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Train Ticket Guides How to use a Rail Pass on day trains in 15 popular countries
How to Use A Rail Pass on DAY trains in  15 Popular Countries

How to use a Rail Pass on day trains in 15 popular countries

How to use Eurail or InterRail pass to travel by daytime trains in or from/to Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden & Switzerland

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How to use InterRail and Eurail Passes on daytime trains How to use InterRail and Eurail Passes on daytime trains

This guide will tell you how Eurail and InterRail passes can be used on DAYTIME trains in the countries most travelled by rail pass users; so more will be added soon.
Info on other countries is available on the Eurail and InterRail websites.

Click on the country names on the content menu to discover whether you have to pay reservation fees or not, on both domestic AND international daytime trains from/to each country.
Or if you're travelling throughout Europe it will take you around 15 mins to scroll through the entire page.

When reservation fees are payable we show how much they are AND direct you to how you can book them at the cheapest possible price.

Six general points worth knowing:

(1) Rail pass users ALWAYS have to reserve before travelling on any night train - more information about this.

(2) Apart from a very few Swiss mountain railways, the same reservation fees apply to both Eurail and InterRail pass users.

(3) If you will be travelling with a 1st class pass you have to book 1st class reservations.

(4) Similarly on day trains; if you have a 2nd class you cannot book 1st class reservations - except on these Norwegian trains,

(5) On trains that require reservations the USUAL rule is that children aged 5 and over must also have a reserved seat - and the reservation fees are fixed, so there is no discount for children

(6) The reservation prices on this guide DON'T include booking fees because more often than not there are means of avoiding booking fees, ShowMeTheJourney explains how to do this whenever it's an option.

Austria:

Book rail pass reservations at OBB Reisezentrum desks

Using Eurail & InterRail Passes in Austria:

For journeys within Austria, rail pass users can hop on any daytime train managed by national rail operator OBB including the Railjets - and on the Westbahn trains, which provide an alternative to the Railjets on the Salzburg - Vienna route.

The OPTIONAL rail pass seat reservation fee to travel on a Railjet or an IC train, if booked online with OBB or at a station in Austria is €3; whether you have a 1st or 2nd class pass.

Using Eurail & InterRail Passes on trains from Austria:

International train journeys from Austria on which rail pass reservations ARE NOT required:

  • EC trains to Germany, Hungary and Switzerland

  • Journeys by Railjet train to Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Switzerland and The Czech Republic.
    Though if you will be traveling between Austria and Germany, Hungary and Switzerland during the summer, we recommend making reservations for these trains in advance, particularly if you have a 2nd class pass.

  • ICE trains to Germany; ShowMeTheJourney also recommends making reservations on these trains.
    International DAYTIME train journeys from Austria on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

  • EC trains to Slovenia and Croatia: 1st and 2nd class = €3

  • EC trains to Poland: 1st and 2nd class = €3

  • Railjet trains to Italy 1st class = €15 and 2nd class = €10
    How to avoid these fees when travelling from Wien/Vienna to Venice/Venezia.

  • EC trains to Italy: 1st class = €20.90; 2nd class = €14.50 (see below)
    How to avoid these fees when travelling from Innsbruck

Booking these rail pass reservations:

You have three options:

(1) You can book these optional and compulsory reservations online on the OBB, Austrian national railways, website before arriving in Austria.
You can usually book reservations for journeys within Austria and for journeys to Germany up to 6 months ahead and on most other international trains up to 3 months ahead.

How to book day train reservations is included in the guide to using the OBB booking service.

Booking the reservations on the night trains.

(2) You can also book reservations online by using the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service - though you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, per person.

(3) You can also book these rail pass reservations at Reisezentrum travel desks at major Austrian stations without booking fees; and when you book in person for the EC and Railjet trains to Italy you can pay the full charge, the seat reservation AND the journey supplement.
If the Reisezentrum desk is open when you first arrive somewhere, a tip is to book your reservations before you exit the station.

Belgium:

Using rail passes on Belgian trains

Using Eurail & InterRail Passes in Belgium:

Rail pass users can hop on any daytime train for journeys within Belgium.

Reservations aren't available for domestic journeys on any train operated by Belgium's national rail company NMBS/SNCB.

Using Eurail & InterRail Passes on trains from Belgium

International journeys from Belgium on which rail pass reservations ARE NOT required:

  • Journeys by Intercity Brussels trains - so these trains are a much cheaper alternative for rail pass users to Thalys trains for journeys between Belgium and The Netherlands.
  • on IC trains to Lille in France and Luxembourg.
  • journeys by ICE train between Belgium and Germany - so these trains are a much cheaper alternative for rail pass users to Thalys trains for journeys between Belgium and Germany.

More info is available on the detailed guide

International journeys on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

  • Journeys by Eurostar train to the UK 1st class = €38; 2nd class = €30
    A limited number of reservations are available to rail pass users, so booking at the earliest opportunity is highly recommended, the most popular departures can 'sell out' more than a week in advance.
  • Journeys by TGV (Bruxelles - France) trains to destinations other than Paris: 1st class = €30; 2nd class = €20
  • On Thalys trains to Paris, Germany and The Netherlands:

A major recent change is that the rail pass reservation fees on the Thalys trains are now the same price, whether you will be using First or Second class passes.
Though users of Second Class passes will have to travel in Standard Class on the Thalys trains.

In contrast First Class pass users will be offered a choice of seating, depending on availability at the time of booking.
If Premium Class is still available then that will be offered, but if reservations are sold out in Premium Class you will be offered Comfort Class (1st class).
However, if Comfort Class is sold out and Standard Class reservations are still available, you will only be offered seats in Standard Class, despite having a First Class pass.

The new fees (in either direction) are:

  • Paris <> Bruxelles/Antwerp/Liege = €25
  • Paris<> Aachen/Koln/Dusseldorf/Essen = €30
  • Paris <> Rotterdam/Schiphol/Amsterdam= €30
  • Bruxelles/Antwerpen <> Rottterdam/Schiphol/Amsterdam = €20
  • Bruxelles/Liege <> Aachen/Koln/Dusseldorf/Essen = €25

You can avoid these Thalys reservation fees by making indirect journeys with multiple changes of train.
But if you do want to travel on a Thalys service, book in advance to maximise your choice of departures, because rail pass reservations can sell out on the most popular trains, particularly in the summer.

Booking these rail pass reservations:

Avoid booking reservations at stations in Belgium, you will have to pay booking fees.

If you opt for a paper pass, or now a mobile pass* when buying your Eurail/InterRail pass you can make reservations without paying booking fees** for the Eurostar; Thalys and now the TGV Bruxelles/France trains on B-Europe - Eurostar reservations can normally be booked up to 6 months ahead and Thalys reservations can usually be booked up to 4 months ahead; with reservations for the international TGVs usually available 3 months in advance.
*Using B-Europe's reservation service had only been an option for users of paper passes as pass numbers are required when making a booking, but mobile passes don't have them; they're printed on to the paper passes.
But new online services have been launched which enable mobile pass users to obtain the necessary pass numbers.
Eurail mobile pass purchasers can use this pass number generation service; InterRail pass purchasers can this pass number generation service.
**= However, B-Europe will also sell the reservations a 'mobile tickets', which incur a €4 surcharge.

