In European Rail News yesterday, we highlighted something of the history of InterRail and it drew a number of comments from readers who e-mailed us. “Surely InterRail was so much better in the past, before the days when railway companies started levying supplements for pass holders,” is a comment that captures the general tenor of the replies.
Well, actually, there have always been restrictions on which trains could be used without additional fees by holders of InterRail passes. Back in the early days of InterRail, entire trains were barred — and many of these services were critical links in Europe’s rail network. The very success of InterRail has helped spawn a few myths. And one of the most enduring is that there was an earlier golden age when rail passes really gave an unfettered freedom to roam.
We explore these issues more fully in an article published today on the hidden europe website. You can read the full text online and, for a spell, you can also read the full text of another article on InterRail published this week in hidden europe magazine.
Canny travellers of course can still avoid supplements, just as they always have, by avoiding the premium high-speed trains that demand compulsory reservations and charge a supplement to pass holders. Europe is, we think, even more inviting, when viewed at slower speeds. All the more reason to make the most of Europe's marvellous network of slower trains where pass holders can hop on and off at will.