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Old Jun 1, 11, 5:12 pm   #1
 
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Will an European Rail Pass make sense for me?

I can't figure out whether an European Rail Pass will make sense for me or not. I'm working on several possible itineraries for mid to late August. My starting point will be London.

Here's my itinerary in mind.

London-Brussels(also visiting Bruges)-Amsterdam, Hannover, Berlin, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Gothenburg, Oslo, Stockholm, and Helsinki.

I know the Eurostar won't have any discounts, but for all the other routes, should I even bother with a rail pass or should I just buy in advance point to point fares? I intend to cover those cities in 18-21 days.

Thanks for the help in advance.
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Old Jun 1, 11, 5:33 pm   #2
nrr
 
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Originally Posted by lsquare View Post
I can't figure out whether an European Rail Pass will make sense for me or not. I'm working on several possible itineraries for mid to late August. My starting point will be London.

Here's my itinerary in mind.

London-Brussels(also visiting Bruges)-Amsterdam, Hannover, Berlin, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Gothenburg, Oslo, Stockholm, and Helsinki.

I know the Eurostar won't have any discounts, but for all the other routes, should I even bother with a rail pass or should I just buy in advance point to point fares? I intend to cover those cities in 18-21 days.

Thanks for the help in advance.
There is a discount for the Eurostar for passholders. At one time the answer would be buy a pass; unfortunately hight speed trains have limited seats allotted for EP, and supplements kick in. A full EP would be very expensive and cover countries you are not going to see. There are 5 country select passes which could cover all of your continental spots (except Finland). [I don't think Germany charges a supplement for IC trains.]
How were you planning on getting to Finland? The most direct route is by boat, but this does not cover private cabins(extra fee), you get dorm or chair spaces. I don't think the all rail route still exits, and in any event would take days to get from Stock. to Hel.
You have little choice but to use RailEuope for buying passes (they have the monoply). But if you wanted to plan out a point to point ticket itn., RailEurope will hit you with high fees and supplements.
Go to www.raileurope.com to see EP pricing
www.bahn.de will give you schedules.
Cooks publishes a European Timetable, which is a necessity to have for extended rail journeys. If you have lead time to buy one, it can give you clues about optimal routing.
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Old Jun 1, 11, 7:09 pm   #3
 
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Originally Posted by nrr View Post
There is a discount for the Eurostar for passholders. At one time the answer would be buy a pass; unfortunately hight speed trains have limited seats allotted for EP, and supplements kick in. A full EP would be very expensive and cover countries you are not going to see. There are 5 country select passes which could cover all of your continental spots (except Finland). [I don't think Germany charges a supplement for IC trains.]
How were you planning on getting to Finland? The most direct route is by boat, but this does not cover private cabins(extra fee), you get dorm or chair spaces. I don't think the all rail route still exits, and in any event would take days to get from Stock. to Hel.
You have little choice but to use RailEuope for buying passes (they have the monoply). But if you wanted to plan out a point to point ticket itn., RailEurope will hit you with high fees and supplements.
Go to www.raileurope.com to see EP pricing
www.bahn.de will give you schedules.
Cooks publishes a European Timetable, which is a necessity to have for extended rail journeys. If you have lead time to buy one, it can give you clues about optimal routing.
Why can't I just buy from each country's respective rail operator? Why do I have to use Rail Europe?
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Old Jun 1, 11, 7:35 pm   #4
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Originally Posted by lsquare View Post
Why can't I just buy from each country's respective rail operator? Why do I have to use Rail Europe?
It is not all that easy using the internet. When you get to Europe, do you want to stand on (long) lines to buy tickets--this is one of the big pluses of EP's (except for reserved seat trains), you can just board and go.
Many of the "bargain" fares are good on particular trains (date and time), cutting into the spontaneity of EP travel.
As a side note, EP's allow you to use the mass transit systems (on the lines that are owned by the National Railways as opposed to those owned by the cities)--unfortunately finding who owns what is not that easy. As a case in point, RER line B in Paris is under the National Railway (SNCF) north of Gare Du Nord, the train runs on the same tracks (etc.) south of GDN, but the ownership is RATP (city) and the EP ceases to be valid--confusing, yes.
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Old Jun 1, 11, 10:03 pm   #5
 
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You have little choice but to use RailEuope for buying passes (they have the monoply). But if you wanted to plan out a point to point ticket itn., RailEurope will hit you with high fees and supplements.
Raileurope certainly does not have a monopoly on selling Eurail passes in the U.S. On the internet you can find several companies that offer them - and at varying prices.
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Old Jun 1, 11, 11:41 pm   #6
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Raileurope certainly does not have a monopoly on selling Eurail passes in the U.S. On the internet you can find several companies that offer them - and at varying prices.
The last time I searched for EP's they all sold them at the same price as RE. I think they are the distributor in the US to others(?) The prices may vary if you buy from a site outside the US since the exchange rate conversion kicks in.
If you go to www.sncf.fr and select English and then "buy a ticket" you wind up on RE's site. A few other countries have been "roped in" by RE.
PS: Shipping costs and extra perks can change the end cost of EP.
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Old Jun 2, 11, 3:08 am   #7
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Originally Posted by lsquare View Post
Why can't I just buy from each country's respective rail operator? Why do I have to use Rail Europe?
Cos it will work out costing much much more per country than it is to buy a pass to cover all !

Your best bet is to buy a Eurostar ticket from London to Brussels.

Then you get a Flexi Eurail Seelct pass valid for 4 countries -

http://www.raileurope.com/rail-ticke...d-pricing.html

You would choose Benelux, (which covers Belgium, Luxemburg and Netherlands) Germany, Denmark, Sweden. You would only buy a supplement , ie extra sector to get you to/from Gothenburg to Oslo and back. (Note that if you travel to OSLO from Copenhagen, you will pass Gothenburg. And from Oslo to Stockholm, you will need to pass Gotherburg again..) You may buy this supplement in Denmark before you travel to Oslo.

Then from Stockholm to Helsinki, you just need to buy a ferry ticket.
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Old Jun 2, 11, 3:11 am   #8
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Raileurope certainly does not have a monopoly on selling Eurail passes in the U.S. On the internet you can find several companies that offer them - and at varying prices.
Hmm. Yes. But guess who issues the Eurailpasses in the USA? Yep.. Raileurope.. so guess where do they all originate from?
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Old Jun 2, 11, 6:50 pm   #9
 
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Originally Posted by nrr View Post
The last time I searched for EP's they all sold them at the same price as RE. I think they are the distributor in the US to others(?) The prices may vary if you buy from a site outside the US since the exchange rate conversion kicks in.
If you go to www.sncf.fr and select English and then "buy a ticket" you wind up on RE's site. A few other countries have been "roped in" by RE.
PS: Shipping costs and extra perks can change the end cost of EP.
Raileurope is the U.S. ticket office for SNCF, SBB and I think one or two other railroads; of course they will direct you to Raileurope if you use their site. Other companies also sell Eurail passes. One is in Florida, one is called Eurailpass or something like that. Some include mailing in their prices, some don't. Some offer sales on tickets for old people, some offer special winter sales. Some offer discounts and suddenly inform you they no longer apply. It pays to compare prices and terms. Some country passes are not offered under Eurail, e.g., Germany. In short, spend some time on the internet.
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