Questions about train trip in Germany

May 23rd, 2007, 08:43 PM
  #1  
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Questions about train trip in Germany

We plan to arrive at the Munich airport on June 2 and leave Cologne for Brussels on June 7, 2007. Our group consists of father, mother, son (22 years old) and daughter (15 years old). We will spend three nights in Munich, and one night each in Karlsruhe and Cologne. We already have reservations for hotel rooms.

We expect to travel by train through Germany, using the Happy Weekend and the Laender passes. We need information on the logistics of buying and using these tickets.

This is our train travel itinerary:

Sunday, June 3:
1. Travel from Munich to Dachau on the S-Bahn.
2. Proceed to Nuremberg by train after touring the camp. Go to the Nuremburg trials courtroom, and visit the city.
3. Return to Munich in the evening.

Tuesday, June 5:
Travel from Munich to Karlsruhe.

Wednesday, June 6:
Travel along the Rhine River from Karlsruhe to Cologne.

Thursday, June 7:
Travel from Cologne to Brussels.

Questions
General: Can we purchase all of our Germany train tickets at the Munich Hauptbahnhof?

Sunday, June 3
Happy Weekend ticket for trip to Dachau and Nuremburg from Munich:
Can we travel from Dachau to Nuremberg, or will we have to return to Munich, then go to Nuremburg?

Laender tickets for travel through Germany:
Are the tickets listed below the ones required?
Should we make reservations on any of the trains?

Tuesday, June 5
Munich to Karlsruhe – One Bavaria ticket and one Baden-Wurttemberg ticket?

Wednesday, June 6
Karlsruhe to Cologne along the Rhine – One Baden-Wurttemberg ticket and one North Rhine-Westphalia ticket? (plus Hesse ticket or Rhineland Palatinate ticket?)

Thursday, June 7
Cologne to Brussels – One North Rhine-Westphalia ticket, plus 4 point-to-point tickets, to the Germany-Belgium border, or to Brussels?

Special Belgium question: Does the Eurostar ticket (leaving Brussels for London at 11:59 am on June 7) provide train travel in Belgium on June 6? Any information you can offer concerning the Cologne to Brussels transportation requirements would be appreciated.

Also, what is the best type of ticket to purchase for local transportation in Munich on Saturday, June 2 (from the airport and around the city) and Monday, June 4.

One final question – is there any reason to purchase Youth Cards for our son and daughter?

Thank you for your help.
texanne is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 12:27 AM
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You have a lot of detailed questions!

>General: Can we purchase all of our Germany train tickets at the Munich Hauptbahnhof?

Most of them. Not the ones for local transporttion in, say, Cologne. Also the Länder-Tickets are better to be bought as you go since they come out of the machine with a date-stamp and are only valid for the stamp day. Better invest 5 min before the travel on the respective day and buy them with the defaupt option (valid on the day of buying) than play around with the machine. At the conter, the Länder-Tickets cost 2 Euro more.

>Can we travel from Dachau to Nuremberg, or will we have to return to Munich, then go to Nuremburg?

www.bahn.de will answer that better than me. For some connections yes, for others no.
Use "only local transport" option when you know that you are travelling with a BT.

>Munich to Karlsruhe – One Bavaria ticket and one Baden-Württemberg ticket?

Yes, but it is a very long trip on local trains.

>Karlsruhe to Cologne along the Rhine – One Baden-Wurttemberg ticket and one North Rhine-Westphalia ticket? (plus Hesse ticket or Rhineland Palatinate ticket?)

Yes - which of the latter, you can determine when you know the route you take. Though with three Länder-Tickets you can as well consider buying normal tickets and getting a more comfortable trip on an IC or ICE train.
Or can you do this trip on a weekend day?

>One North Rhine-Westphalia ticket, plus 4 point-to-point tickets, to the Germany-Belgium border, or to Brussels?

Certainly not to Brussels. Also, the cross-border connections from Aachen to Belgium are a bit sketchy, with a local train from Aachen to Welkenraedt or Liege and an InterCity train from there. You will have to spend a lot of time in cafe´s near rail stations.

Alternative is a local city bus from Aachen to Eupen which is the end point of IC trains to Brussels. But it is slow as well.
altamiro is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 01:02 AM
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Here is a perhaps better link for the GermanRail site:

http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en

There are some regional express trains which can take you directly from Dachau to Nurnberg as Altamiro has suggested.
Dukey is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 06:06 AM
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Thank you for your responses, altamiro and Dukey –

The detailed questions come from working on the train issues of our trip for quite a while. I have not been very successful in learning to use the train schedule sites.

I had hoped to use the Laender tickets to save money, and also thought the regional trains might give us more time to see the countryside between cities. Isn’t another advantage of the Laender tickets that they include local transportation as well?

How much time is involved in the “very long trip on local trains” from Munich to Karlsruhe?

Unfortunately, we cannot travel from Karlsruhe to Cologne on the weekend. I will take a look at buying “normal tickets.”

texanne is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 06:12 AM
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you've obviously considered the German railpass and dismissed it. But at just $160 for 4 days/1 mo for folks under 26 with extra days at $14/day! and adults twin at $173 for 4 days out of a month with extra days $21/day - and you can forget all about Lander Tickets weekend ticket restrictions etc and probably not spend much more money for the convenience.
PalenQ is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 06:20 AM
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Thank you for your comment, PalenQ -

By my calculations, we would spend about half by using the Laender tickets instead of the German railpass. But, you may be right - the inconvenience may cost us more than we save.
texanne is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 06:23 AM
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Anway in Germany in January and saw that you can book Lander Tickets on the automatic machines in stations but only the newer models and not the older ones that seem only to have the local Lander ticket on them. But in Berlin i could have bought a Bavarian ticket for ex. Probably same with Weekend thing.
PalenQ is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 06:24 AM
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The day passes include local transport down to S-Bahn (but not bus or U-Bahn). German Rail Pass works on all of 'em.

