UK pulls out of Interrail and Eurail and carries on alone
After 47 years, on January 1st, 2020, the United Kingdom is pulling out of the Interrail and Eurorail program. The European rail pass system allows – mostly youngsters – to travel up to three months around 31 countries by train and ferry with one cheap seasonal ticket.
It means that people with an Interrail or Eurail pass won’t be able anymore to travel in the UK itself, except for the Eurostar high-speed train to the London Pancras Station. Beyond that station, they will need to buy a British Rail-Pass.
Nothing to do with Brexit
The withdrawal has nothing to do with the Brexit, due on October 31st, says the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), the umbrella organization of British Rail. At the base is a conflict with the Eurail Group, based in Utrecht (Netherlands), the British say.
The Eurail Group represents 35 train and ferry companies and issues the Interrail Pass for EU citizens and a comparable Eurail Pass for non-Europeans. For youngsters up to 27 years old an Interrail Pass for unlimited traveling – in other countries than the homeland – costs 464 euros for one month up to 624 euros for three months.
Initially for youngsters
Set up in 1972, initially, the Interrail Pass was meant for young people up to 18 years old. Later, the offer was expanded, and it is now even open to adults of all ages. They pay for the same Interrail passes 603 and 812 euros, for instance.
The Eurail Group wants to fuse the Interrail and Eurail passes into one single pass, and that is what is not going down well with the British. They believe it will harm their national ‘British Rail-Pass.’ So they decided to carry on alone, with or without a Brexit.
It will affect people with Interrail or Eurail passes bought after January 1st, and wanting to travel in the UK. The other way around, the British will still be able to purchase an Interrail or Eurail Pass to travel around 31 European countries, including Switzerland and Turkey, like before.