You can also book reservations online by using the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service though you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, per person.
This method is the only online option if you purchase the mobile versions of the Eurail/InterRail passes.

Czechia:

Using rail passes in the Czech Republic

Using Eurail & InterRail Passes for train journeys within The Czech Republic:

CD, České dráhy, is the national rail operator in Czechia (The Czech Republic) and rail pass users can hop on any of its train services EXCEPT for its 'Supercity' trains on the Prague - Ostrava route, but those trains are easily avoided.
Though the reservation fees for journeys on those SuperCity (SC) trains are less than the equivalent of €4 - and they can be booked without additional fees on the CD website, how to do this is explained here.

If you wish to wish to reserve seats on Regional, EC*, Ex, IC, or RJ services, you can also book those OPTIONAL reservations on the CD website and the cost of doing so is 35 CZK (under €2).
* for journeys by EC train within Czechia.

However, be aware that not all trains in Czechia are operated by CD, (České dráhy).
Leo Express and RegioJet compete with CD's trains on the most popular express train routes in Czechia, but Eurail and InterRail passes ARE now valid on the Leo Express and Regiojet trains.
Some local and regio services in north-west Czechia are operated by GW and rail passes are not valid on those services.

Using Eurail & InterRail Passes for train journeys FROM Czechia:

International journeys on which rail pass reservations are available but NOT required:

  • On the Railjets and Regiojets to Austria
  • EC Metropolitan trains to Hungary, Germany and Slovakia
    Opting to make a reservation on these EC trains to Germany is recommended if you will be travelling with a 2nd class pass, particularly on Friday - Sunday, these can be busy trains.

International journeys on which reservations are not available, but rail passes are valid, so just hop on board:

  • The ALX trains to Germany
  • Regional trains to Linz in Austria

International DAYTIME journeys on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

The EC trains to Poland: 1st AND 2nd class = €4

Reservations for:

  • these EC trains
  • the Railjets
  • the EC trains to Germany, Hungary and Slovakia
  • the SuperCity trains (and the IC and Ex trains within Czechia)
  • and the night trains from and to Czechia
    ...can all be booked online, without additional fees, on the CD website; the booking service of national rail operator, České dráhy, from two months ahead of your travel date.

Note that the CD booking service understandably does not sell reservations for the Regiojet or Leo Express stations, so if you want to travel by these trains it's best to either arrange them at the station, or seek out the train conductor when you first board the train.
Our guide to booking the reservations for journeys by CD trains online on the CD website is available HERE, or you can book these reservations, without having to pay additional fees, at ticket offices.

Rail pass users can also reserve on the RegioJet trains to Bratislava and Wien/Vienna and the Leo Express services to Krakow, either book them at the respective ticket desks (not at CD ticket desks), or seek out the conductor when you first board the train.

Denmark:

Using rail passes in Denmark

Using Eurail & InterRail Rail Passes for train journeys in Denmark:

Rail pass users can hop on any daytime train for journeys within Denmark.
Although reservations are recommended if you want to travel on Lyn train services and have a 2nd class pass.

Using Eurail & InterRail Passes for train journeys FROM Denmark:

International journeys on which rail pass reservations ARE NOT required:

  • On the Øresundståg trains to Sweden:
  • On the EC/IC trains to Germany; but only if you WON'T be travelling between June 18th and August 21st.
    Though we strongly recommend reserving on these EC/IC trains whenever you will be travelling.

International journeys on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

  • On the EC trains to Germany between June 18th and August 21st: 1st class = €5.30; 2nd class = €4.
  • On the Snabbtåg trains to Sweden*: 1st class = €17; 2nd class = €7
    Or avoid the fees by taking an alternative routing when travelling from Copenhagen/Kobenhavn to Stockholm.

Booking these rail pass reservations:

Rail pass reservations for the trains between Denmark and Germany can be booked through the DSB website (the tech is provided by the B-Europe reservation system).

For the Snabbtåg trains to Sweden*.
Book on the SJ (Swedish Railways) website ; these reservations can't be booked on the DSB (Danish Railways) website.
Booking ahead is highly recommended, seats on the most popular trains can sell out days in advance, bookings usually open around 3 months ahead

*You have to take the Øresundståg trains on journeys to Malmo.

France:

Using Rail Passes in France

Using Eurail & InterRail Passes for train journeys in France

Rail passes are NOT valid for journeys by Ouigo trains.

Provence-Alps-Cote D'Azur and [Occitanie](https://www.sncf-reseau.com/fr/carte/occitanie/carte-reseau-ferre-occitanie-3bold text) which are the two regions on the Mediterranean coastline of France, have now introduced new rules which state that Eurail and InterRail passes purchased after July 1st 2022, can no longer be used on the TER trains which operate within the two regions, as well as those which travel over the boundary between them.

Trains services in France on which rail pass reservations ARE NOT required:

  • Local trains; except for RER trains in Paris, rail passes are not valid on the RER trains, and rail passes are now not valid on local trains around Marseille, Nice and Toulouse
  • Some journeys by Intercités (IC trains) particularly the routes winch don't serve Paris
  • Most, but not all, journeys by TER regional trains

More info is available on the detailed guide

The train services in France on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

  • (1) Any journey by TGV (inOui) train: 1st class AND 2nd class = €10 OR €20 (*see note below)
  • (2) Journeys by Intercites (IC trains): 1st class AND 2nd class = €10 OR €20 (*see note below) on these routes:
  • Paris – Limoges – Brive la Galliarde – Toulouse
  • Bordeaux – Toulouse – Narbonne – Nimes – Montpellier – Marseille
  • Paris – Nevers – Vichy – Clermont Ferrand
    *Limited numbers of reservations are available on some departures at the €10 rate, but when they sell out/aren't available the price is €20.
    First Class passes required for reservations in First Class.
    (3) On the TER trains between Paris and both Hauts-de-France and Normandy; can only be booked at station ticket counters.

Note that rail pass reservations may not be available at all on particularly busy trains; though if an alternative involves a change of train, only one reservation fee will be charged.

Booking these rail pass reservations for journeys WITHIN France:

Reservations can be booked online up to 4 months ahead of the travel date and in our experience, you often have to book at least 10 days ahead to obtain the €10 price.

You can book reservations online by using the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service - though you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, per person.

The €2 fee can be avoided* if you opt to use the paper, or now the mobile* versions of valid Eurail or InterRail passes by booking reservations with B-Europe for journeys by TGV trains within France; B-Europe is the international online booking service provided by Belgium's national rail company.
*= Using B-Europe's reservation service had only been an option for users of paper passes as pass numbers are required when making a booking, but mobile passes don't have them; they're printed on to the paper passes.
But new online services have been launched which enable mobile pass users to obtain the necessary pass numbers.
Eurail mobile pass purchasers can use this pass number generation service; InterRail pass purchasers can this pass number generation service.
**= Though B-Europe will only offer 'mobile' tickets as a reservation booking option and it imposes a €4 surcharge for booking a mobile reservation
Using B-Europe isn't an option if you opt for a mobile pass; and yes if you then use a paper pass to book with B-Europe, you'll have a 'mobile' reservation.

