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Cheap rail tickets in eastern Germany

Practical Info

The Martin Luther University in the east German town of Halle (photo © Singhsomendra).

The Martin Luther University in the east German town of Halle (photo © Singhsomendra).

Last month, a one-way ticket on the regional train service from Halle to Kassel cost €38. But from the start of August, it can cost just €13. This is a new promotional fare valid on selected regional rail routes radiating out from the eastern German city of Halle. The new €13 ticket can be used on journeys that start after 09.00 on weekdays and anytime at weekends.

The €13 ticket is a pilot project that runs at first until the end of October. The massive growth in long-distance coach services over the last 18 months in Germany has cut deeply into rail passenger numbers. And it is no surprise that Halle hosts this pilot low-cost rail initiative, for the city is the hub of a dense web of coach services.

The four pilot routes on which the cheap train tickets are available are:

  • Halle – Weimar – Erfurt
  • Halle – Nordhausen – Kassel
  • Halle – Wernigerode – Goslar
  • Halle – Magdeburg – Braunschweig

Tickets may be purchased both from Halle and to Halle — or, indeed, for any intermediate journey on any of these four routes. Naturally the journey has to be of some length for the €13 ticket to undercut the normal fare. Breaking the journey is permitted. There is no need to book in advance.

The ticket is one of a raft of initiatives as Deutsche Bahn (DB) and other rail operator confront competition from long-distance coaches. One example, beyond the new €13 ticket, is a new low-cost rail service from Berlin to Hamburg which started in April. Another has been DB’s own entry into the long-distance coach market.

Copyright © Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries. All rights reserved.
hidden europe
About The Authors

Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries

Nicky and Susanne manage hidden europe, a Berlin-based editorial bureau that supplies text and images to media across Europe. Together they edit hidden europe magazine. Nicky and Susanne are dedicated slow travellers and the authors of the book Europe by Rail: The Definitive Guide. The 17th edition of that book was published in 2022 and reprinted in July 2023. You'll find a list of outlets that sell the book on this website.

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