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Should I Purchase Train Tickets In Advance?

Should I Purchase Train Tickets In Advance?

Old Aug 28, 16, 5:16 pm
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Should I Purchase Train Tickets In Advance?

My husband and I are spending a week in Germany in November (focusing on the Rhine/Black Forest). We will be taking a variety of train journeys, some with a regional rail pass.

For our point to point journeys, should we book in advance? I know we need to go Cologne > Mainz on Nov 23, but I'm not sure if we'll want to go in the afternoon or evening. Looking at the DB site, I can get a pair of advance purchase seats for 19 Euros. Would they be substantially more if I was to walk up and by them at the train station just prior to leaving?
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Old Aug 28, 16, 5:32 pm
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Köln>Mainz is 40-69€ (depending on whether the train is IC or ICE) flex price (ca. 90 min) or 2.5-3.5 hrs (35€) on regional trains or Mittelrheinbahn.
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Old Aug 28, 16, 5:35 pm
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Thanks! So, flex price is the same as "walk-up price" at he station?

Just realized there is a separate rail forum. Mods, feel free to move this.
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Old Aug 28, 16, 8:40 pm
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Originally Posted by LizGross144 View Post
Thanks! So, flex price is the same as "walk-up price" at he station?
Yes.
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Old Aug 29, 16, 4:21 am
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Originally Posted by LizGross144 View Post
For our point to point journeys, should we book in advance? I know we need to go Cologne > Mainz on Nov 23, but I'm not sure if we'll want to go in the afternoon or evening. Looking at the DB site, I can get a pair of advance purchase seats for 19 Euros. Would they be substantially more if I was to walk up and by them at the train station just prior to leaving?
Bear in mind that these are not seats you're buying, they're tickets that allow you to board a train with no guarantee of a seat. Seat reservations are €4.50 on top per seat (free in first class) and they vary between unnecessary and indispensable depending on when you travel and where you get on. For a trip that short I usually wouldn't bother, but I assume you're taking the train for views of the Rhine, so you may want to make sure to get seats on the left in the direction of travel. When you buy a reservation, Bahn.de now lets you pick seats on a graphical seat map for most trains.

One more thing to watch out for (which you probably know already): If you're looking for a view, make sure you take one of the direct trains between Cologne and Mainz (mainly IC but some ICEs as well). Those are the ones that follow the Rhine river. The connecting trains are faster because they take the high-speed line between Cologne and Frankfurt. That one has some spectacular views of the A3 autobahn, but you might not find it quite as picturesque as the river.
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Old Aug 29, 16, 4:02 pm
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Having taken the Köln-Mainz "slow" route via Koblenz, it is definitely worth the extra time to do so
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Old Sep 1, 16, 3:33 am
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Consider First Class - just a few EUR more on the Sparpreis and comes with Access to Rail Lounge in Cologne (Beer, Wine, Snacks...) and plushy compartments on the IC Train
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Old Sep 1, 16, 2:15 pm
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Béer in the DB lounge? I never ever saw that, but it's been a while since I've been in. Perhaps it's changed in the last months?
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Old Sep 1, 16, 2:31 pm
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Bitburger (I believe) and some Weißbier, but only in the first class section which is only available in five or six of their lounges. There's no buffet/bar either, they serve snacks and drinks at your seat. It doesn't compare with most airport lounges, but it's a nice place to spend half an hour and beats hanging out on the platform.
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Old Sep 2, 16, 2:03 am
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Originally Posted by waffle View Post
Bitburger (I believe) and some Weißbier, but only in the first class section which is only available in five or six of their lounges. There's no buffet/bar either, they serve snacks and drinks at your seat. It doesn't compare with most airport lounges, but it's a nice place to spend half an hour and beats hanging out on the platform.
Last time I was in the First Class section in Berlin they served Butterkuchen, Sandwiches and some drinks including beer if I remember correctly (sorry, don´t drink). Not like a proper Airport Lounge but a decent place.
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Old Sep 27, 16, 3:02 pm
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Originally Posted by Concerto View Post
Béer in the DB lounge? I never ever saw that, but it's been a while since I've been in. Perhaps it's changed in the last months?
For information someone was having one in the one in Köln when I was there this weekend
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Old Sep 29, 16, 12:16 pm
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Originally Posted by tmeyer View Post
Consider First Class - just a few EUR more on the Sparpreis and comes with Access to Rail Lounge in Cologne (Beer, Wine, Snacks...) and plushy compartments on the IC Train
The DB lounges are maybe not the main attraction, but the onboard experience is often considerably smoother and more quiet in 1st.
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