German Rail Pass

Mar 21st, 2007, 09:38 AM
  #1  
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German Rail Pass

We will be taking the train from Berlin to Dresden,an overnight from Dresden to Koln, a day trip from Koln to Dusseldorf,up the Rhine from Koln to Koblenz, then to Cochem, from Cochem to Bacharach with a boat trip, and finally from Bacarack to Frankfurt and a car or bus to the Romantic Road and end up in Munich.

Does it pay to get a rail pass for this kind of travelling? If so how do you get it?

Thanks ,
Millie
milliebest is offline  
Mar 21st, 2007, 09:54 AM
  #2  
 
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Yes most definitely for this wide-ranging itinerary - you save lots.

Twin passes are two names on one pass - cheaper than two single passes.

good on K-D boats on Rhine and Mosel as well.

check ordinary fares at www.bahn.de - in euros and you'll see how good a value this pass is for your trip as opposed to buying tickets at stations as you go along.

Prices are universal - mailing, handling fees can vary. I always recommend BETS (www.budgeteuropetravel.com; 800-441-2387 for their expertise in my long history of buying thru them and there lack of the usual $15 handling fee; ask for their free European Planning & Rail Guide that has a good chapter on rail travel in Germany with a map) and www.ricksteves.com has a lot of good info on railpasses and rail travel. You can also check out www.euraide.com, who also is good on German rail.
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 27th, 2007, 11:13 AM
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You could do the Romatic Road bus Romantic Road bus as well and with the pass you get a 60% discount off the ordinary fare but you don't need to use a day of travel on your German railpass. (If it's 100% covered like K-D Rhine boats you use a day but if it's a discount you do not.)
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 27th, 2007, 11:26 AM
  #4  
 
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Hello Millie:

I second the outstanding advice that PQ provides. I spoke with BETS just this morning and found a very relaxed, extremely well informed gent to answer my questions fully, but without any selling pressure whatsoever. He suggested that he send the rail guide that PQ speaks of. BTW, we are doing something of the reverse of your trip this Fall. Looking forward to your report. Gradyghost
gradyghost is offline  
Mar 28th, 2007, 07:09 AM
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For K-D boat schedules: www.k-d.com

For Romantik Road buses www.deutsche-touring.com... also for the Castle Road bus Heidelberg-Rothenburg which i feel is far more scenic a route, along the lovely Neckar Valley than is the Romantik Road bus route.
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 29th, 2007, 07:02 AM
  #6  
 
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Another slight perk of the German railpass is that you can use it on S-Bahns, commuter and city centre train lines that lace cities like Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Frankfurt, etc.

Though you have to use a day of travel on the flexipass - and you would not just to ride the S-Bahns unless you weren't using the full minimum 4 days, it can be useful after you use the pass to arrive in a city like Berlin.

I recently used a railpass to get to Berlin then rode several S-Bahns, short rides, the rest of the day. Those this amounts to only a few euro savings, it's another factor with the pass.

If taking an overnight train after 7pm then the next day is your unlimited travel day and say when you get to Berlin or Munich in the morning you can ride the S-Bahns all the next day free.

In Munich a key S-Bahn line runs from the main station to the MarienPlatz heart of town and out to places like the airport and Dachau.

In Berlin the elevated S-Bahn line that runs thru the heart of Berlin is a great way to see the overview of the city as it passes many famous sights.
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 29th, 2007, 07:45 AM
  #7  
ira
 
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Hi M,

You can price your trains at www.bahn.de.

Look for discount fares.

ira is offline  
Apr 4th, 2007, 07:12 AM
  #8  
 
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About S-Bahns and German railpass or any pass valid in Germany - in Berlin the fine print says passes are good only on S-Bahn lines linking mainline rail stations.

