Germany Train help!

Old Apr 13, 16, 11:13 am
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Germany Train help!

I am planning a personal excursion during the weekend of my business trip, and is running into some doubt on the bahn.de site (even in English). Looking for some assistance:

I want to go from FRA airport to Cologne (Koln) to visit the old city and of course, DOM. I land (Delta DTW-FRA if it makes a difference) ~10am. I padded 2 hours, and found a what I believe to be a direct route (fast 50 minute ride with no connecting in Frankfurt MAIN) for a good price:

Frankfurt(M) Flughafen Fernbf --> Köln Messe/Deutz Gl.11-12.

Question 1: This is the right airport train station at FRA?
Question 2: Further in the website, I encounter 2 choices:
Sparpreis Aktion and Sparpreis. The description is exactly the same. The later is $10euro more. Google translate is no help. Am I allowed to book the first cheaper fare?
(Note: I know that Köln Messe is not the main station where the DOM is, but the hotel I would book is pretty much the same distance from both train station)

Last edited by chunky649; Apr 13, 16 at 11:37 am
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Old Apr 13, 16, 3:48 pm
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Yes, “Flughafen Fernbf” is the correct station to board at FRA airport.

You typically have two choices for ticket purchase: “Sparpreis” and “Flexpreis”.

Sparpreis is a cheaper fare which limits you to the “specific” train / timing noted on the ticket. It is partially refundable if you do not use the ticket up to and including the first day the ticket becomes valid, but will cost you a refund fee of ~17 Euro.

Flexpreis is usually more expensive, but does not limit you to a specific train / timing or connection. It too is partially refundable (for the above-mentioned refund fee) if you are unable to use the ticket on the first day it becomes valid (you will get a free refund before that time).

DB fares do not usually include a seat reservation so add on ~ Euro 3, if you want to guarantee a seat.

So yes, you can book the cheaper fare, but note the restrictions it offers.
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Old Apr 13, 16, 4:19 pm
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Sparpreis Aktion sounds like it's a special promotion that further reduces the price of the regular Sparpreis. Nothing wrong with booking it.

Just be aware that the Deutz train station is on the other side of the river. It's about a 30 minutes walk over the bridge or you could connect to another train to get there. There should also be direct trains to the Hauptbahnhof (main train station), though.
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Old Apr 13, 16, 4:54 pm
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Sparpreis Aktion is a nonflexible, nonrefundable fare which is only valid on long distance trains. As soon as you would choose a train connection which include a local train, you are only offered the regular Sparpreis (which starts at 29 Euro, compared to the Aktion one which starts at 19 Euro). This also means, that if you choose the Sparpreis Aktion to Köln Messe/Deutz, you would have to purchase a second ticket, if you want to connect with local trains or S-Bahn from there to another station in Cologne.
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Old Apr 13, 16, 5:33 pm
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Thank you fireflyer for answering my additional question (if I can transfer to the main station from Messe.. --> No)
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Old Apr 14, 16, 4:20 am
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If you can find a train from Köln Messe > Köln Hbf that would be best (at the same price). Otherwise there are very frequent S-bahn trains (every 3-7 minutes) from one to the other and the ride takes 2 minutes over the bridge.
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Old Apr 14, 16, 4:35 am
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Originally Posted by chunky649 View Post
I am planning a personal excursion during the weekend of my business trip, and is running into some doubt on the bahn.de site (even in English). Looking for some assistance:

I want to go from FRA airport to Cologne (Koln) to visit the old city and of course, DOM. I land (Delta DTW-FRA if it makes a difference) ~10am. I padded 2 hours, and found a what I believe to be a direct route (fast 50 minute ride with no connecting in Frankfurt MAIN) for a good price:

Frankfurt(M) Flughafen Fernbf --> Köln Messe/Deutz Gl.11-12.

Question 1: This is the right airport train station at FRA?
Question 2: Further in the website, I encounter 2 choices:
Sparpreis Aktion and Sparpreis. The description is exactly the same. The later is $10euro more. Google translate is no help. Am I allowed to book the first cheaper fare?
(Note: I know that Köln Messe is not the main station where the DOM is, but the hotel I would book is pretty much the same distance from both train station)
I don't believe that it's only 50 minutes from FRA to Koln. It should be several hours.

BTW, if you have a choice, and you should, try to take a train that follows the Rhein for the scenery. You want to go through Mainz (the stretch of the Rhein with all the castles) and Bonn Hbf, not Bonn Siegen IIRC. The time should be about the same.
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Old Apr 14, 16, 6:49 am
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I don't believe that it's only 50 minutes from FRA to Koln. It should be several hours.
It's a high speed train on a high speed line, so it only takes 50 minutes.

BTW, if you have a choice, and you should, try to take a train that follows the Rhein for the scenery. You want to go through Mainz (the stretch of the Rhein with all the castles) and Bonn Hbf, not Bonn Siegen IIRC. The time should be about the same.
This route takes a couple of hours and is scenic. You could even do it on local/regional trains if you wanted. Just type in "koblenz" in the 'via' box on bahn to price it that way
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Old Apr 14, 16, 7:10 am
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Deutz has one advantage, and that's allowing you to enter the city over the Hohenzollern Bridge - giving you the classic view of the cathedral across the river.

I'd probably get a Call-a-Bike and ride over, but that's just me...
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Old Apr 14, 16, 7:29 am
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I don't believe that it's only 50 minutes from FRA to Koln. It should be several hours.

BTW, if you have a choice, and you should, try to take a train that follows the Rhein for the scenery. You want to go through Mainz (the stretch of the Rhein with all the castles) and Bonn Hbf, not Bonn Siegen IIRC. The time should be about the same.
As Palal said, there are fast and slow trains. The one I purchased is schedule to arrive 47 minutes.

I've taken the slow train before and it was quite scenic. In fact, I was going to followup and ask if a ticket exist where I can get off at any stops along the route, exit the station, take a couple photos and get on the next train, but decided it probably cost way more than I want to spend..... I ended up spending Euro$19 going to Koln Messe and Euro$35 coming back to FRA. Both are fast ICE trains.

I will concentrate my 1.5 days weekend in Cologne.
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Old Apr 14, 16, 7:41 am
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Originally Posted by stut View Post
Deutz has one advantage, and that's allowing you to enter the city over the Hohenzollern Bridge - giving you the classic view of the cathedral across the river.

I'd probably get a Call-a-Bike and ride over, but that's just me...
Which side of the train should I sit for the nice view entering the city?
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Old Apr 14, 16, 8:14 am
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Originally Posted by chunky649 View Post
Which side of the train should I sit for the nice view entering the city?
Ah, sorry, I meant that if you arrive at Deutz, you can then walk/cycle over the Hohenzollern Bridge to reach the city.
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Old Apr 14, 16, 8:50 am
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Originally Posted by stut View Post
Ah, sorry, I meant that if you arrive at Deutz, you can then walk/cycle over the Hohenzollern Bridge to reach the city.
Oh ok. Anyway, I will have 1.5 days. I will see if I can rent a bike locally. I will be staying at the Holiday Inn Express nearby...
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Old Apr 14, 16, 9:36 am
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Originally Posted by chunky649 View Post
Which side of the train should I sit for the nice view entering the city?
Honestly, there's not much of a view The cathedral will be on the left side as you cross the bridge (by train or by foot).
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Old Apr 14, 16, 9:56 am
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You have the best view from the river bank in Deutz. From there you can also take the classic photo of the cathedral with the bridge to the right. Therefore, you may want to go down there, before you cross the Rhine.

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