become available on March 31st and not in this upcoming sale.

Want to Visit Switzerland, Spain or Italy?

As of the 3rd of March, you’ll also be able to get your hands on a range of tickets for journeys between France and Spain, Italy, and Switzerland. Specifically, it will include RENFE-SNCF tickets for trips between France and Spain, which that includes Paris – Barcelona, Perpignan, Girona and more. Plus  TGV Lyria tickets for trips between France and Switzerland (e.g. Paris – Zurich or Geneva) and TGV France – Italy tickets, for trips between Paris and Milan

To see exactly which destinations are included, you can find some route maps by clicking here.

High-Speed Payments

by Malin Schibler, posted 21 January 2016 | Add comment

one click payment header image displaying two phones

It’s so fast that our camera’s frame rate can’t even handle the speed.

Since its beginning, Captain Train has been designed with speed in mind. It takes only three simple steps — search, book and pay — to get your train tickets. Yet it’s often the final step that causes the entire process to slow down and start lagging behind like an old steam engine.

The problem lies at checkout

It’s usually during checkout when things can get complicated. Suddenly you realise  that in order to pay, you need to look for your wallet – knowing it’s not going to be where you think it is, remembering it’s in fact in the other coat, which you finally find downstairs in the other room and proceed to bring back to your computer, typing out the 16-digits, making an error with the last two, then realising it’s actually the wrong card, taking out the other one and entering its details, managing to get through the 3D Secure verification process on your second try – to finally confirming and receiving your tickets. In short, it can be painful for some.

Store your card to pay faster

stored-credit-card-en

Your cards are saved in your Preferences, where you can modify or delete them.

To save yourself time in the future you can now save your card to your Captain Train account after completing a payment. And this will allow you to use that card across all of your devices. Picture it working like a memory foam mattress: we store your card so you can always come back to it in the most comfortable position and use it during checkout. There’s no need to get up and get your wallet. No need to enter your 16-digit card number. Simply type in your security code (the 3-digit CVV code on the back of your card) to confirm any of your future payments.

Linked across your devices

Once you link a credit card to your Captain Train account, you will be able to find it everywhere: whether you access your account through our website or our app. If you’re one of those people living in the future and have a phone capable of reading the impression left by the friction ridges of a human finger, then you can confirm your payments simply by using your fingerprint — without needing to enter a security code (CVV).

one click payment iOS and Android comparison

Works on both iOS and Android

If you have an iPhone, you can use Touch ID to validate your payments. On Android, you can use Fingerprint for it. In both cases, the fingerprint validation replaces the need to enter your card’s security code (CVV). If your phone can’t read fingerprints, you can try asking it very nicely, or enter your security code for the payment confirmation, just like on our website.

Extra safety harness

You do not have to save your credit card. But if you wish to, we would like to repeat that we do not toy with security. The details of your credit card are not stored within the app (or anywhere) on your phone. So in case of loss or theft, your details will not be exposed. All of your precious payment data (card holder name, card number, expiry date) are stored securely in a dedicated vault, from which they can never ever get out. In other words, the system is designed to close the door behind your card, and that once you have decided to store it, it can enter but never leave.

We do not claim to be smarter than others. So if you have any questions or comments about the security of our system, you can get in touch with us and we will try to answer as best we can!

Pay for everything with anything

Good news never travels alone. So we’d like to take this opportunity to announce that we’ve expanded the range of tickets you can buy with PayPal and AMEX. Basically, you can now buy any ticket with any means of payment – as long as we accept those means in the first place. For example, Yu-Gi-Oh! cards are not an accepted means.

A Look Back – 2015 in Numbers

by Malin Schibler, posted 19 January 2016 | 4 comments

infographic showing our growth from 2009 to 2016

The marketing department likes green graphs

We began selling train tickets online in 2011. On our first day, we managed to sell a total of 6. Today, we sell thousands daily. So it suffices to say that things have changed in the meantime.

This article will reflect on the past year of 2015; a year that faced us with some tragic realities as a Parisian company. Rather than withdraw and keep it to ourselves, we’ve decided to share our year in numbers with you.

On top of this, we’re now able to prove to our parents that we have a real job, which is why we might not call so often, but doesn’t mean that we love you any less, mum.

  • 2

    Trophies Collected

    One of which rewarded our collective talents in table football, which is a sport that conveniently lets us take up a position of defence without needing to break into a sweat.

