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Luxembourg Direct Lines - Is it possible to commute

  • 11 September 2023
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I am an American student studying in Luxembourg for about 5 months in the Spring of 2024. I hope to be able to live in a city other than Luxembourg as I only need to be there 2 days out of the week for class. Paris would be amazing as it allows me to be so close to a major terminal. I know nothing about the train system and how it works in Europe. If I live in a city, for this example let’s say Paris, would it be possible to commute there two days of the week with a Eurail unlimited pass? Do they run often enough for me to catch one twice a day for these two days? Am I going to drown myself in reservation fees or is it similar to NYC subway’s “swipe your card, hop on, and then hop off” system? I also will be extensively travelling with the pass on days I do not have class, using it atleast twice per day, possibly more depending on where I end up. How easy is it to hop on a train and end up in a different country / how much in advance do I have to reserve them (show up to the station or a lot longer)? And finally, how do night trains work? Not specifically trains specifically running at night, but moreso just train connections that happen to be running on a given night (to avoid hotels)? I know there are a lot of questions so if anyone has an answer to a single one or all of them I would appreciate it. Thank you so much for your help and I can’t wait to see the world through Eurail!!!

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Best answer by BrendanDB 12 September 2023, 09:25

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Userlevel 7
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Indeed. Luxemburg attracts a lot of foreign workers due to the very interesting wages, but these come from Arlon, Athus (BE), Longwy, Metz and Thionville (FR) and the region around Trier (DE). Any commute further than those cities or any place out of Luxemburg is honestly a bad idea.

To answer your remaining heap of questions:

  • Depends, there’s not “one railway system” in Europe. It’s very dependend on the country. Most railway companies have a trajectory card, between stations A and B, meaning you can take an unlimited number of trains for a certain period. A lot of companies have now interesting options, to cater for the many home workers, that only go to office 2 or 3 times a week. Swipe and go is rare on railways, but exists (London, the Netherlands, Denmark...) and more prevelant on commuting trains, than long distance high speed trains. For TGV you would drown yourself in reservations fees indeed. In Luxemburg itself, ALL public transport is FREE (with the exception of border crossing traffic).
  • Depends on the countries: fairly easy with regional trains just across the border, for long distance trains it’s a bit more cumbersome with a lot of them needing reservations. If you would decide to stay in e.g. Thionville or Arlon for the cost of living in comparison to Luxemburg, it’s very doable. Paris is obviously not;
  • Night trains work like any other long distance train. You need to reserve a bit in advance, there are usually three travel options: seats, couchette (just bunks) and sleeper cars (more comfortable beds, often with a shower or sink in the room and mostly a bit of breakfast). But there’s no night train serving Luxemburg at this moment.

As you’re very unfamiliar with the European train networks, we usually give the tip to look into these pages:

https://www.seat61.com/european-train-travel.htm

https://www.seat61.com/how-to-use-an-interrail-pass.htm

Other than that, Luxemburg is not the most amazing city, but it’s very conveniently located. You can get easily to France, Belgium, Germany. Since you only have 2 days of classes, why not use it as your base to discover Europe?

Userlevel 7
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I would say no to that plan.

 

Is it possible you are underestimating the size of Europe? While small compared to the US those are still long journeys, Paris to Luxembourg is over 250 miles by train. 2h20 station to station, add in time from wherever you are living to your destination you are going to be looking at 3h or more each way. First arrival from Paris is at 09.44 and last train back is at 18.44.

 

Also, using a Eurail pass to commute for a long period is more than a little problematic as you could be seen as being resident in that country which would be against the terms of the ticket, commuting the same route repeatedly may make someone take notice and investigate.

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