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Rail Travel in Germany

Old May 6th, 2003, 08:13 AM
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Rail Travel in Germany

I'm trying to understand the difference between 1st and 2nd class travel on German trains. I imagine it's things like space, etc. but how significant are the differences? I believe our route will take us on the ICE mostly. Berlin > Nuremberg > Munich > St. Goar > Amsterdam.
Would 1st class be worth the cost on these particular routes?
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Old May 6th, 2003, 08:26 AM
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If you're doing it via ICE then I think there is less of a difference between 1st and 2nd...2nd tends to be a bit more crowded sometimes and that could mean a little more difficulty finding open seats if you haven't reserved in advance. On IC/EC trains that have coaches divided into the traditional European-style compartments the biggest difference is that in 1st there are 6 seats to a compartment and in 2nd usually 8 (in the same space)...
I am a big train buff and usually travel in First but I think most folks will tell you that all in all the difference in cost isn't justified.
 
Old May 6th, 2003, 08:30 AM
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Steph - look upon it the same as business vs. economy class in air travel - though less pronounced. First class rail is not as spacious as Business class air, and 2nd class rail is definitely not as cramped as economy class air. I only consider 1st class rail travel on trips over 6 hours.
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Old May 6th, 2003, 08:48 AM
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Hi Steph,
I would say: Get some information how much the difference for Berlin - Nuernberg and St. Goar - Amsterdam is.
And then decide, whether it is worth it for you.
The shorter rides I would not even consider paying the extra amount. ;-)
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Old May 6th, 2003, 09:03 AM
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Hey Steph,

I have always believed that there is tremendous difference between 1st and 2nd. I found this out last summer when we were in Germany and Austria.

The people are usually friendlier in 2nd class. The stuffy Germans, the older Germans, and the business men with cell phone chatter usually travel 1st. I have always had more fun and interaction with others in 2nd class.

Half of our group went 2nd class the other 4 of us went 1st. I went back to visit and I found second class to be comparatively run down. The seats weren't nearly as comfortable. They were smaller, dirty and stained. There isn't much difference in price to go 1st class, assuming you are using a rail pass. You might as well go with the 1st class twin pass.

Keep in mind thought that not all trains have 1st class accomodations. We were on a night train from Munich to Frankfurt and there was no first class car. I had to travel 2nd.

Alot of the shorter trains like the one we had from Cologne to Assmannshausen had no 1st class seats.

I'd go 1st class if I was you. You can always make a choice to mingle in 2nd class once you are on board.

It's going to be stinking expensive this summer anyway. The Euro has lost nearly 30% of its conversion power since Jan 2002. If you are planning to buy tickets when you get there, be careful, you'll be paying in Euro's. The exchange rate is lousy and probably won't go up before now and the summer.

It is definitely wiser to pay for as much of your trip in American dollars than in Euro dollars.



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Old May 6th, 2003, 09:30 AM
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Thank you for all of the wonderful replies. We're going to purchase the 4 day German Twin Pass, so the difference between 1st and 2nd is $60 per person. Not a ton of money, but it is $120 total, so it's enough to ponder it a bit.
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Old May 6th, 2003, 12:40 PM
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On most of the main lines, not much difference (ICE, etc.). But definitely a difference on the secondary lines. From Wurzburg to Bamberg, 2nd class was decidedly uncomfortable. But it wasn't a long journey, so no big deal. We met really nice people in both the 1st class and 2nd class cars on our trip last June.
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Old May 6th, 2003, 12:59 PM
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The only difference I have ever found in the people who ride in First (with me) and those who ride in 2nd (where I also have been seen on occasion) is this: the people in First were "different" in that they were willing to pay the higher price. And stuffy or not, I'm not planning to sleep with any of them
 
Old Jun 13th, 2003, 02:58 AM
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I was in Germany in March, used my first class pass for Frankfurt to Munich and then Munich to Zurich, on the way to Zurich the train attendant said since we go through Austria and that was not one of the 3 countries on my pass, I had to pay a fee, about $10 euros. Anyway, the first class compartment is mostly business people who completely ignore you. Next time I will buy a second class pass, oh and by the way, the trip from Zurich to Paris got in trouble for not making a reservation, well not really big trouble. Just had to pay again! There is a lot of space in first class but you can manage just fine in second class, same views.
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Old Jun 13th, 2003, 03:59 AM
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Hi Steph,

When I was young, slim and on a student budget I went 2nd cl.

Now I am older, stouter and wealthier. I go 1 cl.

That is the difference.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2003, 12:44 PM
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Well, I'm back! I have to say that it was very nice having a 1st class pass. Most of our trips were 4+ hours on the ICE trains. There really isn't much difference between 1st and 2nd on the regional or IC trains, but on the ICE trains first class has much larger, more comfortable seats. Many have video screens and music available and it's much easier to sleep because the 1st class trains are very quiet. If I were 20, I probably would have found first class boring, though.
For a rail pass, it didn't cost much to upgrade to 1st class, but if buying individual point to point tickets the price difference is significant.
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Old Jul 9th, 2003, 05:27 PM
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How is the rail travel from Munich to Berlin? How much and how long is it?
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