Anyone have any insider information about traveling on trains in Austria, specifically on the legend for the OBB travel timetables? I'm researching buying some individual point-to-point tickets (3 to be specific) and can't find much on the differences between "R," "REX," "ICC," etc...I've never traveled in Austria and would grately appreciate ANY thoughts/advice/suggestions on this (or anything else train related in Austria). The OBB website doesn't give too much additional info on what means what... Please help! Thanks!
As far as I can make out the types of train in Austria are: RJ: RailJet - Austrian high-speed train ICE: German high-speed train IC: Inter-city - traditional express train EC: Eurocity - traditional express train operating across international borders D: Traditional express train EN: Euronight - overnight international express train REX: Regional Express - faster local trains R: Regional - slow trains in rural areas
S; S-Bahn - slow trains in suburban areas Mostly the differences are subtle and fairly irrelevant, but the important bit is that the first group of trains above will usually allow reservations and have significant discounts if you book ahead. The second group of trains above don't.
But Austria has the "Einfach Raus" ticket which is an all-day on off pass for regional trains. It cost 32€, can be purchased for that price the morning of travel, and is valid for 2-5 (not for one. STUPID!) people traveling together.
Lee means it's stupid the Einfach Raus can't be used by just one person. I like using passes whenever possible. The trains are a little slower and stop at each station but the on-off at will feature makes them easy to use. Speaking of on-off. Don't expect long train stops. Expect to be ready to board or get off the train right when it stops. Even though a train will stop for as much as a few minutes in a large station, a normal stop at a small town goes quickly. If you wait till the train stops to make your way to the door, you will miss your stop. One other point to add, most small towns (or anything out of the way) will likely be served by only the slower regional trains. If you can't find a fast train somewhere, chances are you need to stop nearby and switch to a regional for the last leg.
It is also possible to use Westbahn train service for the route between Salzburg and Vienna. Modern, fast trains; you buy the tickets on board and prices are comparable to OeBB tickets bought in advance. OeBB tix bought on the day, however, will be at least double the cost of Westbahn.