a VirtualTourist member from Racine asked on Jun 15, 2016
We will be traveling from Schaffhausen, Switzerland to Ulm, Germany with a German rail pass and understand that the rail pass won't cover the part in Switzerland. Does one need to buy a Swiss ticket to the first stop in Singen, Germany? Or? Thanks so much in advance.
Schaffhausen is right on the German border, so I believe the German Rail Pass is valid from Schaffhausen. I know it is valid for the Baden-Württemberg Ticket, but I'm not 100% sure about the rail pass.
But the German Rail Pass really isn't worth it for this journey. The aforementioned Baden-Württemberg Ticket will get you to Ulm for EUR 23 for the first passenger, plus EUR 5 for each additional passenger up to 5. Plus, the ticket will cover all public transport in Ulm for the rest of the day. Since all trains between Schaffhausen and Ulm are local trains (RE or IRE), the only restriction is that the ticket isn't valid until after 9AM on weekdays.
Thanks [VT member a6c1e] for your excellent comments. This is the first leg of the trip, after traveling from the Zurich airport by S Bahn and one night in Schaffhausen. We then travel by train to meet friends in Ulm, then later travel by train to Heidelberg. Then from Heidelberg by train to Assmannshausen/Ruedesheim. Then, after a KD Rhein cruise to Koblenz, by train to Dusseldorf, four different days. And we would likely use the first class option and, I haven't yet compared the cost of the pass versus purchasing individual tickets. Also, we want a flexible schedule.
Thank you for your kind words. Certainly the ticket I just recommended is totally flexible (except that you can't start your travel before 9AM).
The bottom line is, there are very few scenarios nowadays that today's rail passes are a good value. I myself will be traveling into Switzerland with point-to-point tickets for the first time in more than 20 years because even the Swiss rail passes weren't worth it for our itinerary this year. Of course, If you want peace of mind and are willing to spend extra money to save time and confusion, then I guess that is your choice. But frankly, 1st Class usually isn't necessary in Germany (and on many of the travels you have specified, 1st Class travel isn't even possible).
Also keep in mind, all you need to do is show your train ticket when you purchase your K-D boat ticket, and you will get a discount.
Before you settle on buying your rail pass, please take a look at my series of tips about riding the rails in Germany.
[original VT link]