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I was looking into planning a train trip with a friend from abroad and I realized that getting a Rail pass for him would be a lot more expensive - 371 EUR vs. 253 EUR.

Is there a reason why non-European residents are heavily penalized? Or perhaps the two passes aren't actually fully equivalent?

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    Maybe it's not that the ones are penalized but that the others are subsidized? Apr 7 '17 at 17:24
  • @martin.koeberl subsidized by the EU? Could be a good answer by I can't find any information about this.
    – JonathanReez
    Apr 7 '17 at 17:25
  • I doubt it would be subsidized by the EU since it is available to non EEA nationals. Apr 7 '17 at 18:07
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    @dunni It is valid in the residence country for one trip to the border and one trip from the border
    – Crazydre
    Apr 8 '17 at 15:48
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    It may also just be a matter of "revenue management" -- that is, since travelers from outside Europe are already spending significant money to get themselves to and from Europe, they will probably be willing to pay higher prices for a rail pass, because it will be a proportionally smaller part of their total travel budget. Apr 9 '17 at 12:13
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+50

The reason is more likely to be historical, rather than a practical difference with the two passes. As a matter of fact, Interrail actually covers more countries than Eurail with Great Britain being the difference. (note as of 2020, the UK is part of Interrail and Eurail, and both programs cover the same 33 countries)

The Eurail-plan was started in 1959 as a way to originally get American visitors to visit European countries. Interrail on the other hand was started in 1972 and originally it was only available for the European youth under 21. Since then both passes have changed a lot and only recently since 2007 have they been sold by the same company. Essentially they started as different products with different purposes during different times.

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