Why are there additional fees for every train connection I want to make even though I have a rail pass??

Hi Rail Europe,

I am doing a cost comparison for a rail pass vs point to point ticketing. we are planning to hit France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland in our journey. I was under the understanding that the Eurail Global Pass covered ALL travel on trains, aside from trains that require a reservation. When I go to the “Book a tickets” portion of the website and select two cities, even though I select the “I have a rail pass” option, there are always extra fees. Why?? As mentioned above, I do understand that the hig speed trains require a reservation and extra fees but aren’t there regionally trains that can be taken that do not include cost outside of the pass? Hypoyhetically, I was looking at Paris to Lyon. Aren’t there other options outside of the high speed train?

Thank you,
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) April 17, 2019 19:59
    Hi Tara,

    The objective of a rail pass is to cover the ticket costs on trains. When applicable, reservations are a supplementary cost to a rail pass. If you were to purchase regular point-to-point tickets (instead of a rail pass), the value of any necessary reservations would still be considered/embedded into those costs. Therefore, a rail pass can still work out to be the most economical option for travelers taking multiple trains while in Europe. It depends on the itinerary.

    Reservations are required on most high-speed trains, many international routes, and all overnight trains. In much of Western Europe (including within France, Italy and Spain), most major cities are connected almost exclusively by high-speed trains. Therefore, it is often the case that reservations are required when traveling in those countries.

    For travel with a rail pass, you would check reservation costs and purchase reservations by searching a route on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), checking the box that says ‘I have a rail pass’, and then indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. a ‘Eurail Global Pass’). Generally, reservable trains can be booked within a range of 60 to 120 days of an intended departure. It just depends on the train/route.

    For trains that do not accept reservations, there is nothing you need to book, so the Eurail Global Pass is all you would need to board. On such trains, you would just hop on and show your pass. For planning purposes, you can still use the route search feature on our homepage just to view schedules for many unreserved trains. Generally, when you're just trying to access schedules for non-reservable trains, you would have to be sure to leave the 'I have a rail pass' button unchecked.
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    • Hi Jeff,
      Thank you so much for answering my question so carefully and thoroughly. Your response was super helpful!!
    • Jeff (Official Rep) April 19, 2019 17:42
      You're welcome, Tara. Have a great trip!
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  • Jeff,
    You stated that when checking for non-reservable trains you must leave the "I have a rail pass" unchecked. I just want to ensure I'm understanding you correctly...for instance from Heathrow UK to Edinburg Scotland....checking Eurail Global Pass comes up with no trains available, but if I uncheck the "I have a rail pass" box then many trains come up. This means that I can still ride for free on those trains, but they are just non-reservable and are first come/first served. Correct? Thanks.

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    • Jeff (Official Rep) May 22, 2019 14:59
      Hi William,

      I apologize, as it's actually no longer accurate that reservations are just recommended on trains taking over 2.5 hours in duration. As of this year, certain trains now require reservations in addition to a rail pass, and that includes trains from London to Edinburgh.

      To travel up to Edinburgh, you would first have to commute from Heathrow into the city of London. The Eurail Global Pass is valid on the Heathrow Express connecting the Heathrow Airport with the Paddington station in London.

      Heathrow Express trains depart from London Paddington once every 15 minutes throughout the day (taking about 15 minutes to get to terminals 1, 2 and 3, and 23 minutes to get to terminal 5). You can just hop on one of these with your Eurail Global Pass.

      As I alluded to above, trains from London to Edinburgh now require reservations as a supplement to the the rail pass. For trains in the UK, passholder reservations are only able to be purchased locally. You can purchase the reservations by going to the ticket window in the station and mentioning that you have the Eurail Global Pass.

      Once again, you can still use the route search feature on our homepage (www.raileurope.com) just to view schedules for trains from London to Edinburgh. To access schedules for trains in the UK, you would have to be sure to leave the 'I have a rail pass' unchecked.

      When you pull up the results of your London-Edinburgh search, you will see that these trains depart out of the King's Cross station in London. To commute from Paddington to the King's Cross station, you would take the Circle Line of the Tube. The ride on the Tube from Paddington to King's Cross take about 15 minutes. You would pay to take the Tube locally at the station.
    • Jeff (Official Rep) May 22, 2019 17:48
      Hi again William,

      I just need to correct myself on a couple points. As of just this year, trains from London to Edinburgh now require reservations. They're no longer just recommended. Also, passholder reservations are now free in the UK. By showing your rail pass, you would not be charged anything additional. You'll still have to go make the actual reservation at the station, but you won't be charged.
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