Railway travel in Europe - the mustachian way

I am looking to go to Amsterdam fron Switzerland and it seems that one of the best solutions (time and money) is the train. I saw that there are direct trains starting from Basel SBB, not high speed ICE and night train.

Has anyone ever tried them? Is the service working properly? Is it safe, especially the night one?

Any feed back is welcome…

Is the reference usually.

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Can confirm, great train info, also for travelling in very exotic places :+1:

I only ever did ICE or Nightjet and can recommend both.

I would recommend the direct ICE 104 at 15:13 or a sleeper train. I have done this route several times and when I had to change trains In Frankfurt I missed my connection every time. With the direct train expect to be delayed a bit but it doesn’t matter that much. Get seat reservations!

I was able to book that route for about 80 CHF I think in 1. Class which was excellent value.

For additional ressources you can also check the Interrail Subreddit. It has a lot of information on train travel in Europe

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In general, www.bahn.de have the best timetables and www.trainline.com is the best place to buy international train tickets.

Depending whether you have a GA or halbtax in switzerland it might be worth checking what the ride costs from the to/from the swiss border (eg Ticket to Chiasso, then Chiasso-Milan) even if you remain seated in your train

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www.trainline.com is the best place to buy international train tickets.

What is the advantage of this site? I usally buy directly from one of the operators of the train, so it’s very easy to get your money back etc. if something goes wrong.

Depending whether you have a GA or halbtax in switzerland it might be worth checking what the ride costs from the to/from the swiss border

On SBB and DB you can add your GA/Halbtax as a discount and I would assume that the price for booking a separate domestic ticket would not be lower. But I have not tested this.

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With trainline you don’t have to sign up at 26 websites and it shows me connections that train companys dont list but YMMV

At trenitalia you can add as many halbtaxes as you want (it’s even extra hard to do so), the price will stay the same (I am referring to Milano-Zurich). I travelled this last weekend but maybe it was a glitch.

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On the other hand, German part of a railroad trip comes with 25% discount (or at least used to be) and a significant discount in the Swiss part if you book it from sbb.ch with half-fare.

So you should always check different combinations of tickets/travel segments (even if physically you are staying in the same train) and websites you are buying it from.

P.S. Should we requalify this thread to “railroad travel
mustachian way”? Try to be more environmental-friendly?

  • yes
  • no
0 voters

@ItalianEngineer ?

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Good specific advice!

In general, planning a train journey passing through Germany is nothing like you’d do it in Switzerland because german trains are notoriously late (sorry). Your best bets in my experience are:

  • Find specific advice on connections such as the above.
  • Avoid changing trains.
  • If you have to change trains, look what your follow up connections would be in case of a delayed arrival at the station, chose a connection that has reasonable follow up options.
  • Maybe stick to higher class trains (ICE>IC>RE, though I’ve yet to see statistics).
  • If you are delayed 1. …and you’re on a long journey or have a late arrival: Take whatever other train will take you to your destination as soon as possible. They fucked up and you’re only trying to arrive at your destination. 2. Never trust what they estimate as arrival time, they love euphemism but every delay I ever had only got worse - plan your next steps and if possible escape to a train that’s on schedule.

If you buy with the deutsche bahn, the reimbursement for delays is however extraordinarily easy, takes less than 5 minutes (25% from one hour delay on, 50% for > 2h, ask me how I know :wink:)

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Maybe stick to higher class trains (ICE>IC>RE, though I’ve yet to see statistics).

Definitely stick to ICE because if that’s sufficiently delayed (I think by at least 40 minutes?) you’re free to use any train. Not so if you have an IC/RE ticket!

If you haven’t seen any statistics you’re gonna love this talk:

(you can select English voiceover using the cog in the bottom right corner)

It’s 20 minutes expected at the final destination when ICE, IC or EC are used:

Thank you, the talk seems interesting :grin:

I will change it. I’ll use the “…the mustachian way” one. I like it most.

Very fairly (hope not to get too much insulted…), my only drivers at the moment are the total price and the door-to-door time :slight_smile:

Thanks for the precise int. I will follow it

Me and my gf went on night jet last year to Wien and we had a very bad time. First train was cancelled and then on the morning train there were no sleeper cars (that we had booked for the night train) so it was a rather uncomfortable trip. And it still was delayed.

The return trip we had booked seats only because the sleeper cars were ridiculously expensive (for sure there were cheaper planes honestly). And then it was massively delayed once again.

The only positive note is that with all the refunds it cost us like 15€ return. Refund was painless too.

We had a friend take Zurich to Berlin and she also told us a crazy story.

The environmentally conscious part of me really wants trains to become a better option (and I know that not all trips will be bad like this so we will try it again) but unfortunately it’s not even close to air travel atm in basically all metrics. And I don’t really like flying.

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