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Rail Europe

Level Contributor
4 posts
52 reviews
Rail Europe

I would like to issue a serious warning regarding Rail Europe. I called 3 weeks ago to enquire about a train trip from Munich Airport to Leogang in Austria (3 hour trip) and the person quoted me £66 return per person. He also confirmed 3 times that 12 year old children in Germany had to pay adult fares on the trains - this seemed very strange.

I subsequently called Deutsche Bahn in the UK (German national rail network) who confirmed that all under 14s in Germany travel free of charge when travelling with their parents/grandparents.

Rail Europe were thus trying to rip us by off to the tune of £132 by taking 100% commission. BE WARNED! ALWAYS GO TO THAT COUNTRY'S NATIONAL RAIL WEBSITE.

Edited: 9:35 pm, October 12, 2012
69 replies to this topic
Brno, Czech Republic
Destination Expert
for Czech Republic, Slovakia, Train Travel
Level Contributor
27,117 posts
14 reviews
31. Re: Rail Europe

Rail travel in Europe doesn't have to be complicated, or expensive, but it will be if you use expensive agencies-resellers such as Rail Europe/Eurail. There is no such thing as Rail Europe as a single entity - each country has its own national rail company. In the UK 'Britrail' is another re-seller and the railways are operated by many separate franchised companies, from which it is possible to purchase substantially discounted tickets in advance.

Your children should travel free in many places - certainly your 2 year-old. You are right - a pass would have turned out to have been a major and expensive headache.

Look at these sites for more information about European rail travel:



both owners of these sites are regular contributors to these forums. Should you have specific queries, it might be best to post them one by one so you don't get even more confused.

Good luck!

Level Contributor
5,928 posts
1 review
32. Re: Rail Europe

Just as an FYI, you want the Eurostar back to London, not Britrail.

Read the links mentioned. Very helpful.

Ottawa, Ontario
Level Contributor
1,596 posts
21 reviews
33. Re: Rail Europe

JimSmoot, I dont' know all the websites for the official trains but here are those I do know. from planning our upcoming trip. Hopefully they can help you.

Switzerland www.sbb.ch

Germany www.bahn.de

France www.tgv-europe.com (read seat61.com info re booking on this site. You cannot state taht you are in the US. If you do, it automatically reroutes you to RailEurope. State you're in Canada or Antarctica and when you get a popup indicating that it will send you to another site, click at the bottom corner indicating that you want to go to tgv-europe)

Mannheim, Germany
Destination Expert
for Zurich, Mannheim
Level Contributor
13,647 posts
4 reviews
34. Re: Rail Europe

I think Canada will also reroute you to RE. Use some "exotic" places like Afghanistan or Antarctic. Don't worry, it has no relation with the ticket delivery.

To expand:

Belgium: www.b-rail.be

Netherlands : http://www.nshispeed.nl/en

Thalys (high speed train Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Cologne) www.thalys.com

Eurostar: www.eurostar.com

Spain: www.renfe.com

Italy: www.trenitalia.com

UK: www.nationalrail.co.uk for overview, then follow to the actual service provider

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
1 post
28 reviews
35. Re: Rail Europe


I was quoted AUD$683 by www.raileurope.com.au for a train trip for 4 people from Nimes to Barcelona. I went directly to http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/train-ticket and got exactly the same trip for AUD$281 (a saving of $402 or 59% from the "RIP OFF" quote from RAIL EUROPE.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
Level Contributor
76,446 posts
12 reviews
36. Re: Rail Europe

For the past six weeks or so (maybe more) RailEurope Australia has been matching SNCF prices for travel within Australia. It seems that it does not currently have access to Renfe's discounted fares for travel in Spain.

RailEurope USA should still be avoided for train travel anywhere.

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
6 posts
6 reviews
37. Re: Rail Europe

I wish I had read this forum a few months ago - before getting ripped off myself by Rail Europe! I can't answer AustraliaUndecided's specific query re Germany (above), but I can share my experience....

I tried booking on line (raileurope.com.au) a simple trip for two from Pisa to Rome. I got to the payment part and the site seemed not to process my payment. No acknowledgement whatsoever. So I tried again. Nothing.

Getting close to our departure from australia, I decided to give up and so I booked through Italiarail. That was easy and it worked. Payment acknowledged and ticket issued. And it was cheaper than rail europe's ticket. I emailed Rail Europe telling them of my frustration and asking them to ensure that, had either of my attempts been successful, to cancel them. I told them the full story. Anyway, my visa statement comes and, sure enough, two debits from Rail Europe! And I've been battling with them ever since. They eventually refunded one of the payments - but refuse to refund the second- saying that a ticket had been issued. Well, guess what: it hadn't!

We're not talking sheep stations here. Only $85 in fact. But if Rail Europe cared at all, they'd fix their faulty website booking system and they'd avoid further-tormenting their already-frustrated customers by asking them for proof. (Even with the proof i provided them - my Italiarail ticket and my email correspondence highlighting the problem with their site - they didn't want to know me.

Rail Europe: FAIL.

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
7,578 posts
26 reviews
38. Re: Rail Europe

@Rodney W Thanks for sharing, it will be useful for other fellow aussies who are trying to book tickets. I have, whenever possible, dissuaded my friends from making a booking with Rail Europe. One of the things that they do also is to assume they can issue tickets during the Europe timetable change, when they really cannot until the real timetable is settled.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
Level Contributor
76,446 posts
12 reviews
39. Re: Rail Europe

Rodney: Stop talking to RailEurope and raise a formal dispute with your card issuer.

victoria, australia
Level Contributor
8 posts
73 reviews
40. Re: Rail Europe

Problem seems to be that SNCF in particular are pushing anyone in UK, US or Australia to the RailEurope website. It used to be that you could ignore SNCF and just do the booking as if you were in France, print the e-ticket and away you go, but now they seem to be perhaps identifying foreign issued credit cards and blocking the transaction? One solution is that a re-seller of SNCF tickets who also sells German tickets is now on the web - and they charge the same price as SNCF (i.e. not the inflated price from Rail Europe). It's called Capitaine Train - just used it and it works a treat - much better than the clunky SNCF site

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