Though on B-Europe reservations cannot be booked for the Intercités routes which also have mandatory reservations.
Also for end-to-end journey options which involve taking two TGV trains, the fee will need to be paid per train.

Reservations cannot be booked on B-Europe for the Intercités routes which also have mandatory reservations.
Also for journey options which involves two TGV trains, the fee will need to be paid per train.

The B-Europe reservation service is pretty much straightforward to use, except for the one quirky feature illustrated below.
Booking TGV reservations for Eurail and InterRail with BEurope
This may be to do with SMTJ's settings on the PC, but we had to enter the county of residency manually, B-Europe initially pre-populated it, but it wouldn't stick.

The ability to book reservations on the SNCF Connect and RailEurope websites has been removed.

If you wait until you're at the station in France, the SNCF Travel Boutiques will sell reservations for advance travel and the ticket counters will sell reservations for that day.
Rail pass reservations are also available for journeys within France from the newer type of white ticket machines.
Though inevitably if you wait until you are in France to book, you're more likely to find that the €10 reservations have sold out and will be asked to pay the €20 fee.

So paying €10 + €2 on the Eurail and InterRail reservation services, could be a money saver, as well as giving peace of mind.

Using Eurail & InterRail Passes for train journeys FROM France

International train journeys from France on which rail pass reservations are NOT required:

The only train journeys from and to France on which rail pass reservation fees don't have to be paid are the:

  • IC trains from/to Lille (and Liege).
  • TER trains to Luxembourg, Basel and Geneve
  • local cross border trains including those to/from Offenburg in Germany, but for future rail pass bookers, Eurail and InterRail are now not valid on the TER trains which cross the borders to Ventimille / Ventimiglia in Italy and on the TER trains to Port Bou in Spain.

International DAYTIME train journeys from France on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

Eurostar
Journeys by Eurostar train to the UK: 1st class = €38-43; 2nd class = €30-38
A limited number of reservations are available to rail pass users, so booking at the earliest opportunity is highly recommended, the most popular departures can 'sell out' more than a week in advance.
Reservations are usually available up to 6 months ahead and they can be booked for a fee of €2 per person on the Eurail/InterRail reservation service; the rail pass reservation link on the Eurostar website is now directed at the Eurail/InterRail reservation service.

Or if you opt to use the paper version of the Eurail/InterRail passes, you can avoid the €2 per person booking fees by using B-Europe

Thalys
On Thalys trains to Belgium Germany and The Netherlands:

A major recent change is that the rail pass reservation fees on the Thalys trains are now the same price, whether you will be using First or Second class passes.
Though users of Second Class passes will have to travel in Standard Class on the Thalys trains.

In contrast First Class pass users will be offered a choice of seating, depending on availability at the time of booking.
If Premium Class is still available then that will be offered, but if reservations are sold out in Premium Class you will be offered Comfort Class (1st class).
However, if Comfort Class is sold out and Standard Class reservations are still available, you will only be offered seats in Standard Class, despite having a First Class pass.

The new fees (in either direction) are:
Paris <> Bruxelles/Antwerp/Liege = €25
Paris<> Aachen/Koln/Dusseldorf/Essen = €30
Paris <> Rotterdam/Schiphol/Amsterdam= €30

Can be booked for a fee of €2 per person on the Eurail/InterRail reservation service, or if you opt to use the paper version of the Eurail/InterRail passes, you can avoid the booking fees* by using B-Europe up to 4 months ahead of the travel date.
*= However, B-Europe will also sell the reservations a 'mobile tickets', which incur a €4 surcharge.

Bookings usually open up to 4 months ahead, so book in advance to maximise your choice of departures, rail pass reservations can sell out on the most popular trains, particularly in the summer.

How to avoid these Thalys reservation fees when travelling from Paris to Amsterdam or from Paris To Cologne/Koln.

TGVs from Brussels to France

On TGV trains from cities other than Paris to Belgium: 1st class = €30; 2nd class = €20

Can be booked for a fee of €2 per person on the Eurail/InterRail reservation service, or if you opt to use the paper version of the Eurail/InterRail passes, you can avoid the booking fees* by using B-Europe up to 4 months ahead of the travel date.
*= However, B-Europe will also sell the reservations a 'mobile tickets', which incur a €4 surcharge.

The DB-SNCF trains

On DB-SNCF high speed services to and from Germany: 1st class = €30; 2nd class = €13

Can no longer be booked on the DB website; but you can book reservations online by using the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service - though you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, per person.
Can be booked from four months ahead of the travel date.

How to avoid these reservation fees when travelling from Paris to Berlin, or from Paris to Hamburg, or from Paris to Munich.

TGVs to Luxembourg

On TGV trains to Luxembourg: 1st class AND 2nd class = €6
Can be booked online as per the TGVs within France, see above.

Lyria

On Lyria trains to Switzerland - our Lyria trains page has details of alternative routes that can be taken to avoid paying these fees.
Fees vary depending on the journey:
Paris - Basel, Geneva, Lausanne or Zurich: 1st class from €54; 2nd class from €21
On the Marseille - Avignon - Geneve route: 1st class from €26; 2nd class from €17

See our Using Rail Passes in France guide for more info on booking these reservations.

For journeys between Paris and Basel if you book reservations on a TGV between Paris and Mulhouse or Strasbourg, and then connect into local/regional trains to/from Switzerland, you can save up to more than €30; and some of these alternative connections aren't much slower than taking the direct trains.
Or to avoid the fees completely you can follow these alternative journey options from Paris to Basel and Zurich and from Paris to Interlaken.

TGV France-Italy

On TGV France-Italy trains: 1st class = €45; 2nd class = €31
The most heavily discounted tickets for these trains are similarly priced to these particularly expensive rail pass reservations fees.
So it can be a good idea to look up the journey on SNCF Connect before paying these fees; particularly if you will be using a pass valid for a fixed number of travel days.

You can book reservations online by using the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service - though you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, per person.

The RENFE-SNCF services

On RENFE-SNCF trains on the Paris - Barcelona route:
Fees vary depending on the journey:
Paris to Barcelona: 1st class = €48; 2nd class = €34.

How to save money when using a rail pass to travel from Paris to Barcelona.

On RENFE-SNCF trains from other cities in France to Spain including the Marseille to Madrid route:
Fees vary depending on the journey:
Marseille to Madrid: 1st class = €48; 2nd class = €34
Lyon to Barcelona: 1st class = €26; 2nd class = €19

How to avoid paying additional fees when travelling to Barcelona from Lyon and from Marseille.

You can book reservations online by using the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service - though you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, per person.

More info is available on the detailed guide

Germany:

Using Eurail and InterRail in Germany

Using Eurail & InterRail Passes for train journeys in Germany; more info is available on this guide

Rail pass users can hop on any daytime train for journeys within Germany including journeys by ICE trains.
Though we recommend making the optional reservations for long-distance journeys by ICE train, particularly on Friday and Sunday afternoons and evenings!
The optional reservations for journeys by ICE and IC train = €5.30 in 1st class and €4 in 2nd class.

