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Time needed to catch train at Frankfurt airport?

Time needed to catch train at Frankfurt airport?

Jun 5th, 2017, 12:23 AM
  #1  
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Time needed to catch train at Frankfurt airport?

We will be flying into Frankfurt (FRA) from Seattle in mid September, and catching a train from the airport to Aachen. I have changed planes at FRA, but never caught a train from there. I'm in the process of getting train tickets, so could someone with experience please give me a rough idea of how long I should allow from a scheduled 0900 arrival to get through the formalities and to the airport train station, with no checked baggage. I'm a bit creaky, so if the distances are long so will be our transit time.

Thanks
nukesafe is offline  
Jun 5th, 2017, 02:26 AM
  #2  
 
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My 2 cents:

You paid several hundred dollars for airfare.
The flights from the US often arrive 30 to 60 minutes early. Sometime they are delayed.
Usually they arrive during the morning rush hour at FRA.

You have at least 2 trains per hour from FRA to Aachen with one connection in Cologne Central.
The savings between an unrestricted ICE fare to "hop on any next train" and a restricted saver fare are appr. €55 per person for that journey.

No matter how much time you allow for the change from plane to train, chances are high that you either are stuck at the rather uninspiring airport for an hour or more because your flight arrived early. Or race through the airport because your flight was late or other things happened to catch that specific train.

In my personal comfort zone, I'd bite the bullet and buy an unrestricted ticket TO Aachen.
And a restricted saver fare ticket for the trip BACK to FRA airport.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Jun 5th, 2017, 03:37 AM
  #3  
 
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.... and there are about 3 DB ticket offices along your way from the baggage claim to the ICE train station.
neckervd is offline  
Jun 5th, 2017, 03:41 AM
  #4  
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Thanks for what sounds like good advice, Cowboy. Won't need the return fare, though, since we are flying an open jaw that returns from Paris.

One thing, though, are you sure there is always a connection in Koln? In my quick look at Trainline showed at least a couple of departures that did the trip in 1 hour 33 minutes, with no change in Cologne. Those requiring a change took around two hours, and some of them took as much as five hours. I don't mind paying extra for some flexibility, but I don't want to just jump on the next departure if it is going to take me much of the day to get to Aachen.

I'll have to do my homework and come back to see if you have any further tips.
nukesafe is offline  
Jun 5th, 2017, 06:24 AM
  #5  
 
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If you have a look at the timetable, you see that departures from Frankfurt airport to Aachen are at
6.43, 7.09, 7.43, 8.09, 8.31, 9.09, 9.43, 10.09, 10.43, 11.09, 11.43, 12.09, 13.09, 13.43, 14.09, 14.43, 15.09, 15.25, 16.43, 17.09, 17.25, 18.09, 18.43, 19.09, 19.43
and that none of these train journeys (with or without change) takes more than 2 hrs.
So, what's your problem?
neckervd is offline  
Jun 5th, 2017, 06:42 AM
  #6  
 
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Check at the website of the Deutsche Bahn (www.bahn.com/en) for the schedule. I see two connections per hour. One taking 1,5 hrs; the other 2 hrs.
tonfromleiden is offline  
Jun 5th, 2017, 06:49 AM
  #7  
 
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"One thing, though, are you sure there is always a connection in Koln? In my quick look at Trainline showed at least a couple of departures that did the trip in 1 hour 33 minutes, with no change in Cologne. Those requiring a change took around two hours, and some of them took as much as five hours. "

The 1.5 - 2 hour trips are all routed via Cologne. The shorter trips do not require a change of train there.

