Train Travel in Germany

1. I buy a point to point ticket that has several transfers. I miss a transfer. Is my ticket good for the next train same route, same destination? How about next train, different route, but same destination? 2. If I want to get off the train mid route to destination to visit a city for 2-3 hours, then get back on and continue to destination, do I need one ticket or two? 3.I think I understand that I can buy tickets online at DB Bahn now and print them at home. Any tips or anything I should know before doing this? 4.I could buy a senior card for maybe 100 Euros and get a discount on German tickets. Can I buy this from RS? 5.If I buy a senior card now, will the DB Bahn site let me use it to buy tickets at the senior rate ahead of time? 6. On the other hand, a rail pass would let me hop on any train in Germany with no worries, even though it might be a bit more expensive, right?

Posted by Andre L.
Tilburg, Netherlands
2176 posts

1. If your ticket is time-specific, you can take a later train, ask a conductor to put a note of delay on your ticket. You can also get a refund for the seat reservation you didn't use because an earlier train was delayed. 2. You need two tickets, unless you have some sort of day pass that allows you free travel within a region, state or city/metro area. 3. It's fairly easy, they will send a PDF and you print it. Only make sure you print on a normal (A4) paper, instead of printing it half-sized. 5. You can enter the discount codes for whatever card you have when buying (like BahnCard). For that, you need to create a login within DB website (easy). 6. They were selling a special summer pass for a rather attractive rate. However, it is always a trade-off between full flexibility and lots of savings, especially if you plan on doing long-distance trips. My personal take: most people grossly overestimate how much last-minute change of planes they will actually make, since they will have more hassle dealing with lodging than with transportation.

Posted by Charles
Austin, Texas, USA
308 posts

I just returned from Germany and had a rail pass. I hopped on and off as I wished and never worried about it. There were no reservations required so I went where I wanted when I wanted and it was so stress free and no worries at all. If I went back to Germany again, I would get a pass.

Posted by Carrie
Simpsonville, SC, US
51 posts

We just missed our train a few days ago due to a late arrival, and it was no problem. The original ticket taker on the first train wrote on the ticket with a new route and no one ever questioned it. On the next couple of trains (one train being late caused us to have to add 3 different trains to our journey - very frustrating) they were completely fine with our explanation.

Posted by Philip
London, United Kingdom
1699 posts

1. If you missed the connection because your previous train was delayed, yes you will probably be allowed on a later one. If it was because you spent too much time in the station bar, possibly not. 2. My understanding from what a DB staff member told me a couple of weeks ago is that this is often possible if you're using RE/RB local trains, but not ICE/EC/IC long-distance ones.

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
11276 posts

It depends on whether you have a full fare ticket or a discounted Savings Fare ticket. With a full fare ticket, you can take any train(s) of the same type as long as you finish the trip within the alloted time (usually end of 2nd day). But you must stick to the designated route. With a Saving Fare, you must use the express trains (ICE/IC/EC) specified on the ticket. If you miss a connection due to the fault of the Bahn, the ticket will be honored for the next train. However, you must go to a ticket counter for verification and reticketing. In 2008 I had a Saving Fare ticket using a regional train to Göttingen connecting to an IC to Karlsruhe. The regional train was late, and I missed the IC. The ticket counter in Göttingen put me on the next train, an ICE, which got me into Karlsruhe almost a early as the IC would have. For the segments using regional trains, you can use any regional train starting at midnight on the first day until 10 AM on the 2nd day. Again, you must stick to the designated route. With a full fare ticket, you can get off at any station and finish your trip with a later train of the same type. It is also possible to build in a stopover with a Savings Fare ticket, but you must resume travel with the specified train. And, of course, with Länder tickets, you can use any regional train, hop on/off.

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
11276 posts

I don't know of any "Senior" tickets. You can get discounts with a BahnCard and there is a lower, senior rate for a BahnCard. You can only get the Bahncard from the Bahn. You might be able to buy on online, certainly in Germany. The BahnCard is a subscription, they automatically renew it every year until you tell them to stop. Make sure you know how to tell them to stop. In 1988, I used a German Rail pass, $140 for 16 days. It really paid off. In 2000 I went back and used a 6 day German Rail pass. As I figured it later, I just about broke even for the trains I used, although I could have made some substitutions and saved with point-point tickets. Since 2000 (8 trips), I have always speced out my intended travel with point-point tickets, using a combination of Länder-Tickes and Saving Fare tickets, and I have never found a pass to be cost effective.