Validation of Rail Passes
Your rail pass will be validated twice. The pass will arrive with the first validation, printed automatically at our office in the top right corner of the pass. This indicates the start date of the pass, which you must begin to use within 6 months of that date.
You must get the second validation in-country on the first travel day when you're using the pass. This is also called "activating" a pass. Bring the pass to the train station's ticket office for an official validation. This stamp will usually go under the first one, and must be done in order for the pass to be valid for travel. Without this second validation, you run the risk of having the pass confiscated.
Leave plenty of time before your first train journey to take care of this second validation. Lines at ticket offices can be extremely long, and there's no separate area for rail pass validation. In some cases, if all you need is a validation and you don't need a train seat reservation as well, you can visit the customer service window instead of a ticket window.
Once you board the train, the pass will be stamped or punched by a conductor for that day of travel, but this is not the same as the official validation. Conductors cannot validate rail passes. That must be done in the train station before you board.
Using Flexi Passes or Select Passes
After you board the train, you must enter the date - day and month - into the grid at the bottom of the pass. You must use blue or black ink (permanent ink only, nothing erasable), and you must enter the date in the international format with day first and month second. In other words, July 24th is entered as 24/07 on the pass grid. The conductor will check this part of your pass, and if the date is not already written in you risk a penalty.
Anyone accustomed to using the American date format - month first then day - must be careful not to input the date incorrectly in the pass grid.
Note that tampering with the pass in any way, including altering the dates, will result in the pass being confiscated and the pass holder being stuck with fines. He or she may also be denied further use of the rail system.
Using Consecutive Day Passes
Because of the nature of these passes, there is no need to write in each date of travel. The pass becomes valid when you get the official stamp at the train station ticket window before your first train trip, and then on each journey the conductor will simply check the expiration date on the pass.