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Author Topic: Rail travel for Dummies  (Read 6914 times)

Schakaline

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Rail travel for Dummies
« on: 08.08.2009, 23:57:27 »

A series of long, winding write-ups to reduce the amount of questions that've come up over the year (There are no dumb questions, only abrasive answers and people who don't read the FAQs  ;D)

[0. Why the train?]

Simply speaking, the situation this year is a lot different from the past. While EF13 to EF15 were tremendously inconvenient to get to, with Suhl being literally in the back of the woods, the situation has improved a lot with EF16's new location. Plus, the central city location also means there now is parking to factor into the equation.

As an example, a rental car currently is about €50 per day - let's say you drive from Hanover to Magdeburg with it, that's about €15-€20 worth of petrol. Plus, parking at the Maritim is €19 per 24 hours... that means you're stuck with at least €80-€100 of cost. The most expensive return fare on the train is €64. Do the math.

[1. What fare should I get?]

Generally, there are two types of fares, the saver fare and the open fare. In DB nomenclature, these are respectively called Sparpreis and Normalpreis.

Saver fares
If you have been travelling by train in Germany in the past, you may remember the Dauer-Spezial. The Dauer-Spezial is now simply called Sparpreis, and generally available for any connection with a length of 101 km or more.
It is subject to availability, can be booked up to 89 days in advance and available for either €19,€29,€39,€49 or €59 per single journey, depending on the length of the journey.

The Sparpreis 25 and Sparpreis 50 offer 25% and 50% off the normal fare and require you to book a return journey. In case of the SP 50, the return leg of the journey must take place on or after the Sunday following the outbound leg. These fares, too, can be booked up to 89 days in advance and are limited in quantity.

Generally speaking, if you are aiming for a saver, book as early as you can. But beware - they are tied to a specific train, if you use a train not on your ticket, you have to pay the difference to the open fare as penalty.

Open fare

The Normalpreis is a walk-up fare and always available. If you are holder of a BahnCard or an accredited TEE Rail Alliance saver card, such as SBB or ÖBB customer cards, you can get an additional discount of 25% or 50%.
You are free to take any train you like, prices vary on what type of train your ticket is valid on.

European savers

DB offer the Europa-Spezial, a ticket tailored to travel to and from other European countries, starting at €29. Availability is subject to restrictions, and quantities are usually highly limited. For travel to the UK, there also is a fare called London-Spezial, which includes Eurostar travel starting at €49. See section 5 of this guide for further details regarding travel to and from the United Kingdom.


[2. Okay, so how do I get the tickets?]

There are various options to acquire a ticket. Generally, the easiest way is to get them online as described below. You can also get them through most travel agents, order over the phone or have them deposited for collection at a ticket machine. These options generally have an extra charge attached to them, though.

DB booking centres can be reached by dialling + 49 1805 - 996633 or +44 8718 80 80 66 from the UK.

Of course, you can always purchase the unrestricted walk-up fare at any ticket machine or travel centre at the station. In the past, this has proven to be somewhat cumbersome for our foreign guests though, as not all foreign credit cards (especially American) are accepted at the ticket machines.


« Last Edit: 20.05.2013, 19:22:16 by doco »
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Schakaline

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The Complete Idiot's Guide To Online Train Bookings
« Reply #1 on: 30.06.2010, 01:14:29 »

Outdated information has been removed.
« Last Edit: 12.09.2013, 21:18:40 by doco »
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