Rail Tickets and Rail Passes

Rail Tickets info from WIKI

The Eurail Group G.I.E. is a Netherlands-based company, registered in Luxembourg, that sells passes and tickets for European railroads to non-Europeans. It is owned by a group of European rail carriers and shipping companies.

Its principal products are Eurail Passes and Inter Rail passes, with which a passenger has largely unlimited ability to travel on nearly all European railroads and some shipping lines at a fixed price per day of travel. Eurail sells a variety of passes, including those specific to two to five bordering countries, discounted passes for groups of up to five people travelling together, or for those under 26, passes which provide unlimited travel in a fixed period, and passes which provide a fixed number of days of travel in a longer period. A pass will generally grant a passenger free transportation on an ordinary train (for example, EuroCity trains). Special trains like the TGV, Inter-City Express, Thalys, Eurostar, and night trains (with sleeping compartments) usually require a small supplement.

The traditional Eurail pass covers 18 countries, as of 2006: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Other passes, such as the Eurail Selectpass, allow one to select a series of bordering countries. For fare calculation purposes, some regions count as one country: Benelux, Slovenia-Croatia, and Serbia-Montenegro-Bulgaria.

Eurail passes can only be purchased by non-European residents. Residents of Turkey and the Commonwealth of Independent States are also ineligible to buy them. It is possible for non-Europeans to obtain passes in Europe, although they are cheaper and easier to procure outside.


Eurostar is a train service connecting the UK with Paris (Gare du Nord), Lille and Brussels (Brussels South). Trains cross the English Channel via the Channel Tunnel. In Southern England, a new railway line has been built to the same high-speed LGV standards used in France. The two-phase Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) project has been partially in operation since 2003, reducing times to and from London Waterloo. Eurostar have announced that upon completion of the CTRL into London St Pancras, the finished railway will be branded as High Speed 1 to the public from November 14, 2007 onwards.

Since the first revenue-earning Eurostar trains ran in November 1994, Eurostar has established a dominant share of the market on the routes it serves. In November 2004, ten years after the start of services, Eurostar stated that their share of the combined rail/air market share had grown to 68% for London—Paris and 63% for London—Brussels. As an ecological pointer, the company noted that these passenger figures represented a saving of 393,000 carbon dioxide-producing short-haul flights.


Sit back and enjoy the passing scenery of neat, red-painted cottages, fields, towns, villages and mountain peaks. Make time for a break in one of the four countries´ exciting cities. The train offers an excellent way to explore the vast regions of Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland in a limited amount of time. When you travel with a ScanRail pass you can do so on a limited budget.


An Inter Rail (or Inter-Rail) pass is a train pass, for European residents only, that allows unlimited travel for a defined period of time, except on special trains such as high-speed trains and some night trains.


The TGV (train à grande vitesse, French for "high-speed train") is France's high-speed rail service developed by GEC-Alsthom (now Alstom) and SNCF, the French national rail operator, and operated primarily by SNCF. Following the inaugural TGV service between Paris and Lyon in 1981, the TGV network, centred on Paris, has expanded to connect cities across France and in adjacent countries. It holds the record for the fastest wheeled train, having reached 574.8 km/h (357 mph) on 3 April 2007[1], and also holds the world's highest average speed for a regular passenger service. TGV is a registered trademark of SNCF.

The success of the first line led to an expansion of the network, with new lines built in the south, west and northeast of the country. Eager to emulate the success of the French network, neighbouring countries such as Belgium, Italy, Spain and Germany built their own high-speed lines. TGVs link with Switzerland through the French network, with Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands through the Thalys network, and the Eurostar network links France and Belgium with the United Kingdom. Several lines are planned, including extensions within France and to surrounding countries. Towns such as Tours have become a part of a "TGV commuter belt".


Thalys is a high-speed train network built around the high-speed line between Paris and Brussels. This track is shared with Eurostar trains that go from Paris or Brussels to London via Lille and the Channel Tunnel and with French domestic TGV trains. The system uses two models of trains, the PBA and the PBKA, which both belong to the TGV (train à grande vitesse) family of high-speed trains built by Alstom in France, although they are not identical to domestic TGV sets.

Beyond Brussels, the main cities Thalys trains reach are Antwerp, The Hague, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Liège, Aachen and Cologne. Trains to these destinations run partly on dedicated high-speed tracks (some of which are yet to be built), and partly on older tracks shared with normal-speed trains.


TGV Lyria is service brand used for TGV lines connecting France and Switzerland. Lyria is also a corporation that runs the service.

On March 4, 2002, the Lyria name was applied for the first time to the service. The name then slowly came to stand for all TGV services between France and Switzerland and was applied to Paris-Geneva trains around January 2005.

After the opening of the TGV Est in June 2007, Lyria service between Paris and Zurich will use the newly-constructed line instead of the current route, passing through Strasbourg, Mulhouse, and Basel. In December 2007, 3 roundtrips per day will serve Zurich in 4 hours 30 minutes and 4 roundtrips per day will serve Basel in 3 hours and 30 minutes.