  • 52

    Employees on board

    We’ve had many bright new faces join us on our quest for world domination. Equipped with WiFi and power sockets at every seat, our office might also have something to offer you, or someone you know.

  • 473

    Declarations of love on Twitter

    Your tweets have warmed our hearts and much, much more. You’re the reason why Captain Train keeps on growing. So we want to say a huge thank you for being such awesome customers and for helping us get this far.

  • 21 568

    Destinations Offered

    Every station in our booking engine was hand picked by Tristram, our very own data sommelier. As a company that firmly believes in open source data, we’ve tried to return the favour. So take a look at our stations data on Github.

  • 29 543

    Conversations with our customers

    More customers means more interactions. To continue to be there immediately if something goes wrong, our customer care team has expanded this year. As always, they’re waiting at their keyboards, ready to respond to your questions.

  • 1 330 534

    Captain Train Members

    2015 became the year of the million for us. We’re now only missing 3 out 8 Kardashians. If this were a population count, we’d be a bit smaller than Gabon and a bit larger than Estonia — which suits us just fine.

  • 10 116 132

    Ticket Searches

    The best holidays are the ones that you plan, which is apparently evidenced by your high volume of searches. Continue on like this, it keeps our servers fit and gives you the chance to combine a variety of (cheaper) international routes.

  • 610 483 350

    Kilometres Travelled*

    That’s the total distance covered by our customers in 2015. Which is just a bit more than two return trips to the sun.

*That’s 379336767.031 miles, dear Americans and Britons.

P.S. We really would like to thank you for using Captain Train in 2015! If you feel like it, you can send us an email, to with your postal address in France (sorry, we can’t ship internationally) and in several weeks you’ll receive a present. Only the postman will know your address, we’ll do nothing else with it. As our stock of presents isn’t infinite, we’re applying the scientifically proven theory of first come, first served. If you don’t receive anything, it sincerely does not mean we don’t love you. Promise. 4ever.

Current travel information

by Mick Aberman, posted 14 November 2015 | Add comment

Updated – 08:40 Tuesday November 17th

All domestic and international services are operating normally.

French borders are ​open with increased border checks. Please allow for additional time for international trains.


SNCF

All services are running as per normal and security has been increased in stations and on trains.

Any passengers who were unable to travel over the weekend or who have a trip taking place before the 19th of November (and do not wish to travel), are eligible for a refund from SNCF. Please get in touch with us and we will take care of this for you.

Thalys

All trains are running to all destinations, with increased security measures.

Thalys tickets to and from Paris for trips taking place before the 17th of Nov. can be refunded by Captain Train. Please contact us by email.   Trips taking place before the 22nd of Nov. can be exchanged directly by calling the following number: +33 8 92 35 35 35 

Eurostar

All services running normally. Eurostar advises all customers to allow 60 minutes for check-in and to regularly check eurostar.com. Tickets can be exchanged for free (within 60 days) if you are travelling today, by contacting Eurostar directly at 03432 186186 (UK). No refunds are possible.  

iDTGV, OUIBUS & OUIGO

All trains running. No refunds are currently planned.

DB Bahn

Normal traffic.

Trips to and from Paris taking place before November 21st are refundable without fees. Please contact DB directly at +49 (0)1806 101 111 or by email at fahrkartenservice@bahn.de. Do not cancel your DB tickets on our website.  

RATP

Disneyland Paris is closed today in solidarity with the victims.

For more information on the traffic status of the Parisian metro, bus and local trains, please see the RATP’s website.

Contact

Police

Captain Train

We can be reached by email and on Twitter.

Our thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims.

Round Two: SNCF Winter Sales Open on November 6th 2015

by Malin Schibler, posted 04 November 2015 | Add comment

sncf_sales_6nov

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is once again time to announce another round of SNCF Winter Sales.

As of 6 o’clock on Friday morning (Central European Time), SNCF will be releasing a new round of tickets for the February winter holidays.

This sale will include tickets for travel between the 5th of February until the 6th of March. Those who are quickest to book will be able to find some really low priced fares: TGV train tickets start €25 and Intercité tickets will start at €15. 

As per usual, all of the cheapest tickets will be waiting for you on Captain Train.

The competition will be fierce

We recommend being quick to book because this sale is especially for the French school holidays, which is a super popular time to travel. On top of this, you’ll also have plenty of others (aka the entire United Kingdom) booking for their ski trips. So it’s important that you don’t wait too long as the trains will start selling out faster than normal.

