Paris-Bern-Interlaken-Lauterbrunnen-Bern-Munich. How can I tell if my Eurail Select Pass covers these trains or if a train requires reservations?

I am traveling to the cities above via train and it looks like a 4 Country/5 day Eurail Select Pass would be ideal (flying from Munich to Amsterdam - where we might use a train for a day trip), but had some questions regarding reservations/ticketing.

Our detailed itinerary is below, but had a few primary questions:
1. It looks like each trip below includes a charge anywhere from $10-$50 with the pass, even on trains where reservations are not required. Does the select pass not cover the full cost of these trips (apart from reservation fees)?
2. If a rail pass does cover a trip and reservations are not required, can I just show up to the train with my rail pass? If so, would I need to pay any fees (like the ones that come up in a search as mentioned in question #1?
3. Is there an easy way to tell at a train station whether a reservation is required on a train, and whether that train accepts rail passes?
4. How do I know which trains are covered by the pass and which aren't (i.e. Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen does not show up if I search "traveling with a pass", but does show up otherwise. I assume this is not covered by the pass.
5. If I decide to buy regular tickets instead of a pass, will I be able to tell if it is a open ticket (i.e. being able to take any train from point A to point B)?

Thanks for any and all help!

Itinerary:
Paris-Bern - $51 per person. I would need to book a reservation. Assuming all I need to board is my reservation and Select Pass?

Bern-Interlaken - $13 per person each way. Our understanding is that this is covered by Select Pass based on other answers on this site, wondering what the charge would be for?

Interlaken-Lauterbrunnen (round trip) - Looks like a $9 second class fair one way. I would assume this is an open ticket with no reservations required?

Bern-Munich (after Interlaken-Bern via Select Pass) - It looks like the connections from Zurich to Munich require reservations, and most of these tickets even with a rail pass cost $26 per person.
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) July 30, 2014 15:31
    Hi Brittany,

    1.) Rail passes cover the ticket costs on trains between different cities in the country or countries that they include. When applicable, reservations are a supplementary cost to a rail pass (considering that any costs for needed reservations would be factored into the cost of individual point-to-point tickets, a rail pass still often works out to be the most economical option for travelers taking multiple trains of substantial distances while in Europe.)

    Reservations are required on most high-speed trains, many international routes, and all overnight trains.

    2.) If a particular train doesn't accept reservations, the rail pass is all you would need to board. In such a case, you would just walk right on board the train with your pass and there would be no additional fees.

    3.) Generally, rail passes cover any train that connects different cities in the country or countries they include. While there are few exceptions (i.e. certain privately owned and operated rail lines), you can generally expect that your pass would be valid on a particular route. If you have questions about a specific route, please feel free to ask us.

    4.) With regard to a trip to Lauterbrunnen, a Eurail Select Pass that includes Switzerland would only cover as far as Interlaken. Therefore, you would need to purchase an additional ticket to get to Lauterbrunnen from Interlaken (the ride only takes about 20 minutes). You would purchase regular tickets from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen by clicking on 'Find Fares & Schedules' on the homepage of our website (www.raileurope.com) and not indicating that you'll be traveling with a rail pass.

    If you'll be going up to Jungfraujoch while you're in Lauterbrunnen, you would have a couple different options: You could purchase the 'Jungfraujoch Top of Europe' mountaintop excursion or the 'Jungfrau VIP Pass'.

    The 'Jungfraujoch Top of Europe' covers a roundtrip between Interlaken and Jungfraujoch that must be completed within a 24 hour time period once the journey is begun (therefore, you would still have to purchase that additional ticket for a train from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen if you'll be making these trips on different days). You can purchase this pass by clicking here: http://www.raileurope.com/activities/jungfraujoch/index.html.

    For travel with a Eurail Select Pass, you would purchase the '1 Day Round-Trip Journey from Interlaken - For Use Only With Eurail Pass Which Includes Switzerland' option of this pass.

    Reservations are not accepted for any part of the Jungfraujoch trip. The 'Jungfraujoch Top of Europe' pass is an open voucher that you would use to hop on any of the trains up to Jungfraujoch and back.

    In contrast, the Jungfrau VIP Pass would be valid to cover you in the Jungfraujoch region over the course of 3 days, including the trains between Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen. Therefore, if you have the Jungfrau VIP Pass, you would not need to purchase separate tickets for the short trains between Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen, and you would be covered for other travel in this region as well. You can purchase the Jungfrau VIP Pass by clicking here: http://www.raileurope.com/activities/jungfrau-vip-pass/index.html.

    5.) Rest assured, if a particular train requires reservations, then the reservation would automatically be included with any ticket purchase for that train (should you opt to purchase regular point-to-point tickets). Open tickets are not able to be issued for trains that require reservations. In any case, you would be issued the valid tickets for any route you request.

    You would view a fare's rules and guidelines by clicking on 'View' listed with the fare when you pull up the results of your search for tickets. You would then click 'Read More' next to the options under where it says 'Ticket Flexibility'.
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) July 30, 2014 16:04
    1.) Paris-Bern: A connection from Paris to Bern involves changing trains once in Basel along the way.

    With a Eurail Select Pass that includes France and Switzerland, you would only be eligible to purchase your tickets on a direct train from Paris to Basel at a rate called the 'Passholder 2' rate. To do so, you would click on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on the homepage of our website and then simply indicate the type of rail pass you'll be traveling with when prompted. You would then locate a direct train from Paris to Basel and click on 'View' listed with the costs that are shown for your preferred departure time.

    After you've clicked on 'View', you would then refer to where it says 'Ticket Flexibility'. Underneath 'Ticket Flexibility', you may see 3 options: 'Non Flexible', 'Semi Flexible' and 'Fully Flexible. You would click 'Read More' next to each of these options until you see the fare titled 'TGV Lyria Passholder 2' or something similar. Generally, the Passholder 2 rate for this train would be found under the 'Fully Flexible' option. Be sure the option labeled 'TGV Lyria Passholder 2' is checked, and then click 'Select' to proceed and add it to your 'Itinerary' (shopping cart).

    Connecting trains from Basel to Bern don't require reservations, so the rail pass is all you would need to board.

    2.) Bern-Interlaken: Reservations are accepted on trains from Bern to Inerlaken, which is the cost you're referring to for this segment. However, reservations aren't at all necessary on these trains, and the rail pass is all you would need to board. Rest assured, you don't have to purchase reservations for this route.

    3.) Interlaken-Lauterbrunnen: As I alluded to above, the Eurail Select Pass would not cover trains between Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen. Therefore, you would purchase regular point-to-point tickets for this short trip (if you don't happen to purchase the Jungfrau VIP Pass I mentioned).

    4.) Bern-Munich: The most feasible connections from Bern to Munich do involve changing trains once in Zurich along the way. Just like the trains from Bern to Interlaken, reservations are not at all necessary on trains from Bern to Zurich. While it may be possible to purchase reservations for this segment on our site, it isn't necessary at all that you do so, and the rail pass is all you'd need to board.

    In contrast, reservations aren't necessarily required on trains from Zurich to Munich, but they are highly recommended. You would purchase reservations for a train from Zurich to Munich by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage. You would do this search separate from your Bern-Zurich search, so that you don't end up being charged for reservations on both of these legs, as you would only really want to purchase reservations on the segment from Zurich to Munich.
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    Thanks Jeff, after browsing through the web site I was hoping you'd respond! This was extremely helpful and answered all of our questions.
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