FAQs European Rail Passes and Tickets

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FAQ's Europe

Pass Information

Reservations & Tickets

Facilities & Assistance

Luggage & Restrictions

How do I use my pass once I get to Europe?

Before you hop on that first train in Europe, have an official at the station validate your railpass. He or she will also write in the beginning and ending dates of your pass validity, and your passport number.

Unless you're taking a train that requires a reservation, just hop on the train with your pass and find a seat. With a consecutive-day pass, nobody counts how many days you travel during the validated period. If you have a flexipass, fill in the travel date before the conductor reaches you. After the train starts, the conductor will head down the train, asking for tickets and passes, and checking that they are dated correctly. Simply show the conductor your pass. He or she may ask to see your passport too.
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How do I get from the airport to the train station?

Airport to city link - Most cities will have an Airport to city shuttle or train. See our Airport Transfers to see if we can help you.

Rail passes - Transport to and from the Airports are usually not covered by rail passes. However there are some exceptions for the following cities:

  • Paris
  • Rome
  • Frankfurt
  • Zurich

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What is the difference between a Flexi and Consecutive Pass?

A Consecutive-day Pass provides unlimited rail travel for the duration of the Pass, once it has been validated. You do not have to travel everyday but the more you travel the better value for money.

The Flexi-type Pass gives the passholder a 1 or 2 month period from the validation date to utilize the number of days they have purchased for their Pass. (eg: the 5 day flexipass allows 5 days of travel in a 1 month period. The 8 day flexipass allows 8 days of travel in a 2 month period)
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Do I have to travel through the countries in the order on my Pass?

You can travel in any order through the countries listed on your Pass.
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Can I travel in and out of countries on my Pass as many times as I like?

Yes. You can travel in and out of countries as many times as you like as long as the pass is within its validity.

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What is classified as a day on a pass?

A travel day is midnight to midnight. This allows for unlimited travel on any number of trains for each day of use.

A month on a pass is counted as a calendar month. For example, a pass that begins on February 11th, will expire at midnight on March 10th
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Does an overnight train take 2 days on my pass?

If you board a direct overnight train that departs after 7:00 p.m., then you use only 1 day on your pass. There are some national and regional passes where the 7pm does not apply.
If your overnight train requires a train change before 4am, then you will use 2 travel days.
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Reservations/Train tickets

Are seat reservation costs included in my Pass?

They are an additional cost to a rail Pass however not all trains require a seat reservation.

Where a passholder fare is available, you must purchase a seat reservation for that train in addition to your pass. Reservation fees vary from train to train and are dependent upon the pass you hold.

To qualify for passholder fares you need to have all countries that you travel through on your pass (some exceptions apply).

Passholder fares are limited on each train and once they are sold out, a higher passholder fare or full fare will need to be purchased
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What's the difference between 1st and 2nd class seats?

1st class seats may recline on some trains, there are fewer seats per carriage, and there is more space for luggage. On some high-speed trains, the price of a 1st class ticket includes a meal. 1st class is generally quieter with more business and adult passengers.

2nd class seats are less expensive, but not as spacious, as there are more seats per carriage therefore it is noisier.

If you intend to book your rail travel once in Europe 1st class usually is easier to book as more Europeans tend to travel in 2nd class. However International Rail strongly advises you to pre-book your seats in advance if you know your travel dates.
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Do I pay an additional fee for sleeper reservations on top of my pass cost?

Your railpass allows you to board a train, but does not guarantee you a sleeper or couchette. To make sure you get the sleeping accommodation you desire, you must purchase a reservation at an additional cost.
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Is it compulsory to reserve seats on trains?

Not all trains require a compulsory reservation however it is highly recommended to pre-book seats when travelling in peak seasons like the European summer and holiday periods. Reservations are required for some high-speed trains such as the TGV, THALY'S, AVE, sleeper trains or if you want a couchette during an overnight journey. Reservations can be made with International Rail or at any train station and are subject to availability.
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How far in advance can a seat/sleeper reservation be made?

Please click here
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Why are my seat numbers not in consecutive order?