Booking these rail pass reservations for journeys WITHIN Germany

You can either book seat reservations online before you arrive in Germany, or book them at a station in Germany by using a Reisezentrum travel desk or a ticket machine,

ONLINE: You can purchase seat reservations on the DB (German national railways) booking website - usually available up to 6 months ahead.
How to do this is explained here.

AT A STATION: The major stations in Germany, the hauptbahnhofs, house Reisezentrum travel desks.
In the fairly unlikely event of seats being unavailable on your first choice of train, alternative options will always be available.

More info is available on the detailed guide

Using Eurail & InterRail Rail Passes for train journeys FROM Germany

Rail pass users can book reservations at Reisezentrum travel desks without paying booking fees, for any international train service from and to Germany.
They also sell rail pass reservations for the vast majority* of European trains, including those which DON'T travel from or to Germany.
*Thalys trains are one of the exceptions.

International train journeys from Germany on which rail pass reservations ARE NOT required:

  • Journeys by ICE train to Austria, Belgium, Switzerland and The Netherlands
  • Journeys by IC train to The Netherlands (and Switzerland)
  • On Railjets to Austria and Hungary
  • EC trains to Austria, Hungary, Switzerland and The Czech Republic
  • EC trains to Denmark (but NOT between 12 June and 4 September)
  • The ALX trains to The Czech Republic

International DAYTIME train journeys from Germany on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

(1) EC trains to Slovenia and Croatia: 1st and 2nd class under €5
Can be boked on the DB website with no booking fees up to 6 months ahead of the travel date
How to do this is explained here.

(2) EC trains to Poland: 1st and 2nd class = €4
Note that rail pass reservations for these trains can no longer be booked through the DB website.

(3) Between June 18th and August 21st you must reserve on the EC trains to Denmark: 1st class = €5.30; 2nd class = €4
These reservations can be booked with no booking fees booked through the DSB website (the tech is provided by the B-Europe reservation system).

(4) EC trains to Italy, on the Munchen to Italy route: 1st class = €20.90; 2nd class = €14.50.
You can book online before arriving in Germany by using the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service though you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, per person.

Or these reservations can be booked with OBB, Austrian national railways, website before arriving in Germany, you can avoid the €2 booking and save €2 on the total costs of the reservation.

How to book day train reservations is included in the guide to using the OBB booking service.

If you book reservations for these specific trains at a Reizesentrum travel desk in a hauptbahnhof, you won't be charged the full amount of the reservation and will therefore have to pay €10 to the conductor on the train.

An option is to avoid these costs completely by following alternative journey options when travelling from Munich to Bologna and Verona, or to Venice.

(5) EC trains to Italy, on the Frankfurt (Main) to Milano route: 1st class = €13; 2nd class = €11
Don't book the reservations for these EC trains to Italy on the DB website as the reservation fee won't include the 'supplement' for the journey to Italy.
Instead book them at the Reisezentrum travel desks at the Hbf stations.

Thalys trains:

(6) On Thalys trains to Belgium and Paris
A major recent change is that the rail pass reservation fees on the Thalys trains are now the same price, whether you will be using First or Second class passes.
Though users of Second Class passes will have to travel in Standard Class on the Thalys trains.

In contrast First Class pass users will be offered a choice of seating, depending on availability at the time of booking.
If Premium Class is still available then that will be offered, but if reservations are sold out in Premium Class you will be offered Comfort Class (1st class).
However, if Comfort Class is sold out and Standard Class reservations are still available, you will only be offered seats in Standard Class. despite having a First Class pass.

The new fees (in either direction) are:
Paris<> Aachen/Koln/Dusseldorf/Essen = €30~
Bruxelles/Liege <> Aachen/Koln/Dusseldorf/Essen = €25

Avoid these fees for journeys between Germany and Belgium by taking the ICE trains instead.
When travelling to Paris you can avoid these fees by taking alternative trains from Cologne/Koln.

Thalys journey reservations cannot be booked on DB or at the Reisezentrum travel desks.
If you have opted for a paper pass you can make reservations without paying booking fees for the Eurostar; Thalys and now the TGV Bruxelles/France trains on **B-Europe
Though note that you cannot use the B-Europe website to book reservations if you opt for the mobile version of the Eurail and InterRail pass.

You can also book reservations online by using the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service though you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, per person.
This method is the only online option if you purchase the mobile versions of the Eurail/InterRail passes.

Book in advance to maximise your choice of Thalys departures, rail pass reservations can sell out on the most popular trains, particularly in the summer.

(7) On the DB-SNCF trains; Germany to France:

On the DB-SNCF high speed services to and from France: 1st class = €30; 2nd class = €13
However, reservations for these trains can no longer seemingly be booked on the DB website.
So instead book them at a Reisezentrum travel desk; or you can book reservations online by using the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service - though you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, per person.

Or avoid having to pay these fees at all, by following alternative journey options when travelling to Paris from Berlin, or from Munchen/Munich.

More info is available on the detailed guide

Great Britain:

How to use Interrail and Eurail Passes in Britain

Using Eurail & InterRail for train journeys within Great Britain (England/Scotland Wales) - non UK residents:

The big news in 2019 was that Eurail passes are NOW valid on train journeys within Great Britain, so in common with InterRail passes used by non-UK residents , they can be used to explore beyond London by train.

A significant tick in the box for using Eurail, InterRail (or BritRail) passes is that train ticketing in England, Scotland and Wales is complicated by the fact that multiple companies operate the train services.
In contrast, using Eurail and InterRail passes is Britain is comparatively simple, all of those companies allow pass users to take their trains with no mandatory additional charges, so in Britain you can just hop on and off the trains with a pass.

Also because of how British train tickets are priced, using Eurail and InterRail passes in Britain can be great value for money, particularly if long-distance day trips by train are on an itinerary.

If you want to use a rail pass to make a feasible day trip by train to a distant city, such as London to Bath, London to Bristol, London to Cardiff, London to Manchester, London to Liverpool or London to York, you could be saving more than £150 in each direction of travel compared to the price of Anytime tickets.

Seat Reservations:

The companies which offer a seat reservation facility to rail pass users are CrossCountry, East Midlands*, Grand Central, Great Western Railway*, Hull Trains, ScotRail*, TransPennine Express, LNER and Avanti West Coast (*=long distance routes only).
Find out which company operates the routes you will be taking.

There is no charge for booking reservations; Great Britain is the only country in which optional seat reservations for rail pass users don't incur a fee!

There are two methods of arranging the reservations without being charged any booking fees, either:

(1) Arrange the reservations prior to departure at a staffed ticket counter, or at an Advance Travel office, if a station has this facility
However, on routes when reservations are an option, the cut off time prior to departure, at which reservations can be arranged varies according to which TOC will be operating the train you will be travelling by.

