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Advice to look for particular terminus or train number (and where on the train) from Madrid to Fromista via Valladolid

Morgan Holmes

Every day is a path to walk.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances to Santiago from SJPDP (2014); Sahagún to Santiago (2018).
#1
Hello Kind and Gentle folk.
My question is for those familiar with the Mad-CH train station and (with luck) the connection up to Fromista. I have to get on the train that goes to Valladolid, where I will transfer to a new train to Fromista.
Often, the train in Europe only have a terminus as their indicator (Our train signs here list all the stops that a given train will make). What can I expect in Madrid?
When I took the train from Santiago last time, I was straight through to Hendaye and did not have to think about switching and was in the haze of managing a crisis at home so I have a very unclear memory of boarding.
In Italy, the trains I was taking would be reliably late and not at the proper track. Should I prepare for the same problem in Madrid?
I already know, thanks to one of you, that I should ask an official looking person to remind me to get off the train at Fromista lest I miss it. I figure I should do the same for Valladolid.
I think this is my last question before I leave. Thanks all.
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016, Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre 2017
#2
Along similar lines, years ago when traveling in Germany, the train platforms always had a "map" of the trains leaving from that platform indicating about where each car would stop so you has an idea of where to wait on the platform for your train. Is there such a thing in Spain? Just another thing that can help relieve the stress of catching or changing trains...
 
Camino(s) past & future
2035 km of the way to Saint James in Galicia done.
#3
What can I expect in Madrid?
I've done this trip. Madrid Chamartin is not a particularly large station where you would have to do a lot of walking. To find your platform, you look for the departure board (see below). The trains are listed for a long time on the board but the number of their departure platforms are shown only close to departure time. Once your platform appears on the board you take an escalator that gets you immediately to the platform. You can see the numbers and escalators in the photo (9 and 10 are shown here, to the left and right of the board). I think the train from Madrid to Valladolid does not end in Valladolid, so it's convenient to retain the name of final destination as this is the name displayed on the board, other than departure time and the number of your train which allow you to identify your train, too. The number of your train and its departure time is on your ticket. They can/will tell you the final destination when you buy your ticket. All this information is displayed on the board. I didn't find it difficult not to miss Fromista. While you are on the train, the next station is always announced in the train; maybe even several times, I don't remember. Don't worry, it's really easy.

Chamartin.jpg
 
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Camino(s) past & future
2035 km of the way to Saint James in Galicia done.
#4
I already know, thanks to one of you, that I should ask an official looking person to remind me to get off the train at Fromista lest I miss it. I figure I should do the same for Valladolid.
When you know the day and departure time for your train(s), you can look up all the intermediate stops online - sometimes reassuring to know this :). For tomorrow, Thursday 16 August, the earliest connection would be the A 4087 train leaving Madrid Chamartin for Irun at 8 in the morning, with a change in Valladolid where you have a comfortable 40 minutes (get a coffee in the small station, it has a sit-down bar) and the following stops:

Madrid-Chamartin: departure 08:00 - A 4087 (direction: Irun)
Segovia Guiomar: departure 08:30
Valladolid Campo Grande: arrival 09:16

Valladolid Campo Grande: departure 09:55 - R 18101 (direction: Santander)
Valladolid-Universidad: departure 10:00
Cabezon del Pisuerga: departure 10:09
Cubillas de Santa Marta: departure 10:16
Duenas: departure 10:21
Venta de Banos: departure 10:27
Palencia: departure 10:38
El Carrion: departure 10:47
Pina: departure 10:55
Fromista: arrival 10:59
 

Morgan Holmes

Every day is a path to walk.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances to Santiago from SJPDP (2014); Sahagún to Santiago (2018).
#5
When you know the day and departure time for your train(s), you can look up all the intermediate stops online - sometimes reassuring to know this :). For tomorrow, Thursday 16 August, the earliest connection would be the A 4087 train leaving Madrid Chamartin for Irun at 8 in the morning, with a change in Valladolid where you have a comfortable 40 minutes (get a coffee in the small station, it has a sit-down bar) and the following stops:

Madrid-Chamartin: departure 08:00 - A 4087 (direction: Irun)
Segovia Guiomar: departure 08:30
Valladolid Campo Grande: arrival 09:16

Valladolid Campo Grande: departure 09:55 - R 18101 (direction: Santander)
Valladolid-Universidad: departure 10:00
Cabezon del Pisuerga: departure 10:09
Cubillas de Santa Marta: departure 10:16
Duenas: departure 10:21
Venta de Banos: departure 10:27
Palencia: departure 10:38
El Carrion: departure 10:47
Pina: departure 10:55
Fromista: arrival 10:59
Perfect information! Thanks
 

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Dave C.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis (2016)
SJ to Santa Domingo (2017)
Santa Domingo to Fromista (2018)
#6
I made this trip in the opposite direction back in April. Easy transfers, just look at the electronic signs.
Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona to Santiago (2013)
Le Puy to Pamplona in segments (2013 - 2016)
Pamplona to León
#7
If your train is a high speed one (AVIA, I think is the designator), once you are on board, the next stop will be displayed on a digital display in each car. At least that has been my experience based on three or four train rides there over the last couple of years. So you will be alerted before you reach Valladolid and then Fromista. (Unless you fall asleep. :confused:)