To stay on top of your booking game, you can get a head start by downloading our iPhone or Android app and enjoy the comfort of booking from your hand.

You can also join our Facebook event to make sure you don’t forget!

Captain Train for Business in Beta

by Jean-Daniel Guyot, posted 04 November 2015 | Add comment

captain_train_business_EN

There used to be two worlds. On one side, the normal world, you could enjoy and benefit from the best technologies and the best designs in daily life. One the other side, in the professional world, you were using a 7.5kg heavy laptop, a monitor the size of a small house and a phone limited to sending 160 character SMS messages.

The corporate world, which has long been known to be outdated and well, overly corporate, has changed recently. Smartphones are the default (yes, even you BlackBerry users belong to this category now), firewalls are a bit less inept and the words ‘Please think of the environment before printing this 18-page email’  have slowly started to disappear. Despite all of these mini-revolutions, we found that many companies were still lagging behind when it came to buying train tickets.

When we asked some of our customers about the general procedure of buying train tickets in their company, the answers were staggering: long and unnecessary email exchanges, endless fees and charges popping up, incomplete access to fares, no smartphone solution, labyrinth-like websites that require a serious mental workout and in short, a big waste of time and money.

For more than one year, we have worked a new tool that is specifically created to simplify the purchase of train tickets for businesses. We have taken the time to recognise and understand all of the problems and all of the frustrations experienced by freelancers, business travellers, entrepreneurs, assistants, travel managers and accountants to develop a product that closest meets their expectations.

We are glad to announce and offer our business customers an early bird version of Captain Train for Business.

What is it?

Captain Train for Business is now the first solution in Europe that provides a train ticket booking platform for companies on the web and mobile. What does this mean for your company? It means that you can:

  • benefit from centralised invoicing to simplify your bookkeeping,
  • share tickets between colleagues, without needing to use Outlook,
  • take advantage of the purchase and validation features on your phone.
    Yes, you read correctly. Even you corporate and business travellers now can enjoy using a 4.5 star rated app, which you can find in the App Store or on the Playstore.

It’s necessary to view Captain Train for Business like an augmented version of the regular Captain Train. It’s not missing anything that you already know or hold dear. You’ll still find all of the best fares, for all of the rail operators in our system without an exception. And in case something goes amiss, our support team will be by your side.

Test it liberally!

This is a beta version. So it will lack a few polished touches before we put it on the market. Though it is completely sufficient for you to use and for you to give us your initial remarks and feedback. The first customers of Captain Train for Business can enjoy free use of all of the features throughout the entire beta testing period.

What’s the price? We thought about this a lot. The most common model for business travel is that you are billed according to the volume of purchases made, or worse, whenever you make or change a booking, you pay a fee. Cancellation? Another fee. Exchange? Fee. We decided to move away from this billing model as it seemed too inadequate and too rigid. To make sure that your payment reflects your use-case, you can choose a billing rate that suits your business and depends on the number of people booking through Captain Train.

Captain Train for Business costs €9.00 per month for each active traveller (plus an annual fee of €5.00 per active traveller). For that price, you’ll be free to purchase, cancel or exchange as many tickets as you wish. And we promise that there will be absolutely no surprises at the end of the month. You’re free to create as many accounts as there are people in your company because we’ll only charge you per traveller.

Enjoy buying your tickets again

We are still working on a few features to improve Captain Train for Business: centralised payments, managing multiple accounts, travel policies… Overall, our goal is simple: you should find joy in booking train tickets for your company.
If you’re interested in enjoying a free Captain Train for Business beta version for your company, simply email us at realpeople@captaintrain.com. We’ve worked very hard on this and really look forward to hearing from you!

Nuts and bolts: our routing algorithm

by Tristram Gräbener, posted 23 October 2015 | 9 comments

Captain Train allows to book train tickets across Europe by automatically combining multiple carriers. All you need is a few clicks on your computer or a few taps on your phone and we do the rest.

Let’s assume you’re traveling from London St. Pancras to Roma Termini. Here’s what your journey looks like on our website.

London-to-Roma-CaptainTrain

From London to Roma with three carriers

This journey is made up of three sections and two transfers. Each section of this journey must be booked with a different carrier (Eurostar, SNCF and Trenitalia). A previous blog post explains in greater detail and in French how we combine those carriers.

How do we find the best ticket for you then? In order to pick the best carrier combination, the first step is to compute multiple routes. A route is the way taken by a train in getting from London to Roma. Today we’ll focus on the technical details of our internal routing engine.

Read more »