HOW TO ! Buying train ticket from the machine in Germany
How to Buy Tickets for German Rail
Rail travel has become uncommon in the United States and other highly industrialized Western countries. Air travel and personal automobiles have largely replaced rail travel in those countries. However, in Europe rail travel is still a popular way to travel. The distances involved are typically shorter, so the widely available high speed rail services rival the airlines for travel time. The use of automobiles in Europe, other than on large high-speed highways like the German Autobahn, is made difficult by winding country roads, narrow city streets and a lack of parking facilities. Point-to-point rail travel tickets can be easily purchased in person and on the Internet. European countries offer a variety of rail passes that allow unlimited travel on the rail systems between adjoining countries. Use these tips to learn how to buy tickets for German rail.
Study the German Rail System
Obtain a map of the German rail system.Rail system maps are available at all train station offices and the German rail (Deutsche Bahn) Internet site. All stops served by German rail are shown on the map. The German rail system provides transportation to all major cities in Germany.
Refer to the train timetables.These timetables are given at all train station offices and the German rail pass Internet site. German rail recommends that advance reservations be made at peak times on major routes. Use the timetables to determine the importance of making an advance registration with your ticket purchase.
Familiarize yourself with the types of trains used.The German trains include the ICE (InterCityExpress), IC/EC (InterCity/EuroCity), RegionalExpress (RE), and RegionalBahn (RB) and the S-Bahn, which serves as a commuter train in many cities. The high-speed ICE is used for long, fast runs between major stops. It goes up to 300km/h (186mph). The ICE Sprinter is timed and planned for business travelers. It doesn't drives faster than normal ICEs, but it stops only at important stations. The IC goes up to 200km/h (124mph) and is less comfortable than the ICE, but also a little cheaper. RegionalExpress and RegionalBahn are short-distance trains. They both will be declared as "Regional Trains" in English in-train announcements. If you're traveling more than about 200 kilometres, you should avoid RE and RB because they aren't very comfortable and you can't make a reservation. Also RBs are often very old coaches (toilet smells terrible!). The CityNightLine provides overnight travel between Munich, Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne and Dresden.
Make Travel Arrangements
Decide on the seating class.Most German trains offer both first- and second-class passenger seating. Larger trains offer snacks and drinks to all passengers, but newspapers, power sockets, audio channels and video screens to only first-class passengers. In RE and RB the difference between 1st and 2nd class is not big. The S-Bahn does not have 1st class choaches in most cases.
- Plan to sleep through your trip. The CityNightLine trains have a variety of sleeping accommodations ranging from reclining seats to small cabins with a bed, toilet and shower.
Make reservations.Reservations are recommended on some routes. Reservations are not taken on the Interregio-Express (only in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg), RegionalExpress, RegionalBahn or S-Bahn. Reservations are optional on the ICE trains. Reservations are required on the ICE Sprinter and the CityNightLine. Reservations should be made at the time of ticketing. If you're traveling at the end or beginning of holidays (differing from state to state!), you should always make a reservation.
Choose the right ticket.You can choose between Normalpreis (standard fare) and Sparpreis (saving fare). Use Sparpreise whenever it's possible! You can save up to 63%! Sparpreise must be booked three days before you start your travel. Sparpreise always have "Zugbindung" (that means, you have to use the trains printed on your ticket. In other trains your ticket isn't valid). You can't enter another train, if you miss yours. Only if your train has a delay you are allowed to do. In this case, call the conductor of the delayed train. He has to note the delay on your ticket.
- If you're traveling only with regional trains (IRE/RE/RB/S-Bahn) you can use "Ländertickets" (State tickets, for example "Baden-Württemberg-Ticket" or "Bayern-Ticket"; valid for one day in the full state, but only in regional trains. Price: 19€ for one person, 29€ for up to 5 person). But be careful with state borders! And: Never enter a train of "Fernverkehr" (long-distance trains, ICE and IC/EC) with a "Länderticket". All Fernverkehr-trains are colored white with a red stripe. All Nahverkehr-trains (IRE, RE, RB, S-Bahn), which you're allowed to use, are colored completely red.
Purchase tickets.Tickets may be purchased by cash or credit card at any train station office, or by credit card online. Prices vary widely by route and class.
Use a Rail Pass
Get a rail pass for the German rail network only.These passes are available at any train station office or on the Internet. Prices start at about 21 Euros ( USD) and remain valid for 3 to 10 consecutive days.
Acquire a Euro Rail Pass.The Euro Rail pass comes in a variety of options that allow free travel on the rail systems of adjoining countries. Euro Rail passes provide an option for travel on the German rail system and 1 other rail system, including Austria, Benelux, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Poland or Switzerland. Information is available on the Euro Rail Internet site. Prices vary widely depending on the country and the number of consecutive days for which the pass is valid.
Tips for traveling with Deutsche Bahn (German Rail)
With a ICE- or IC-ticket of Deutsche Bahn you can use (ICE), IC/EC, IRE, RE, RB, S-Bahn.Be careful: In most cases you're not allowed to use U-Bahn (underground) and trams. If your are, on your ticket stands "+City" behind your destination.
Never enter a regional train without a valid ticket.You can't buy them in regional trains and you have to buy 40€.
QuestionIs there a price difference between booking on-line and buying at the station?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, booking online costs more.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I buy one-way tickets?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerType in the date of departure in the box on the left. In the box asking for departure station, type your starting point, then type in your destination station in the right hand box. Don't select a return date and it will recognize that you are booking a one-way trip.Thanks!
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