Germain Railpass Questions

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Aug 17th, 2005, 05:50 AM
  #1
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Germain Railpass Questions

I have been trying to sift through all the railpass alternatives and was hoping that someone could provide some advice. We are flying into Frankfurt next summer and need to get to Hamburg the same day. Two days later we need to travel from Hamburg to Berlin. The rest of our trip will be done by car. Can you please suggest the best travel alternatives for our Frankfurt-Hamburg and Hamburg-Berlin commutes? Thanks!
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Aug 17th, 2005, 06:06 AM
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Trains on these routes are fast and frequent. You can easily check details on www.bahn.de. It's very unlikely that it'll worth getting a railpass if these are the only train journeys you're making.
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Aug 17th, 2005, 06:13 AM
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German Pass: Twin pass - two names on one pass - $195 p.p. in first class for 4 days of unlimited travel (midnight to midnight, or 7pm to the following midnight if taking an overnight trains) or $135 in 2nd cl.
Fares taken from www.bahn.de German Railways official web site:
Frankfurt Airport-Hamburg 91 euros ($115) takes 4 hours, hourly departures
Hamburg-Berlin 45-55 euro ($56-68)
takes 1.5 hr on fast trains, 2 hr on not so fast (cheaper)
And i believe if you buy tickets in Germany or on bahn site the 2nd traveler will pay only 50% of the full fare the first traveler pays (this policy is slated to end on Dec 12, 2005, after which the 50% off for companion travelers will only be available online, not as a walk up thing like it is now.
Above fares are 2nd class - first class about 40% more.
VS RAILPASS:
Regular tickets would run, for two, $273 (219 euro x 1.25=$) - used 55 euro for Hamburg-Berlin train because it's faster - slower train would be 15 euro cheaper for two (figuring the 50% off for 2nd and subsequent passengers in fares)
Railpass is $135 p.p. for Twin - so it's about a wash - but you would have two other rail travel days to use - if you could use them somewhere go for pass - even for a short one hour trip during your car travels or for the Rhine River boats - free with German Railpass. Passes are marketed in US by Rail Europe - i always recommend RailEurope's agent BETS (800-441-9413) for their expertise, great service and more important not charging some of RE's fees - in any case you have a $15 per order handling fee so that if you just take the two trips above the pass would cost a few dollars more.
Note: I've used the 50% off for companion tickets - this was the policy when i was in Germany last Sep and i think is now - check www.bahn.de to see if that price is still in effect (put in '2' travelers in box when getting price). I don't believe German passes are sold in Germany - i may be wrong.
The Hamburg train leaves right from the airport.
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Aug 17th, 2005, 06:33 AM
  #4
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Wow - you guys are fast! I don't see the 50% discount and since I'm not traveling until next summer, it won't give me a specific rate quote until 3 months prior. Seeing that I'll be traveling in World Cup cities between matches, do you advise booking in advance?
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Aug 17th, 2005, 06:49 AM
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As you don't know when your plane will actually land and what train you can catch and the fact that the 50% companion fare, to my knowledge, will end on a walk-up basis this Dec, the pass may be your best bet - it can be used on any train any time - just get on. Few trains in Germany require reservations - but in your case you may want one with football fans, etc. I'd get a first class pass and in that class you'll usually find empty seats as a walk on - most football fans i think would be in second class. But there are so many trains to chose from. You could get 50% off companion online with reservation but then be locked into that train at the airport - you could miss it unless you build in lots of time - then you may have to wait - the pass in first class may solve your problems. Pass prices may go up Jan 1, 2006, but not much - German rail fares may well go up too.
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Aug 17th, 2005, 08:21 AM
  #6
ira
 
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Hi r,

>Seeing that I'll be traveling in World Cup cities between matches, do you advise booking in advance?<

Yup. As soon as possible.

Keep in mind that if you buy railpasses, you have to purchase seat reservations.



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Aug 17th, 2005, 08:36 AM
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<Keep in mind that if you buy railpasses, you have to purchase seat reservations>
Ira's language could be confusing - you are not obligated on German trains (save a very fare ICE Sprinters you'll never be taking i believe these are the only ones save perhaps night trains) to make a reservation - he's saying that the railpass covers the train fare but doesn't guarantee a seat, to be guaranteed a seat you, with a railpass, still must reserve - take railpass to ticket window and do reservations - seems to be impossible to reserve with railpass online in Germany and most other countries - or at automatic ticket machines - have to go to window. Reservations in Germany cost just a few bucks - you could reserve thru RailEurope or agents when buying pass but then you'd pay $11 per seat plus a $15 handling fee per order. Reservations should be available readily in Germany - but in special cases like World Cup may be hard - probably not in first class. You can always board the trains in Germany without reservations but may have to stand (in which case i head for the bar car) - if you have a second-class pass and find second class jammed you can go and sit in first class and pay the difference from ordinary first- and second-class fares to the conductor onboard (find the conductor before he finds and potentially fines you to do this)- rule of thumb on European trains - if needing to buy ticket onboard find the conductor before he asks for your ticket or he could penalize you for not having ticket or the right class of ticket - in classes they usually just motion you to the other class.
Trains from the airport to Hamburg leave from the Fernbahnhof in Frankfurt Airport - there's another train station in the airport that has S-Bahn trains to Frankfurt and surrounding cities - local trains only - long-distance use the newer Fernbahnhof.
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