Rail Terms and Conditions

Rail Terms and Conditions


To Purchase:

Rail passes cannot be issued to residents of Europe, Russian Federation, Turkey, Morocco, Algeria or Tunisia. Residents of United Kingdom are not eligible to purchase BritRail Passes or Eurail Passes. 

How to Activate (Validate) and Use Your Rail Pass:

  • Rail passes are issued  and must be activated (validated) within six months from the date of purchase.  To activate (validate) the rail pass, present the rail pass along with your passport to the Railways official at the station of departure. At this time, the first and the last day of validity of the rail pass as well as the passport number is entered and the traveler must sign the rail pass. Under no circumstances is the pass holder allowed to activate (validate) his or her own rail pass. In the case of a flexi pass, the traveler must enter the date of travel each day before he/she boards the first train of the day. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in the payment of a fine and the cost of a full fare ticket. Also, if there is any indication that a rail pass has been tampered with, forged and or/used by anyone other than the passholder, or used beyond its validity, the railway Officials are authorized to confiscate the rail pass and full payment will be required  plus a fine for that and future trains. It is compulsory to present passports to railway officials on request.
  • In most cases validity runs from midnight to midnight for the period shown on the rail pass. All services, rail, rental car, air travel and travel bonuses must he be used within the validity of the accompanying rail pass. One-month period is based from a date in one calendar month to the corresponding date in the following month (minus one day). Depending on the calendar month the pass is activated (validated), the validity period may therefore consist of 28, 29, 30 or 31 days.
  • Rail passes are not valid on hotel trains, private or specialty trains unless otherwise stated. The Glacier Express Swiss scenic train is only covered by the Swiss Pass.  Discounted tickets are available for Eurail pass holders to cover the private railroad if purchased in advance.  
  • Rail passes are available in first and second class unless stated otherwise. Travelers holding first class rail passes are also permitted to travel in standard/ second class however a refund of the  price difference is not applicable. Travelers holding standard/second class passes are permitted to travel in first class only if they pay the difference between the two tickets as applicable locally. For BritRail passes: Some trains in Great Britain do not have first class accommodations. The price of the first class passes have been adjusted to reflect this.

Refunds are limited to completely unused, undated, unvalidated, unactivated rail passes, ticket and inclusive packages, hotel and car vouchers and will be granted only where permitted under the terms and conditions set forth below or elsewhere in this site. Rail passes, tickets and vouchers must be returned for refunds. Companion and Saver passes, BritRail discounted and Eurail Select Pass, Rail 'n Drive rail passes together are considered one document and must be submitted together. No refunds will be granted on partially used rail passes or tickets, or on unused parts of inclusive packages; documents must bear no evidence of having been tampered with in any way.

7:00pm Rule:

The number of days used on your rail pass when traveling on an overnight train will vary depending upon the situation.

  • Overnight train trips departing after 7:00pm and traveling through at least 4:00am (with no change of train) require the traveler to only enter the following day's date on the rail pass (which means only one travel day is counted).
  • Overnight train trips departing after 7:00pm and traveling through at least 4:00am (with any change of train) count as two days of travel.
  • Overnight train trips departing after 7:00pm and arriving before 4:00am counts as two days of travel.

Seat Reservations:

Having a rail pass does not guarantee a seat. Seat reservations are optional on some of the trains however they are mandatory for traveling on high speed trains (TGV, Thalys, AVE, Eurostar, Le Frecce), international trains (Lyria, Talgo), night trains (Thello, City Night Line) and scenic trains (Glacier Express, GoldenPass, Bernina Express, William Tell Express, Chocolate Train). The ICE requires reservations on all Sprinter train. Additionally reservations are required on the SJ High-speed train in Scandinavia and most trains in Spain (Renfe). Also, some trains require the payment of a surcharge, which includes the compulsory seat reservation. On some trains the number of seats available for pass holders may be limited. It is highly recommended to make reservations in advance. If reservations for pass holders are sold out on your desired train, you will either need to select a different train that has reservations available or purchase a ticket at the best available price. The cost for the reservation varies depending on the type of train and country. Rail Europe can secure seat and night train reservations for your trip before you depart North America, this ensures that you will have a seat on the train you wish to travel on.

Overnight Travel:

European night trains offer a variety of accommodations to suit all budgets. Most night trains offer sleeping compartments and couchettes, and some also have reclining seats.

Couchettes and reclining seats are the most economic type of accommodations. Couchettes are not gender specific; they consist of four bunk beds in first class and six in second class. A blanket and pillow is provided, but you sleep in your day clothes. Reclining seats are available on selected trains and generally in second class only.

