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Purchasing Train Tickets in Germany, Rail Passes and Boat Timetables


Sep 14th, 2016, 09:19 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2009
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Purchasing Train Tickets in Germany, Rail Passes and Boat Timetables

I've done the math and decided that its not worth it for me to buy a German rail pass during my three days of daytripping from Frankfurt while OH works (we have transportation worked out for the other parts of my trip).

That being said, I'm also hesitant to buy my tickets in advance - well, we leave in just over a week, so its not even that 'advanced' a purchase. While I'm fairly confident of the times I'll leave in the mornings to head out, I don't want to be pigeon-holed into a return time, in case I am loving/tired of what I am seeing. When I look at the DB web site, though, it doesn't appear as if you save anything buying two singles vs. one return ticket - is that correct? Other than having to buy tickets twice?

Also - if I were to get a railpass, am I reading things correctly that I could just buy one in Germany once I land? Its too late for them to mail it to me. It looks as if my point-to-point tickets would be about 40 euros less than a three day rail pass, but I'd get a discount on the KD Rhine boat with the rail pass, and there is some value in having a pass and not dealing with tickets at all. But I may have missed the (Rhine) boat on the rail pass, so maybe that is moot.

Finally, I don't speak German and the KD boats schedule is difficult to understand IMO. I'd love someone's expertise in how it runs to confirm that the red columns going from Mainz to Cologne at the top right is running the schedule in the column that starts in Mainz at 9.30, going to Boppard at 13.50. It has a header which says "daily Jul-Aug" and then underneath that says "1.9-3.10" and underneath that "Fri-Mon." I would take that to mean that those on July, August and September 1-October 3, they have an extra boat running on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. Am I reading that correctly? I find it odd it doesn't just say July 1 - October 3, though, which is whay I'm nervous. And I need that boat to be running on Monday, September 26.

Thanks in advance!
annalynn is offline  
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Sep 14th, 2016, 10:26 PM
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According to https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-help/rail-faq, German rail pass can be brought in Germany. I have never done it. I always bought is before I left when they are on promotion and the itinerary favors a pass.

However, depending on your "day trip" logistics, there are other regional passes you buy in Germany like this if you are only using local trains off hours https://www.bahn.com/i/view/GBR/en/p...overview.shtml

And finally, I would probably read that Mainz departure column this way:
On certain days, the boat leaves from Mainz instead of Rüdesheim.
Daily: July + August
Fri,Sat,Sun,Mon: Sept 1 - Oct 3.

Also unless you really like a boat ride, starting from Mainz consumes a lot of time through a ho hum section of the river. You might want to start in Bingen or Bacharach if you are on the south side of the river or Rüdesheim if you are on the north side of the river. The trains run somewhat more frequently on the south side. If you start at Rüdesheim or more downstream, no need to worry about interpreting the Mainz departure column as well as having more boat options.
greg is offline  
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Sep 15th, 2016, 06:30 AM
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 910
"I've done the math..."
You're probably right that a rail pass is overkill. But there's more to consider...

Greg gave you the DB regional day pass info which you may not have considered before. But you WILL need some help using this info to get the right (and the least expensive) tickets for day trips from Frankfurt to places outside the local transit zone (RMV.) Please be specific about the destinations you have in mind for these day trips so you can get that help.

Chances are very good that even with a firm schedule in mind, you should NOT buy in advance - that depends on your destinations and dates however.

Boats: The boat from Mainz at 9:30 runs on Monday September 26 according to the schedule. But Mainz-Bingen adds some dull cruising time. There are fewer boats leaving Mainz for this reason - people prefer to spend their time and money traveling from Bingen, where the dramatic scenery is. Suggest you travel from Bingen to Boppard instead (2.3 hours of cruising.) Also, the Mainz dock is a long trek from Mainz station...

For advice on this day's train trips: You probably will need an RMV ticket from Frankfurt to begin your day, but that depends... which boat will you use from Bingen? The 9:30, or a later boat? And what train trips do you have in mind after Boppard? Only a return to Frankfurt, or what? If I knew these things I'd be happy to point you to the right tickets.

Also... ANY valid train ticket should get you a 20% KD discount. The rail pass isn't special in that regard.
Fussgaenger is online now  
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Sep 15th, 2016, 07:35 AM
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For lots of great info on German trains and passes check www.seat61.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com.

the best part of the Rhine Gorge is between Rudesheim/Bingen and Koblenz- Mainz to Rudesheim is not that scenic and a lot of industry, etc. Take train to Rudesheim and board - making a shorter but nicer for most cruise.
PalenQ is online now  
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Sep 15th, 2016, 10:03 AM
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Trains aren't like airplanes. I've never known any rail system that gives you a cheaper price because you buy roundtrip than two singles. Maybe there are some, just never seen one. This is true in the US, also, so maybe you've never ridden a train before, but a roundtrip ticket is also just really giving you two separate tickets.
Christina is online now  
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Sep 15th, 2016, 12:46 PM
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Buying a return or roundtrip ticket doesn't bind you to a certain train leaving at a certain time. It is simply a return ON THE SAME DAY, and would save you from having to stop at the machine (or counter) a second time on the same outing.
Sure, if you might spontaneously travel ONWARD, then a RT ticket makes no sense....
mokka4 is offline  
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Sep 15th, 2016, 03:53 PM
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The rail pass isn't special in that regard.>

Until a few years ago railpasses covered the boats 100% but now only 15-20% - in any case you do not want a railpass for your travels.
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