  • When travelling by Great Western Railway; Hull Trains, TFW and Scotrail, you'll need to have requested a reservation around 2 - 3 hours ahead; though this isn't fixed.
  • For journeys by Avanti West Coast; CrossCountry; EMR; Grand Central; LNER and TransPennine Express, the time limit for reservations will be between around 15 mins and an hour prior to departure.
    Check which company operates each route.

OR

(2) Contact the company (TOC) operating the trains you will be taking on its social media channels a minimum of the day before your journey, with Facebook messenger being a good option
Reservations are particularly recommended if you will be travelling on Fridays, Sunday afternoons, when arriving in London before 10:30 and departing from London between 16:00 and 19:00.

Note that reservations are NOT mandatory when travelling with Avanti West Coast; CrossCountry, East Midlands, Grand Central, Hull Trains, Great Western Railway, LNER, ScotRail and TransPennine Express.
More info on the UK train operators guide

Seat reservations are not available when using Eurail or InterRail on trains operated by c2c, Chiltern Railways, Great Northern, Greater Anglia*, London NorthWestern Railway,Northern, Southern, Southeastern, South Western Railway and Thameslink.
*Reservations are usually available on the London <> Norwich route;

So when making journeys by these companies, if you want to increase your chances of having a seat, then avoid travelling into large cities between 07:30 and 09:30 and away from them between 16:30 and 19:00.
Also if you will be boarding a train at a station where it will be commencing its journey, be there 15 minutes before departure, so that you can then be among the first travellers joining the train.

Making sense of the train operating companies

You're now probably confused by these references to all those different train operating companies, but in Britain there isn't a national operator which operates the majority of the train services: there's no equivalent of DB (Germany), SNCF (France), RENFE (Spain) or Trenitalia (Italy).

Instead multiple companies provide the train services, though rarely over the same routes, and each company manages how it sells tickets for the services and routes it operates - and included within that, is whether a company will or won't offer reservations, on all, some or none of its routes.

So if you DO want to make optional seat reservations, what's worth knowing is which company operates the trains on the routes between the cities that you want to travel to and from

However, if you DON'T want to reserve, you don't need to know which company is providing the train service you will be travelling by = another reason why using a rail pass can be simpler than buying tickets for British train journeys.

When boarding British express trains, which seats are available and which have been reserved is usually clearly indicated.

Using Rail Passes on Eurostar services:

InterRail AND Eurail passes can be used on Eurostar if you pay the reservation fee prior to boarding.
Reservation fees - By Eurostar train to Belgium and France AND now The Netherlands; 1st class = €38 or €43; 2nd class = €30, €35 or €38.
A limited number of reservations are available to rail pass users, so booking at the earliest opportunity is highly recommended, the most popular departures can 'sell out' more than a week in advance.
Reservations are usually available up to 6 months ahead and they can be booked for a fee of €2 per person on the Eurail/InterRail reservation service; the rail pass reservation link on the Eurostar website is now directed at the Eurail/InterRail reservation service.

If you opt to use the paper version, or now the mobile* version, of the Eurail/Interrail pass, reservations can be booked without booking fees* on B-Europe up to 4 months ahead of the travel date.
*= Using B-Europe's reservation service had only been an option for users of paper passes as pass numbers are required when making a booking, but mobile passes don't have them; they're printed on to the paper passes.
But new online services have been launched which enable mobile pass users to obtain the necessary pass numbers.
Eurail mobile pass purchasers can use this pass number generation service; InterRail pass purchasers can this pass number generation service.
*= However, B-Europe will also sell the reservations a 'mobile tickets', which incur a €4 surcharge.

A limited number of reservations are available to rail pass users, so booking at the earliest opportunity is highly recommended, the most popular departures can 'sell out' more than a week in advance.
UK residents should note that reservations will only be valid when travelling from the UK on the first date that your pass is valid for and back to the UK on the final day on which you will be using your pass.

Hungary:

Using rail passes in Hungary

Using Eurail & InterRail Passes for train journeys within Hungary:

Rail pass users can hop any train in Hungary EXCEPT for journeys by the IC trains AND for journeys WITHIN Hungary by EC and Railjet trains.
The reservations required for these trains can be booked on MAV (Hungarian Railways) yellow ticket machines, which have excellent English translations.
The price is the equivalent of less than €2 per reservation.

Using Eurail & InterRail Passes for train journeys FROM Hungary:

International train journeys from Hungary on which rail pass reservations ARE NOT required:

International train journeys from Hungary on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

  • EC trains** to Poland: 1st AND 2nd class = €4
  • EC trains to Slovenia and Croatia: 1st AND 2nd class = €4
    These reservations can be booked at the international travel desks at Keleti and Nyugati stations in Budapest.

Italy:

Using rail passes in Italy

Using Eurail & InterRail Passes for train journeys WITHIN Italy

Rail passes are NOT valid for journeys by Italo trains.

Italian train journeys on which rail pass reservations ARE NOT required:

  • Any journey by Regionale train *
  • Any journey by Regionale Veloce train
    Regionale Veloce trains operate on some long distance routes, including;
    Milano - Bologna
    Rome - Florence/Firenze
    Venice/Venezia - Verona

Rail passes can also be used on the equivalent of Regionale and Regionale Veloce train services in northern Italy which are operated by Trenord.

On Intercity (IC) trains: Reservations are available, but are optional from October to April (except on and around national holidays) and and cost €3 in 1st and 2nd class.
Making a reservation when travelling long-distance is highly recommended!
First Class passes are required when booking reservations in First Class.

More info is available on the detailed guide.

Italian DAYTIME train journeys on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

  • On Frecciabianca trains: 1st class AND 2nd class = €10
  • On Frecciargento trains: 1st class AND 2nd class = €10
  • On Frecciariossa trains: 1st class AND 2nd class = €10
  • On Frecciariossa 1000 trains: 1st class AND 2nd class = €10
  • On Intercity trains from the beginning of May to the end of September and around national holidays: 1st class AND 2nd class = €3

Travel with a 1st class pass on Frecciarossa and Frecciarossa 1000 trains and your seats will be in the rather fabulous Executive class.

Journeys within Italy by EC trains:
1st class = €13; 2nd class = €9 on the trains which will be travelling to/from Switzerland
1st class = €20.90 and 2nd class = €14.50 on the trains which will be travelling to/from Austria.
So avoid journeys within Italy by EC trains, other more frequent train services will be available.

Booking rail pass reservations for train journeys within Italy

When you have arrived in Italy rail pass reservations can be purchased from:

(1) Trenitalia branded ticket machines; This had only been an option for users of paper passes as pass numbers are required when making a booking, but mobile passes don't have them; they're printed on to the paper passes.
But new online services have been launched which enable mobile pass users to obtain the necessary pass numbers.
Eurail mobile pass purchasers can use this pass number generation service; InterRail pass purchasers can this pass number generation service.

(2) Ticket counters; with mobile or paper passes; and you won't be charged a booking fee.

Or whether you opt for mobile or paper passes, you can book reservations online by using the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service but you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, per person.

