Blog Archive
1st March 2012

 

Can you believe it? Forty years ago today, on 1st March 1972, a new product - the InterRail pass - was introduced on a temporary basis to allow young people travel Europe.

It was so popular, it's still with us today. Initially, it covered 20 countries, and was limited to under 21s.  Today it covers 30 countries, some of which didn't exist back in 1972, and is open to all ages - though the under 26s still get it for less! 

More than 248,000 rail travellers across Europe bought a pass in 2011.  InterRail passes today start at €175 for 30 countries, and full information is available through our National Customer Information Centre at 1850 366 222 (option 7) or through our appointed sales agent USIT – online sales and product information is available at www.usit.ie/interrail

Thinking of forty years of InterRail has got us all nostalgic: the thrill of standing at a station in Europe and deciding where to go next; going to sleep in one city, waking up at the crack of dawn in another; the days of the Iron Curtain and pre-Schengen agreements, when crossing borders meant constant stern immigration checks; and and even being robbed on the Berlin to Krakow overnight, a shock which gave way to great memories of a fellow passenger, with no language in common, sharing his vodka to commiserate!

We'd love to hear your InterRail memories and wishes - comment below on trips you've taken, and dream InterRails you still want to do.  We've a free InterRail pass* up for grabs for our favourite - time to ride the rails again!

 

 

* You can comment from anywhere, but the free pass competition is for residents of Ireland only!  Post your comment by 6th March to be in with a chance.

20 Comments

2012-03-01 at 5:37pm

Cathy Shevlin says:

The summer I went emailing with my friends was the summer we finished college. It was a last hurrah before the real world hit and felt like a rite of passage that had to be completed. We started in Amsterdam which we found surprisingly pretty with its canals and canal-side cafes, we hadn't known about anything other than Amsterdams seedy side beforehand. We interailed to Hamburg. We knew nothing about Hamburg and still don't other than one of the girls' uncle owned an Irish bar and she was fairly confident we'd get a few free drinks there. Seemed as good a reason to pick a place as any.. we had a lockin until nine the next morning. It was surreal. Onwards to Berlin where we took advantage of another relative's hospitality to get a free dinner, we also visited Checkpoint Charlie and the wall. Then to Krakow where we visited Auschwitz, an experience that was unforgettable. Down to Budapest where we spent an afternoon adopting communist poses on front of Soviet statues disarrayed

2012-03-01 at 5:41pm

Railway Lines blog says:

....Part 2 of Cathy's post:

....in a field. Then we figured we'd had enough history for one trip so spent a night in a former jail in Slovenia, got soaked in a thunderstorm in Lake Bled and had to ask for black bags to wear to get home in (the Irish on tour were only in shorts and tops) and finally island hopping in Croatia.
It was the best trip I ever had and every time I get together with my friends, inevitably someone will say the line "Do you remember when we were interailing and...".

In case you haven't noticed I'd love to win and go interailing again! Pick me please!

2012-03-01 at 8:23pm

Bobby Hogarty says:

Would love to travel through Europe on the InterRail. I'd take a trip through Spain and vamp up my Spanish language skills. After that I'd take it down to Italy to try some authentic Sicilian pizza. Maybe take it through Amsterdam to finish Off the trip with a little partying.

2012-03-01 at 10:13pm

Finbarr ONeill says:

Summer 2002: Set off from Cork for Rosslare on the bus. Got the evening ferry to Roscoff for the start of the interrail. Early morning arrival into Roscoff after one of the roughest crossings I've ever experienced. After eventually getting to sleep, the can-can came on the radio in the cabin to mark crossing into French waters... I had been asleep for about 5 minutes :(

After breakfast in Roscoff, got the train to Morlaix, a few miles south of Roscoff for my connecting train to Paris. Spent a few hours in Morlaix taking photographs and bought two bagettes for the trip to Paris. Got to Paris to make a dash across the French capital for my connecting night train to Marseille. After a few hours there, got on a regional train to Nice, then onto Monte Carlo. Too expensive for the poor student that I was, I headed off with my trust pocket atlas for Genoa, Pisa and Florence. Due to me stopping off in Pisa, I missed my connecting night train to Vienna at Florence, so stayed the night in Fl

2012-03-01 at 10:15am

Railway Lines blog says:

(Finbarr's post contd) ...Florence. Looking at the atlas, noticed Rome was not far, so the next day headed to the main station at Florance and boarded a Eurostar to Rome. Spended the day doing all the sights in Rome, then headed to get the night train to Vienna. Met up with college friends in Vienna who had been interrailing a week longer than me. Had agreed a route for the next week, which took us to Salzburg (where we took part in a very dodgy 'Sound of Music' bus tour, I can still hear the singing....), Munich, Hamburg, Cologne.

