German train reservation needed?

Old Dec 7th, 2001, 08:21 AM
  #1  
s.fowler
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German train reservation needed?

We're landing at Frankfurt next week [a trip to Germany & Macedonia] and planning to take the train from the airport to Hannover right away. I have the schedule -- that's not my worry -- but I don't have a reservation -- should this be a problem on a weekday midday? Please tell me no
 
Old Dec 7th, 2001, 12:38 PM
  #2  
Greg
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S,

The answer is no.

G
 
Old Dec 7th, 2001, 12:46 PM
  #3  
Kay
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How about the Friday before Christmas from Berlin to Cologne and beyond--reservation needed?
 
Old Dec 7th, 2001, 08:20 PM
  #4  
s.fowler
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Anyone else out there who can help ?
 
Old Dec 8th, 2001, 02:17 AM
  #5  
Ben Haines
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S. Fowler: I see no problem. You've two routes, via Hildesheim and via Halle, so are sure to find seats.

Kay: Very risky, as that's a peak travel day. I'd book a seat. In the USA I hear that DER does well. The bookings page is http://www.der.com/rail/p2pns4/.

Please write if I can help further.

Ben Haines, London
 
Old Dec 8th, 2001, 06:11 AM
  #6  
s.fowler
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Thanks Ben.
The D-bahn site is showing ICE trains viaGottingen and Kassel-Wilhelmshohe -- these are from the long distance station at the Frankfurt airport.
 
Old Dec 8th, 2001, 11:27 AM
  #7  
Ben Haines
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Yes: that's because the website chooses the fastest (and more expensive) trains. We users of the Thomas Cook Eropean Timetable can say more.

Ben Haines
 
Old Dec 8th, 2001, 11:55 AM
  #8  
s.fowler
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I'm sure you can. The website provides other trains with changes. We are choosing intentionally to take the faster way when we are jetlagged after 9 hours in the air.
 
Old Dec 8th, 2001, 04:21 PM
  #9  
Linda
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It also appears you can book a reservation for within Germany directly on the Die Bahn site with a credit card. Just choose the train, enter your info and choose reservation only if you already have a railpass. I haven't used it, but it looked simple when I was investigating. I've read either here or on Rick Steves' that they will call or e-mail you if you request something they can't honor. Maybe doing it online you get an answer in real time--I don't know. Seems the reservation cost DM 5 for up to 2 legs when I checked. Just use this as something to check out--I can't vouch for the experience personally.
 
Old Dec 8th, 2001, 09:13 PM
  #10  
Tony
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S.Fowler.

The great majority of German rail travellers do NOT book seats, and the railway company rarely request that you do. Trains are very frequent, so you should retain maximum flexibility by not booking.
What happens if your plane is late and you miss the train you reserved on?
Not worth the hassle, except for Holiday peaks, and even then debatable.
 
Old Dec 9th, 2001, 09:47 AM
  #11  
s.fowler
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Thanks Tony -- that was the information I was seeking.
 
Old Dec 9th, 2001, 12:10 PM
  #12  
Ben Haines
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There are direct trains from Frankfurt to Berlin via Halle that involve no change of train, and are slower and cheaper thasn the ICE. The seem to me to add another string to your bow, if you arrive at the airport station and find the ICE full -- which like others I do not expect you to do.

Ben Haines
 
Old Dec 10th, 2001, 04:33 AM
  #13  
Kay
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Thanks for letting me tag along on this thread. We don't plan to make reservations for most of our train segments next week. But we plan to ride from Berlin to Cologne, take a lunch and sightseeing break, then train on to Amsterdam on the Friday before Christmas. I decided it was worth the DM 5 each for a reservation for that ride.

Indeed, we do already have our railpasses (from Rick Steves). The Die Bahn site would only let me make reservations for domestic travel, so I picked my preferred train from Berlin to Cologne and made a reseration only with my credit card. It was confirmed immediately. If we change our plans and find there are lots of seats available on other trains that day, I won't worry about the $5 I wasted as a backup guaranteed seat.

 
Old Dec 13th, 2001, 03:28 AM
  #14  
Judy
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I would just like to say that sometimes there are plenty of seats available on the train, but sometimes there simply aren't. After a flight I would not want to stand for hours, sit in the doorway, or have to constantly walk back and forth with my baggage looking for a seat.

I live in Frankfurt and travel often with the train. I recommend a reservation for the long stretches, especially during peak travel times -- christmas, weekends etc, if you are travelling in 2nd class. At these times the trains can be very full on parts of the journey which makes finding a seat difficult - especially if there are two or more of you. If you are not a smoker and are determined to to sit in non-smoking it can be even more difficult.

I think it makes things much easier just to spend the DM 5 for a reservation for longer trips. You can barely buy a drink for that in a restaurant! Consider it an insurance premium. You can get the reservation via www.bahn.de
 
Old Dec 13th, 2001, 07:58 AM
  #15  
Cheryl
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I was in Germany this time last year and worried about train reservations. I even booked fist class seats on my trips. It was a waste of time. The trains are NOT packed, rarely did I even my ticket checked, and first class on most trains is not that much better than regular class. Check at the train station when you arrive and they'll give all the needed information you need. Good luck.
 
Old Dec 26th, 2001, 02:14 PM
  #16  
Kay
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Just back--most of the trains we took in Germany Dec 17-21 were almost empty, so no reservation needed. The three that were packed were Weisbaden to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Fulda, and Wittenburg to Berlin.

The Frankfurt segments were on a Monday morning, so lots of commuters. And, in Frankfurt they were late adding the second part of the train so everyone packed onto the cars that were there on time. A German woman sitting across from us told us she had a reservation in the missing section, so she would just sit in this section until the next stop and then work it out. The three of us ending up spending an hour+ in the smoking section before the first stop.

The Berlin train was a Thursday afternoon train. We found seats in nonsmoking, just not together. We had to get people to move their belongings out of empty seats to make room for us.

Catching the trains and getting a seat wasn't a problem, but finding a place for the luggage while trying to grab a seat was difficult. The luggage areas vary from train to train and the overhead space was filled as much as the seats.

Thus, my experience seems to support the general advice--most Germans don't make reservations. Scattered open seats are usually available. If you have luggage and/or a long ride, make the small investment in a reservation so you can take your time getting your bag stowed knowing your seat is waiting.
 

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