Train logistics help?

Old Apr 8, 16, 9:30 am
  #1  
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Train logistics help?

I have an upcoming business trip where I will arrive in FRA (Frankfurt) on a saturday morning. I've visited Frankfurt and area (Mainz, Heidleberg, etc) I don't have to be at work until late monday morning. So I decided I want to spend the weekend in Berlin. I will travel to Berlin on my own dime...

3 main questions:

What is the best (cost and time are large considerations) way to get from FRA to Berlin? I believe train is probably best, but the journey takes 5 hours?

I would like to stop in Cologne for a couple hours to visit the cathedral next to the train station. What is the best way to do this? The German db website is not easy to understand... Should I book 2 1-way tickets? or a "stop over" ticket? (I can't figure out the rules for "stopover"). Also, Is Cologne actually on the way? slightly out of the way? or really out of the way?

To complicate things, I am worried that my flight might come in late. In which case, the matter of changability and refundability comes into consideration. How much should i expect to pay if I pre-order my tickets and how much should I expect to pay on arrival of my flight?

Munich is another place I am thinking about, if that make more sense...
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Old Apr 8, 16, 10:26 am
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Originally Posted by chunky649 View Post

3 main questions:

What is the best (cost and time are large considerations) way to get from FRA to Berlin? I believe train is probably best, but the journey takes 5 hours?

I would like to stop in Cologne for a couple hours to visit the cathedral next to the train station. What is the best way to do this? The German db website is not easy to understand... Should I book 2 1-way tickets? or a "stop over" ticket? (I can't figure out the rules for "stopover"). Also, Is Cologne actually on the way? slightly out of the way? or really out of the way?

To complicate things, I am worried that my flight might come in late. In which case, the matter of changability and refundability comes into consideration. How much should i expect to pay if I pre-order my tickets and how much should I expect to pay on arrival of my flight?

Munich is another place I am thinking about, if that make more sense...
1. Depending on your dates and timings, air travel between FRA and TXL can be fairly cheap. Consider LH and AB and look for availability and pricing on their websites. Otherwise the direct train journey will take up to five hours and (again depending on your travel dates) may even be more expensive than flying.

2. Cologne is not on the direct route from FRA to Berlin. There is a high-speed train direct from FRA to Cologne, which would get you there in about an hour. You would then have another five-hour train ride to Berlin from Cologne.

3. Regarding flexibility/refundability, regardless of your chosen method of transport, non-flexible tickets booked in advance committing you to specific planes or trains will always be significantly cheaper: but they will be non-flexible. Why are you worried about your flight being late - can you just not leave a bit of slack in the timings to allow for this?
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Old Apr 8, 16, 10:39 am
  #3  
 
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You can take a train, I just looked putting in a random Saturday and it was only 31 Euros for the ICE. It takes 4:13 from Frankfurt Main station to Berlin Main station. I've only been to the airport in Frankfurt so I'm not sure how long it takes to get to the main station from the airport.

Berlin & Cologne are opposite directions. My guess is that you would want to book 1 ticket to Cologne and then another to Berlin. To get from the airport to Cologne, it takes about an hour and costs 19 Euros. (There might be cheaper tickets that someone more familiar with the area knows about)

I did a last minute search from Frankfurt to Berlin and the cheapest ticket (leaving today for example) is 89 euros. 47 to Cologne

I don't think that tickets are refundable and I'm not sure if you can just take another train if your flight is late.

I am partial to Munich (I live here) but it also takes between 4-5. Prices are about 39 euros and takes about 3:40.

Either way, you have some nice options. Munich, Berlin, or Cologne/Dusseldorf the latter might be the least stressful
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Old Apr 8, 16, 5:29 pm
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Originally Posted by chunky649 View Post
I have an upcoming business trip where I will arrive in FRA (Frankfurt) on a saturday morning. I've visited Frankfurt and area (Mainz, Heidleberg, etc) I don't have to be at work until late monday morning. So I decided I want to spend the weekend in Berlin. I will travel to Berlin on my own dime...

3 main questions:

What is the best (cost and time are large considerations) way to get from FRA to Berlin? I believe train is probably best, but the journey takes 5 hours?

I would like to stop in Cologne for a couple hours to visit the cathedral next to the train station. What is the best way to do this? The German db website is not easy to understand... Should I book 2 1-way tickets? or a "stop over" ticket? (I can't figure out the rules for "stopover"). Also, Is Cologne actually on the way? slightly out of the way? or really out of the way?

To complicate things, I am worried that my flight might come in late. In which case, the matter of changability and refundability comes into consideration. How much should i expect to pay if I pre-order my tickets and how much should I expect to pay on arrival of my flight?

