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Ebot
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3 comments

Posted 1 year ago

Hi. I’m exploring the feasibility of a London - Weimar - Dessau - Berlin - London trip (yup, very Bauhaus!) in the early Autumn. I have a few initial questions I’d appreciate advice on. Essentially I’m weighing up buying an Interrail Pass vs individual tickets.

We’ll be two seniors and an under 27. We’ll be working on a tight timetable so getting a specific train - especially on the London to Weimar and Berlin to London legs will be critical.

1. I’ve seen comments about Eurostar tickets for Interrail pass holders being very limited. What’s the reality here? I don’t want to buy a pass only to find I can’t get a Eurostar seat (or three!). And on an early train on a particular day.
2. I’m seeing conflicting messages about the need to reserve seats on DB intercity trains beyond peak season / mid August. Can anyone clarify? And is it absolutely necessary to reserve seats if we don’t have to (and if we buy a first class pass)? Seat reservation costs add significantly.
3. Any views on buying a first class pass? I’ve travelled quite happily in standard class in Europe but we’re going to do two long haul days (and DB is notoriously unreliable).

All advice and insights appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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MisterSteve
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1030 comments

replied 1 year ago

1. Eurostar IR Passholder seats are on a quota, so not infinite, but then again all Eurostar tickets are on some form of quota. Early Monday, most of Friday and Sunday afternoon/evening are busy times and may have lower availablity. But it's all down to how early you reserve, you can't just turn up at check-in and hope. Book now and it ought to be OK.

2. Where you get on affects whether you should reserve. If that is where the train starts then you have more chance of finding empty seats. Your route involves connections which would increases fees if you booked all the sections but not all (if any) would need booking.

3. First class will obviously give more space, on Eurostar the Passholder fare will be higher (it's not just a reservation fee) and includes a light meal but you could use Standard class on that section. DB do not give out the freebies in First class like British long distance operators do.

I tried a price enquiry with the DB website for their tickets. It didn't want to look for tickets starting in London, but the best it could find for a random Wednesday in September for Berlin-London with your age combinations was €473 in First class. As a comparison IR 4 days in 1 Month passes for your group would be €836 (plus Eurostar fees) , so assuming the London-Weimar leg could be bought at around the same price as Berlin-London the pass would be cheaper than the ordinary tickets, but would need Eurostar fees added against which you offset the Weimar-Dessau-Berlin fares.

Although you have some long travel days they aren't direct trains and you will be changing trains, so I would go with a second class pass with reserved seats rather than first class without reservations. But make sure you allow enough connection time, especially at Brussels on the way back (there is also an option to change at Amsterdam on the way back).

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argon
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407 comments

replied 1 year ago

Its ts not realistic to make the trip in two days , realistic are three days . First : Currently are Reservations for Eurostar in September and Octobre available for around 30€ p.P so if you travel this to two times , UK-EU and EU-UK it would cost you 180€ , only for Eurostar-Reservation ! . Secondly , in all trains in Germany is a reservation not necessary , but ICEs and ICs in Germany are very popular , so for a relax journey i would highly recommend one , in my opinion they are not to expenive . They cost 4,50€ p.P and arent for only one train , so its possible to make an Reservation from Bruxelles-Midi (Zuid / South )(where the Eurostar arrive) to Berlin via Weimar and Dessau for 13,50€ (4,50€ p.P) . Long-distance trains in Germany have undependent from the a season a high occupancy , otherwise only at touristic lines . Thirdly : I would not buy an first-class Pass because they cost significant more (658€ vs. 836€ + higher reservation fees) . Fourth it would use individual Tickets because when you book ticket at DB fare in advance the price being cheap , ive testing the prices for a example-route , my result : All personale Tickets and Res. cost around 550€ vs. around 810€ with Interrail and additinale Reservation fees . Note that for DB , Seniors counts from 65 yo , Youth to 26 yo , Interrail counts +60yo peoples as Seniors and Youth until their 27th birthday and Eurostar has no senior-fares and count Youth until they are 25 . I hope i can help you ! Best regards !

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Arend7
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620 comments

replied 1 year ago

I tried once (2019) to make an interrail reservation at Eurostar for a monday-morning the first day it was possible. It was already "sold-out" I think some trains are not available at all. You can test it my making fake-bookings (when they asked you to pay, you know it is possible).

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argon
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407 comments

replied 1 year ago

Yes i do it the same way as i wrote my comment . Here is the Website : https://www.interrail.eu/en/book-reservations#/

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Ebot
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replied 1 year ago

Thank you all for your responses. They confirmed much of what I thought. The best plan seems to be buy Eurostar tickets and then a Brussels to Weimar ticket (and suitable return). There is a small first class upgrade supplement for DB which includes seat reservations so that seems like a good deal. And then buy any additional tickets eg Weimar to Dessau as we need them. We probably won’t go on to Berlin as we like to do things in depth and eight / ten days of galleries / museums and general sightseeing is enough in one go! Berlin deserves a trip to itself. Eurostar are very slippery! They have introduced 39£/E fares for our dates (though not the times we want) but then put up the prices of the other trains by a few ££s!

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MisterSteve
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1030 comments

replied 1 year ago

For the Weimar-Dessau stage consider a second class Thüringen-Ticket . These are not valid on IC/ICE but after 09:00 (anytime weekends) you get unlimited travel in a wide area and the price per person gets cheaper as you add people to the same ticket. One Thüringen-Ticket for 3 people is €43 - buy ONE ticket for all three of you (not three seperate tickets) from a station ticket machine on the day and write each passengers name in the boxes on the ticket. Also includes most city transport and regional buses throughout Thüringen, Sachsen and Sachsen-Anhalt. The ticket is also sold as Sachsen-Ticket and Sachsen Anhalt-Ticket depending on where you are at the time, but the all cover all three states.

https://www.vvo-online.de/doc/DB-Broschuere-Sachsen-Ticket-Streckenkarte.pdf

www.bahn.de/angebot/regio/laender-tickets/thueringen-ticket

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Ebot
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replied 1 year ago

Thank you! That’s really helpful to know. Appreciated.