2) Start with a station to station search. Enter just the city name, unless you know the name of the station you want.
3) Required fields: Only the "From" and "To" fields are required before you can click on "Search Connections." Date, Time, Means of Transport, and other fields are all optional.
4) Spelling: Use the local European spelling of town names. (You'll find these in any good map or guidebook of Europe.) Here are some examples:
- Bergen = Bergen(N) (N for Norway)
- Cologne = Koeln (oe replaces ö)
- Florence = Firenze (SMN station)
- Kopenhagen or Koebenhavn
- Munich = Muenchen (ue replaces ü)
- Prague = Praha (hl. n. station)
- Rome = Roma (Termini station)
- Rothenburg = Rothenburg ob der Tauber
- Venice = Venezia (S. Lucia station)
- Vienna = Wien
5) Choosing a station: The Deutsche Bahn system may ask you to re-select a station from a list of options. Keep in mind:
a. If the city is listed again (without station name), re-select that choice.
b. You do not always have to make the right choice. Sometimes the DB will make a correction before providing the schedule. In other cases, the schedule will include a connection by train, bus, or subway from the "wrong" station to the main station.
c. Main stations are often called "central," "terminus," "bahnhof," or "hauptbahnhof (hbf)."
d. A very long list probably includes bus stops in the same town. Back up to the query page and type any city "hbf."
6) Pricing: The DB website provides ticket prices within Germany and for some international trips that originate in Germany. If the system brings up a "Pricing" section, simply fill in any age and click the "Continue" button. Most tourists will not have a Bahn Card or Rail Plus discount.
7) More detail: At the bottom of the schedule results, you'll find buttons to access more detail. The first level includes location and times for any change of train. Further links on the Detail page allow you to see major stops along the way.
8) Date of travel: Schedules change seasonally around June 10, Sept. 10, and Dec. 10 (though changes are often small). The DB website posts updates as soon as they are available. Even if your trip is several months in the future, this is still the best planning tool. You can enter an earlier date for a fairly accurate idea of the schedule.
9) Footnotes: "Compulsory reservation" means what it says, while "Please reserve" is recommended but optional. "International supplement" notes do not apply with railpasses.
10) Alternate routes: This system shows the most direct and practical routes between two points. To design your own detour, add a "Via" (midpoint) city on the query screen.
11) Coverage: The DB website is the most complete resource for train schedules throughout Europe. If your destination is not covered (and if you spelled it correctly), that's a good sign it doesn't have train service. Train websites for Spain and Italy may be useful if you do not find what you need on the DB website. For a comprehensive list of each country's railway sites, go to www.railfaneurope.net.
12) New Query: The "New Query" and "back" buttons bring you to a fresh starting page. Use the "Change" button to change a few features of your original request.