In Europe seat numbers do not run in consecutive order however the International Reservations systems will confirm seats together where ever possible
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Why are my sleeper numbers not in consecutive order?

In Europe sleeper numbers do not run in consecutive order however the International Reservations systems will confirm sleepers together where ever possible.
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Are seats guaranteed next to each other?

No, however the system will allocate seats automatically next to each other as long as there is enough availability.

In the unlikely event where you are not seated together is usually due to limited availability on the train.
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When do I get my seat number allocations?

Seat numbers are printed on your tickets where applicable
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Should I buy my tickets before I go?

It's important to purchase tickets and make your necessary seat reservations prior to your departure from Australia to avoid finding that many trains are fully booked (this is quite common during the peak season).
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Why can't some trains be booked from Australia?

Not all train reservations are open for international reservations. Some European countries are slow to load the train details into the international reservation system and until they do we are unable to confirm the train. Countries in which we cannot book trains are Portugal and anything internally in Benelux; we are also unable to confirm any regional trains. At times there may be system issues which mean we can't get access to confirm trains.
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Can we book seat reservations once in Europe?

You can book your train reservations at any train station in Europe. While it is not always possible to book a sector from one country if you are in another, this can normally be done at the main train stations in major cities.
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What type of sleeping accommodation is available on overnight trains?

Sleeper accommodations vary but can include Sleeper cabins for either 1 or 2 persons or 2nd class cabins for 2 or 3 people.
Alternatively "Couchette" or bunks are available. These are open bunks in a compartment featuring a bed, sheet and pillow to accommodate up to 6 people in either a 4 bed or 6 bed compartment and are either single or mixed sex.

What are the differences between a Single, Double, T2, T3, T4 and couchette on overnight trains?

Single Sleeper

This compartment contains one berth*, a private washbasin and fresh linen and towels. This compartment has a secure door that locks, an electrical outlet and a luggage storage area.
Note: Deluxe single accommodations include a private restroom in each sleeper compartment. Deluxe accommodation is offered on limited night trains.

Double Sleeper
This first-class compartment contains 2 berths* (normally 1 upper and 1 lower), a private washbasin and fresh linen and towels. This compartment has a secure door that locks, an electrical outlet and a luggage storage area. Couples, families and travellers of the same sex can share a sleeper if they have enough people to fill all of the beds.
Note: Deluxe single accommodations include a private restroom in each sleeper compartment. Deluxe accommodation is offered on limited night trains.


A T2 is a special second-class compartment that is basically a smaller version of a Double sleeper compartment. Second class rates would apply for this type of compartment. T2 compartments are not available on all overnight trains.

T3 compartment
This compartment contains 3 berths*, a private washbasin and fresh linen and towels. This compartment has a secure door that locks, an electrical outlet and a luggage storage area. Couples, families and travellers of the same sex can share a sleeper if they have enough people to fill all of the beds.

T4 compartment
This compartment contains 4 berths* or bunks, a private washbasin and fresh linen and towels. These types of compartments typically have 2 upper and 2 lower berths. This compartment has a secure door that locks, an electrical outlet and a luggage storage area. On trains where cabins are gender specific Couples and families can only share a sleeper if they have enough people to fill all of the beds.

T6 (couchettes)
Traveling in a Couchette (pronounced "koo-shet") is the most basic, no frills compartment you can reserve on an overnight train. You will find 6 berths* in this compartment. Please note that the size of the room itself is typically the same size as a Double or Single compartment, however, it contains 6 berths rather than 1 or 2. The berths are a "bunk-bed" type arrangement. Three berths are on each side with a very small walkway in between. Washrooms are conveniently located at the end of each train car. These compartments are typically available in second-class only.

Reclining Seats/Sleeperette
This is a seat that reclines to allow a passenger to sleep more comfortably on an overnight train.

Notes about overnight trains:
When you book a sleeper on the web site we always try to put all the passengers in the party in a private compartment.
If traveling in a T4 or T6, please be advised that these are not sleepers but shared compartments. All T6 compartments are small rooms with 6 berths in the compartment. They are not private rooms.
T4 compartments are typically gender specific. This means that a man and woman who are traveling together cannot be in the same T4 compartment. Note this is not the case on all trains.

