If you plan to travel a lot on the European or British railroads on your way to or from Vienna, you'd do well to secure the latest copy of the Thomas Cook European Timetable of Railroads. It's available exclusively online at www.thomascooktimetables.com.
Vienna has rail links to all the major cities of Europe. From Paris, a daily train leaves the Gare de l'Est at 7:49am, arriving in Vienna at 9:18pm. From Munich, a train leaves daily at 9:24am, arriving in Vienna at 2:18pm, and at 11:19pm, arriving in Vienna at 6:47am. From Zurich, a 9:33pm train arrives in Vienna at 6:45am.
Rail travel in Austria is superb, with fast, clean trains taking you just about anywhere in the country and through some incredibly scenic regions.
Train passengers using the Chunnel under the English Channel can go from London to Paris in just 3 hours and then on to Vienna . Le Shuttle covers the 50km (31-mile) journey in just 35 minutes. The train also accommodates passenger cars, charter buses, taxis, and motorcycles through a tunnel from Folkestone, England, to Calais, France. Service is year-round, 24 hours a day.
Rail Passes for North American Travelers
Eurailpass -- If you plan to travel extensively in Europe, the Eurail Global Pass might be a good bet. It's valid for first-class rail travel in 20 European countries. With one ticket, you travel whenever and wherever you please; more than 100,000 rail miles are at your disposal. Here's how it works: The pass is sold only in North America. A Eurailpass good for 15 days costs $795, a pass for 21 days is $1,029, a 1-month pass costs $1,279, a 2-month pass is $1,809, and a 3-month pass goes for $2,235. Children under 4 travel free if they don't occupy a seat; all children under 12 who take up a seat are charged half-price. If you're under 26, you can buy a Eurail Global Pass Youth, which entitles you to unlimited second-class travel for 15 days ($519), 21 days ($669), 1 month ($835), 2 months ($1,179), or 3 months ($1,455). Travelers considering buying a 15-day or 1-month pass should estimate rail distance before deciding whether a pass is worthwhile. To take full advantage of the tickets for 15 days or a month, you'd have to spend a great deal of time on the train. Eurailpass holders are entitled to substantial discounts on certain buses and ferries as well. Travel agents in all towns and railway agents in such major cities as New York, Montreal, and Los Angeles sell all of these tickets. For information on Eurailpasses and other European train data, call RailEurope at tel. 877/272-RAIL, or visit it on the Web at www.raileurope.com.
Eurail Global Pass Saver offers a 15% discount to each person in a group of three or more people traveling together between April and September, or two people traveling together between October and March. The price of a Saverpass, valid all over Europe for first class only, is $675 for 15 days, $875 for 21 days, $1,089 for 1 month, $1,539 for 2 months, and $1,905 for 3 months. Even more freedom is offered by the Saver Flexipass, which is similar to the Eurail Saverpass, except that you are not confined to consecutive-day travel. For travel over any 10 days within 2 months, the fare is $608; for any 15 days over 2 months, the fare is $800.
The Eurail Select Pass offers unlimited travel on the national rail networks of any 3, 4, or 5 bordering countries out of the 23 Eurail nations linked by train or ship. Two or more passengers can travel together for big discounts, getting 5, 6, 8, 10, or 15 days of rail travel within any 2-month period on the national rail networks of any three, four, or five adjoining Eurail countries linked by train or ship. A sample fare: for 5 days in 2 months you pay US$505 for three countries. Eurail Select Pass Youth for travelers under 26 allows second-class travel within the same guidelines as Eurail Selectpass, with fees starting at US$329. Eurail Select Pass Saver offers discounts for two or more people traveling together, first-class travel within the same guidelines as Eurail Selectpass, with fees starting at US$429.
Rail Passes for British Travelers
If you plan to do a lot of exploring, you might prefer one of the three rail passes designed for unlimited train travel within a designated region during a predetermined number of days. These passes are sold in Britain and several other European countries and can be used only by European residents.
An InterRail Global Pass (www.interrail.com) allows unlimited travel through Europe, except Albania and the republics of the former Soviet Union.
Adults purchasing an InterRail global Pass can travel first or second class. In first class prices are $329 for 5 days in 10 days; $489 for 10 days in 22 days; $629 for 22 days continuous, or $809 for 1 month. In second class, the cost is $249 for 5 days in 10 days; $359 for 10 days in 22 days; $469 for 22 days continuous, and $599 for 1 month continuous.
An InterRail Global Youth Pass is also sold and is available only in second class. A youth is defined as those travelers ranging in age 12 up to and including 25 years of age. The cost is $159 for 5 days in 10 days; $239 for 10 days in 22 days; $309 for 22 days continuous, and $399 for 1 month continuous.
For information on buying individual rail tickets or any of the just-mentioned passes, contact National Rail Inquiries, Victoria Station, London (tel. 0845/748-4950; www.nationalrail.co.uk). Tickets and passes are also available at any of the larger railway stations as well as selected travel agencies throughout Britain and the rest of Europe.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.