Though these €2 booking fees can now be avoided if you use the OBB, Austrian Railways, online booking service to book the mandatory reservations on Italian day trains.
SMTJ isn't going to question the logic behind this highly useful service, particularly as the bookings can be made irrespective of whether you have a mobile or paper pass.
Though the process is very much less than obvious, hence a step-by-step booking guide for the rail pass reservatons, being included on SMTJ's instructions for using the OBB website.

You can also avoid this booking fee for journeys within Italy, as you will then have the option to book reservations on ItaliaRail.com,
Select the 1st or 2nd class rail pass options to correspond to the type of Eurail and InterRail pass that you will be using and then look up the journey(s) as though you were buying a ticket; all rather straightforward.
The prices you will then see are the seat reservation fees.

More info is available on the detailed guide.

Train journeys from Italy on which rail pass reservations ARE NOT required:

  • Swiss IR trains which connect Domodossola to Switzerland via Brig
  • The spectacular F.A.R.T line which links Domodossola with Locarno
  • Local trains connect Ventimiglia with Nice and other destinations on the Cote D'Azur.
  • Regionale trains to Brennero, by the Austrian border from Bolzano, Trento and Verona.
  • Regionale trains, branded 'Ticino' link Milano and Como to Lugano, Bellinzona and Locarno in Switzerland; take these trains and you can avoid the reservations fees charged on the EC trains
  • Regionale trains which connect Udine to Villach in Austria.

More info is available on the detailed guide.

DAYTIME train journeys from Italy on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

(1) EC trains to Switzerland: 1st class = €13; 2nd class = €11
These fees are also payable if you take these trains between Milan and towns in northern Italy, so avoid them for journeys within Italy by taking the Regionale trains instead.
Or avoid paying the fees by taking these alternative journey options when travelling from Milan to Basel, or to Geneva, or to Interlaken, or to Zurich.

The only online option for booking reservations for these international Swiss EC trains before arriving in Italy, is by using the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service, but you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation; bookings will be available from 2 - 4 months ahead.

These reservations can't be booked on the Trenitalia website, but they can be booked at Trenitalia ticket desks at Italian stations, without paying booking fees.

(2) Railjet trains to Austria 1st class = €18 and 2nd class = €13; if booked with OBB, see below.
Or avoid paying these fees by taking an alternative journey option when travelling from Venice/Venezia to Wien/Vienna.

(3) EC trains on the Italy > Munich via Brennero and Innsbruck route: 1st class = €18; 2nd class = €13. if booked with OBB, see below.
When travelling to Austria you can avoid these fees, by taking alternative journey options when travelling to Austria or Germany from Bologna, or from Venice/Venezia.

These reservations for the Railjet and EC trains can be booked on the OBB, Austrian Railways, online booking service irrespective of whether you have a mobile or paper pass; and you won't be charged booking fees.
Though the process is very much less than obvious, hence a step-by-step booking guide for the rail pass reservations, being included on SMTJ's instructions for using the OBB website.

(4) On TGV France-Italy trains: 1st class = €45; 2nd class = €31
The most heavily discounted tickets for these trains are similarly priced
Look up the journey on SNCF Connect before paying these fees.
Reservations for these TGV France-Italy trains are NOT sold by Trenitalia ticket desks.

More info is available on the detailed guide.

Norway:

How to use rail passes in Norway

Using Eurail & InterRail Passes for train journeys within Norway

Reservations are available without payment of booking fees at the major stations in Norway, but booking in advance is particularly recommended for the night trains and the trains on the Oslo ↔ Bergen and the Oslo ↔ Trondheim routes.

You can book reservations online by using the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service though you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, per person.

Or it's possible to avoid the booking fees by calling the Entur (Norway's national transport booking service) call center: +47 61 27 90 88 (press 9 for services in English).
Opening hours:
Monday to Friday: 07:00 - 23:00
Saturday: 08:00 - 21:00
Sunday: 08:00 - 23:00
( during bank holidays are shorter).

The Entur Call Center can handle bookings for the Regiontog and Sove trains
Seat and bed reservations are usually available up to 90 days in advance.

Rail pass users can also obtain a 30% discount on the Flamsbana line

1st class Rail pass users:
If you will be travelling with a 1st class pass you won't have to pay reservation fees to travel on the Regiontog trains - the express trains in Norway.
If you have a 1st class pass, make this clear when calling to make reservations in 'Komfort' class, in order to avoid being charged any fees.

2nd class Rail pass users:
For journeys by Regiontog trains reservation are optional and in the equivalent of 2nd class, they cost around the equivalent of €6 .

2nd class users can opt to pay a more expensive fee of the equivalent around €11 to travel in 'Komfort' class = 1st class on Regiontog trains.

Using Eurail & InterRail Passes for train journeys FROM Norway:

International train journeys from Norway on which rail pass reservations ARE NOT required:
No reservation fees are required on the Regiontog trains between Oslo and Gothenburg.

International train journeys from Norway on which rail pass reservations ARE required:
On the IC and Snabbtåg trains from Oslo to Stockholm: 1st class = €16; 2nd class = €7
Book from 3 months ahead of the travel date, on the SJ (Swedish Railways) website - these reservations can't be booked on the NSB (Norwegian Railways) website.

Poland:

Using Rail Passes in Poland

Using Eurail & InterRail Rail Passes for train journeys within Poland:

The express trains within Poland are the EIP and EIC and IC and TLK services.
Rail pass users need to obtain reservations before boarding any departure by these trains, and they can be arranged at ticket desks in Polish stations, without paying any additional booking fees.

They can booked up to 15 mins before the departure time of the train you wish to take, but it's best to book them when you first arrive at a station in Poland
Doing that not only takes the pressure off of making the train in time, it also lessens the chances of being told that no seats are available on your first choice of departure.

Or if you have opted to use a paper pass when booking your Eurail or InterRail pass, you can book them on the PKP Intercity (Polish express trains) website.
On the PKP website for the EIP trains the discount type is called 'Interrail/Eurail/NRT/EWT/FIP/OSJD - seat reservation (supplement incl.)', for the other trains it's called 'Seasonal/network/international ticket - reservation'.
This is also explained on the PKP reservation homepage.

Whether you have a mobile or paper pass you can also book reservations online by using the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service though you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, per person.
However, in addition to the booking fee, when you're on the train in Poland you will also have to pay a surcharge of the equivalent of €3.50; and this fee can also be avoided if you book at a Polish station or on the PKP website.

This surcharge is also payable on the train if you book the reservation in another country, for example at a Reisezentrum reservation desk in Germany.

Travelling on the EIC and IC and TLK services:

If you want to travel by these trains, you will need obtain reservations at a ticket desk or online (see above) but you won't be charged for them.
Of these three services, the EIC trains are the fastest and they also tend to be the smartest too.

On the majority the routes taken by the EIC trains, there will be a choice of taking an EIC service or a slower IC or TLK service.
As there's no charge, no matter which of these services you take, the best option will usually be targeting the EIC departures.

