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How to tell if a train requires a reservation in Germany & Switzlerland?

I am trying to book seat reservations for a Germany-Switzerland rail pass, but I don't understand how to tell if a train requires a seat reservation. For some lags of the trip I get the message "Our online rail system can't find tickets and schedules for this trip." Does that mean that no seat reservation is requires? Because the trip itself does exist if you look it up under regular tickets.
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) May 02, 2012 20:12
    Hi Megan,

    Throughout the rest of Europe, reservations are required on high-speed trains. In Germany, however, reservations are not required on the high-speed trains, but they are highly recommended. In any case, there are generally regular trains operating along the same routes as the high-speed trains in Germany, for which reservations would not at all be needed or even accepted. The high-speed trains in Germany are labeled as 'Inter City Express' (ICE) trains. We would recommend booking reservations on these trains, especially during the busy Spring and Summer travel season.

    If a particular train displays when you do a search under 'Book a Reservation for Your Pass' on our website, then it would be another indicator that you might want to purchase reservations on that train. If a particular train doesn't display from such a search, then it is likely that the train doesn't accept reservations or else reservations are not necessary.

    In Switzerland, only trains designated as specialty scenic trains require reservations. These trains include the Glacier Express, the Golden Pass, the Bernina Express, the Chocolate Train, and the William Tell Express. You can access information for these trains by clicking on their respective links under where it says 'Scenic Trains & Airport Transfers' after clicking on 'Train FAQ' from the homepage of our website.

    Otherwise, regular trains operating within Switzerland do not require reservations. In fact, the vast majority of trains within Switzerland do not even accept reservations. Therefore, unless you are taking a specialty Swiss scenic train, the rail pass is all you would need to board trains in Switzerland.

    If you have questions about a specific route, please let us know.
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