For trains where both T4 & T6 options are available for mixed sex keep in mind that if you do not fill an entire cabin you may be sharing with another paying passenger on board. It is not possible to book a cabin exclusively if you do not physically have enough passengers in your party to fill all beds in that cabin. (The same applies with Double/T3's which may be mixed sex)
*A berth is a bed that is smaller and narrower than a standard-size twin bed. Remember, you are on a train so everything is scaled down slightly!

The term "Gender Specific" means that these compartments will not allow male and female passengers to travel in the same compartment. The exception to this condition is if you and your travel companion(s) intend on using all beds within the compartment.
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Do I need to validate my France regional tickets prior to boarding?

Yes, your France regional ticket must be validated prior to boarding the train. This can be done on the platform by inserting your ticket into the validation machines.

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Is there a minimum connection time?

There is no compulsory minimum connection time between trains however International Rail does not recommend a connection time less than 10min.

Please note that if you are transiting between two Paris stations it is highly recommended that you allow at least 2 hours connecting time to your next train
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Are there facilities for handicapped passengers?

Special amenities for disabled travelers are offered on trains and at many train stations, and are clearly indicated with pictograms (for telephones, toilets, elevators, etc.)

Special equipment is also available for use by handicapped passengers. This equipment must be reserved locally in advance. Be sure to specify if you need personal assistance (whether with a wheelchair, boarding, etc.).
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Where can I get Eurail Assistance in Europe?

Eurail Aid Office list

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Is there any information about Eurail Assistance in my documentation?

Yes, if you purchase a Eurail pass from us you will receive a Travellers Guide which contains all information about Eurail Aid offices.
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Are dining cars available on trains in Europe?

Dining cars are available on most long distance trains. You can just walk into the dining car, sit down, and eat without a reservation, but you are welcome to make a reservation for a meal when mealtime is busy, or when the train attendant announces the opening of the dining car. If your train does not have a dining car, it is likely to offer passengers a buffet bar car.
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What type of facilities can be found at a train station?

Most stations are located conveniently in the heart of the city offering easy access to hotels and sightseeing as well as a range of services including luggage storage, restaurants, gift shops, foreign exchange, telephones, post offices, book stores, reservations and information.
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What are the luggage restrictions on trains?

There is no luggage limit (except on few trains such as Eurostar and French-Spanish Hotel-trains), however traveller's have to carry their luggage themselves, therefore we suggest you travel as light as possible.
Very few trains have luggage coach; the majority have either overhead storage racks, storage room behind the back of the seats or luggage storage areas at end of each carriage.
Note: European railroads will assume no responsibility for any luggage in case of lost or stolen. All luggage kept in any storage areas will remain under the sole responsibility of the traveler.
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Where can I put my luggage/suitcases?

Few trains have a luggage coach; the majority have either overhead storage racks, storage room behind the back of the seats or luggage storage areas at end of each carriage.
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Are lockers and luggage storage available at all major train stations?

All major train stations have lockers or luggage storage of some kind for a nominal charge.
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Can I bring a bike on the train?

On Regional trains a supplement applies to carry bikes on-board the train. The supplement must be paid locally at the ticket office. For high speed trains a higher supplement applies and must be purchased locally. In some cases bikes must be in a bicycle bag

On all trains operating in Italy, free bicycle transport is allowed when they are in appropriate bags - except for Eurostar and TrenOk services, in which they are allowed provided they are placed in the carriage vestibules. If there are no places available, the bicycles can be placed elsewhere provided they do not block the way or cause problems to other passengers or the on-board personnel.
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Are dogs allowed on the train?

Generally, dogs are permitted on trains, sometimes they may need to be contained in a pet carrier, or they may have to wear a muzzle or leash. Dogs normally travel at half the fare of a 2nd class ticket; this charge is payable directly to the conductor. Pets are not allowed on Eurostar or on trains within Spain.
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