Rail passes can be expensive, unless you plan to spend a lot of time on the train. Cost it out vs. buying individual tickets. Note an earlier post with links to German and Austrian railways that offer discounted tickets purchased in advance.
As mentioned before, some flights are cheaper than traveling by rail. They might make sense, particularly if covering great distances. On a shorter trip last fall, I flew from Lisbon to Madrid on Air Europa for US$53.48. That was a fraction of the cost of the overnight train fare. Air Europa is a member of the SkyTeam alliance, whose members include Delta Air Lines, KLM and Air France.
So, as mentioned before, explore the options.
P.S. I have friends who can't be bothered with the details, so they work with a travel agent to arrange everything, including transfers to/from airports. They don't mind paying for services rendered. I sometimes work with travel agents overseas; and find they can provide valuable assistance. Some are very good at what they do; and I wouldn't hesitate doing business with them again.
You're right berner256. It's a matter of weighing out the costs and I guess you also have to be lucky with finding offers. -snip-
Moderator comment: please see Forum Rules
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. Link to Forum Rules added. ]
You also can buy passes from the railroads directly, including regional passes. The offers are displayed on the Web sites mentioned in a previous post. I often use my U.S. credit card to purchase rail tickets. Simple and efficient. Also, it sometimes pays to ask at the station if there are cheaper tickets to a particular destination. There may be discounts available for trains leaving at certain times of the day. Please note that some smaller train stations no longer have ticket offices; there are ticket machines, many of which only can dispense full-fare tickets. That's another reason to buy in advance.
P.S. Rail and bus networks in Europe used to be more extensive. But with competition from flights and cars, schedules are more limited. That's particularly so for smaller communities, if they are lucky to get service at all.
[ Edit: Edited on 31-May-2016, at 08:19 by berner256 ]