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Rail Fares in Europe

Page history last edited by Michael 10 months, 1 week ago

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     First-class Pullman accommodation in Europe averages 4.5d per mile traveled, plus 15s - 20s per night for sleeping berth. 3d per mile for second-class, plus 10s - 12s per night for sleeping berth. Third class is about 1.5d or 2d per mile, plus 6s per night for sleeping berth.

     Note that rail networks require luggage to have a tag or marking with the name and address of the owner.


French Railways


     For the French railways, to be specific, over most distances within France (as of May 1937):  1st class (non-sleeper), 0.45 fr per km; 2nd class (non-sleeper), 0.3 fr per km; 3rd class, 0.2 fr per km. This does not include cost of sleeping berths (between 130 to 230 fr between destinations in France), or added fees for de luxe trains. At the May 1937 exchange rate of 109 fr 50 c per pound sterling, these rates are equivalent to 1-1/2 d per mile (first class); 1 d per mile (2nd class); and about 2/3 d per mile (third class).

     Fare costs are rounded up:  for fares of 10 fr or less, to the nearest 25 centimes; above 10 fr to 20 francs, to the nearest 50 centimes; and over 20 francs, to the next nearest franc.

     Most tickets for particular trips will be issued no more than 15 days before the journey. However, there are monthly, seasonal, semi-annual and annual "general subscription" that cover all routes -- I don't have information on the cost or terms of these.

     I don't have 1932 fare table for French trains, but consumer prices rose 35% from mid-1932 to May 1937. If we apply this to find the 1932 rates, and use the 88 francs per pound conversion of 1932, we get:


  • first class:  0.33 francs per km, or 1-1/2 d per mile; plus 100 to 170 fr for sleeping berth

  • second class:  0.22 francs per km, or 1 d per mile

  • third class:  0.15 francs per km, or 2/3 d per mile


     So, over 6 years, the cost of riding a French train got more expensive from French people, but stayed about the same for people buying with British currency. And they're lower than average price in Europe.


Deutsche Reichsbahn


     Passenger fare in Reichsmarks per 100 kilometers, as of 1937:


  • 1st class:   8.7 RM per 100 km, plus 3 RM, plus 2 RM if over 300 kilometers

    • 1st class fast (Schnellzüge) trains:  add 5 RM to final fare pice

  • 2nd class -- 5.8 RM per 100 km, plus 3 RM, plus 2 RM if over 300 kilometers

    • 2nd class express (Eilzüge):  add 2.5 RM to final fare pice

    • 2nd class fast (Schnellzüge) trains:  add 5 RM to final fare pice

  • 3rd class:  4 RM per 100 km, plus 1.5 RM, plus 1 RM if over 300 kilometers

    • 3rd class express (Eilzüge):  add 1.25 RM to final fare pice

    • 3rd class fast trains (Schnellzüge):  add 2.5 RM to final fare pice

  • military enlisted fare (third class) -- 1.5 RM per 100 km


     Fares over 40 Reichsmarks are rounded up to the nearest Reichsmark. Sleeper berths or private compartments (provided by Mitropa) require a further surcharge --25  RM per night for 1st class, 12.50 RM for second class, 8 RM for third class. The transport tax (varies from 11% to 16%) is included. Some long-distance trains cost a bit more:  29 RM for first class, 12.50 RM for second class.

     Tickets are valid for 4 days (where the date purchased is considered the first day).


Fare Reductions

     About two-thirds of all German railway tickets sold are covered by some sort of reduced fare -- the police, war veterans, families traveling together, hop pickers, the blind, hikers, commuters, Hitler Youth, etc., about 75 categories in total. Some categories have limits on which class they can be taken for. Foreigners might qualify under family fares, hiker fares, festival trip fares, round-trip fares, fares for visitors to trade fairs or expositions, etc.
     Tickets good for the entire Reichsbahn rail network, for one month, are called netzkarten; for first class they cost 320 RM, second class 260 RM, and for third class 200 RM ... a surcharge applies if you ride a fast train (Schnellzüge).


Polish State Railways


     The summer 1937 price of a 15 day "rail pass" on all Polish railways for first-class is 280 zloty (£6 8s); for second class 225 zloty (about £5); and for third class 190 zloty

     Sleeping-car services on Polish railways are carried out by Międzynarodowego Towarzystwa Wagonow Sypialnych (Wagons-Lits) and Mitropa -- the Nord Express is the only truly luxury train in Poland. A Mitropa or Wagons-Lits ticket is required, in addition to the proper railway ticket sold by the state railways.

     Passports and visas are not required for travelers transiting through Poland ... you can change trains, but not leave the station.

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