Rail Europe introduces 'book-early' fares

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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Rail Europe here and subsidiary DER are taking a page from airlines on pricing. The rail travel purveyors introduced lower "book-early" fares year-round for advance-purchase, one-way tickets on some rail routes in Europe.

The lower fares, available for a limited number of seats per train, are discounted from 40% to 70%, and bookings can be made as far in advance as 60 days and a minimum of 14 days before travel.

As with airlines, the new fare system is tiered; when the allotment of lowest fares for each train is sold out, the next highest level of three tiers of fares applies.

The advance-purchase tickets are available -- in second class only -- on Artesia day trains between Paris and Milan and on TGV trains between Paris and Geneva, Switzerland, and between Brussels, Belgium, and several French cities.

Similar fares are also available on Artesia night trains between Paris and Italian destinations Milan, Venice, Rome or Florence, in couchette sleeping compartments.

Travel agent commission is 5% to 7% on the discounted tickets.

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