I honestly was very nervous when I found out I would have to figure out and maneuver the train system in Germany (and I ended up taking a train in Spain and France, too) and I think it was because of the unknown and the inability to speak the language. I know I keep coming back to the language concept but it really is incredibly important! Anyways, I took many trains in Germany and there was not real reason to be nervous. It is all very user friendly and I got lucky and all my trains were on time and I was, too that worked out nicely.
I had the privilege of riding first class in all of my trains but one and I can definitely say both are equally nice. In first class, there are people coming around and asking if you want something instead of you getting up to get it yourself, but everyone can always use the exercise, right?! Regardless, I had a fabulous experience taking the trains and would suggest them to others and take them again.
I took both types of trains offered – either the regional train or long distance train. The train being taken obviously depends what point you are leaving anf going. The long distance train is high speed and therefore, lesser stops and I rode that for my longer rides. I had my carry on and luggage that I had with me for my month long trip and that was able to be accommodated on the train with areas to store luggage at the entrance/exit and they truly make it user friendly for travelers of all different purposes.
I also was fortunate to have my tickets ahead of time and on there it will show the platform the train departing will be at or arriving to, the time, the seat and cabin number, the train number, as well as the final destination. This made it simple to try to find the places I needed to be. I always checked the monitors for any changes, but come on, Germans are on their game and so efficient (maybe that’s why i fell in love with it so much) and so there were never changes in my schedule as usually the same trains travel at the same times and locations everyday! Efficiency at it’s best that’s for sure!
When at the platform you can find the train that you will be taking and it will break down the cabins for you in letters starting with A and ending some other letter. I cannot remember but next would be B, C, D…so standard. They also have the platform labeled with these letters and so you can see which cabin you’re seat is and in correlation to the letters on the diagram and platform, that’s where you should be in order to board the train. You do not get much time to board it, especially when having a lot of luggage, so this was handy so that I could be prepared before hand and never missed a train!
Inside the train, seat numbers are above the seats and usually you can always reserve seats including coach, too! That was convenient for me with all my luggage. Then you just listen and watch the time for your stop. You do not have to speak the language to master the train, you just have to think a little smarter as you are at a disadvantage with not, but anyone can do it and it is truly very easy and simple. A smart way to travel throughout Germany, that’s for sure!