Hi, my wife and I are travelling for 6 weeks through Europe in August and I've been looking at the options for travel. We are both over 26, so youth interrail/Eurail tickets aren't an option. That's why I thought we may as well go the 1st class option for an extra £130 each? (Eurail)
I just wanted to know people opinions of the difference between 1st and 2nd class on the European Rail network. (On the Eurail Pass and Eastern Eurail Pass)
Do you think first class is worthwhile?
From experience, second class Eurail tickets are fine on most trains, but on some you'll get very dirty, smokey cabins (even though there are smoking/non-smoking sections). Conductors are much more rude to 2nd class people (we had a chance to sit in first class one time and everyone was so nice!), probably because they assume most are students. The seats are bigger and more comfortable, and you get more leg room. Over-night sleepers are a lot larger and are 2 people per room as opposed to 4 or 6. If you can afford it, and it won't break your budget, I say go 1st class, but 2nd class is really not that bad.
Thanks for the reply Katie . Regarding the sleeping cabins, are sleeping cabins usually included in the rail pass, or are they an additional cost? And when compared to Hostel prices, is sleeping on trains more expensive? If there is a high difference between 1st and 2nd class sleeping accomidation costs? Since (if there's a large difference in price), we may be sleeping in second class anyway.. which makes me wonder if first class is a sensible option?
No prob Sleepers are not included in Eurail pass prices. I'm not sure about first class prices, but I know that second class prices were about 15 euros a night (20 in some cases) last year, which is considerably less than hostels in high season.
In Western Europe, there's no real need to go first class and essentially unless somebody else is paying, there's no great value to be gained from it.
Eastern Europe the difference in price is much smaller, and sometimes the difference in the standards of comfort can be more distinctive. But even then, in most places second is fine.
First class sleeping accom is generally significantly more expensive - where you can get it - and (in my view) not really worth the extra, except on occassional blow outs or treats, or if it's a really long journey and you want to knock yourself out to sleep the entire time.
Thanks for your advice. We decided to go Interrail (2nd Class). Mind you, I looked in getting a Nightrain from Madrid to Barcelona and was told my interail passes doesn't count, what's the point of interail tickets then? See below:
I am an Interail pass holder. How can reserve my journey on from Madrid - Barcelona (TRENHOTEL Nº 00874 ) August 9? Can I do this on the internet?
You can book your ticket by the telephone number 902240202, calling from Spain.The, you have 48 hours to collect the ticket. You also can buy the tickets in the train station. You have to pay a fare for this train, as all the "Grandes Líneas" an "AVE" trains.
Hopefully this will make sense. If not, just ask.
Actually, your Interrail does count on these services, but you have to pay a supplement. Unfortunately, most HotelTrains (some internal Spanish ones, plus Spain-France/Portugal direct and France-Italy direct and one or 2 others) you only get a discount. This is because these are private trains, and also of a higher standard.
On all other Night Trains in Europe, whilst the ticket price is included in the Interrrail, if you want a couchette or Sleeper, you have to pay extra, as only the seat price is included. However, Couchette's are normally only a few Euro's (some as low as 4).
In addition, certain other trains in Europe require a supplement &/or compulsary reservation. In Spain and Italy, all long distance services (i.e. one with a train number) require compulsary resv (which costs a couple of euros). The AVE super fast trains Sevilla - Madrid - Zaragoza are entirely private and Interrail is NOT valid. However, many other services (taking only 10-15mins longer) use these routes and Interrail is valid with a resv. Eurostar London-Paris/Bruxelles are also private and you only get passholder savings.
Across the rest of Europe, it's basically all of the new brand of High speed trains which require a small supplement - TGV/Thalys in France; ICE in Germany; X2000 in Sweden etc. But these are rarely more than about 5euros, some only 2euros.
The 2 direct Spain - France day trains supplements cost more, but that is fair enough.
With regard to your Madrid to Barcelona trip, instead of using Trenhotel 874 (d2300, a0758) use the much cheaper normal Night service D370 which runs Madrid - Barcelona - Cerbere (French border). Timings are d2200, a0700.
HTH & good luck
Rich: Only 4 dollars for a sleeper? Wow, I wish I had been able to get an Interrail pass instead of a Eurail one. With the Eurail passes it was much more expensive!
Couchette rather than proper sleeper, and euro's not dollars, but other than that, yes! (admittedly thought, it does depend on the route legnth, who is operating it, and where you buy the tickets)
"D370 which runs Madrid - Barcelona - Cerbere (French border). Timings are d2200, a0700."
Well I can find the D370 from Barcelona - Cerbere in my Thomas Cook timetable, but I wasn't able to locate the same train from Madrid - Barcelona???? Cheers