When you use the DB schedule page tinyurl.com/4l5nt, select Means of transport: Without ICE/IC/EC and you will see just how restricted the day passes are. No travel before 9AM Mon-Fri, and no high-speed intercity services.

Using slow trains, the Munich-Karlsruhe trip will take a minimum of about five hours - and since you can't leave before 9 o'clock, the earliest you can arrive is at 14:38.

I suggest you price out individual tickets vs. 4-day Twin Pass and Youth Passes for the kids. The Rhine cruise is included in the passes.

Your Karlsruhe-Cologne trip misses the most scenic part of the river between Ruedesheim and Boppard. Start further south and finish the ride to Cologne by train. The Lower Rhine (from Koblenz on down) is mostly industrial yards - with a few exceptions like Linz and Koenigswinter.
Robespierre is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 06:25 AM
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>I had hoped to use the Laender tickets to save money, and also thought the regional trains might give us more time to see the countryside between cities.

OK, though IMO most difference is that you will see the platforms of a lot more stations. But it is much cheaper indeed.

>Isn’t another advantage of the Laender tickets that they include local transportation as well?

Again, yes, but in many cases the costs would not be high anyway.

>How much time is involved in the “very long trip on local trains” from Munich to Karlsruhe?

Between 5 and 6 hours.

>Unfortunately, we cannot travel from Karlsruhe to Cologne on the weekend. I will take a look at buying “normal tickets.”

Use Koblenz as a "Via" station or you will be routed over the high-speed line.
altamiro is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 06:31 AM
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Texanne,

This is one of the factors which should, I think, should be factored into the choice of tickets, special price tickets, and rail passes BEFORE the final decision is made and I'm glad you are considering all the options ahead of time.

Some people seem to forget that frequently time IS money and saving some time and addind convenience and flexibility is worth the additional costs.

To your question about Munich-Karlsruhe which Altamiro has answered...

to use the fastest connections the journey time would vary between 3Hrs 13 minutes with no changes to 3 hrs 56 minutes with two changes;

to use only regional trains the journey time would vary between 5 hours and 34 minutes with either three or four changes to 6 hours and 2 minutes with 3 changes.

The question is ALWAYS the same: is it worth it?
Dukey is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 06:49 AM
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The railpass would pay the K-D boat ride Rhine thing in full - does Lander, think not - factor that in.
PalenQ is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 07:03 AM
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Thank you for joining the discussion, Robespierre.

I hadn't considered a Rhine boat ride - figured we'd see enough from the trains. But, that might be a nice addition.

When you say start further south than Karlsruhe to see more of the pretty part of the Rhine, what city would that be?
texanne is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 07:14 AM
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By far most scenic part of Rhine lies between Bingen/Rudesheim and Koblenz, about a 2-hr cruise thru the Rhine Gorge and by the legendary Lorelei Cliff of the sirens and sailors' myth.

the river around Karlsrhue is industrial as is Koblenz-Cologne largely.
PalenQ is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 07:14 AM
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www.k-d.com for boat schedules - a highlight of a German trip for many
PalenQ is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 07:43 AM
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Thank you, PalenQ -
I feel myself weakening. Buying German railpasses sounds like a good idea. I haven't seen the $160 youth twin price, though.

Plus, thanks to all of you for the information concerning the duration of the train trips.

If we do buy railpasses, do we need to make reservations?
texanne is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 08:06 AM
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check prices at www.budgeteuropetravel.com - they have current prices and reviewing them i mistakenly said $160 but you're right youth pass is $192 for 4 days with extra days $14/day. two adults can get a Twin Pass at $173 so the Twin Pass would be cheaper for them than the solo youth pass. Sorry but $13 more only so doesn't change dynamics much. I always recommend Budget Europe above for their expertise and great customer service. Prices are the same however only shipping and handling costs can vary. www.ricksteves.com also has good info on German rail travel.
PalenQ is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 08:07 AM
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>the river around Karlsrhue is industrial as is Koblenz-Cologne largely.

Around Karlsruhe and Cologne, yes. But around Koblenz the river is not industrialized (except one nuclear power station)

>If we do buy railpasses, do we need to make reservations?

No, you don´t - but you can on long-distance trains. In fact, on Friday and Sunday afternoons you should reserve seats or you may end up standing. At least if you travel 2nd class - in 1st you ALWAYS have enough free seats.
altamiro is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 08:15 AM
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highwall - you're right about Koblenz to Bonn being not industrial. Andernach, Remagen (bridge fame) are on the way - i do know this by having ridden a bicycle along this stretch of Rhine about 20 times when i had a company that did bike trips along the Rhine and Mosel -long ago. Do remember the nuke plant. Yes though not industrial not nearly as remarkable as Bingen-Koblenz as there is no gorge, just flat river banks largely. You're right - i'm guilt of lumping it all in. Bonn-Cologne is notoriously industrious - especially the Bayer plant area and the Ford plan near Cologne - but to me even those are interesting.
PalenQ is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 08:19 AM
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>especially the Bayer plant area and the Ford plan near Cologne - but to me even those are interesting.

To me too - I spent three days being interviewed at the former
altamiro is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 08:25 AM
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not to hijack thread any further but think OP got the info.

I always enjoyed riding my bike right thru each works - well at least right in front of them. kind of highlight of route for me.
PalenQ is offline  

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