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Which is better ? Eurail or Bahn? Where best to buy ?

Travel Forums Europe Which is better ? Eurail or Bahn? Where best to buy ?

1. Posted by tehsi (Budding Member 42 posts) 10y

Hello,

I am in the midst of arranging for my transportation from Zurich to Praha (preferably an overnight train).

After searching several websites and located both Eurail and German Rail (Bahn) which do have services from Zurich to Prague.

Only problem with this is that both websites do not provide the cost (fare) of ticket as it is cross border (international).

My question is : which train service should I opt for ? in terms of economical and minimal changes.

And, should I purchase my tickets online (throught their websites) or should I personally go to the ticketing office in Zurich Train station to purchase ? Is it any cheaper to purchase online ?

Also, what is the difference between Couchette and sleeping car ?

Appreciate all your inputs and reviews.

Thank you most gracious.

Kathleen

2. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 10y

Eurail and DB should both show the same service (i.e. you don't have a choice), and neither of them actually run the train itself. You might have a choice in route options, but there is just the one direct train, leaving at 22.40

Couchettes are bunks, normally 3x3 (i.e. 6 people in a compartment) in its own compartment with locking doors. You share with strangers, no m/f seperation and you sleep in your clothes, although you do have a pillow and blanket etc provided.

A sleeping car is a private car with 1 or 2 bunks. Some are ensuite. You have bits of furniture and privacy so you can undress etc and stuff. Generally, the extra price of the sleeper isn't worth paying over a couchette.

You can buy tickets online through a booking agent like Eurail, but they generally charge higher prices, and also a hefty commission. It is easy to buy tickets in Zurich HbF. If you can buy them a day or two in advance, that is great, but in low season, it should be easy enouygh to get a berth on teh same day. Note that the Zurich - Praha trian isn't that long, but rather is a few carriages attached to another train (Zurich - Wien - Budapest) as far as Linz and then added to some seating carriages through to Praha, so it can fill up quicker than some other trains.

HTH

3. Posted by tehsi (Budding Member 42 posts) 10y

Dear Gelli,

Thank you for your inputs. It's of great help !

Is it correct to assume that the more changes (train changes) the cheaper it is vs direct train service ?

As the Zurich-Prague journey is an overnight journey, do I reserve the Couchettes when I purchase the ticket at Zurich HbF or do i have to reserve it in advance via online and purchase the ticket later on. By the way, do you the approximate price for reserving couchette for the said journey? It's very frustrating as all prices are not listed online.

From what I gather, it would be cheaper to buy in the train station rather than buying over the internet, am I correct ?

Thank you for your reply.

Warm regards,

Kathleen

4. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 10y

Is it correct to assume that the more changes (train changes) the cheaper it is vs direct train service ?

Sometimes, but not neccessarily. Often, for international journeys it is cheaper, but not always. On some routes, the direct trains (essentially, express ones) have a supplement which you have to pay, so going with a few changes and using slower local trains is cheaper. However, in this case, there is no supplement, so it costs the same. The tickets work by routeing, so it might be possible to get a cheaper ticket via a different route (via Munich and either Marktredwitz or the other border point which i can't remember off hand, but might be Furth in Wald), but it probably won't make much difference. And you'll have to change at least once. You could go via Munich and get the night train from there (leaves just after 11pm from memory), but I doubt it would work out cheaper, and would certainly take longer due to waiting time in Munich. A similar option is to goi via Stuttgart and the night train from there, although i guess that would be a bit more expensive.

As the Zurich-Prague journey is an overnight journey, do I reserve the Couchettes when I purchase the ticket at Zurich HbF or do i have to reserve it in advance via online and purchase the ticket later on.

Unless you have a rail pass so are just buying the sleeping/couchette reservation, it will all be one ticket, so there is no seperate segment. You should not actually be able to purchase the couchette reservation on its own online. Buy both together in Zurich.

By the way, do you the approximate price for reserving couchette for the said journey? It's very frustrating as all prices are not listed online.

It is very hard to get (reliable) online pricing for European train tickets, apart from internal journeys. Via Munich, i've found online prices of 100usd (from an American agent) and 110 euros (the Germans), which should give you a rough idea.

From what I gather, it would be cheaper to buy in the train station rather than buying over the internet, am I correct ?

Yes.