On the Rick Steves' Guide to "Reservation Fees with Railpasses" under the night train couchette & sleeper, it says, "Paris-Dijon-Milan-Venice night trains do not accept railpasses in 2012!" We are going from Munich to Venice on the night train. Does that mean a 3 country eurail pass will not work because it goes to Venice? Or is that a specific train? Thanks!
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The Munich to Venice night train is run by CityNightLine, a subsidiary of German Rail. The Paris-Dijon-Milan-Venice night train is not a CNL train. So there is no reason to believe that just because one line is not accepting rail passes that all of the lines are not. I just used the Bahn website to looked for fares on the June 14 CNL night train to Venice, and it showed the cost of supplements for pass holders. I then tried July 12 and supplements were shown for that date too. I tried to book a couchette on that train, and the site let me get as far as the page where I would have to put in my CC number. (I stopped there.) So it appears that pass holders can book reservations on the Munich-Venice train in 2012. German Rail does show a night train (EuroNight 221) leaving Paris at 1945, arriving Venice 934. Since the run of that train is entirely outside Germany, you can't book it on German Rail, and German Rail doesn't show fares.
A new company called Thello is now operating the Paris-Venice night train. For whatever reason Thello has chosen not to accept railpasses. As Lee indicated, you should have no problem buying reservations for sleeping accommodations on the CNL Munich-Venice train.
Thello is a private venture between Veolia and Trenitalia and apparently not a member of the Eurail group. Veolia also runs BOB (Bayerische Oberlandbahn) in the area south of Munich, hubbed in Holzkirchen. I was under the impression that BOB accepted Eurail passes. ETA: I just checked with the BOB website and "not valid tickets" includes Eurail, Interrail, and German Rail passes. They do accept Schönes-Wochenende, Sparpreis, and Bayern tickets. So, if you are traveling on a rail pass and intend to travel in this area (Holzkirchen to Bayrischzell (Schliersee), Tegernsee, and Bad Tölz), know that you must buy a separate ticket. If you have never heard of these places, never mind. Thanks for the unintentional tip. I now have a new, esoteric piece of information to add to my German rail travel database.
Thanks guys. Y'all are clutch when it comes to this information.
Westbahn (operating a competing service Salzburg-Wien) and Italo (that major new ITalian train operator running high-speed trains as from Apr. 28th) also do not accept passes. As more, and welcomed, competition start running over rails, the number of companies not accepting passes is only expected to increase.
The Eurail website gives a list of private rail lines in Germany and whether they accept Eurail passes. I haven't found the same thing for German Rail passes (which are not Eurail issued passes).