Munich is another place I am thinking about, if that make more sense...
Bahn.de offers "Spar-Preise" (reduced-fare through tickets) from Frankfurt airport to Berlin with a stopover in Cologne. Click on "Anfrage aendern" and 'Zwischenhalte hinzufuegen." A reduced-fare through ticket with a stopover in Munich is not possible. There's also an English version of the site, but I couldn't find it just now.
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Old Apr 8, 16, 6:27 pm
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Originally Posted by chunky649 View Post
I have an upcoming business trip where I will arrive in FRA (Frankfurt) on a saturday morning. I've visited Frankfurt and area (Mainz, Heidleberg, etc) I don't have to be at work until late monday morning. So I decided I want to spend the weekend in Berlin. I will travel to Berlin on my own dime...

3 main questions:

What is the best (cost and time are large considerations) way to get from FRA to Berlin? I believe train is probably best, but the journey takes 5 hours?
Flying is about an hour + 1 hour on each end to get into and out of the city + be at the airport 1 hr ahead of time.

The train is about 4:10-5:00 depending on the time of day.

I would like to stop in Cologne for a couple hours to visit the cathedral next to the train station. What is the best way to do this? The German db website is not easy to understand... Should I book 2 1-way tickets? or a "stop over" ticket? (I can't figure out the rules for "stopover"). Also, Is Cologne actually on the way? slightly out of the way? or really out of the way?
Open google maps and see if it's on the way or not

To complicate things, I am worried that my flight might come in late. In which case, the matter of changability and refundability comes into consideration. How much should i expect to pay if I pre-order my tickets and how much should I expect to pay on arrival of my flight?
You can buy a fully flexible ticket for 125 valid for any train, or a not-so-flexible ticket starting at 29.
Munich is another place I am [thinking about, if that make more sense...
That's going in a different direction geographically.



bahn.de is your friend for timetables and tickets
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Old Apr 9, 16, 6:03 am
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Originally Posted by AnnaF View Post
You can take a train, I just looked putting in a random Saturday and it was only 31 Euros for the ICE. It takes 4:13 from Frankfurt Main station to Berlin Main station. I've only been to the airport in Frankfurt so I'm not sure how long it takes to get to the main station from the airport.


From FRA airport to the main station is just a 10 min ride by train.
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Old Apr 9, 16, 6:22 am
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Thank you all for your response, especial TRACK for the German website navigation tip.

I realize the geographic positions of the cities, but as you can appreciate, train routes may not necessarily be direct, and prices may not be based on direct distances, as one response indicated Cologne being a 'stop-over' option on the way to Berlin on 1 route. I found the same on bahn.de, but the website offered me so many different options that I wasn't sure of the rules for the stop or optimum pricing. However, it appears that at least the refundability/flexibility is clear - none if I want cheap price... :-)

Based on the info provided here, I can make better sense of what I should book. Thanks again!
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Old Apr 9, 16, 6:29 am
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Originally Posted by qpr View Post
From FRA airport to the main station is just a 10 min ride by train.
This is not entirely clear on the website (at least not at a glance), but is it better for me to buy my ticket routing from FRA (airport) to Berlin? Or would this restrict me to a specific FRA-Frankfurt(main) train time? I.e. I want to pad some time getting out of the airport, but I rather wait at Frankfurt-main station than at the airport...

To ask a slightly different way - If I order a discounted ticket from FRA to Berlin, would I be locked to a specific local FRA-mainstation train? or can I just hop on any train for that short route? (or maybe both options exist and I need to pick one?)
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Old Apr 9, 16, 6:51 am
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Well from main station you have direct trains to Berlin, from the airport you have to change the train once at least (and the trains from airport also stop at main station).

If you buy a full price ticket, you can change the train whenever you want.
If you have a discount ticket you must take the train you paid for.
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Old Apr 9, 16, 7:46 am
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Potential suggestion:

Buy a flexible ticket to Cologne, allow yourself a good enough buffer there and buy a non-flexible cheaper ticket for the longer trip to Berlin. This removes as much of the delayed flight risk as you like.

Last edited by User Name; Apr 9, 16 at 10:05 am
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Old Apr 9, 16, 8:01 am
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If you have decided to go FRA-Cologne-Berlin on the train, then simply get the ticket starting at FRA and get the website booking to route via Cologne Hauptbahnhof, entering in the little box on the right how long you wish to stop over in Cologne. (Be careful, because some of the trains don't go into Cologne Hauptbahnhof, but route via Cologne-Deutz which is the wrong side of the river for the cathedral.)The system will then offer you trains and fares. If you opt for a cheap one then you are committing yourself to specific trains all the way. There is no point in going into Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof if this is your route, since all Frankfurt-Cologne trains stop at the airport after leaving the main station.

If on the other hand you are routing yourself direct from FRA to Berlin then you have to go via the main station (or alternatively via Leipzig, but that takes longer), so get your ticket originating FRA as well and you can also use any regional trains (platforms 1 or 2 at the regional station) to make your way into town. On suburban connections you are not required to use a specific train, even on a cheap ticket - but you are committed to a specific express train (ICE).
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Old Apr 10, 16, 11:17 am
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As this thread covers mostly questions realted to train travel, I have moved it from the Germany Forum to the European Rail Travel Forum

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