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The following table is from an Excel™ spreadsheet detailing the cost of various rail options from a trip my wife and I made in Germany several years ago. I have updated it to reflect current rail prices and the exchange rate as of Jul 25, 2008. This is intended as an example of how to do an analysis of the most effective (i.e., least expensive) way to ticket a trip.
We landed in Stuttgart, went by train to Rothenburg ob der Tauber for two night, then to Berchtesgaden for three, then to Fischen in the Allgäu for a week. While in Fischen, we used an Urlaubskarte (vacation ticket) to travel locally to places of interest in the Iller Valley and to Kleinwalsertal. We also used the Urlaubskarte, along with a €2 Anschluß (connecting) Ticket to go by bus to Füssen to see one of the castles there. We would have bought the Urlaubskarte regardless, so I don't include it in the comparison. We also made a day trip to Lindau, on the Bodensee, using a Bayern-Ticket; I do include that in the comparison because, without the Bayern-Ticket option, an additional day of the railpass would have been the cheapest option.
After the week in Fischen, we traveled using a Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket to Sigmaringen. We stopped on the way in Ulm, to climb the gothic church tower (the world's highest) there. Finally, we went back to Stuttgart using a local (NALDO) transit ticket (not included in analysis).
|To/From||Using any train||Using regional trains only|
|Note: all "to" are "from"|
|Type of Länder ticket|
|to Rothenburg odT||2:42||$166||€72,00||Day 1||3:09||0:27||€59,20||€54,00||Baden-Württemberg- |
|to Berchtesgaden||5:44||256||€130,00||Day 2||6:32||-1||€99,60||€27,00||Bayern-Ticket|
|to Fischen i.A.||5:34||244||€114,00||Day 3||6:22||0:48||€86,80||€27,00||Bayern-Ticket|
|to Lindau RT||2:43||76||€66,20||Day 4||2:46||0:03||€58,40||€27,00||Bayern-Ticket|
|to Sigmaringen via Ulm||3:26||250||€76,00||Day 5||3:15||-2||€62,60||€35,00||Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket|
& 5 Länder-Tickets
|in US$ at $1.60/€||$9723||$714.00||$480.00||$587.00||$272.00|
For this particular trip we can see that purchasing standard fare tickets for all the legs would have cost us $690 (€443,-). With a railpass we could have traveled for $480 (€300). These two options would have allowed us to use express trains (ICE/IC/EC) on a few of the legs. However, most of the routes used only regional train. Using express trains would have saved us only 1hr 18min over the entire two weeks!
So, by using Länder tickets we spent an extra 1:18 and saved $208 vs. what we would have done with a railpass. $208 was more than we spent per day for everything (accommodations, meals, transportation, and admissions) on that trip.
At the time I didn't consider buying point-to-point tickets from RailEurope, but I have added it for the answer to one of my FAQs.