Rail travel is by far the greenest and most sustainable way to travel, we asked Sales & Marketing Manager Silvia Goerlach from Eurail Group about these benefits and how you can save time and money.
New European Economy: First of all, can you introduce us to your offering? What is the difference between Eurail and InterRail?
Silvia Goerlach: We provide an easy means to travel all over Europe on a rail pass. Customers can hop on and off the train and use their rail pass flexibly. There are several options regarding geography and travel timeframes. The InterRail Pass is for European customers and offers travel in 30 European countries, including the UK. The Eurail Pass is for non-European customers, and 25 countries are included in the travel offering. The most encompassing and frequently sold pass is the Global Pass, which is available starting from five travel days within a 10-day timeframe. Additionally, we offer One Country Passes for InterRail and Eurail as well as passes for two to five countries for Eurail.
NEE: What are the advantages of traveling by rail?
SG: Flexibility is a great advantage. You can take whatever train you like within the zones authorised by your pass. The passes are valid within a dense European railway network with 233,000 kilometres of rail. You can travel directly into city centres, and there’s no need to search for a parking space when arriving in a city. There are good connections to public transport systems and access to taxis at the stations. Modern high-speed trains between major cities offer very attractive travel times from city centre to city centre: Paris-Frankfurt (3:55), Frankfurt-Brussels (3:05), Rome-Milan (2:55), Madrid-Barcelona (2:50), Amsterdam-Brussels (1:53), Vienna-Prague (4:30), Vienna-Budapest (2:45), London-Paris (2:55), Brussels-Paris (2:40), Paris-Zurich (4:05), and Hamburg-Copenhagen (4:45). For high-speed trains, reservations might be requested. Advance planning is advisable, especially in France.
NEE: Sustainability is very much part of the 21st-century zeitgeist. How does rail travel play its part?
SG: Rail travel is a particularly sustainable mode to travel. A lot of rail carriers offer a carbon comparison between flight, rail and car. Regenerative energy is used by several. Trains contribute just 1.8% of the greenhouse-gas emissions relating to domestic travel, a tiny amount compared with the more than 90% generated by cars, lorries and other road vehicles. Railways offer mass transit with minimal pollution and less impact on the physical environment. They have the potential to make a major contribution towards cutting traffic congestion and keeping nations moving as part of an integrated transportation system.
NEE: Any special offers at the moment?
SG: We have an early-bird promotion for February and March. Eurail customers get extra travel days (15+2 days, 21+3 days, 1 month + 5 days) for the Eurail Global and Select Pass. Eurail Passes can be purchased from authorized vendors and at eurail.com. Additionally, there is a 15% off promotion in February and March for InterRail customers, to be purchased from national railways or at interrail.eu. Promotional passes can be purchased from 1st February to March 31st. To facilitate travel planning, we offer the Rail Planner app, an offline app for scheduling a European trip. It contains plenty of comprehensive information from timetables to pass benefits and country information.