With the German Pass, are reservations required from Munich to Nuremburg, Nuremburg to Stuttgart, as well as day-trips from Frankfurt to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Cologne, & the Rhine River?

I purchased a German Rail Pass for our stay in Germany. We will go by train from Munich to Nuremberg, Nuremberg to Stuttgart. Is reservations recommended for these trips?
Then eventually we will stay put in Frankfurt and take various day trips each day to Rothenberg, and Cologne and the Rhine river. Would reservations be recommended for all these day trips too?
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) June 10, 2015 19:17
    Thank you for your question, Janet.

    In Germany, reservations would only be recommended on any high-speed 'InterCity Express' (ICE) trains in addition to the German Rail Pass. For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase reservations by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage, entering the route, and indicating the type of rail pass you'll be traveling with (i.e. the 'German Rail Pass').

    From Munich to Nuremberg, the vast majority of trains are high-speed 'InterCity Express' trains. If you happen to take one of the less frequent regional ('Regional Express') trains from Munich to Nuremberg, the rail pass would be all you'd need, as reservations are not accepted on these trains.

    Reservations are not necessary on trains from Nuremberg to Stuttgart. The trains from Nuremberg to Stuttgart are either regular 'InterCity' trains or regional ('Regional Express') trains. The German Rail Pass is all you would need to board any of these trains.

    From Stuttgart to Frankfurt, there either the high-speed 'InterCity Express' trains or regular 'InterCity' trains.

    A connection from Frankfurt to Rothenburg ob der Tauber would take about 2.5 to 3 hours in duration and involves 2 train changes en route; once in Wurzburg and then once in Steinach. Trains from Frankfurt to Wurzburg are high-speed 'InterCity Express' trains. The trains from Wurzburg to Steinach and Steinach to Rothenburg ob der Tauber are regional ('Regionalbahn') trains that don't accept reservations. Therefore, the rail pass is all you would need to board for these segments.

    Trains from Frankfurt to Cologne are either the high-speed 'InterCity Express' trains or regular 'InterCity' trains.

    For the Rhine River, you can take a scenic line from Frankfurt called the 'West Rhine Railway'. The 'West Rhine Railway' would take you over to the Rhine at Mainz and then proceed on through towns along the Rhine that include Ingelheim, Bingen, Bacharach, Oberwesel, and Boppard, before terminating in Koblenz. So that you travel along this route, you would just want to be sure the train you take from Frankfurt to Koblenz (or any of the other towns I mentioned on this line) is a regional train ('Regional-Express' trains).

    The regular 'InterCity' trains between Frankfurt and Koblenz also travel along this route, but they don't necessarily make actual stops at the towns I mentioned, in case those are destinations you want to visit.

    There are also trains between Mainz and Koblenz called 'Mittelrheinbahn' (MRB) trains, which also run along the 'West Rhine Railway' and make even more stops en route.

    Please be advised that there are also high-speed 'InterCity Express' between Mainz and Koblenz; however, these trains do not run along the scenic route.

    Reservations are not necessary on the trains that run along the 'West Rhine Railway', whether it's the 'Mittelrheinbahn' trains from Mainz, the regional trains ('Regional Express' trains), or the regular 'InterCity' trains. Therefore, the German Rail Pass is all you would need to board. This would also enable you to get off at stops along the way as you go.

    Since you wouldn't be purchasing actual reservations for these trains, you can just view their schedules by clicking on 'Find Fares & Schedules' on our homepage and entering the cities, this time not indicating that you'll be traveling with any type of rail pass.

    These trains can be distinguished from one another and identified by their train numbers when you pull up the results of a search on our site. The regional trains ('Regional Express' trains) from Frankfurt to Koblenz or Mainz to Koblenz will have 4 digit train numbers that all begin with a ‘4’, the regular 'InterCity' trains from Frankfurt to Koblenz or Mainz to Koblenz will have 4 digit train numbers that all begin with a '2', and the ‘Mittelrheinbahn’ trains between Mainz and Koblenz will have 5 digit train numbers that all begin with a ‘2’. Please note, the trains with 5 digit train numbers that operate between Frankurt and Koblenz are not ‘Mittelrheinbahn’ trains and do not run along the scenic route. The 'Mittelrheinbahn' only operate between Mainz and Koblenz. Any 'InterCity Express' trains between Mainz and Koblenz will be labeled as such (and generally would have 4 digit train numbers that begin with a '1').
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) June 10, 2015 19:28
    The German Rail Pass would also enable you to receive KD Rhine Line boat cruises along the Rhine between Mainz and Cologne. To receive the discount, you would just show your pass as you board.
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