For more comfort and privacy, you can reserve a sleeping compartment in first class accommodating one or two travelers or second class for two or three travelers. Though the compartment may include a wash basin it does not have a private toilet. Toilet facilities are located at the end of each car. Some night trains also offer deluxe compartments with a private toilet and shower. Sleeping compartments are gender specific, except when couples or families occupy all of the beds.

Night accommodations must be reserved and paid for in advance. On some night trains the number of accommodations for pass holders may be limited. It is highly recommended to make reservations in advance. Prices vary depending on the type of accommodation and country.  If reservations for pass holders are sold out, you will either need to select a different date that has available accommodations or purchase a ticket at the best available price.  Rail Europe can secure seat and sleeping compartment reservations for your trip before you depart North America, this ensures that you will have a place on the train you wish to travel on.

Additional Charges:

Reservations for seats, sleeping compartments and couchettes, for travel on trains such as Eurostar, Le Frecce, AVE, Talgo, Thalys, etc. luggage checking, and port taxes, are all subject to additional charges which are not covered by the rail passes. The prices for all BritRail passes include a processing fee. These, including meals and refreshments, are all to be paid separately. Luggage checking, port taxes, meals and refreshments as well as  reservations for seats, sleeping compartments and couchettes reserved locally must be paid abroad in local currency.

British Train Tickets:

The British rail systems may offer additional fares for some British trains. These fares can be accessed through our call center. Rail Europe offers all British train tickets in compliance with the National Conditions of Carriage and specific Ticket Restrictions and Terms. Tickets are not eligible for purchase by British(UK) residents. Validation of residency is required to purchase British train tickets.

Travelers Purchasing Trenitalia Tickets:

The exchange rate applied to Trenitalia tickets is 1.3998 Euro/USD or 1.5398 Euros/CAD.

Travelers Purchasing Trenitalia International Tickets:

The exchange rate applied to Trenitalia tickets is 1.3998 Euro/USD or 1.5398 Euros/CAD.

Travelers Purchasing Thello Tickets:

The exchange rate applied to Thello tickets is 1.3998 Euro/USD or 1.5398 Euros/CAD.

Governing Rules:

All transportation covered by those rail passes where use is intended for more than one country is subject to the Uniform Rules concerning the Contract for International Carriage of Passengers and Luggage by Rail (CIV). National and/or single-country rail passes are subject to rules and regulations of their specific countries. Neither the British nor European railroads nor Rail Europe, Inc. assume any responsibility for damages resulting from a strike.

Refund:

  • Applications for refunds must be submitted by the client to the office where the rail pass, train ticket or reservation was purchased. Expired tickets/passes are non refundable. No refund can be made unless the UNUSED rail pass or train ticket can be produced. No refund will be made in Europe for tickets/passes issued by Rail Europe, Inc. No refund can be given on tickets/pass purchased in Europe. Rail passes, paper tickets or reservations must not be removed from their ticket cover and must bear no evidence of having been tampered with in any way. Refund amounts are posted to the original form of payment.
  • E-tickets may be refunded before the train departure date and/or as per the policy indicated on the confirmation email.E-tickets can be refunded either online or by emailing the Customer Relations Department at customerrelations@raileurope.com.
  • Online refunds are not available for rail passes, paper tickets, tours, city sightseeing, airport transfers, travel cards, Swiss Packages, etc.
  • Online refunds are only available for bookings paid with one credit card.
  • Eurail Global Passes, Eurail Select Passes, Eurail Regional and National Passes are refundable only if totally unused and unactived or unvalidated (non-validated) and received within one year from the issue date. Six months for the BritRail Pass.
  •  All refunds are subject to minimum 15% cancellation fee. Rail 'N Drive passes are not refundable if either the rail or car portion has been used. Saver Passes, Twin Passes and Party Passes are not refundable if activated (validated) or partially used.
  • Trains tickets are refundable based on the "after sales" rules of the type of ticket purchased. Fare rules are provided in your confirmation email, and also printed on the paper ticket.
  • Paper ticket must be received in our office within the time frame allowed for a refund.
  • Depending on the product, cancellation fees vary and some products are non refundable. All refunds are subject to a 7% administrative fee per ticket.
  • Totally unused tickets received by the issuing office before the first date of validity are refundable. Tickets received after the first day of validity are refundable if canceled and stamped "not-used" by a railway official, at the station of departure before the first date of validity based on the after sales policy of the ticket. These tickets are refundable up to 30 days from your return to North America. All refunds are subject to a 15% cancellation fee and are subject to a 7% administrative fee. Tickets submitted after the first day of validity, which have not been canceled, are not refundable. 
  • Sleeping Compartments and Couchettes: For cancellations in North America, the unused ticket must be received by Rail Europe at least 24 hours before the train departure date. If clients are in Europe, ticket must be stamped canceled by a railway official at the station of departure at least 24 hours before the train departure date. Cancellation fee applies. If space not canceled and ticket received after the travel date, ticket is non refundable.
  • Non-refundable Products: Paris Visite, Paris Museums, London Travel Card, Fly-Rail Baggage, Fast Baggage in Switzerland, Original London Sightseeing Tour, Visitor Oyster Card, Rail Protection Plan™, Seat Reservations.
  • Refunds are not available on any delivery options, this includes the service fee, shipping and handling fees.
  • Where no other time frame for refund is specified on this website, refund requests for train tickets, rail passes, tours & packages must be received by Rail Europe within 30 days of your return to North America. Once tour/package is confirmed a refund is not allowed. Special refund conditions apply to Swiss packages - please check at the time of booking.
  • Please note that refunds are processed during normal business hours: Monday through Friday between 9:00am to 7:00pm ET.

