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Take this german rail pass for example:

The German Rail Pass from Rail Europe gives you unlimited train travel from four to ten days

This pass gives you unlimited travel on the national rail network of Germany.

And the limitations:

The German Rail Pass is not valid for travel on DB Autozug (trains transporting cars), chartered trains, private steam trains, narrow-gauge railways and museum railways.

I know you can use the trains (and some without reservations) from one city to another, in central stations. But am I able to use it inside a single city, in an unlimited fashion? In all german cities? Or "national rail network" means only city to city? Where can I get more information?

More information from official bahn.de website: you can even have a printed version but it needs to be a consecutive days pass! How to calculate a day from an employee perspective and from official db bahn 2014 flyer.

  • @MeNoTalk: Surely asking about the S-Bahn and U-Bahn systems in many cities, whether they know what they're called or not. – hippietrail Oct 23 '14 at 7:23
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The Point is

This special offer from DB Bahn enables visitors to travel on all scheduled trains operated by DB Bahn

Buses, U-Bahns and trams are not operated by DB. In big cities like Frankfurt you can use the S-Bahn to travel inside the cities though. So you are not limited to the central stations only.

The situation about using S-bahn in Berlin with the German Rail Pass seems to be complicated. From community.raileurope.com (official answer from company's employee):

In Berlin, there are only two S-Bahn routes that would be covered with a German Rail Pass.

The S-Bahn lines in Berlin that are covered are as follows:

1.) The main S-Bahn lines that cut east-west across the city along the corridor between the Zoologisher Garten station, the Hbf (Hauptbahnhof) station, the Friedrichstrasse station, the Ostbahnhof station, and the Lichtenberg station. This includes S5, S7, and S75, but only between Zoologischer Garten and Lichtenberg.

2.) The S-Bahn lines that run north-south between the Gesundbrunnen and the Südkreuz station. These lines intersect with the east-west line mentioned above at Friedrichstrasse. These lines include S2, S25, and S1 (though S1 doesn't go all the way to Südkreuz, so it would only be valid up to Friedrichstrasse). On these lines, the pass would not be valid to any stop north of Gesundbrunnen and any stop south of Südkreuz.

In this other post, this employee states that the only S-Bahn lines not covered by the rail pass is indeed from Berlin.

The only S-Bahn lines that are not covered with a German Rail Pass (or any rail pass that includes Germany) are in Berlin.

(...)

All S-Bahn lines throughout the rest of Germany would be covered.

  • What about the U-Bahn(s)? – hippietrail Oct 23 '14 at 7:20
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    U-Bahns are not operated by the DB. – Dirty-flow Oct 23 '14 at 7:28
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    Well this should quite obviously be in the answer. How is somebody who's never been to Germany magically supposed to correctly imagine which underground trains are run by which organizations?! I've been to Germany a good few times and I would have no idea about this. – hippietrail Oct 23 '14 at 7:31
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    I agree that is not very obviously - DB regional trains (RE,RB,S) are red, long haul trains (EC,IC,ICE) are white with e red line. The trains operated by DB have the DB-Logo on them. – Dirty-flow Oct 23 '14 at 7:40
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It's a bit more complicated than both other answers let on. You can use trains operated by “DB Bahn”. This includes most long-distance, regional and urban trains but not necessarily all of them as some trains are operated by private companies.

The pass does also cover most “S-Bahn” within one city but, again, not all of them. In particular, the S-Bahn in Berlin is operated by a distinct company under its own brand and rail passes are not valid on the whole network there (but to make things even more complicated all train tickets including rail passes are valid on the Stadtbahn where regular trains and S-Bahn run parallel to each other, see this post on raileurope.com).

Underground trains called “U-Bahn” (e.g. in Berlin or Munich) are operated by other companies and not covered I think.

Note that I base this on the official website and my knowledge of the German train network but I never used such a pass. They never seemed to offer particularly good value for me.

  • are you sure that the Berlin's S-Bahn is not operated by DB. Look at s-bahn-berlin.de. From Wikipedia: "The S-Bahn is operated by S-Bahn Berlin GmbH, a subsidiary of the Deutsche Bahn, whilst the U-Bahn is run by BVG, the main public transit company for the city of Berlin." – Dirty-flow Oct 23 '14 at 8:05
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    @Dirty-flow “Operated by a subsidiary” is exactly what I meant, nothing more. If you have been there, you will know that unlike all other S-Bahn networks in Germany it has a different brand identity (and a completely different technology and rolling stock). – Relaxed Oct 23 '14 at 8:06
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    it seems complicated - community.raileurope.com/raileurope/topics/… – Dirty-flow Oct 23 '14 at 8:09
  • @Dirty-flow This link is already in my answer. Along the Stadtbahn (and, I think, the North-South line) S-Bahn and regular trains run on parallel tracks and you can take any of them with any ticket (i.e. a S-Bahn with a DB train ticket or a Regio train with a BVG monthly pass or S-Bahn Berlin ticket). – Relaxed Oct 23 '14 at 8:14
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Yes, you can travel inside all German cities as long as you use transport systems operated by the DB or others included in the Rail Pass. (list of services covered)

Most buses, trams and subways are not covered.

Taken from ACPRail:

The German Rail Pass is valid on all trains within Germany operated by Deutsche Bahn (DB). You can also travel to the border stations Basel Badischer Bahnhof (Switzerland) and Salzburg (Austria). Pass-holders have access to German high speed and quality day trains such as ICE*, IC or EC, however reservations are recommended during peak travel times.* Exception: supplements may be required for ICE Sprinter trains.

Check out both links for all the additional information you might need.

  • I am sorry to have to say that the 60% rebate thing is certainly not the case. The source cited only lists it for coaches operated by "Deutsche Turing", which run long-distance. – DCTLib Oct 23 '14 at 9:01
  • You're right. I didn't read that well enough. I removed that part. – Lux Oct 23 '14 at 9:12
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In the 2017 list of firms that participate in the German Rail Pass, S-Bahn Berlin Gmbh 'all lines' are listed as the area of ticket validity.

For normal DB Tickets that contains only the word 'Berlin' (i. e. NOT 'Berlin-Station name'), are also valid for the S-Bahn within the 'Ring-Bahn' that surrounds the city center. This also called Tarif area A.

The idea is that transferring from one Railway station to another is part of the fare.

  • 1
    Hi, your answer unfortunately doesn't seem to be relevant to the question, which is about rail passes (unlimited network-wide travel in a given period), not single tickets (for a particular journey). – TooTea May 11 at 13:09
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    True, the DB source stated only tickets by name. I will look for confermation if it also true for passes and then add my findings. – Mark Johnson May 11 at 13:18

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