Why does anyone buy these things? With minor planning you get from one point to another for next to nothing. And certainly for less than a pass. I have been to Europe 3 times in 3 years. Each time, a rail pass was recommended by a travel agent, a web site, a travel guide. Each time I was able to take 4 people through out the continent for far less than the cost of one pass! RESEARCH and plan! i used east coast trains website direct via National rail and scored seats from Edinburgh to London for $100 for 4 seats! Tours to Paris on the high speed train? $19 each! London to Portsmouth 8 euro each! Travel all over Bavaria? 25 euro for our party of 4! For 24 hours unlimited travel! I am no expert, I found all of these deals online and via phone apps! Our total train cost were less than $250-300 for a three week trip!
"Why does anyone buy these things? With minor planning you get from one point to another for next to nothing." Because a lot of people are not capable of minor planning (or don't want to take the time). So they use a rail pass because it covers their travel without planning. Or they rent a car (because it gives them freedom, from planning). One of the many ways to make your trip more expensive than necessary.
This is a duplicate trip report. Michele, you might want to delete this one since you have so many responses on the other.