Travelling on the EIP trains:

The only Polish trains on which rail pass users have to pay reservations fees are the EIP trains pictured above: 1st and 2nd class = PLN43 approx €10 per reservation.
Though alternative trains are available on all routes taken by EIP trains, but they are the most frequent trains on the Warsaw - Krakow and Warsaw - Gdansk routes

Visit the ticket counter to book the reservations when you first arrive in Poland, or book on the PKP website, as seats can be sold out on the most popular departures if you leave it until the last minute.

Travelling on other trains:

The local and regional train services in most of Poland are provided by a separate entity named Polregio.
Its services are branded 'Regio' and 'InterRegio' - they don't travel such long-distances as the PKP InterCity trains, but its semi-fast trains travel between regions linking the towns and cities.

On these popular routes...
Warzawa <> Lodz
Poznan<> Wroclaw
Poznan <> Szczecin
Poznan <> Torun
Krakow <> Zakopane
Krakow <> Katowice
Gdansk > Sopron >Gdynia
...you will have a choice between taking Polregio services or boarding PKP InterCity services .

The Polregio services can be more frequent and they can come close to matching the journey times of the PKP InterCity trains.
The big tick in the box for rail pass users, is that seat reservations aren't available on the Polregio services, so as long as your pass is valid, you can just hop on board - though it's a good idea to check the departure times on the Polregio website before heading to the station.

Using Eurail & InterRail Passes for train journeys FROM Poland:

Rail pass users must pay reservation fees before boarding both the daytime express trains to and from Poland, the EC trains*, and on the international overnight trains.

*According to the Eurail and InterRail websites, the reservation fees still apply to international journeys by the EC trains, despite fees no longer being charged to travel by these DAY trains for domestic journeys within Poland' OR in the neighboring countries that they travel through.

These rail pass reservations for the INTERNATIONAL day and night trains cannot be booked on the PKP website, but they can be from 30 days ahead of the travel date at:

  • stations in Poland.
  • you can book reservations online by using the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service - though you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, per person.
  • at a Reisezentrum travel desk at a hauptbahnhof, the city centre stations in Germany.
  • for journeys to/from Austria the day and night trains can be booked on the OBB website - how to do this.
  • for journeys to/from Czechia – the day trains in both directions and the night trains FROM Czechia, can be booked on the CD website - how to do this.
  • the EC trains to/from Germany can be booked on the DB website - how to do this.

Spain:

Using rail passes in Spain

Using Eurail & InterRail Rail Passes for train journeys within Spain:

Reservation fees are required on all high speed trains in Spain and all other express trains and most regional (MD) trains too.
A notable exception, on which fees DON'T have to be paid, are the regional trains on the Barcelona - Girona - Figueres - Port Bou - Cerbere and Barcelona - La Tour De Carol routes.

Reservation fees:

on the AVE trains
AVE trains: 1st class = €23.50*; 2nd class = €10
All of the fastest high speed trains between Madrid and Alicante, Barcelona, Malaga and Valencia are AVE trains
Most of the high speed trains between Madrid and Seville are AVE trains
*The €23.50 charge includes a light meal and it is not served on Saturdays, so on Saturdays the 1st class fee MAY also be €10.

on the Euromed trains
Euromed, €23.50*; 2nd class = €6:50
Euromed trains operate on the Barcelona - Valencia - Alicante route
*The €23.50 charge includes a light meal and it is not served on Saturdays, so on Saturdays the 1st class fee MAY also be €10.

on the Alvia trains
Alvia trains 1st class = €23.50 OR* €10; 2nd class = €6:50
*If you will be travelling to destinations also served by AVE trains, you will have to pay the €23.50 fee.
Alvia trains provide most of the services between Madrid and northern Spain,

on the Avant trains
Avant: 1st and 2nd class = €4 these short distance high speed trains are 2nd class only, so 1st class pass users need to pay the fee and travel 2nd class

on the Altaria trains:
Altaria and IC (Talgo): 1st class = €10; 2nd class = €6:50

on the MD trains
Media Distancia = 1st and 2nd class = €4 most of these trains are 2nd class only, so 1st class pass users need to pay the fee and travel 2nd class.

Booking the rail pass reservations for journeys within Spain

Spanish national rail operator RENFE does not sell rail pass reservations online and now they are also not available on the Eurail/Interrail reservation service.
The only option, other than booking them at a station in Spain, is to pre-reserve seats by calling Renfe phone sales: +34 91 232 03 20.

Pre-reserving a seat is possible up to 24 hours before a train's departure. You will receive a PNR code which you must use to pick up and pay for your reservation at a local station ticket office, making sure to show your Interrail Pass. You must collect your reservation within 72 hours. After this time the pre-reservation will expire.
Please note that a pre-reservation is not the same as a reservation. It only holds a seat for you for 72 hours.

Using Eurail & InterRail Passes for train journeys FROM Spain:

(1) On RENFE-SNCF trains on the Paris - Barcelona route:
Fees vary depending on the journey:
Barcelona to Paris: 1st class = €48; 2nd class = €34.

(2) On RENFE-SNCF trains from other cities in France to Spain including the Marseille to Madrid route:
Fees vary depending on the journey:
Madrid to Marseille: 1st class = €48; 2nd class = €34
Barcelona to Lyon: 1st class = €26; 2nd class = €19

When travelling from and to Spain you can use the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service, but you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation per person.
Or you can call 0033 18494 3635.

The region of [Occitanie](https://www.sncf-reseau.com/fr/carte/occitanie/carte-reseau-ferre-occitanie-3bold text) has now introduced new rules which state that Eurail and InterRail passes purchased after July 1st 2022, can no longer be used on the TER trains which operate within the region,
Meaning that for future Eurail and InteRail passes, they won't be valid on the French TER trains which head to the Spanish border at Cerbere and Port Bou.

Sweden:

Using Rail Passes in Sweden

Using Eurail & InterRail Passes for train journeys within and to/from Sweden:

Whether you need to make reservations for journeys within Sweden is dependent on the type of train service you travel by

(1) Travel by Snabbtåg services, the fastest trains in Sweden, and you MUST reserve prior to boarding
The fees are 1st class = €15.50; 2nd class = €7 (equivalent prices will be charged in Swedish krona)

These fees ALSO need to be paid in advance when taking these trains to Copenhagen and Oslo*.
Or you can avoid these fees by taking alternative routes when travelling from Stockholm to Copenhagen/Kobenhavn or from Stockholm to Oslo.
Booking in advance is recommended for the international services, seats can sell out days in advance; bookings typically open 6 months ahead.

*IC trains are currently being used instead of Snabbtåg trains on the Stockholm ↔ Olso route and rail pass reservations are also mandatory on those trains.

(2) Travel by SJ Intercity AND SJ Regional* trains and reservations are OPTIONAL for rail pass users.
The fees for both 1st and 2nd class pass users = the equivalent of €3
*There are fairly frequent Regional trains between Stockholm and Gothenburg.

All rail pass reservations can be booked without booking fees on the SJ (Swedish Railways) website - up to 6 months ahead of the travel date.
Using SJ's rail pass reservation service had only been an option for users of paper passes as pass numbers are required when making a booking, but mobile passes don't have them; they're printed on to the paper passes.
But new online services have been launched which enable mobile pass users to obtain the necessary pass numbers.
Eurail mobile pass purchasers can use this pass number generation service; InterRail pass purchasers can this pass number generation service.

