Skip to main content

While Traveling

Will there be somebody to help me with my luggage on the train?

Baggage can be checked on trains if the passenger comes early and then waits late to pick it up, so it can be quite a hassle. Packing light is recommended so that passengers can store their bags in the bins on the train instead. There is no weight limitation on baggage for trains (except on few trains, such as Eurostar and French-Spanish Hotel trains). Trains have either overhead storage racks throughout the car, storage room behind the back of the seat, and/or luggage areas at ends of the car.

 

NOTE: Baggage kept by the passenger and placed in the baggage racks remains the sole responsibility of the passenger. The railroads assume no responsibility in case of loss or theft. Excess baggage or bulky pieces must be carried in the baggage car and must be checked before departure. Baggage can sometimes be checked through in advance upon presentation of a valid rail ticket. To ensure proper delivery, it is recommended to confirm the minimum check-in time at your departure station. Sometimes checked baggage will travel on a different train than the passenger, and may take a few days to arrive. A fee is charged for this service. Station Storage: Most stations provide "left luggage" storage-rooms or lockers for baggage storage, and many stations have luggage carts. When porters are available, they can be easily recognized by their uniform or official badge.

What if I miss my train in Europe?

With a rail pass, you can just catch the next train (though you may be required to get another seat reservation for certain high-speed trains).

What happens if there is a train strike in Europe?

Train strikes, like other transportation strikes, are out of our control. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that you will be refunded in the event of a strike. It can take up to six months to get a final response from the railway on these matters.

Can I print any tickets at train stations in Europe?

Yes, many train tickets are issued with the ability to print at train station kiosks or at home. Some tickets also come with the ability to present an electronic confirmation on your mobile device.

What does it mean to "validate" a rail pass or train ticket in Europe?

For Rail Passes: All rail passes must be validated twice. The first stamp is printed automatically by our office and will appear on the top right hand corner of the pass. You must begin use of this pass within 11 months of this validation. On your first day of train travel, all people listed on the pass must go to the ticket office of the train station and have an official validate the pass again. The station official should put a second stamp on the pass under the first one. Please note that the pass MUST be validated at the station—a conductor on a train cannot validate the pass. If you do not validate the pass, or if you tamper with the pass in any way, the conductor has the right to confiscate it, at which time the unused part of the pass is non-refundable. If you are not able to start using the pass within 11 months of its printed date, you will need to return this pass and we will issue you a new pass.

What are night trains?

Overnight trains and hotel trains offer a range of accommodations, including sleepers, couchettes, and sleeperettes. All sleepers and couchettes convert from seats to berths for nighttime travel, and back to seats for daytime travel. Sleeper Compartments have washbasins, soap, towels, shaver plug, mineral water, and a lockable door. The berths come with pillow, sheets, and a duvet or blanket. Stewards are present in sleeper cars to assist passengers and take care of all border-crossing procedures. Most stewards speak the languages of the countries the train will pass through as well as English. Compartments are gender-specific unless booked by couples or families. Fares for sleepers require a First Class ticket or a rail pass plus the sleeper supplement. First Class/rail pass passengers can book a single, double, or triple sleeper. Single passengers can reserve a double sleeper, but they may have to share with another passenger based on availability.

 

Couchettes are compartments with berths for 4–6 people. Each berth has a pillow, sheets, and blankets. Washbasins are not available in the compartments; shared restrooms are located at the end of the car. Berths can be booked individually or in groups. Compartments are non-gender specific and passengers are expected to sleep in their day clothes. Stewards are available only on international routes. Fares for couchettes require a First or Second Class ticket or a rail pass plus the couchette supplement.

 

Sleeperettes are seats in open coach cars that recline to allow passengers to sleep more comfortably. Seats may have small head pillows attached but no blankets are provided. Fares for sleeperettes require a First or Second Class ticket, or a rail pass and a reservation. There is normally no additional cost for sleeperettes; however, some hotel trains may charge a higher reservation fee for seats. Hotel trains combine long distance night travel with the security, privacy and comfort of a hotel stay. All compartments have locking doors, and there is access to dining cars. There are three levels of accommodation: Tourist, First Class, and Luxury Class. There are reclining Second Class sleeperette seats on certain trains. Tourist Class accommodations include 4 beds to a compartment. Toilets are found outside the compartment at the end of the car. First class accommodations include compartments with 1 to 2 beds. Toilet and shower facilities are located outside the compartment at the end of the car. Luxury Class accommodations include 1 to 2 beds per compartment and a private toilet and shower within the compartment.

 

There are several types of night or hotel trains in Europe: CityNightLine covers international routes between Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Trains have Deluxe, Economy, Couchette and Sleeperette accommodations. Deluxe compartments have 1–2 fixed beds, moveable chairs and tables, and a full washroom with shower. Economy sleepers have 2–4 beds (for families) and a shared washroom in the car. Deluxe and Economy accommodations include breakfast. Couchette and sleeperette passengers may buy breakfast at the bar. DB Nachtzug covers domestic routes in Germany and international routes to Denmark. Accommodations include Comfort, Couchette, and Sleeperettes. Comfort cabins have doors with key-card locks and private shower and toilet cabin. On German domestic routes a restaurant and bistro car is available.

 

Talgo Trains service domestic routes in Spain and international routes between Spain and France, Portugal, Italy, and Switzerland. Classes of accommodation include Luxury, First Class, Tourist, and Sleeperette. Dinner and breakfast is included for all passengers in single or double accommodation. Thello trains cover international routes between France and Italy. Trenhotel covers international routes between Spain and other European countries including Italy. Hotel Train Lusitania covers travel between Portugal and Spain. Accommodations include Luxury, First class and regular seats. Breakfast is included. Overnight Express services international routes between the Netherlands and Italy. Accommodations include Sleeper, Couchette and Sleeperette. Depending on class, accommodations include free meals or snacks. Please note that Eurail Pass holders must have "Benelux" as an associated country to ride this train, and Eurail Select Passes are not valid on this train.

For more information on specific train lines, visit this page of Participating Railways.
 

Can I print my rail pass at the station?

No you cannot. All rail passes must be printed and mailed to passholder.

What happens if I forgot my rail pass but have my reservation and boarded the train?

You will be forced to purchase a full fare ticket and additionally can be fined up to €200. Alternately, you may be asked to leave the train at the next stop.

What do I need to show to the conductor when traveling by train with a rail pass?

You must show I.D. and a rail pass that has been validated before boarding the train. For trains that require seat reservations, you must also show your reservation.

What happens if I didn't fill out my rail pass before boarding the train?

Your rail pass is not valid until you validate it at the train station ticket office, and you also must fill out your travel date before boarding the first train on any day you intend to use it.

What language is spoken at the train station and on the train?

Announcements and other official business will typically be conducted in the language of the countries of departure and of arrival, though English is also sometimes added. In most of Europe, you will find English-speaking ticket agents and conductors—though learning to conduct the transaction in the local language is always appreciated.

What’s the difference between a seat reservation and a train ticket?

A seat reservation can be used in conjunction with a rail pass and grants you access to an assigned seat. A train ticket includes both your fare and, if required, the assigned seat reservation.

Can I purchase seat reservations from RailPass.com once I’m already traveling in Europe?

We only sell seat reservations for trains in Italy.