Our trip to Italy and Germany is shaping up nicely for October, but I need advice about train travel in Germany. My husband and I will be landing at Dusseldorf and taking a train from there into Aachen, 1-1/2 hrs away. I would really like to take a non-stop train, and also would prefer not to pay full price for our fares ( I have heard that you pay more if you wait to the last minute). So my question is, how much time should we expect it to take from our plane's arrival to getting to the train station. Complicating this scenario is that I will be in a big fat hurry to get to Aachen to see our dear son, who is studying there. Also, we have scheduled only 24 hours in Aachen .
Thanks for your help!
(I don't know if it matters, but our flight will be a short Lufthansa flight from Rome.)
Editing title to clarify topicThis message has been edited. Last edited by: Andrew,
MoMom, I tried to do a little investigating - I'm sure you've probably already looked at the Dusseldorf Airport website, which says that the rail terminal is right in the airport. Which certainly makes it convenient. Sorry I can't be of more help. Have you tried contacting them directly? There is a contact button on their page - maybe they could give you some answers to your questions?
Can anyone advise about advance booking to get lower train fares in Germany, and what the consequences are of missing the train? When it's after a flight, the big variable is whether the flight is on time. If it's the first flight of the morning, at least the aircraft won't have accumulated delays during the day. Without knowing anything about the local situation, I might say to try for a train two hours after the flight arrival, to allow for common delays. Whether or not you'll have bags to claim would also influence things.
The trip from Dusseldorf to Aachen is a regional rain, no reservations needed. I'd just wait until you arrive to get the tickets. There's no real savings at this point in buying ahead,and because no reservations are needed, any ticket you buy can be used on any train; we did find that the ticket person in Cologne keyed in a particular train (the next one departing) when we bought a ticket from her, but she said that didn't mean we had to take that train. The trains from Dusseldorf to Aachen are frequent, some as frequent as every 15 minutes, and the trip is not long, under 2 hours, depending on the train. Some trains are direct and others require 1 or 2 changes. The German rail website is excellent, and very easy to navigate.
There are various discount day tickets for people traveling together. You would buy that right at the station. For example, here's what I found for Dusseldrof-Aachen, checking for a random day in October (11th):
SchönerTagTicket NRW Valid for up to 5 passengers travelling together on date of ticket, Mon-Fri as from 09:00 h, as from 0:00 h on Sat, Sun and public holidays. Valid for unlimited number of journeys on day of validity, regardless of connection shown. No exchanges, no refunds. 36 Euro
The regular non discounted fare would be 37.20 euro for 2 people one way, but that would be just the trip from Dusseldorf to Aachen, and the other fare allows you to travel anywhere in the region for the day.
The German rail website has information about the discount day passes for people traveling together within a region. I think there are also some longer-term passes that cover the whole country. If you plan to travel a lot by train, you might look into that type. We used the "Rhineland-Pfaltz" region day pass when we were in the Rhine region of Germany in July, and it was well worth the cost for 2 of us; it also saved time and hassle of having to buy separate tickets. Some smaller train stations are not manned, and you have to buy your ticket from a machine. The ticket machines will not take American credit card, but do take cash and will make change.
We did make reservations for our international trains from the Netherlands to Cologne and back, and there are discounts for reserved train tickets if you buy way ahead of time; the closer to departure date, the less is the discount.
Probably more information than you need, but maybe it will help others!
Posts: 298 | Location: Bangor, Maine | Registered: 02 March 2006
Duesseldorf (DUS) has 2 train stations: (1) underneath the airport terminal itself - called Terminal Rail Station; and (2) outside to the East of the terminal and accessible via SkyTrain - called Airport Station.
To get to Aachen, you will use the AIRPORT STATION - the one outside the terminal and accessible by the SkyTrain monorail.
Since you are flying Luthsansa from Rome (FCO), you will be in Terminal A. There is only one non-stop flight from FCO to DUS on LH. It is flight LH3201 departing FCO 240P and arriving DUS 445P. There are several connecting flights via Munich or Frankfurt that arrive earlier in DUS (i.e. 1015A, 1100A, 1215P, 200P, 225P). There is no stated minimum connection time (MCT) between Terminal A and the Düsseldorf Flughafen Rail Station. [Note that standard MCT BETWEEN FLIGHTS is 35 minutes but that does not require you to pick your luggage from the belt.] However since you have to claim your checked luggage, and then take the (5-6 minute) SkyTrain from Terminal A to the Rail Station - then give yourself adequate time to accomplish all this.
*Note the SkyTrain is NOT REALLY FREE. As this [URL=http://www.duesseldorf- international.de/dus_en/b_skytrain/]website[/URL] describes:
The following tickets are accepted as being valid fare tickets:
valid VRR and VRS tickets special DB tickets, such as City plus, NRW, Schöne Reise, Schöne Fahrt and Schöner Tag tickets Apcoa Autoparking GmbH car park tickets, for up to 9 persons Tickets for the observation deck at Düsseldorf International, (Terminal B and railway station) on the day of use
All passengers who do not have one of these tickets are required to obtain a short-range fare ticket in order to ride on the SkyTrain (or on substitute buses). Ticket vending machines are located at the SkyTrain stations. When using the SkyTrain, the fares and transport terms and conditions of the Verkehrsverbundes Rhein-Ruhr (VRR) transport association apply.
I assume that you will buy a DB BAHN ticket from Düsseldorf Flughafen to Aachen Hbf either ONLINE before you fly or buy one at the airport from a automated ticket machine or a manned counter (has a ~2 EUR surcharge) at the airport. The one-way NRW-fare costs 18,60 EUR. The NRW fare type includes the fare for the Sky Train so you don't have to buy a 1,40 EUR VRR Short Trip (Kurzstrecke) ticket for the SkyTrain.
Please note that since there are at least 2 of you traveling for only one day, you might want to look into Länder-Tickets (regional day tickets) here. Duesseldorf and Aachen are in North Rhine-Westphalia so the following ticket applies:
SchönerTagTicket Nordrhein-Westfalen (Nice-day-ticket North Rhine-Westphalia) 36 EUR if you buy your ticket online or at the ticket machine. 38 EUR if you purchase your ticket at the Reisezentrum. This ticket is valid from Monday to Friday for one day of your choice from 9 a.m. until 3 a.m. of the following day, Saturday, Sunday and on bank holidays for the whole day. It can be used on all local trains (Interregio-Express, Regional-Express, Regionalbahn, S-Bahn) and the transport systems in North Rhine-Westphalia.
The RE 1 (South West) direct train (no changes) from Düsseldorf Flughafen to Aachen Hbf takes 1 hour and 35 minutes and departs every HH:32. So, if you are on LH3201 and it arrives 445PM (16:45), then you train schedule is either 17:32 (might be tight) or 18:32. Note, taking the train with one change only gets you to Aachen 15 minutes earlier than the next No-Change train so I don't think it's worth it if you have luggage to carry around.