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DB Railpass Activation & Seating Rules?

DB Railpass Activation & Seating Rules?

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Old Apr 20, 14, 9:07 am
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DB Railpass Activation & Seating Rules?

All,

Off to Germany and going to purchase a DB German Railpass. Read the rules and did a search - and there are two things I can't quite figure out.

First - how do you activate it? We are arriving into FRA and will taking a train from there. Do you simply walk on the train? I see the part about writing in the date in pen. Is that it? Just get on the train and go? Or is there something else that has to be done? Used to having to use some type of activation machines in France and Italy...

Second - we are going to buy a first class twin pass. Are all of the German trains unassigned seating? I'm used to TVG etc. Is there is assigned carriage seating? Do you just get on and grab whatever first class seats are open? More concerned as we'll be doing some cross country trains as part of this trip.

Many thanks!

Joel
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Old Apr 20, 14, 7:30 pm
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You will need to stop into the DB office in the FRA station to get it validated. The only time you can get it validated on the train is if you're entering the country via train, where the conductor will validate it once you enter Germany. Do not enter the dates yourself, as it will invalidate your pass (a mistake I made years ago -- had to sit in a two hour line and plead to get it reissued). The ticket validation machines on German train platforms are only for validating local transit tickets.

As to your second question, very few German trains require a reservation aside from sleeper trains and cross-border trains, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't consider making one on longer rides. Long-distance ICE trains allow for reserved seating that can be booked separately from your ticket for €4/segment. You can do this online or at the station at any time prior to departure, so if you want to ensure that you'll have a place to sit, they're recommended. Anyone with a pass or a full-fare ticket can hop on the train, so on busy routes they can be quite oversold -- the experience is decidedly less "first class" if you have to sit in the aisle.

(I stumbled across this write-up while looking for an example picture of the seat reservation display, which explains everything nicely with pictures.)

Edit: There is a dedicated German Rail Pass site that answers both of your questions (and more) here.

Last edited by linglingfool; Apr 20, 14 at 7:36 pm
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Old Apr 20, 14, 11:53 pm
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Originally Posted by JoelA View Post
All,

Off to Germany and going to purchase a DB German Railpass. Read the rules and did a search - and there are two things I can't quite figure out.

First - how do you activate it? We are arriving into FRA and will taking a train from there. Do you simply walk on the train? I see the part about writing in the date in pen. Is that it? Just get on the train and go? Or is there something else that has to be done? Used to having to use some type of activation machines in France and Italy...

Second - we are going to buy a first class twin pass. Are all of the German trains unassigned seating? I'm used to TVG etc. Is there is assigned carriage seating? Do you just get on and grab whatever first class seats are open? More concerned as we'll be doing some cross country trains as part of this trip.

Many thanks!

Joel
To activate, visit the FRA main station, present your pass and the DB staff will write your preferred "first day of travel" on the document. I have noticed of late there is some inconsistency in the way DB staff attest the pass. Usually, they hand write in the date and then stamp the page. However, on a couple of occasions they have just handwritten the date w/o a stamp. I challenged this practice as it kinda defeats the purpose of attending the DB office, as I could have written the date on the pass myself! (Fortunately, the handwritten (minus stamp) activation was not questioned by on-board conductors, so the writing must have appeared decidedly German!)

On each day of travel you are required to enter the date on the pass before boarding the train. The conductor will inspect the ticket and then over-stamp the dated section.

I recommend securing reservations on ICE trains, especially in peak periods. This can be easily accomplished on-line with DB. You will find registering for a DB on-line account to be beneficial for that purpose.
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Old Apr 21, 14, 8:44 am
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Originally Posted by OnTheCentreline View Post
To activate, visit the FRA main station, present your pass and the DB staff will write your preferred "first day of travel" on the document.
Just to make sure we're on the same page, if you're flying into the airport, there's no need to visit the Hbf to validate the pass; you can do so at the DB offices at the FRA train station.
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Old Apr 21, 14, 9:05 am
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Yup, figured you were talking about the office at FRA!

Thanks so much for the pointers. I'll try to book this all up over the weekend. Definitely will do the reserved seats on the ICE trains.

Again, many thanks!
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Old Apr 22, 14, 12:32 am
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Please note in Germany are some Private Train Company make sure that your take the rite Train.
I think only the "ICE Sprinter" and some EN, CNL require an Seat reservation.
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