The 3+ hour trips you have found also travel via Cologne, but not along the same route - they instead travel to Cologne via the scenic Rhine River Valley (vineyards, small old-world towns, castles.)

http://static.panoramio.com/photos/large/78022484.jpg
https://www.uli-franke.de/wp-content...Rheinstein.jpg
http://www.bensbauernhof.com/kdboat2010a.jpg

You might want to spend your first day getting over jet-lag in one of the Rhine towns - then travel to Aachen the next morning on your high-speed train using a train-specific saver fare. Bingen, the gateway to the Rhine Valley and the best spot for taking off on a short river cruise, is less than 1 hour (and only €8 for a local train ticket) from FRA. The riverfront is long and scenic and dotted with cafes and restaurants.

https://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/me...restaurant.jpg
Fussgaenger is offline  
Jun 5th, 2017, 06:56 AM
  #8  
 
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Any chance you are flying Condor? They seem to offer free, unrestricted ICE trains to anywhere in Germany for 36 hours (approx) after arrival in FRA if booked at the time you bought the ticket, or you can add later for 29 euros. I never see this mentioned online, but I have brought it up on their fare page.
tom_mn is offline  
Jun 5th, 2017, 07:00 AM
  #9  
 
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I don't think he said there was ALWAYS a connection in Koln, just that there are some with a connection in Koln every hour or so (I don't see two an hour, but about one).

Yes, there are some direct trains every couple of hours, also.

The bottom line is there are lots of choices and you won't have to wait more than an hour or maybe 2 if you want a direct train (I do not see all the trains neckervd lists above, so I'm sure it depends on your date and day of the week, some of those do not run on weekends).

I"d recommend making a list of those you would like with 1 or 2 changes within a couple hours of your expected need, so you know their travel time and connections or not. No, I would not just get on a train without knowing where it was going.
Christina is offline  
Jun 5th, 2017, 09:38 AM
  #10  
 
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I just did FRA-Colgne-Aachen on ICE last week.

First thing, for FRA-Cologne segment, there are roughly two routes.

Fast boring route via the east of the Rhine river: Many ICE trains take this route. Some ICE does FRA-Colgne-Aachen-Brussels. Other ICE trains does FRA-Cologne, while other might do FRA-Cologne-Dortmund, etc. So some ICEs you can stay on until Aarchen, while on other ICE trains, you have to change at Cologne. This depends on your departure time.

The slow scenic route west of the Rhine river along the river: IC and other milk run trains take this route.

There are many uncertainties with FRA arrival to train. You might arrive early or you might arrive late. It might be more beneficial to have alternatives researched out with DB app fired up even while taxing at FRA. I often consult the DB app on my phone and see major traffic perturbation I change the routing. While the ICE route might be faster if everything works ok, if there are track problem, you might actually get to Aachen faster via the slow Rhine route. The key is understanding all your options relevant to the environment at hand.

If you have DB app with account loaded, you can even purchase DB tickets while taxiing to your gate if you realize that certain route is experiencing major delays.
greg is offline  
Jun 5th, 2017, 02:03 PM
  #11  
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Thank you all for the very valuable input. We will be flying Air France (code share Delta), and while I would love to take the scenic route and perhaps spend the first night somewhere wonderful, we will be frazzled, I'm sure.

Our main objective will be to get to Aachen quickly so as to be met by family and taken to their farm in Belgium to celebrate our Grand Daughter's 7th birthday. There, they will have slaughtered the proverbial fatted calf for us. (Well, not really, as they are Vegan, so perhaps they will substitute a plump pumpkin.)

Anyway, thanks for the help!
nukesafe is offline  
Jun 5th, 2017, 02:22 PM
  #12  
 
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Last I knew there were two train stations in Frankfurt Airport -the Regional Bahnhof for local trains is right in the terminals but the Fernbahnhof -long-distance station is much further on - outside the terminals -the walkways may take about 10 minutes-assuming your train leaves from Fernbahnhof so don't go into the first train station you see.
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 5th, 2017, 03:34 PM
  #13  
 
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I don't think he said there was ALWAYS a connection in Koln, just that there are some with a connection in Koln every hour or so (I don't see two an hour, but about one).

Yes, there are some direct trains every couple of hours, also.>

I just check www.bahn.de/en and could only see one direct train -dozens others change in Koln and the one direct train had a symbol to reserve a seat because it could be crowded (can always board however even if no seats and wait for some to open).

