We will be traveling (2 adults, 2 kids) through France, Belgium & Switzerland this July. I am trying to decide if it makes sense to buy the 3-country pass, but I believe these passes require that you use the designated trains specific to your chosen countries. On our trip from Brussels to Interlaken, the fastest route seems to be a DB Bahn express through Koeln to Basel and then into Interlaken. Does anyone know if our pass would work on this train (DB Bahn trains are not specified for our chosen 3 countries)? The alternative would be to travel to Interlaken via Paris, but that adds a few hours and is less desirable. Thanks for your help!
It's not so much that it is a "DB" train but that the travel, Köln to Basel is through Germany, and Germany is not one of the countries covered by the pass. How much more would it cost for a 4 country pass? Your other alternatives, going via Paris (which you already know), or buying the trip from Brussels to Basel separately. If you purchase it separately from the Bahn website, well in advance, you can get a Europa-Spezial fare from Brussels to Basal Bad Bf for as low as €39/p. That trip would be by ICEs with a change in Köln. Basel Bad Bahnhof is inside of Basel, Switzerland, but it is a German Rail station. Since it is "part of Germany", you can get a Europa-Spezial ticket from Brussels to that station. It is only a short streetcar (or train) ride from Basel Bad Bahnhof to Basel SBB station.
Kara, you might do better with discount point to point tickets for Belgium and France, and a Swiss Saver Pass (or 2 half-Fare Cards) for travel in Switzerland. Your children 15 and under travel free in Switzerland with a Family Card which comes free with any kind of Swiss Pass or Card. Look at the chart on the Switzerland page of the railpass secion on this website to compare coverage. The Select 3-country pass hardly covers anything in th eBerner Oberland once you pass Interlaken. If you are going up the Jungfrau, the Half-Fare Card gives you the best coverage (50/%) and the children are still free.
Thank you both for your help (and quick replies)! Back to the drawing board...