Tom
 

Dave C.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis (2016)
SJ to Santa Domingo (2017)
Santa Domingo to Fromista (2018)
#8
If your train is a high speed one (AVIA, I think is the designator), once you are on board, the next stop will be displayed on a digital display in each car. At least that has been my experience based on three or four train rides there over the last couple of years. So you will be alerted before you reach Valladolid and then Fromista. (Unless you fall asleep. :confused:)

Tom
In April the train between Valladolid and Madrid was high speed, but to Fromista wasn’t.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2035 km of the way to Saint James in Galicia done.
#10
Perfect information! Thanks
Sometimes, on a train, I'm amusing myself with switching on Apple maps on the iPhone to see where I am. There are plugs at the seats in the fast train from Madrid to Valladolid so you can charge while you travel. Not sure about the slower trains to Fromista. Depending on the trains you actually take, there may be fewer stops. I'm sure the conductor will assist when you ask. Bon voyage!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#11
There are two afternoon trains that can get you there, one is a direct Alvia, leaves about 3.30 p.m., other leaves an hour or so later and has a change, in either Valladolid or Palencia. These are not hard to navigate, there are always uniformed attendants on the platform ready to help you get to the right place -- if you´re behind schedule, they will sometimes hold the connecting outgoing train for you and hustle you along onto it!

The only fly in the ointment is these trains don´t run every day of the week. Have a good long look at the Renfe website, and when you finally get it figured out, pay with PayPal... trying to use a credit card will make you take back things you never stole!
 

Dave C.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis (2016)
SJ to Santa Domingo (2017)
Santa Domingo to Fromista (2018)
#12
Oops, I went to Madrid from Palencia....
Sorry
 
#13
The first time I went on the train from Pamplona to Burgos,I was a bit worried because there were quite a few platforms at Pamplona and I didn't know which platform I needed.
I went into the buffet to get a coffee and to ask. There was a timetable ,with train numbers ,time of train, which platform etc.
I noticed that it advised when the train left the previous station too.
I wouldn't worry, because the guard comes round regularly and you just need to say the name of the station that you want.
One thing that amused me was that at some stations the train reversed direction and many people changed their seat as they didn't want to face backwards. Nothing was said by the guard.
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
#14
I love European trains, and those wonderful art nouveau or modernist train stations. But managing tickets, platforms and schedules could be maddeningly complex and stressful.
Buying tickets online is a quite simple thing. But when you go to the ticket office, you discover that there are many attractive discount fares, especially for short and medium distance trains (that’s the case, especially, in Germany). But your cheap ticket does not apply to all trains (typically, not for the high-speed ones, as AVE, in Spain). They are distinguished by some codes that may not be obvious to a tourist.
There could also be some destinations that sound (to a non-native hesitant speaker) as the same but could be related to very afar places. For instance, when I go to the beautiful Reims, in France, I am very careful not to buy a ticket to Rennes).
In main cities, I try to go to stations well ahead of time, so I can inspect platforms and locate (just in case) the info bureau. This is important because sometimes many platforms are in an annex building. So, you can see platforms 8-10, but your train is scheduled at 11...which apparently does not exist. Well, after a while you can see a sign somewhere indicating "platforms 11-15 this way", at the end of a corridor.
Platforms could also be divided in "A, B, C". You see a train in your platform, but it is not yours. You must walk to position "C" and discover another train.
And obviously, departure boards don’t always show intermediate stations. You need to notice your train number and departing hour -that’s the trick.
In the train proper, you need to be attentive to your wagon, even if the train is quite empty. Sometimes, the wagons will be split at another station, according to different destinations. You can wind up in a very odd place…
Some late minute changes are announced by a speaker system. When you don’t understand it, well, you just guess what is happening. Or ask another, local passenger, as well as you can.
Some little stations (as Fromista) are sometimes not announced, and the train stop there just half a minute. The trick is a) get a list of stations; or/and b) check the estimated arrival hour.
I have had my share of mistakes, and sometimes nervous and embarrassing moments with train inspectors. But everybody has been kind and helpful –they see an obviously confused tourist, trying to explain himself in a broken version of their language.
Having said that, travelling between two big cites (as Madrid to Valladolid) is quite simple. Problem is when you try to go to medium cities or villages.
And, anyway, I like the challenge...mostly. :):rolleyes:;)
 
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Camino(s) past & future
2035 km of the way to Saint James in Galicia done.
#15
I love European trains, and those wonderful art nouveau or modernist train stations. But managing tickets, platforms and schedules could be maddeningly complex and stressful.
Perhaps not exactly the message that @Morgan Holmes needs to read shortly before her departure to Spain. :cool:

It's actually everywhere quite easy, I think, what makes it complex and even stressful is the fact that it's differently easy, depending on country and national railways system. In the Spanish fast train, the plug for charging my phone is not where I expect it: not where it's in the French Thalys, not where it's in the German ICE train, not where it's in the Belgian regional train and I think that there are none in the regional trains in the UK anyway. But you don't even need to know the Spanish word for it, just make a sad face and hold up your cable and a friendly passenger will show you where it is.

It still takes me by surprise that in larger Spanish stations - not in Formista - you have to put your luggage through security.

And I still haven't figured out how to get that Cercanias ticket out of the machine when I wave the barcode on my long distance ticket at it.

And some ticket machines in Spanish railway stations don't take my (European) Visa or Maestro card. Really?
 
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Felipe

Veteran Member
#16
Yes, after you have mastered the logic of the system, everything is quite simple and obvious. But "simple and obvious" are culturally relative constructions...That is what makes travelling "interesting", provides unexpected moments and good anecdotes when you come back home.:)
No way I could change these experiences for a boring organized tour.
 
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