BUT I would savor a chance to build a few hours into a Cologne stopover and visit the world-renown huge Gothic Cathedral smack dab next to the main train station -put bags in luggage storage and maybe even stroll along the Rhine Ufer or esplanade along the river right under the cathedral. There are constant trains Koln to Aachen -just show up with a valid full-fare ticket and hop on.
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 5th, 2017, 09:29 PM
  #14  
 
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Are you sure that you are not flying Lufthansa? Or are you flying Delta to Paris then switching to AF to Frankfurt? Doesn't really matter, just curious. AF doesn't seem to serve Seattle in September.
tom_mn is offline  
Jun 5th, 2017, 11:01 PM
  #15  
 
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I think greg explained the options very well, just to make my first post more precise:

1. Frankfurt Airport is on the 320kph highspeed mainline to Cologne.
You have two ICE services per hour, departing FRA airport long-distance station at xx9 and xx:43 (9 and 43 minutes past the hour).

2a. Cologne to Aachen is a regular mainline, served by two regional express services per hour, leaving Cologne main station at 15 and 45 minutes past the hour. (the second train per hour actually leaves at 47 or 48 minutes past the hour).

2b. Cologne to Aachen is also served by a few Thalys trains per day with destination Paris. These have a special fare system and cannot be used (with a simple FRA to Aachen ticket).

3. In addition, you have a few ICE services per day going direct from Frankfurt to Brussels, calling at FRA airport long-distance station and Aachen.

4. In further addition you also have the old and slow scenic route along the Rhine, served by IC trains. Since you are not interested in the slow route, it will be ignored.

Your default connection from FRA airport to Aachen is the combination of 1. and 2a. It will take appr. 2 hours altogether.
If your arrival time at FRA correlates with 3. it will be a bit quicker and you won't have to change at Cologne.
Cologne is a busy but compact station, changing platforms is very easy.

In case you do not feel like a zombie after the red-eye flight, you can make a stopover in Cologne to peek into the Cathedral, just adjacent to the main station. I don't know if you are allowed into the church with big bags, though.

The unrestricted ticket for €83 - which you can print at home in advance if you want - is good for all the combinations (except 2b., as mentioned before).
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Jun 6th, 2017, 12:21 AM
  #16  
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Thanks again for the further clarifications. If I get us lost now I have grown even dottier than my Wife says.

No, Tom, we are flying Air France, but it is a code share with Delta, so it will be Delta equipment. Best of both worlds as we will be able to use the Delta lounge in Atlanta for our layover between flights going over, and use the Air France lounge in CDG coming back. That, BTW, is the nicest lounge I have ever used; made to order omelettes, etc.

We have visited my Son before, so we know both Cologne and Aachen pretty well. At least we have seen the major sites, so we will not be doing a sightseeing stop at either town. The whole idea is to get this octogenarian to the farm, in the midst of family, so we can kick back and perhaps give our Grand Daughter some memories. We have not seen her since she was really little, and I want her to hopefully have at least a brief recollection in her memory banks of having met the American side of her heritage.
nukesafe is offline  
Jun 6th, 2017, 05:57 AM
  #17  
 
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I see. If I were flying Delta SEA>>ATL, Delta ATL>>FRA and Delta CDG>>SEA I would not have said, "We are flying Air France...."
tom_mn is offline  
Jun 6th, 2017, 06:27 AM
  #18  
 
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I don't think anyone actually answered your question. I'd allow at least an hour to get to a train. So if there's a 10:09 departure, and your arrive at 9am, that's the one I'd book. I transferred from plane to train in late March, and I think we managed in 45 minutes, but there were no lines in passport control because we arrived very early and a checkpoint had just opened. There were longish lines to buy train tickets, so I think you are much better off if you have a nonrestricted ticket in hand and don't have to buy one.

It's not a long walk to the train station if you are coming into the main terminal, but you are coming in from Terminal 2, so it's likely going to be farther (plus you're arriving at almost the busiest time of the day).
doug_stallings is offline  
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