Special Rates on German Train Tickets

I am trying to decide between a Benelux-Germany Pass versus single trip tickets for 5 days of train travel across 8 days in Germany and Belgium and then ending in Amsterdam. There are some very good rates on special deals on German point to point tickets but they come with a requirement to use the ticket only on the specific train and at the specific times booked, while a Benelux-Germany pass gives flexibility. I would like to save the money but worry about what happens if I can't make the needed connections. What happens if I have a special ticket for reduced fare for specific travel with two short transfer times to connecting trains and I don't make one or both of those transfers. Is my special ticket still valid to carry me on to my final destination on other trains or at other times, or would I have to get new tickets to get me the rest of the way? Thank you.

Posted by Philip
London, United Kingdom
1698 posts

If you miss a booked train because a previous rail leg was delayed the rail company will usually allow you to use the next train without buying a new fare. This won't usually work if a bus or plane was late.

Posted by Tom
Hüttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9130 posts

Any kind of 3rd Benelux pass is almost always a rip off because domestic trains there are relatively cheap, they run very frequently, and reservations are neither necessary or offered. Please offer some specifics of what you want to do on your trip, and we can advise further. The general default answer is that raill passes rarely, if ever, save any money these days, and are in fact one of the most expensive methods of travel.

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
2276 posts

Yes, we missed a connection on our very first DB trip. I did have to point out to the station agent that the delay was caused by DB, but they immediately reissued the ticket on the next train. The conductor even ordered us a cup of coffee on the connecting train "with compliments and apologies from DB".

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
11274 posts

It is important to know that only the trains of the Bahn (ICE/IC/EC), not the regional trains (RE/RB) are limited to the train specified. You can use any regional train (on the same route) starting at midnight of the day of the ticket until 10 AM the following day. Someone once wanted to go from Amsterdam to Bacharach with an indeterminate stop in Köln. Normally, the leg from Köln to Bacharach includes an IC from Köln to Koblenz, then a regional train to Bacharach. If you book a Savings Fare ticket with a two hour stopover in Köln, you must take the specified IC to Koblenz, but if you book it with an RE to Koblenz, you are free to stay in Köln longer. I also missed a specified train (IC) when the connecting regional train was late. No problem, the Bahn just put me on the next available train, an ICE, which got me to my destination at about the same time as the specified train - but, no coffee. :(

Posted by Hugh
Duluth, Minnesota, USA
45 posts

Thanks everyone. Here are the specifics of our trip: Fly to Paris, arriving 6/15 Paris to Fussen on 6/18 by train. We think we need to go through Mannheim. Fussen to Rothenburg ob der Tauber on 6/20. (Bayern Ticket?) Rothernburg ob der Tauber to Bacharach on 6/21 Bacharach to Bruges on 6/23
Bruges to Amsterdam Centraal on 6/25 (to catch a cruise ship that departs for the Norwegian Fjords at 5:00 PM----must be onboard by 3 PM) What do you suggest? Thanks. Hugh

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
11274 posts

The connections out of Paris at 9:10 and 13:10 go through Kaiserslautern and have a change in Mannheim. There is a 11:17 connection that goes through Strasbourg and changes in Stuttgart. The pass you are considering won't include the leg from Paris to Germany, and that train has a mandatory reservation. How will you purchase your ticket for that train? Even if you buy full fare, point-point tickets, the difference between Paris-Fuessen and Paris-Karlsruhe is 54€ ($70)/person, so you don't gain much with a railpass ($55/day with 2 pers Saver, $67/day with indiv). But for Füssen-RodT, a Bayern-Ticket, 22€ ($29) for one, 13€ ($17)per person for 2, you would really lose money on a pass. There are really only 3 suitable connections, leaving Paris at 9:10, 11:17, and 13:10. The first one is a little early to get to the station, and the last one gets you into Füssen around 9 PM, which is rather late. So the 11:17 connection is the only one you really want. Just commit to it and buy a train specific ticket. The lowest possible train specific Saving Fare tickets would be 39€/adult, but the best I find still available is 59€. The train from Paris requires a mandatory reservation, which you can get for 4€/seat when booking online from the Bahn. That reservation charge will also include one for the ICE to Augsburg. There would be little, if any, advantage to using an express train between Füssen and Rothenburg, so the Bayern-Ticket would be your best option. For RodT-Bacharach, using a Quer-durchs-Land-Ticket (regional trains only) would only add an extra hour (5+ vs 4+) and would cost 44€ ($57) for one, 25€ ($33) each for 2.

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8646 posts

If you're an early bird, you can leave Paris at 07:18, connect in Stuttgart and Augsburg, and arrive in Fuessen at 14:55.

Posted by Hugh
Duluth, Minnesota, USA
45 posts

It was apparent that we had to have the TGV train tickets from Paris to Mannheim to start with and I was concerned that the rates were rising. So last night I booked the 9:10 from Paris East to Mannheim for the three of us. We still have the rest to book. Enough advice has been given that we will look to book individual tickets rather than buying passes. We will likely book the travel in Germany from DB. One question I have has to do with the train from Mannheim to Augsburg and following into Fussen. There is a 15 minute window of time for transfer in Mannheim. The tickets we will have will be on the TGV from Paris to Mannheim and then from DB for the trains that follow. Two different companies. If we book on the train that leaves Mannheim 15 minutes after arrival from Paris and the Paris train is late, will our tickets from DB be honored on a later train, or would we be better to book our travel from Mannheim to Augsburg an hour later (and arrive in Fussen around 18:00)? Also, we have never bought tickets from DB. Will we have to have them validated in Mannheim before boarding the Mannheim to Augsburg train, and if so, can that be done at a machine or will we have to go to an office to have that done. If we have to go to an office that will eat up a lot of that 15 minute transfer time. Do the tickets come with a code on them that can be scanned, and therefore would allow us to go directly off the Paris Train and onto the Mannheim train without validating? Thanks for your help.

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
2276 posts

Since you are buying 2 separate tickets, you will not be protected if the TGV is late, and later trains cost a bit more. The connection to Augsburg will be an ICE all reserved train, so you will have a specific seat and car number. When the conductor inspects your ticket, he will scan the QR code, and ask you for THE EXACT SAME CREDIT CARD YOU USED TO BUY THE TICKET. He swipes your credit card on his portable credit card reader and confirms a match and says have a nice trip. Since the connections beyond Augsburg are on regional trains, and it will be all on the one ticket the conductor scanned, you're OK. Its already validated.