In today’s podcast episode, Allen Suss speaks with Nicki Schleibs of Rail Plus about the advantages of travelling rail within Europe.
What is Rail Plus?
Rail Plus is a rail wholesaler.
They started in the late 1980’s as a travel agency for a big bank, but then slowly moved away from that and moved into rail, and then expanded that rail into a little bit more.
What services do Rail Plus offer?
Rail within Europe is not very easy to book. If you’re dealing with multiple countries you are dealing with different rules for those countries, different booking systems, different days and events as well.
Rail Plus is acts as a middle man for travel agents to book everything for their clients.
Why travel rail?
Rail Europe is very different from Australia. The trains in Europe travel up to 320km per hour.
If you’re comparing flying from London to Paris, hotel to hotel the travel time is 6.5 hours with the flight time being around 40 minutes.
The rail version, which goes through the tunnel, hotel to hotel the travel time is around 3.5 hours with the train travel time being around 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Another benefit of rail travel is that during the journey you’re seeing the sights and watching the countryside go by. You’re in a relaxing seat where you can get up and walk around.
As opposed to driving, you don’t have to worry about tolls and car hire.
What is it like travelling on a train within Europe?
You’ll need to arrive 15 minutes prior to departure to make sure you get on the right platform.
With pre-reserved seats you’ll know which carriage you will be in. On the platform there are signs which will indicate where your carriage will arrive.
You can take your own wine and food on board with you, or you can eat in the dining cars.
Should travellers buy their Eurail pass before they leave Australia?
Eurail passes purchased within Europe are generally 20% more expensive. That’s because Europeans can’t actually purchase Eurail passes. They are only for non-EU residents.
If you purchase it locally, you’re generally looking at Interrail prices which is for the local travellers, which is more expensive.
It works out before for you to get it in advance.
About Nicki Schleibs
Nicki studied an Advanced Diploma of Travel and Tourism with William Angliss and from there moved into a position in the sales reservations team with Rail Plus in 2011.
After two and a half years there she moved up to NSW to take on the BDM role for NSW and ACT.
After around a year, Rail Plus had some changes and Nicki took on a couple more areas.
For the past 20 months, Nicki has been covering half of Australia, sharing with her colleague, Larry, who covers the North half of Australia.
Nicki has done a couple of trips to Europe on high speed rail, Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer and the Deccan Odyssey which is a luxury train in India.
She is also looking forward to travelling from Perth to Sydney on the Indian Pacific in November.