But recently i asked several times at info counters and they said passes were good on all S-Bahn lines, like they are i believe in all German towns with S-Bahns (not on U-Bahns)

This would only matter to someone arriving in Berlin who wants to use S-Bahns the rest of the day - it would never be smart use of a pass to use a day of travel for just S-Bahns as you can get a day pass for about 6-7 euro for unlimited S- and U-bahns and buses and some boats.

If taking an overnight train to Berlin where your unlimited travel day would be the day of arrival you could thus use any S-Bahn for the whole day.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 4th, 2007, 08:57 AM
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PalenQ,

the DB website says that the German Rail pass gives you free travel on K-D boats. It doesn't indicate if that is using a day of the rail pass. The K-D website doesn't say anything about free travel, but it does say that you get a 20% discount with a valid German Rail pass. It implies you just have to show it to get the discount.

The only way I can justify both statements is, as I think you indicated, that, if you are using the rail pass THAT day, you get unlimited use of the boats as well as the trains, but in the process you are using a day of the rail pass. (That is one day for both the trains and the boats, not an extra day for the boats.) However, if you don't want to use a day of the railpass, you can still show the rail pass and get a 20% discount off the boat fare.

Is that the way you understand it? Has anyone confirmed it?
Larryincolorado is offline  
Apr 4th, 2007, 09:31 AM
  #10  
 
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Am I reading the K-D schedules correctly? It appears that the only boats leaving Cochem for Koblenz do so at 3:40 PM, getting into Koblenz at 8:00 PM. There are no boats leaving Koblenz for Bacharach until the next morning.

Is milliebest planning on this being a two day trip, using 2 days of the rail pass?

Or am I reading the wrong schedule?
Larryincolorado is offline  
Apr 4th, 2007, 11:52 AM
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Larry: there has for years been but one daily boat about May-Sep between Koblenz and Cochem - leaving Ko around 9am and returning like you say.

As for the 100% vs 20% on K-D boats - i had never heard about the 20% so this is a mystery to me.

2 years ago i rode the boats with a Eurailpass (same as German Pass i thought but may be different) and was 100% - but could have had the 20% option perhaps.

2007 eurail map still indicates the boats are covered 100% if you use a day, says nothing i believe about 20%

but you're right on short trips 20% may be better than using a day on a pass - especially a Eurail flexipass. As extra days on German passes are a mere $21 on 2nd cl Twin may not be - and if you're not using the 4 minimum you'd use a day anyway.

But interesting and i'll try to find out and if you do tell me.

Yes milliebest would have to take a train to Koblenz then transfer to the boat dock about a mile from the station.

Prost! or whatever they say.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 4th, 2007, 03:08 PM
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On the K-D website, under River Cruises > Scheduled cruises > Fares, it says, "At each KD landing stage you will receive a 20% discount off the KD schedule tariffs when you present a valid German Rail ticket." Come to think of it, that might just mean a p-p ticket, not necessarily a pass.
Larryincolorado is offline  
Apr 4th, 2007, 04:54 PM
  #13  
JN
 
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Millie,
To see if a pass is the best way to go, try Railsaver.com---simply enter your itinerary and other requested information, then click "only if a pass saves me money" and you'll get a pretty decent indication of whether to purchase a pass and, if so, what kind of pass to buy.
JN is offline  
Apr 5th, 2007, 06:13 AM
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Larry - yes must mean regular tickets it seems. Formerly rail tickets for trains along the stretch of river the boats run on were accepted for free boat passage - i.e. train tickets were valid for any boat portion as well. Now it's 20% only - but this seems to be something different - any German rail ticket you have to get to the boat it sounds qualifies. In any case 20% off boat fares is not all that much.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 5th, 2007, 07:56 AM
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I would not be surprised if K-D opts out of the free or 100% coverage of boats with railpasses valid in Germany though this 'perk' has been around for decades now.

But so was the Romantik and Castle Road buses 100% covered until a few years back when it became a 60% discount (which could be better on a Eurailpass because it may be cheaper at 60% off than using a day on a pass). Apparently this change came when DB i guess sold its interest in the company Deutsche-Touring that runs the Castle and Romantik road buses.