Exchange:

  • Online exchanges are only available for e-tickets.
  • Online exchanges can only be performed up to and including the train’s travel date. Most exchangeable tickets are only exchangeable before the train departure time.  If a ticket is exchangeable after the travel date, the exchange can be done only by calling the issuing office.
  • Online exchanges are subject to a 5% exchange fee.
  • For all other exchanges, please contact the issuing office. When exchanging ticket/passes, the original ticket/pass must be received by Rail Europe in order to finalize the exchange.
  • Exchanges are subject to an exchange fee and a new shipping and handling fee. Should there be a price increase this will also be collected at the time of the exchange.
  • Fares and schedules are subject to change and are not guaranteed until ticketed.
  • All Exchanges are subject to up to 7% administrative fee per ticket.
  • Please note that exchanges are processed during normal business hours: Monday through Friday between 9:00am to 7:00pm ET.

Seating:

Most trains offer only nonsmoking accommodations, but some trains offer smoking and non-smoking.

Payment:

American Express, Diners Club, Discover, Visa or MasterCard are accepted.

Lost Train Tickets and Rail Passes:

Rail Europe, Inc. is not responsible for rail passes, train tickets or vouchers which are lost, stolen, mutilated or destroyed. Refunds cannot be authorized in such cases. To protect yourself against such losses please refer to our Rail Protection Plan™.

Advance Booking:

Please apply for your rail passes and other tickets at least 7 business days before your departure from North America. Rail Europe, Inc. will always try to help if less notice is given, but Rail Europe, Inc. is not responsible for delays in delivery service or otherwise. If a product is booked at short notice, Rail Europe, Inc. will charge an additional fee for overnight delivery service. When booking, please include your date of departure from North America.

Responsibility/ Liability:

  • Rail Europe, Inc. acts only as a booking agent. Rail Europe, Inc. has no control over, and is not responsible for, any of the tours, rail passes, attractions, hotels and other travel accommodations listed in this site. All bookings are accepted and all tickets, rail passes, and vouchers are issued on the express condition that, Rail Europe, Inc. is not responsible or liable for any loss (consequential or otherwise); damage (including but not limited to loss of, or damage to travelers' clothes, baggage, or other property whatsoever); death, injury, delay, inconvenience or irregularity caused by, or arising out of, or in connection with, any defect in any vehicle or other, air, land or sea conveyance used, rented or traveled in; or through the negligence, willful misconduct, strikes or other acts, defaults of omissions of any carrier, car rental company, hotel, restaurant or any other provider of goods or services.
  • Every booking is accepted subject to the conditions, tariffs and regulations imposed by the air, rail, shipping, bus, car rental, car insurance, hotel or other companies, firms or persons concerned.
  • Rail Europe, Inc. reserves the right to alter, cancel or substitute any component of a package.
  • All items of a personal nature not specifically mentioned such as phone calls, tips, taxis, etc. are the responsibility of each traveler.

General Terms and Conditions:

All bookings are subject to a shipping and handling fee of $18 USD/CAD unless otherwise noted. All prices and terms and conditions are subject to change.

NOTE: The following terms and conditions apply to all rail passes, Rail 'n Drive passes: Combination passes that include rail and car. Please carefully read these terms and conditions for all combination passes, etc.

  • Travelers are responsible for ensuring that they have all necessary visas and appropriate travel documents BEFORE their departure from North America.
  • Certain trains may transit through a country not covered by their rail pass. In that case an additional train ticket must be purchased. Therefore please carefully review your route.
  • Train schedules and fares are subject to change and availability. Fares and departure times will be confirmed upon purchase confirmation. Sleeping compartment prices vary and will be confirmed at time of purchase.
  • Please note that Rail Europe is an independent company, and that Rail Europe does not own nor control any of the railroads and/or products offered by Rail Europe.

Note: All prices in this guide are correct at time of printing. Rail Europe, Inc. reserves the right to change prices without notice whether such changes are related or not to alterations in rates of exchange.