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Am I Understanding the Fares at Rail Europe?

Please advise me and excuse my ignorance :) When I go to
Rail Europe and type in a sample route, such as Amsterdam to Paris, and I check the box that says "has a rail pass," then the $21 fare that pops up must be paid along with my Eurrail pass?

Posted by
6898 posts

There are certain reservation fees and other charges (i.e. night train sleepers) on the faster and inter-country trains that are not covered by your pass.

Posted by
4132 posts

Those are reservations fees, plus a hefty commission to Rail Europe (more than half, I think).

Reservations are required on some trains, optional on others, and are in addition to what you pay for either a ticket or a pass.

You can cut out the commission if you make your reservations in Europe or if you can navigate the different European web sites.

Posted by
19118 posts

Make sure you really need a railpass. Often point-point tickets are less than a day of your railpass, particularly considering the promotional fares that you can get online and the reservation/passholder fees they tack on with a railpass. Many national rail companies (SNCF, DB, etc) allow you to reserve your seat with an online purchase, but sometimes make it more difficult with a pass.

Posted by
8700 posts

Thalys trains (Amsterdam-Paris) charge a special passholder's fare which is more than a simple reservation fee.

Click on the Railpasses tab at the top of the page you're reading now and you'll find a link to a breakdown of all the reservation fees, passholder fares, and supplements (for night trains) that passholders have to pay.

Thalys has just started offering an advance purchase single (one-way) fare of 25€ between Amsterdam and Paris (and other select cities). Book this fare, called Mini, at www.thalys.com up to 90 days in advance. Book ASAP to have the best chance of getting this fare.

Posted by
4132 posts

Tim, suppose someone wanted to score one of these fares (or any other) to enter France from Amsterdam. Could they arrange to pick up the ticket in the Netherlands? Print tickets at home? What?

I have tried to follow the online booking process to see what would happen and always end up at a web site that is entirely in Dutch.

Posted by
8700 posts

Adam, If you go to thalys.com and choose France as the country in which you want to pick up your tickets AND choose English as your language AND find either a Smilys fare or a Mini fare, everything will stay in English and you can print your own tickets.

If you're going to be in France before traveling from a point in the Netherlands back to France on a Thalys train and you can only get a standard fare, everything will stay in English and you can choose to pick up your ticket at a SNCF station in France.

However, if you choose to pick up a standard ticket in the Netherlands, then you know what happens. The site switches to Dutch. So if you can only get a standard ticket, you could simply wait and buy it in the Netherlands rather than struggling with the Dutch.

Posted by
47 posts

Thanks for your help everyone; I'm off to do some research per your advice and will update soon :)

Posted by
18 posts

I bought tickets from paris to brussels using the sncf website. I paid the mini one way fare, 25 euros, and printed my ticket at home! The only thing is that it uses up a lot of black ink!

Posted by
47 posts

Tim and Lynne

I'm trying to buy a Thalys ticket from AMS to PAR for 25 euro on the minifare; however, with a minifare it won't let me print at home. It says I have to pick up the ticket in person. Like mentioned above, when I go to the option to pick up the ticket in Amsterdam, it switches to the Dutch website. So that means that to stay in the English website, I have to pick France as my pickup option. But I won't be in France, I'll be picking up in Amsterdam. Help!

Posted by
9105 posts

I just went to the Thalys website (www.thalys.com), entered Amsterdam to Paris, selected a mini fare, told the site I was picking up in France, and wanted to print ticket at home, and was able to go all the way to the screen where you enter credit card details. I was never redirected to the Dutch site.

Posted by
8700 posts

Andrea,

Do what Michael did. If you leave France as the retrieval country, the site will stay in English and you'll be given the option of printing your ticket.