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Germany - Train System

Train travel is a popular and efficient mode of transport in Germany. Railway stations connect to many national and international destinations.
When you book a train ticket you do not automatically get an allocated seat. For this, you have to pay extra. Although there are (entirely legal) tricks to finding a seat on a train that is "full", it is safest to pay the 5 Euros extra and have a guaranteed seat for long journeys.

To plan your trip, there are stands with little cards alphabetically ordered by destination. These have the trip details, including travel time, connections, stations you stop at on the way and facilities on board the train. Faster trains and overnight sleeper trains cost more than slower trains that stop frequently.

There are a few things you can do to make your travel cheaper. You can buy a DB (Deutsche Bundesbahn) card which allows you to get either 25% or 50% off your travel. The 25% discount card costs 50 Euro for second class and 100 Euro for first class.(2005) If you have already purchased a full-priced card, your spouse and children under 18 can buy their own card for 5 Euros. The 50% discount card costs 200 Euros for second class and 400 Euros for first class. Your spouse and children (as well as students under 26, seniors and disabled people) can buy the 50% discount card for half the price. For both cards, children under 15 can travel free when accompanied by their parents or grandparents.

Eurail passes are also valid on DB trains, but are generally expensive and better for tourists travelling long distances. You are unable to buy the Eurail pass if you are a European resident or have been in Europe for over six months.

You can ask your travel agent to give you prices on the German Rail Pass, German Rail Twin Pass or German Rail Youth Pass. Those tickets are valid for 4, 10 days or 4 weeks. With them you can use the extensive railway net in Germany and explore the country. Prices depend if you take 1st ord 2nd class and of course the time limit.

The Deutsche Bundesbahn releases special offers frequently. Like "Sunshine ticket for Nordrheinwestfalen", "Weekendtravel" e.g. Please go the the railway station nearest you to find out if there is anything available for your purposes.

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