TRAVEL BY TRAIN IN SPANISH: All the Chunks You Need!
Exciting news from Mexico: we’re preparing for the opening of the Tren Maya, a huge new railway that will measure 1525 km.
There are some other train trips you might be interested in doing next time you go to Mexico, such as El Chepe or El tren del tequila, or maybe you are in Spain and want to hop on el AVE or RENFE. Trains are cool, people!
If you share my love for train rides, you are going to need to know these basic Spanish chunks to make sure you buy the right ticket, you catch the right train, and you don’t have any problems with el controlador (the ticket inspector).
So, ¡todos a bordo! (All aboard) Choo choo!
#1 Antes del viaje (Before the trip)
Asking for information
Mi amigos, two basic questions para la persona de atención a clientes (for the customer service person):
- ¿A qué hora sale el tren a Barcelona? (At what time does the train to Barcelona depart?)
- You could hear an answer like: A las 10:15 de la mañana (At 10:15 am).
- ¿Cuándo es el próximo tren hacia Madrid? (When is the next train to Madrid?)
- El próximo tren a Madrid es a las cuatro de la tarde. (The next train to Madrid is at 4 pm.)
By the way, “¿a qué hora?” is a perfect example of a chunk in Spanish, that is, a word combination that never changes and that you should just learn by heart so it rolls off your tongue while speaking Spanish (and you don’t have to think about grammar, which preposition to use, etc).
The easiest way to discover such chunks is not by learning words and grammar, but by listening to Spanish native speakers actually speak Spanish! After all, you KNOW that everything you hear me (or other native speakers) say sounds natural and correct already.
If you’d like to learn more about learning Spanish through chunks, register for the free Chunking training on our website.
Anyway… back to the train station!
Buying your tickets from the sales person
- ¿Cuánto cuesta? (How much does it cost?)
- ¿Aceptan tarjeta de crédito? (Do you take credit card?)
And don’t forget to say “¡Gracias!” at the end.
And if you are buying from a machine, usually, there will be a translated version, but come on! Don’t be lame and cheat by switching the machine language to English! You want to brag about your Spanish skills, don’t you?
Here are some chunks you might read on the machine:
- Empezar (Start)
- Comprar un billete o boleto (Buy a ticket)
- Pagar (Pay)
- Cancelar (Cancel)
- Regresar (Go back)
This one actually is really useful in case you are not sure, so you can go back and start all over again.
#2 Durante el viaje (During the trip)
Well, you finally have tu boleto para viajar en tren (your ticket to travel by train) and it is almost time to hop on… but wait! You’re a bit lost! Then, let’s learn the chunks that you need to find your way:
- Finding the right platform/vehicle/track
- Disculpe, señor/señorita, ¿dónde está la plataforma/el vagón número ___? (Excuse me, Sir/Miss, where is the platform/vehicle number ___?)
- Finding your seat
- Estoy buscando el asiento número 25-A (I am looking for seat number 25-A)
- ¿Ventana o pasillo? (Window or aisle?)
- Having your ticket checked
- So, if you are meeting el controlador, he or she might ask for your ticket like this: ¿Puedo ver su boleto/billete? (Can I see your ticket?)
- And then you would reply: Sí, aquí tiene. (Yes, there you have it.)
#3 Después del viaje (After the trip)
So, you are finally at your destino final (final destination) and you want to make sure it is the right stop.? Then, you could ask:
- ¿Esta es la estación de Puebla? (Is this the Puebla station?)
Now it’s time to go out of the station and maybe ask for the taxi stop. In this case, you would say:
- ¿Dónde está la parada de taxis?
Or maybe you got yourself an Uber or Lyft and you might have to speak with the taxi driver as well, but that, my friends, I will leave for another video…
So, mis amigos, are you ready to try out your traveling vocabulary in Spanish? Would you like to know other specific vocabulary for other traveling situations? Then, let me know in the comments below!
Let’s do a quick recap of what we have learned today:
|¿A qué hora sale el tren a ____?||At what time does the train to ____ depart?|
|¿Cuándo es el próximo tren hacia ____?||When is the next train to _____?|
|¿Cuánto cuesta?||How much does it cost?|
|¿Aceptan tarjeta de crédito?||Do you accept credit card payments?|
|¿Dónde está la plataforma/el vagón número _____?||Where is the platform/vehicle number ____?|
|Estoy buscando el asiento número 25-A.||I am looking for seat number 25-A.|
|¿Ventana o pasillo?||Window or aisle?|
|¿Puedo ver su billete?||May I see your ticket?|
|¿Esta es la estación de ____?||Is this the _____ station?|
|¿Dónde está la parada de taxis?||Where is the taxi stop?|
FREE Spanish Training
Mis amigos, I really hope you have enjoyed today’s lesson and if you liked it, please let me know by leaving me a thumbs up.
Don’t forget to watch our free Spanish training if you wish to learn more about learning Spanish through observing native speakers and identifying chunks —and without having to cram word lists and grammar rules! It’ll come in handy on your next trip to Mexico, Latin America, or España.
I will see you next time, I have to go antes de que se me vaya el tren (before I miss the train).