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I have purchased an online ticket to go from Cologne to Dusseldorf; the ticket is from Brussels to Dusseldorf with changeover at Cologne.

I heard that in German cities train tickets need to be validated in a machine. Will I be required to do this for an online ticket? If yes, where can I validate?

UPDATE

I completed my journey and it was wonderful, ICE trains are awesome! Just a printout was sufficient. They didn't ask for ID, but may have asked, so I had my passport with me. Thanks all for the help.

  • I was in Berlin last month. You validate the ticket on the train/bus. – cHiEf Immigration vIoLaTer May 14 '17 at 19:10
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    @SheikPaul Are you talking about the Berlin U-Bahn/S-Bahn? This has a different ticketing system to intercity trains. – Calchas May 20 '17 at 14:49
  • @Calchas Yes you are correct, I was referring to the Berlin U-Bahn/S-Bahn. That's why I put it in as a comment instead of answer, acknowledging there might be some difference. – cHiEf Immigration vIoLaTer May 20 '17 at 14:52
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If it is an online ticket from bahn.de you have to print it out and prove your identity, but you do not have to validate it before your journey. I took a look on my last ticket and there are explanations on page two. One of them is:

Die Fahrkarte muss ausgedruckt vorliegen und gilt nur zusammen mit einem Personalausweis, Reisepass, elektronischen Aufenthaltstitel, BüMA oder der BahnCard des Fahrkarteninhabers.

My translation (I am german): The ticket must be shown in printed form and is only valid with an identity card, passport, electronic residence permission, (BüMA - don't even know what that is) or BahnCard of the ticket owner. Bahncard is the german railway discount card, which you probably do not have.

Update (thanks to @Pont): A BüMA is an identity document for asylum seekers (Bescheinigung über die Meldung als Asylsuchender).

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There is a slight confusion in the question that I intend to clear up:

I heard that, in German cities, train tickets need to be validated in a machine; will I be required to do this for an online ticket? If yes, where can I validate.

This statement is only (generally) true for tickets

  • bought at a ticket machine or a bus driver
  • that are valid only within the city’s (in some select cases: cities’) transport association; and
  • that do not already have a begin of validity printed on them.

If you have a ticket that requires validation, it will typically state so on the ticket; e.g. ‘Hier entwerten’ (with an arrow showing the direction to put the ticket into the validation machine).

Tickets for long-distance trains (e.g. ICE) and those bought online are never validated. They are printed out on A4 paper which is far too large to fit into the validator of any German city.

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It depends on what type of service it is. For local services such as the U-Bahn or the S-Bahn, ticket validation machines are typically located at the station. These machines will stamp the time the ticket is validated, as tickets generally allow for unlimited travel for a defined region and period (e.g. 2 hours) after validation.

For intercity tickets, they contain a QR code. A conductor with a QR code scanner will check the tickets on board with a scanner. You will need to print out the ticket with the QR code so that you can present it (along with ID such as a passport) to the conductor.

As you've purchased tickets online between different cities, I suspect the latter.

  • The information about credit cards in this answer is outdated, see Identification on German trains, a passport is the most likely form of ID for non-EU citizens/residents. – mts May 15 '17 at 5:39
  • @mts Thanks. I've updated the answer accordingly – k2moo4 May 16 '17 at 2:18
  • Instead of printing the ticket you can use the DB app. – Calchas May 20 '17 at 14:42

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