I had made a plan to head to Prague, Budepest and a long-haul trip to Athens, but due to the lack of money, I made a bolt for home, which took me to Brussels to get the Eurostar to London (which was not included in the interrail ticket, from what I remember). Spent the day in London, placed my luggage in 'Left luggage' in Charing Cross. Jumped on the evening train from London Paddington to Swansea. At Reading, I realised that, with all the rushing, my bac

2012-03-01 at 10:17am

Railway Lines blog says:

(Finbarr's post contd) ...my backpack was still in Charing Cross! Jumped off the train, for a really unnecessary round trip (at rush-hour!) back to Charing Cross.

Eventually, back on the next service to Swansea. Got out at Bridgend to meet my parents and baby brother in Bridgend. After a trip to Oakwood, we headed back to Cork via Pembrooke and Rosslare.

I had one week left on the interrail ticket, which I used to go from Cork to Limerick, to get the bus to 'Slane' with my cousin... Slane '02!

Was a great trip... and interrailing was the only way to do it :-) ...would love to do it all again... except for the dodgy 'Sound of Music' bus tour...

2012-03-01 at 4:16pm

Andy Moore says:

My Mother & I have a plan to go across Europe this summer route & destination not yet decided . But proably some type of circular trip along the Med & up by the Atlantic to Cherebourg & home . I hope it goes well & she gets probably the last great tour of her days . Due to ill health she is unable to fly so Interail is the most obvious option. I would look forward to the trip as well,having always enjoyed rail travel all of my life .

2012-03-01 at 2:16pm

Arron O'Connor says:

Stopped off in Munich for a few days before Christmas last year and took a day trip out to Fussen to visit the neuschwanstein castle. Place was covered in snow and it really was a great day up there. While waiting to head back to Munich that evening there was no sign of the train which was pretty unusual if you are use to how efficient the Bavarian transport system is. So from nowhere a bus pulls up and the driver started speaking to us in German and we all just assumed this bus was here to bring us to another station or was going to do a hefty drive back all the way to Munich. After about 15 mins on the bus pulls up at a rail crossing out on a country road and there appears to be a train waiting for us. Problem is, is that 95% of the bus are elderly Americans and Australians and there isn't a platform for any of these people to use to get onto the train. The step of the door is a couple of feet off the ground so que me and a few young lads using our backs as makeshift steps to get th

2012-03-01 at 8:35am

Railway Lines blog says:

(Arron's post continued...) to get these people onto the train. After about 20 mins we were on our way back to Munich. Because we had missed the direct train we ended up having to make two connections one which we nearly would have missed only for a young german girl translating what the train driver on the speaker had said. In the end there was a few sore backs and laughs shared but these little things are all what travelling is about! Taking the year out after college next year and hoping to do London to Beijing by train so an interRail ticket would be awesome to get in some extra spots before leaving Europe.

2012-03-01 at 8:57am

Michelle Doyle says:

I don't have an interrailing experience yet. But I do have the fondest memories of the Wicklow-Dublin Line. As an adventurous 15 year old I would leave the nuns at the convent behind, hop onto the train and head to Dublin. It was an adrenaline rush to leave my small town life behind and bumble along the beautiful coastline. On my right, dolphins bobbing up and down, on my left, geese flying over the reeds and swampland of The Murrough. I would often stop off at Greystones and swim in the choppy blue sea with friends. Or further on, hop off at Killiney and avert my eyes from the exhibitionists at The Ramparts, enjoying a jump into the freezing cold water. Sometimes while we climbed up Bray Head a person in a business suit would look wide-eyed out the window, point and gasp at the three mysterious billy-goats with long beards. Nothing could bring the inner child out in someone like glimpses of raw nature that only the trains audience ever got to see. It was an enormously liberating time.

2012-03-01 at 10:19am

Gavin Roche says:

I always had a plan to go inter-railing at some point in college, but somewhere along the way but things got complicated. Now I'm studying for my final year exams in May and have great plans to go inter-railing with my friends this summer. From speeding down along the Tyrrhenian Sea to visit the Southern tip of Italy and then back up along its Adriatic coast. From there we'd travel up through the Swizz Alps with there breathtaking scenery into Süddeutschland and onto Denmark. Being a civil engineer, the opportunity to cross the magnificent Øresund Bridge and tunnel into Sweden would be a highlight. From there, onward and upward through the heart of Norway only to finish our epic adventure with near 24 hour day light in Trondheim. Getting the cash together is the only thing holding me back from a summer to truly remember.

2012-03-01 at 1:24pm

Fiona O'Grady says:

My plan this summer is to catch up with all my friends around Europe. Starting with a ferry to Wales, I'll do a quick tour around Britain, then hop over to visit friends in France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Switzerland then down through Italy and over to Turkey, coming back via Spain, with a variety of overnight stops on the way. Having missed out on Interrailing during college, I'm really looking forward to these mini-reunions.

2012-03-01 at 2:40pm

Lindsay Pond says:

I had the opportunity to Interrail through France, Italy, Germany, and Austria in 2008. It was the trip of a lifetime! My favorite train journey was traveling between Salzburg and Munich; the rolling hills of the Bavarian countryside can't be beat! (It also helps to have a backpack full of pretzels and beer to take in the scenery.)

For my next Interrail adventure, I'd love to head further north, visiting Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Can't wait!