Or you can book reservations online by using the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service but you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, per person.

Using rail passes on other trains:

The two MAIN railway lines/networks not operated by SJ, on which Eurail and InterRail passes can be used are:

(1) The Inlandsbannan, which lives up to its name by providing train services on its lengthy north to south route in central Sweden, which serves many scenic destinations and ski-resorts that aren't served by SJ trains.
Interchange is available between SJ trains and the Inlandsbannan at several stations, from north to south they are - Gällivare; Östersund; Mora and Kristinehamn.

(2) the Smalsparet - though the attraction of this line is mainly for those who want to enjoy a nostalgic railway experience.

SJ also does not have a monopoly on long distance train travel in Sweden.
MTR Express operates trains between Stockholm and Gothenburg, but rail passes cannot be used on these trains.
Rail pass users can pay reservation fees on Snalltaget trains, which operate on the Stockholm - Malmo route, but prices are comparable with the faster and much more frequent Snabbtag trains.

Switzerland:

Using rail passes in Switzerland

Using Eurail & InterRail Passes for train journeys within Switzerland:

Eurail & InterRail pass users can hop on any mainline train in Switzerland, including the international trains such as Lyria and EC trains for journeys WITHIN Switzerland.
If you have a Eurail or InterRail pass you can also hop on and off the majority (but not all) of the independent railways in Switzerland.
These lines on which Eurail and InterRail pass users DON'T pay any additional charges include the longest and largest independent railways such as the FART; MGB; MOB; RhB and ZB railways.

The Glacier Express runs over the MGB and RhB lines and Eurail and InterRaill pass users now only have to pay the reservation fees to travel on these trains, so save around 65% of the total ticket price.

If you have an InterRail or Eurail pass you, can also obtain a discount on many other spectacular independent lines such as:

  • RB = 50%
  • PB = 50%
  • BOB = 25%
  • JB = 25%
  • WAB = 25%
  • TMR = 50% for InterRail, but free travel for Eurail.

More info is available on the detailed guide.

Using Eurail & InterRail Passes for train journeys FROM Switzerland:

SBB's online seat reservation service does NOT sell reservations for journeys from Switzerland.
If you book reservations in Switzerland at a SBB travel desk, you will have to pay a 11 CHF booking fee; in ADDITION to the reservation fee.

Trenitalia, now no longer sells rail pass reservations for the EC trains between Switzerland and Italy online.
So the only online option for booking reservations before arriving in Switzerland is using the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service - but you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, but using those services will be cheaper than booking reservations at a Swiss station.

If you will be travelling through Germany before heading to Switzerland, you can avoid all booking fees by arranging reservations on trains from Switzerland at the Reisezentrum travel desks in major German stations - the hauptbahnhofs.

More info is available on the detailed guide.

International train journeys from Switzerland on which rail pass reservations ARE NOT required:

  • Journeys by ICE train to Germany
  • Journeys by IC train to Germany
  • On the Railjets to Austria and Hungary and Slovakia
  • EC trains to Austria and Germany
  • TER trains on two routes: Basel - Mulhouse - Colmar - Strasbourg and Geneva - Lyon.
  • Trains from Erstfeld to Milano via Bellinzona and Lugano
  • Swiss IC trains on the Basel - Bern - Brig - Domodossola route
  • Local trains between Brig and Domodossolla
  • FART trains from Locarno to Domodossola

There are Regionale trains, on which rail pass users also don't have to pay fees, from Domodossola to Milano.

International DAYTIME train journeys from Switzerland on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

(1) EC trains to Italy: 1st class = €13; 2nd class = €11
Bookings open 3 months ahead of the travel date
How to avoid paying these fees when travelling to Milan or Venice from Basel, or from Geneve, or from Zurich.

(2) On Lyria trains to France - fees vary depending on the journey

On the Zurich - Basel - Dijon - Paris route: 1st class from €54; 2nd class from €21
On the Geneve - Paris route: 1st class from €54; 2nd class from €21
On the Geneve - Avignon - Marseille route: 1st class from €26; 2nd class from €17

How to avoid these fees when travelling from Basel and Zurich to Paris, or from Geneva to Paris.

More info is available on the detailed guide.

The Netherlands:

Using rail passes in The Netherlands

Using Rail Passes for train journeys within The Netherlands:

Rail pass users can hop on any train in The Netherlands.
That's because seat reservations aren't available on ANY train service operated by NS - the national rail company in The Netherlands.
If your rail pass won't open the ticket gates stop at a ticket office and pick up a 'key card'.

Using Eurail & InterRail Passes for train journeys FROM The Netherlands:

International train journeys from The Netherlands on which rail pass reservations ARE NOT required:

  • Journeys by ICE train to Germany
  • Journeys by IC train to Germany
  • Journeys by Intercity Brussels trains - so these trains are a much cheaper alternative for rail pass users to Thalys trains for journeys The Netherlands and Belgium.

International train journeys from The Netherlands on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

(1) on Thalys trains.
A major recent change is that the rail pass reservation fees on the Thalys trains are now the same price, whether you will be using First or Second class passes.
Though users of Second Class passes will have to travel in Standard Class on the Thalys trains.

In contrast First Class pass users will be offered a choice of seating, depending on availability at the time of booking.
If Premium Class is still available then that will be offered, but if reservations are sold out in Premium Class you will be offered Comfort Class (1st class).
However, if Comfort Class is sold out and Standard Class reservations are still available, you will only be offered seats in Standard Class. despite having a First Class pass.

The new fees (in either direction) are:
Paris <> Rotterdam/Schiphol/Amsterdam= €30Bruxelles/Antwerpen <> Rottterdam/Schiphol/Amsterdam = €20

If you opt to use the paper version of the Eurail/Interrail pass, reservations can be booked without booking fees* on B-Europe up to 4 months ahead of the travel date.
*= However, B-Europe will also sell the reservations a 'mobile tickets', which incur a €4 surcharge.

Or you can also use the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service - though you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, per person, but this is the only online option if you opt to use the mobile version of the Eurail/Interrail pass.

Avoid booking rail pass reservations at Dutch stations, you will be charged a booking fee per reservation.

Or avoid paying the fees at all by following an alternative route from Amsterdam to Paris.

(2) on the Eurostar trains.
1st class = €43; 2nd class = €35
If you opt to use the paper version of the Eurail/Interrail pass, reservations can be booked without booking fees on B-Europe up to 4 months ahead of the travel date.
Or you can also use the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service - though you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, per person, but this is the only online option if you opt to use the mobile version of the Eurail/Interrail pass.

A limited number of reservations are available to rail pass users, so booking at the earliest opportunity is highly recommended, the most popular departures can 'sell out' more than a week in advance.

Author

Simon Harper

I wanted to share my passion for train travel and explain how anyone can take the fantastic journeys I have taken.

ShowMeTheJourney

This is one of more than 100 train travel guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.