What trains honor the Eurail Germany-Switzerland Pass?

If you purchase a regional rail pass, can you only use trains that are listed on rail europe.com? can you use the rail pass for any German Bahn train?
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) April 06, 2015 18:43
    Thank you for your question, Catherine.

    A rail pass covers the ticket costs on trains between different cities in the country or countries included on a pass. When applicable, reservations are a supplementary cost to a rail pass.

    Reservations are required on most high-speed trains, many international routes, and all overnight trains. In Germany, the high-speed trains are called 'InterCity Express' (ICE) trains. Unlike high-speed trains throughout the rest of Europe, reservations are just highly recommended on the 'InterCity Express' trains, not required. For travel with a rail pass, you would check reservation costs and purchase reservations by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage.

    You would purchase the Eurail Germany-Switzerland Pass here: http://www.raileurope.com/rail-tickets-passes/eurail-germany-switzerland-pass/index.html.

    There are scarce exceptions to what a rail pass covers. In Switzerland, for instance, a multi-country rail pass (i.e. the Eurail Germany-Switzerland Pass) would not cover the segment of the Glacier Express scenic route between Disentis and Zermatt and certain mountain railways (i.e. Jungfraujoch, Mt Pilatus, Mt Schilthorn/Piz Gloria, Mt Titlis, Gornergrat, and Klein Matterhorn).

    With regard to the Glacier Express scenic route, a multi-country rail pass would only cover the segment between St Moritz and Disentis. To be covered for any portion of the remaining segment between Disentis and Zermatt, you would have to purchase the appropriate option of a special ticket called the 'Glacier Express Eurail Passholder Fare'.

    A multi-country rail pass would still enable you to receive a 25% discount on the following mountain railways:

    Jungfrau - Jungfraujoch Top of Europe
    Mt Titlis - Mount Titlis
    Mt Schilthorn - Schilthorn/Piz Gloria
    Mt Pilatus - Mount Pilatus

    To receive the 25% discount on any of these mountain railways, you would just have to be sure to purchase the options which are specific to passengers who'll be traveling with a 'Eurail' pass.

    While the main objective of a rail pass is to cover the ticket costs for trains between different cities, they are generally not valid on local public transportation within European cities (i.e. metro, trams, or buses). With that said, there is one notable exception in Germany, which is the S-Bahn trains that operate within German cities. Therefore, a Eurail Germany-Switzerland Pass covers S-Bahn trains in German cities, except for certain S-Bahn routes in Berlin. It would use up a day of travel on a pass to use it to take an S-Bahn. Therefore, you might not want to squander a day of travel on your pass to take an S-Bahn, unless you'll already be using your pass that same day for travel to or from another destination.

    In Berlin, a Eurail Germany-Switzerland Pass would only be valid on the following S-Bahn lines:

    1.) The main S-Bahn lines that cut east-west across the city along the corridor between the Zoologischer Garten station, the Hbf (Hauptbahnhof) station, the Friedrichstrasse station, the Ostbahnhof station, and the Lichtenberg station. This includes S5, S7, and S75 but only between the segment between Zoologischer Garten and Lichtenberg.

    2.) The S-Bahn lines that run north-south between the Gesundbrunnen and the Südkreuz station. These S-Bahn lines intersect with the east-west line mentioned above at the Friedrichstrasse station. These lines include S1 (although S1 doesn't go all the way to Südkreuz, so it would only be valid up to Friedrichstrasse), S2, and S25. On these S-Bahn lines, the pass would just not be valid to any stop north of the Gesundbrunnen station and any stop south of the Südkreuz station.

    The S-Bahn lines throughout Berlin that feed into the lines mentioned above are the ones that would not be covered with a rail pass. However, there are regional Die Bahn trains that run along these very same routes that a rail pass would be valid on.

    All S-Bahn throughout the rest of Germany would be covered. In contrast, a rail pass would not cover the 'U-Bahn' subway trains that operate within German cities.
    • Jeff (Official Rep) December 28, 2016 19:53
      Update:

      Starting in 2017, multiple country passes that include Switzerland (a Eurail Select Pass or a Eurail Global Pass) will begin covering ticket costs for the stretch of railway on the Glacier Express line between Disentis/Visp and Zermatt. Therefore, the 'Glacier Express Eurail Passholder Fare' ticket would no longer be necessary to cover this segment.

      Seat reservations would still be necessary for the actual Glacier Express train from St Moritz and Zermatt (to go along with a rail pass).
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