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CDF's Guide to European Trains and Railpasses for the Clueless!

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CHARMEN DE FARE'S GUIDE TO EUROPEAN TRAINS AND RAILPASSES FOR THE CLUELESS

Recently someone posted a rather clueless question about European trains, as is often the case with those contemplating a European train trip, and then said Fodor's needs a thread on European trains - so here it is.

BACKGROUND
I've been riding European trains annually since 1969 (when i actually rode some steam trains in regular passenger service!) and have studied and written loads of articles about European trains and railpasses - writing my own magazine covering the subject for some 20 years. Though i know a lot from this experience, I sure don't know everything and hope FodorFriends will pitch in their advice and experiences as well!

Retired from the magazine, called the Palenque Traveller, now i still love writing and talking about European trains so here goes:
FOR THE CLUELESS
This thread is for the clueless or novice who is planning or contemplating a European rail trip - whether just taking one train or using a railpass, etc.

It will be a long term project that i hope will cover such sundry things as:

***The Train System (It's totally incredible in American context - over 100,000 daily trains!)

***Types of Trains; High-Speed Trains like Eurostar, Thalys, ICE, AVE, etc. And specialty trains like the Glacier Express; Golden Pass, Bernina Express, etc.;

***Railpasses - not for all but a good way if you are traveling enough - all about passes and using them: Eurail Select Passes, Global Eurailpasses, Saver and Twin passes, youth passes, senior passes, country passes, 2-country passes, Rail 'n Drive passes, etc.;

***Alternatives to railpasses: Point-point tickets, regional passes sold only locally, online advance cheapo tickets;

***Resources - web sites for schedules and various good sources;

***Overnight Trains and their efficacy - couchettes, sleeper cars, etc.;

***Car-Carrying 'Auto' Trains;

***Europe's Most Scenic Trains;

***A Look at Trains Country by Country

***City Transit and Commuter Trains

***OnBoard Facilities on Trains (Food, Dealing with luggage, etc;

***Train Stations; Luggage Storage; Porters, Luggage carts;

***1st Class vs 2nd Class seating;

***Seat reservations - mandatory and optional - how to make - availability, advisability;

***Sample Itineraries, including those country specific;

***Train schedules - Thomas Cook, Eurail Timetable, online schedules;

***Narrow-Gauge, Standard Gauge and Cog Trains - Funiculars, Cable Cars, Gondolas, Tilting Trains, Panoramic Observation Cars, etc.

***and lots more i hope.

QUESTIONS - Just ask - I sure can't answer all but rest assured that many Fodorites have proved to be an amazingly knowledgeable source on train travel.

COMMENTS; INPUT

I encourage FodorFriends to add their comments and advice - don't hesitate to crrect or contradict me if need be or give your opinions or experiences.

Sincerely

CDF

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