I may be going to Köln tomorrow for a day trip and will find out last minute. I am in a small town in NRW & if I buy my tickets online on the DB app or from a ticket machine tomorrow morning, since those tickets could be on RB, RE, ICE & IC trains (there are connections), will I have the flexibility to take any train back I want same day? Or should I wait until I’m ready to return and buy that ticket from a DB machine? Thanks.
You need to tell us what small town town you are starting out from and what time you are leaving that town. Then we can give you the information you are asking for.
The cheaper day tickets for easy/flexible round trips are NOT possible with IC, ICE and other long-distance trains. You SHOULD be able to travel using only the RB, RE, etc. regional trains, and there is a way to exclude the long-distance trains at the DB site when you search for itineraries.
Not sure I understand your question. Full fare (Std) tickets are pretty flexible as far as what trains you take that day. However, you can't buy a ticket for a regional train and then use it for an IC or ICE. So if you want to have complete flexibility to choose your train, you should probably wait until you are ready to travel and know exactly what your options are.
That said, NRW is not that big. From Bielefeld to Köln, which is 'about' as far as you could travel in the NWR, an all regional connection take about 3¼ hr, an ICE one hour less. If you are willing to restrict you travel to regional trains, an NRW Schöner Tag Ticket, a regional pass for any regional trains in the NRW for a day might be your best option. It only cost 31€ and allows you unlimited use any regional train plus some other conveyances all day.
That way you buy your ticket from an automat just before you travel that day; no need to buy a ticket when you return.
The thing is, you might be traveling within the VRS, where the VRS tariff applies and a different set of options exists.
I am leaving from Iserlohn.
Either I am to take a day trip to Köln or to Münster; my story gets a little more complicated! I’m not sure which. I have been to Köln once for 2 hours about 10 years ago and that was to see the cathedral. That was it; nothing else. I had time between two trains. I thought about returning there for a day trip but then Münster was also recommended.
From Iserlohn to Münster the Westfalen tariff applies for regional trains (€18.80 each way,) but the Schöner Tag Ticket day pass (valid after 9 am ) is actually cheaper at €30.60 for the day. Covers the round trip on any sequence of regional trains you wish to use. Be sure to click the "only local transport" box to pull up regional trains only. The 9:51 departure requires only one change of train.
If you choose to depart earlier than 9 am for Cologne you'll need to purchase two one-way tickets and you'll be in the €40+ category (Schöne Fahrt ticket or Schöne Reise ticket.)
The after-9 am information above applies to your Iserlohn > Cologne trip as well - and the 9:51 train again is your friend. A 9:21 departure also exists for both trips (2 changes of train however.)
Buy these at the station from a ticket machine, or possibly by app (I've no experience with apps in this area.)
I'm not much for Köln, have you considered Wuppertal to see and ride the Suspension Monorail, in service since like 1900!
I think it’s going to be Münster and thank you for letting me know about the regional ticket. I found it on the app.
Yes I have been to Wuppertal. The suspension monorail is a great experience.
I’m now on the 09:51 RB train to Münster via Schwerte. Apparently, the 09:21 train was canceled. At Schwerte, I will change to an RE train. What is the difference between RB and RE?
I bought the day regional pass and again I thank you all very much. It is 40° and I could not be happier! I love the autumn temps!
I am so pleased that this train has both Wi-Fi coverage and working outlets! One can’t find these on suburban commuter lines out of NYC.
RB: Stops at every station along a given route
RE: The regional express trains complete their routes a bit faster by NOT stopping at the smaller stations where demand is minimal.
There is a wide variety of train equipment in both categories.