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Are Rail Passes now second class passengers

When going from Luxenburg City to Paris useing a rail pass plus an added fee, I could not get a train until after 5 PM. However, if I paid the full price not useing my rail pass, I could get a reservation right away. Are rail pass passengers second class clients now? This is the first time I have experience this. Or is the person at the train sation just being a horses rear end?

Posted by
33296 posts

No, Paul, it depends if you are traveling second class if you are second class. If you are First class, that's first class, not second class. They both get there the same time but first class will have bigger seats. Welcome to the world of railpasses. On many trains, as has been said on this helpline many times, railpass reservations are rationed. If, as you found out, you had just paid the walk up fare you could have just popped on. Its not a secret and has been that way for some time.

Posted by
4535 posts

I have heard that railpass holder seats are sometimes rationed on certain trains. This seems to be what happened in your case. The only times I've heard of it is in France/Benelux. One question for you is did you have a 1st or 2nd class pass? I would think having a 1st class pass would make a difference.

Posted by
2829 posts

Thalys, TGV for instance have quotas for pass holders.

Posted by
19166 posts

IF, by second class, you mean "second train class", of course not, but if you mean treated as if the are of lower importance, dissed, then definitely YES. European rail companies have long treated pass holder as if they are a plague. It was probably five years ago that I first heard of passholder having to wait for days in Brussels to get a reservation on Thalys (of course, there are still the much slower ICs, but as Thalys increases their number of connections, ICs become harder to find). And for the case of night trains, reservations, unless you are willing to pay RailEurope's inflated prices, are hard to find. The solution is to go to Germany. German Rail still treats pass holder as people. Although there are a few trains (eg, ICE Sprinters) that charge a premium for reservations, they charge everyone the same. For most ICEs, you can get on with a railpass just like you can with a ticket, and if you want a reservation, you pay the same as a standard ticket holder. Likewise, night train passengers can easily book passholder accommodations on the Bahn website.

Posted by
4535 posts

I've done overnight trains extensively with rail passes in the past few years and never had any problems. The only difficulties I've ever had with a pass is making the required seat reservations has meant showing up in person at a ticket office, more a hassle than a problem. But it seems more rail agencies are making it easier to book online with a pass. It seems pretty clear that TGV and Thalys ration seats for pass holders, but I've never heard of any other rail lines doing it. If someone has experience of seat rationing elsewhere, let us know.

Posted by
24 posts

Thanks for the information. May have to rethink rail passes when high speed trains are involved. Used them for the convenience and planning, but with limited time on vacation and hotel reservations on the line, it may not be a wise choice. Most of the time with my method of traveling, there is no savings with rail passes.