Loco2 is a European train booking website started by two young entrepreneurs, Jamie and Kate Andrews.

  Loco2 screenshot

Like me, Jamie and Kate use the trains themselves for their journeys around Europe, and thought there ought to be a far better way to book them, all in one place.  So they put their money where their mouths were and started www.loco2.com from scratch.  Their ethos is to connect to as many of the individual national rail booking systems as possible to sell the same tickets as the operators themselves, at the same prices with no booking fees, as simply as possible.  In July 2017 Loco2 was bought by Voyages-SNCF (French Railways) but Jamie & Kate are staying with the business and it will still be run as a separate stand-alone business for the immediate future.

You can use www.loco2.com wherever you live, as they accept all international credit cards and ticket delivery is usually print-at-home or collect-at-station.

So far, here's a list of the system to which they've connected Loco2.com:

Using these systems, they can sell through journeys that involve multiple operators.  For example, Paris to Seville, sourcing the Paris-Barcelona TGV from the French system and Barcelona-Seville train from the Spanish system.  Or Paris to Venice, sourcing Paris-Turin from the French system and Turin-Venice from the Italians, ensuring you get the cheapest price for each leg and the operator's own print-at-home ticketing.

Do I recommend Loco2 for every European train route?  No, because they're not yet connected to the Austrian, Swiss, Polish, Czech or Hungarian systems, for example.  But they're working on it!

Booking tip:  The 'More options' feature is worth remembering, to specify a 'via' station or enter a stopover.  Use it with zero duration specified if you want a particular route, for example London to Nice via Lille rather than Paris.  Specify a duration if you want a stopover, for example London to Barcelona with time in Paris for lunch.  In most cases, the effect of specifying a stopover is to split the ticket at that point - sometimes if the system struggles to find an option, specify an obvious routing point and it finds a journey!  Or if you want to see if Paris-Barcelona is cheaper with a split-ticket at Perpignan, simply enter Perpignan as a stopover.