Understanding interchanges and transfers
If your proposed journey includes a change of trains, the recommend routes will normally include sufficient time to make the change. However, the timetables are set by the rail operator, and sometimes include short changes which may not be suitable for your itinerary.
If you are in any doubt about the length of time permitted to change trains, are less mobile or have lots of luggage and/or children, it may make sense to factor in additional time, especially if your journey requires you to change stations.
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An interchange is a change between trains that arrive and depart from the same station. You will be required to disembark from the first train and walk to the main concourse and view the digital displays to find out which platform your connecting train departs from.
We recommend leaving plenty of time, even for same-station changes because although European train stations are usually well signposted, it can be overwhelming to find your way around a new place. In the following example, the train arrives at and departs from Bruxelles-Midi:
A transfer means that you will need to travel between stations, either on foot, by taxi or on public transport. The cost of public transport will not usually be included in the price of your ticket. It is very common to change stations in Paris, but you'll also commonly find transfers in Milan and Turin.
There is information about some of the most popular transfers on Loco2, e.g. Changing trains in Paris, but you are advised to carry out research about the transfer before placing your order, and build in additional time if you think you need it.
Increasing the time between trains
If you feel that the recommended interchange or transfer is too short, or you want to build in time for another reason - lunch in Paris perhaps or even stay overnight - you can do so by editing your search and using the "More options" functionality. We have a dedicated Help article, Modifying search results by adding a via station for more information.
This tool can also be used to reduce the amount of time between trains, but please do so with caution. Note that in the case of international trains, your trip may not be covered by the CIV rules governing international rail journeys if you opt for a very short interchange which doesn't leave a practical window in which to change trains.