$15 reservation charges on trains, even with Eurail Pass??

For my 6 week trip this spring, I planned to purchase a Eurail Global pass thinking that economically, it was my most beneficial option. However, a friend of mine that did the same last year told me that she was surprised to find there was a $15 reservation charge EVERY TIME she booked a trip, and that you HAVE to make reservations.

Does this sound accurate? If so, it certainly effects the economical value of the pass, and also changes the amount of flexibility I believed it allowed.

Thank you!

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
11257 posts

Somewhat true, but it depends on the country and the class of train. Rick shows a table of reservation fees, here.

In some countries, Italy, for instance, the fastest trains (EuroStar) are considered premium trains and require a surcharge to use them with a pass. Tickets for those trains come with reservations, which you get with the passholder surcharge ($15?). They call those "reservations". However, the seat reservations with an IC (InterCity) are not required and are nominal priced. Slower, local trains aren't reservable. You can ride all of those you want with just the railpass.

In Germany, seat reservations are only required on a handful of fast trains (e.g., ICE Sprinters) and are a nominal €11,50 per seat (2nd cl. €16,50, 1st cl.). On other express trains, seat reservations are sometimes advised, but not required, and are €4,50 (2nd cl, €5,50 1st cl.). Again, local trains never require reservations.

For Thalys (Paris, Brussels, Köln, Amsterdam), which are considered premium trains, the surcharge is quite high and comes with a seat reservation. Seat reservations for ICs in those countries are nominally priced.

Reservations are less expensive in Europe or on the Rail company's websites than from a reseller like RailEurope.

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
11257 posts

With all due respect to our benefactor, that cost and time map is very inaccurate, particularly with respect to Germany. First, for any country, it computes the cost in US$, which depends on the exchange rate, which varies constantly. Secondly, for Germany, it gives the price for only the fastest trains, and then only full fare.

First, use the German Rail website and see the fares and times for slower means of transportation (click, for instance, "without ICE"). Second, see my webpage for discounted fares, which can save significantly over the fares shown on that map.