If you will be travelling by Regionale Veloce train services in Italy, this guide guide will tell you all you need to know.
Accessing the train
Attributes of the train
Regionale Veloce (RV) are the semi-fast train services in Italy on which many different types of train are used, on routes they share with the slower Regionale, these RV services are faster because they skip more stations.
On routes they share with express (Frecce and Intercity) trains, these RV services are slower, because they can't match the speed of those trains - and the express trains tend to call at even fewer stations.
Though over comparatively short distances, the difference in journey time between a RV train and an express train can be marginal.
Take a Regionale Veloce train service and you can find yourself on a relatively new air-conditioned train, SOME of which are double-deck.
Though for the time being you are more likely to find yourself on a comparatively old train, rattling along with no air-conditioning and windows wide-open in summer.
The trains can be similar to those used for the slower services as the main factor in the distinction between Regionale Veloce (RV) and Regionale (R) train services is speed and not the type of train
On routes that they share with the slower Regionale services, the trains used for those R services can actually be more modern.
Regionale Veloce trains can be a particularly good option for spontaneous day trips to and from Italian cities, you can travel to distant destinations with comparatively cheap tickets and most Italian towns are connected by these trains - particularly north of Rome.
Though Italian train timetables tend to be arranged so that more RV trains run into cities in the mornings - and away from them in afternoons.
So try to look up train times online before you head off on a day trip FROM a major city.
Popular routes taken by Regionale Veloce (RV) services:
(2) Milano - Como - Chiasso - Lugano - Bellinzona (operated by Ticino)
(5) Venezia - Padova/Padua - Vicenza - Verona
Connect in Verona to travel Milano ↔ Venice/Venezia by Regionale Veloce trains
(7) Bologna - Verona - Trento - Bolzano - Brennero (connect at Brennero for local trains to Innsbruck)
(9) Milano - Piacenza - Parma - Modena - Bologna
(10) Venezia - Trieste
(11) Piacenza - Parma - Modena - Bologna - Rimini
(14) Roma - Ancona
(16) Messina - Palermo
Seven things worth being aware of:
(1) Despite being a typically faster option than Regionale (R) services, the same ticket prices are charged for journeys by these Regionale Veloce (RV) services.
(2) Also if you're booking tickets last minute at the station, the Regionale Veloce services will be (much) cheaper than taking a Frecce or Intercity train.
That's because tickets valid for both types of Regionale train service aren’t discounted online, so will cost the same if you purchase them last minute at the station.
(3) Tickets valid for Regionale Veloce/Regionale trains CANNOT be used for journeys by Intercity or Frecce trains.
(4) Don’t forget to stamp your ticket in one of the machines before boarding a Regionale Veloce train service.
(5) Once you have stamped your ticket you will have 4 hours to complete the journey - no scheduled journey by RV trains will take more than 4 hours.
As long as you arrive at your final destination within 4 hours, you CAN stop over at intermediate stations and jump on later trains.
For example if you were travelling from Bologna to Parma and validated your ticket at 10:00, you could then stop off in Modena as long as you arrived in Parma by 14:00 (2pm) - do that and you WOULDN'T then need to buy a new ticket for the Modena to Parma train.
(6) Another distinction with the Regionale (R) services is that 1st class is usually available on Regionale Veloce (RV) train services.
If it is an option, then the price difference with 2nd class is generally only a few euros.
1st class won’t be luxurious, the difference with 2nd class can be marginal - what you are in effect paying for, is increasing your chances of finding a seat.
(7) Seat reservations aren't available on Regionale Veloce train services - it's why rail pass users can hop on board.
These can be busy trains, so seats are not guaranteed - particularly if you will be joining a train at one of its calling points.
Five things that can help with taking the optimum journey:
(1) Because tickets are interchangeable with the slower Regionale (R) train services, on many routes you can choose between the two services.
When there is a choice the better option is usually the Regionale Veloce trains as it's likely that they will transport you to your destination faster.
On the paper departure sheets at stations Regionale Veloce trains are shown as RV trains.
On the electronic departure screens they're also usually classified as RV trains - though RGV will also be used.
While for the slower Regionale train services (R) is used.
(2) This matters because the trains themselves offer no clue as to whether you will be boarding a Regionale Veloce service compared to a slower Regionale train service.
You won’t see any ‘Regionale Veloce’ branding on the trains – so it is virtually impossible to tell RV and R trains apart by looking at them.
(3) If you will be joining a Regionale Veloce service at its starting point, particularly at Firenze, SMN, Milano Centrale, Napoli Centrale, Roma Termini or Venezia Santa Lucia - aim to be at the station a minimum of 15 mins before departure.
When the binario/platform/track number is confirmed you can join the stampede towards the train - miss the rush and it can be too late to find a seat.
(4) If need be walk through the train to find spare seats, but if you have a 2nd class ticket take care not to mistakenly sit in 1st class - it can be hard to spot the difference.
(5) When boarding the OLDER single deck trains something else to be aware of are the swinging clear plastic doors, which you may have to pass through when entering the seating areas.
Take care and hold them back for people boarding behind you.
Despite the different types of train used for Regionale Veloce (RV) services, these things are common to ANY journey:
(1) There will be a conductor on board all Regionale Veloce trains, who will move through the train checking tickets.
(2) If you weren't able to purchase a ticket before boarding, particularly due to a lack of, or broken ticket machines at a station, immediately seek out the conductor and purchase your ticket(s) from them.
Wait for them to find you and you will be fined €5.
(3) The on board announcements will be Italian followed by English, but the Italian names of places/stations are used, so Firenze = Florence etc.
(4) Pay particular attention to these announcements if you will be travelling after dark - the parts of Italian stations away from the exits often aren't very well lit, so it can be tricky to see what station you have arrived at.
(5) Also Regionale Veloce trains often call at multiple station calls in a city BEFORE they arrive in a main station - so be aware of the precise name of the station you are heading to.
Avoid seeing Firenze, Milano, Verona etc on the name of a station and jumping off the train because you have assumed that you have arrived at the main city centre station
(6) The electronic doors on the OLDER trains can be prone to failure - when they’re out of order, they’re marked with a green sticker.
So move towards the doors before the train arrives at a station and check whether it has a green sticker – give yourself time to walk through the train to another door if need be.
Trenitalia's guide to travelling on its trains with bikes is HERE (It is in Italian so use Google Translate to make sense of it).
The particularly pertinent info for the Regionale Velcoe trains is to do with the 'mounted bikes' - in the English translation.
You need to buy a bike ticket(s) from a ticket office prior to boarding - so don't assume you can just hop on board with your bike.
It’s definitely worth checking whether bike storage will be an option on a specific departure, by looking up the journey you want to take on the Trenitalia website – it also includes the services operated by Trenord.
On the journey search results click on the easy to miss 'i' icons.
Then having clicked on these buttons, you will see the equivalent of
However, there’s little point in booking a ticket for these R/RV trains online, you won’t save any money - and the Trenitalia website doesn’t sell the tickets required to take a non-folding bike on the train.
If bike storage is available, it’s location will be indicated by symbols on the outside of the train, if you don’t see it, an option is to board in any case and then be proactive and seek out the train conductor to check what you need to do.
Also seek out the conductor as soon as you are on the train, if you weren't able to buy tickets before boarding.
If you are proactive and explain that you weren't able to buy a ticket, you will pay the standard fares for you and your bike, but if you wait for the conductor to come to you there will be an additional €5 fee.
Some trains have storage room for no more than five bikes, so if you board and no space is available, you may have to take the next train, despite being in possession of a train and bike ticket – bike spaces can’t be reserved.
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