Similarly the German railpass formerly also 100% covered boats on the Main river near Frankfurt but now give no discount even.

So it wouldn't surprise me if the K-D boats opt out at some point but who knows the publicity of them being free is a great boon to sales of these railpasses perhaps.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 5th, 2007, 10:10 AM
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The Eurail website (www.eurail.com, NOT RailEurope) says that the Eurail group is "owned by a number of train- and ship operating companies, known as Eurail the Eurail members." The site doesn't say who these members are. It might be just the members that offer the free travel to Eurail passholders, in which case K-D would be a member and would have to get out in order to stop offering the free use. They might not want to lose the exposure they get by being a member.

Although undoubtedly a member of the Eurail Group, German Rail does not market its national passes through Eurail, so I don't know what the relationship between German Rail and K-D might be.
Larryincolorado is offline  
Apr 5th, 2007, 02:56 PM
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Rail passes vs. point to point - How good is RailPass.com?

There is only one accurate way to determine which is more economical, a railpass or point-point tickets. It requires some hard work researching the various fares, but it gets you a real answer.

Rail pass is a good solution for those too lazy or without the knowledge to do a complete analysis, but it often gets the wrong answer. The biggest problem with RailPass.com is that it assumes that you only want to travel by the most expensive way. It ignores other means of transport, no matter how much they might save you. It also ignores (doesnít know about) less expensive, promotional fares that are available.

Case in point, I input Milliebestís first four days (I assumed that they wanted to go to Cochem via Koblenz the last day, not just to Koblenz. So, the itinerary I gave RailPass was Berlin to Dresden, Dresden to Köln by night train, day trip from Köln to Düsseldorf and back, Köln to Cochem. RailPass said I should buy a 4 day German Rail Twin Pass for $338. Although that is the price of the pass, there would also have to be a reservation for the night train. Railpass.com would not tell me the price of the reservations unless I commited to buy them from Railpass. However, I found the price from the rail company itself at www.nachtzugreise.com. Itís probably less than what RailPass would charge. For two people in a double sleeper, the reservations cost €100 ($134 today). So, the total price of the rail pass and reservations is $472.

OK, so what is the point-point cost for someone with some knowledge of German Rail ticket costs? The standard fare ticket for two from Berlin to Dresden is €68. You could make it €51 by faking a SparPreis RT, but I wonít go there. If you order the night train tickets in advance from Nachtzug Reise, you can get the same double sleeper for the SparNight fare of €158; thatís the complete price, not just the reservations. For the day trip to Düsseldorf, you could use a Nordrhein-Westfalen SchönerTag Ticket for €29,50. That would take you all over NRW, but if you are just going to Düsseldorf round trip, Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Sieg offers a Preisstufe 5ü Regio Tages Ticket for €23. Lastly, for the trip to Cochem, you purchase in advance in Köln a Rheinland-Pfalz Ticket for €25 and two local tickets from Köln to Bonn, the beginning of the validity area for the RLP Ticket, for €6,30 pP. Thatís €37,60 from Köln to Cochem. Total is €68,00 + 158,00 + 23,00 + 37,60 = €286,60, $384 at todays exchange rate.

So, you would pay almost $100 more by taking Railpass.comís advice.

The trip from Berlin to Dresden is by IC, the fastest way. The night train is exactly the same train and accommodations that you would take with a railpass. The VRS Regio Tages Ticket allows you to use all the transport in the Verkehrsverbünde, such as U-bahns or streetcars, not just the S-bahn usable with the rail pass. With the RLP ticket, you would have to go by regional train from Köln to Cochem instead of possibly ICs. That would add 40 minutes to the trip.

The SparNight fares are non-exchangeable and non-refundable, but because night trains often sell out well in advance, you probably wouldnít be able to exchange them anyway.
Larryincolorado is offline  
Apr 6th, 2007, 06:08 AM
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ttt
PalenQ is offline  

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