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USNR May 8th, 2009 02:21 PM

German railway tickets
Friends in Europe bought railway tickets for us including reservations, made Xerox copies, sent us copies over the internet, then mailed the tickets and reservations receipts to us. Problem: they used the wrong address. The documents are lost...somewhere.

If we talk to the customer service desk in our German departure city, show them our copies of tickets and reservations, will German Rail let us get aboard? Help -- we are stumped.

altamiro May 13th, 2009 02:54 AM

A copy of a ticket is not a ticket.

As a rule your tickets are gone. But the staff may accept them, cancel the tickets and issue you new ones. This would be easier with standard tickets than with some advance purchase specials.

GeoffHamer May 13th, 2009 06:34 AM

German stations don't have barriers or check-in desks, so you can board almost any train whether or not you have a valid ticket.
The problem with lost tickets is that anyone who finds the ticket could then use the ticket or claim a refund. It they are standard tickets, they would be refundable and valid on lots of trains. If they're cheap advance tickets, they would be valid only on the specified train in the reserved seats, so it should be easy to verify that the ticket is not being used by anyone else.

Hans May 13th, 2009 07:17 AM

I don't know all of the byzantine prizing systems of the German railway but I doubt that any ticket is only valid on a reserved seat. The reservations are normally just an add on and if you find a different seat or want to go to the restaurant, you're free to do so.

So normal tickets are like cash - anyone who has them can use them. That makes refunds difficult, I fear. But asking for a refund doesn't cost anything.

GeoffHamer May 13th, 2009 07:28 AM

Hans, many railways now offer cheap advance tickets for long train journeys. They can be much cheaper than standard tickets because they have limited availability and are only valid in a specified seat on a specified train (you are allowed to leave your seat to go to the bar or the toilet, of course). If you have one of these and, for example, miss the train, you need to buy another ticket to travel on another train. These tickets are generally not refundable.

A normal ticket can be used by anybody and gives the right to a refund, so is much like cash.

traveller1959 May 13th, 2009 01:06 PM

It depends on the type of ticket.

If it is one of those stone-age paper tickets (the format is the third of a letter), it is lost (your postman can use it). Copies and receipts are worth nothing.

If it is an online ticket (format is like a letter with a barcode in the right top corner) then it must be validated by your credit card and the copy is as good as the original (it is of no use for your postman because he has not your credit card). But in this case there was no need for your friend in Europe to purchase it because you can buy such a ticket from every internet terminal in the world within a few seconds.

Palenque May 13th, 2009 01:29 PM

Call the Bahn, German Railway's English phone assistance number: 011/49.1805.141514 and see if they can help

USNR May 13th, 2009 02:45 PM

Thank you! All of you have been so helpful -- we are most grateful.

altamiro May 14th, 2009 04:24 AM

>They can be much cheaper than standard tickets because they have limited availability and are only valid in a specified seat on a specified train

Well, the "specified train" is right but you can still sit within this train wherever you like (in the right class of course)

USNR May 14th, 2009 05:12 PM

End of the story. You won't believe it. But the envelope containing the undamaged tickets turned up today! Kudos to the postal service!

lavandula May 14th, 2009 07:48 PM

Yay, I love happy endings!

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