2012-03-01 at 11:49pm

Bernard Allan says:

Summer 2010 found a family member and I belting along the mainline to Cork. After emerging from the tunnel into Kent station it was a quick hop on the city bus to Parnell Place (bus station) to catch the special connecting coach to Ringaskiddy Ferryport. Upon arrival there was time for a coffee. Boarding of Brittany Ferries flagship MV Pont-Aven was relaxed and took place in phases. The early-evening sailing time soon came and many passengers took in the air and views on deck as we navigated pass Cóbh towards the open sea at Roches Point. There was a great buzz on the ship. We had dinner and a wander round the retail areas. The motion was almost imperceptible and as they say sea air makes one tired zzzzzz…

The following morning, a Sunday, the coastline around Roscoff with all its islets basked in glorious sunshine. Soon we were alongside. La France voila! Where’s the suncream? Don’t say you’ve forgotten it?! Le mot francais pour “suncream” s’il vous plait.

The rail

2012-03-01 at 12:54am

Mícheal Ryan says:

I fingered the pages of that encyclopedia a hundred times, the purple hardback consulted on every visit to my cousins house for years. Plumes of coloured hair raised on the gleaming helmets of stoic sentries, the astonishment of people living on venice's canalled streets, and the crumbling embers of a colosseum that played host to the final moments of a gladiators life fuelled up the wonder of a child.

Nearly 25 years later, i scold myself for being too whimsical for my own good sometimes, and still fight my propensity to daydream on the job! Sometimes as people get older the excitement dims,and the lure of adventure is replaced by the safety of familiarity. But When i see my life from a thousand feet and predict the questions that an unborn son or daughter will ask about the world, then id love to be able to show them a picture of me standing in front of that ancient roman battlegound, lure their mind's eye through the stoney walls and high parapets of a German castle, or see their

2012-03-01 at 8:38am

Railway Lines blog says:

(Bernard's post contd...) The railway line between Roscoff and Morlaix has several services a day, a mix of trains and railway operated buses – the latter traversing the ordinary roads. After picking up some info in the tourist office at the Gare Maritime (ferry terminal) we went outside to await the 8.24am bus to Morlaix railway station. We placed our luggage in the compartment and boarded; the friendly lady driver acknowledged our passes. We passed through delightful country areas and then served Saint-Pol-de Léon where a majestic church caught our eye. Soon we were pulling up at the forecourt of Morlaix station. We had a while to wait for the next TGV but the station shop and café were both open.

A good crowd boarded the TGV and we whizzed through countryside and towns towards Paris. I visited the onboard café and was able to buy tickets for our onward Metro travel in Paris. Montparnasse was our station of arrival and throngs of people were criss-crossing its concourse each

2012-03-01 at 8:43am

Railway Lines blog says:

(Bernard's post contd...) its concourse each with their own agenda or train to catch! Around twenty minutes later we ascended from the Metro into a neighbourly area and soon located our accommodation near a fruit shop on a side street. Later in the afternoon we soaked up the local area. Paris and its mother were dining al fresco! The following day we took in the Eiffel Tower and The Champs Elysee.

Next day it was back to Montparnasse for the early-afternoon TGV to Tarbes. We scorched along the rails which made childsplay of the long journey to Bordeaux St. Jean. East of Bordeaux the TGV travelled at a more leisurely pace and as dusk fell we alighted at Lourdes, not just a place of pilgrimage but a town in its own right too.

Postcards sent, prayers said, sights seen, pictures taken and food enjoyed…All too soon it was time to return home. We availed of the overnight train back to Paris - a plus of our circa 11pm departure was that we only had to use one day’s travel on our

2012-03-01 at 8:45am

Railway Lines blog says:

(Michael's post contd...) of a German castle, or see their faces follow my hand to the ceiling when regaling them with stories of the imposing Alps. It would be a real treat to feed those embryolic imaginations with stories from my own experience and in those chats sow the seeds of a whole new wonder, an entirely new world of adventure and excitement.

Just thinking about it now gives me the drive to open that encyclopedia again or maybe ill just use google this time!

Limerick Junction to Leipzig, please give me a ticket, ive got a train to catch.....

2012-03-01 at 10:25am

Railway Lines blog says:

Thanks for the great comments! Lots of entries that really captured the spirit of InterRailing, and showed how it's still a dream trip for others. Our favourite was from Finbarr O'Neill - well done Finbarr, we'll email you shortly to get your details.

2012-03-01 at 1:23pm

tim boland says:

I never had an Inter-rail pass. Back in the day money was in short supply. I hitched everywhere......Amsterdam, via England once, via France twice. Luxembourg, Belgium , Germany...and I probably covered 10,000 miles in the US.

But it would be easy to plan an itinerary this year. First , a return to Amsterdam, through Britain again, so I could catch the Heineken Cup final in Twikenham. And then on to Poznan....Trap's green army on the march! Gdansk, Poznan again, and the Ukraine next for the quarter finals! And the semis, come on! have a little faith! and seeing as it is as well to dream here as in bed, on to the final before the the grand procession home.............

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