Having spent uncounted days railing about Europe, one of the first things the prospective rail traveler should acquire is the Thomas Cook European Rail Schedule. I first learned of it from a rail travel aficionado while tourning Norway. It is small and light enough to fit into a backpack or carry-on. In repeated excursions, I found the timetables to be incredibly exact and when coupled with a rail system that prides itself on arrival and departure times, it was absolutely child's play to rapidly move from country to country. International (multicountry) trains, sleeping facilities/cars, ferrys, rail stations, etc. are all easy to find and navigate around. On one trip, I managed to hit 13 countries in 3 weeks. I couldn't have done it with the this valuable companion. Once acquainted with the guide, train travel becomes remarkably easy. The Timetable allows the traveler to add interesting side-trips to a main traverse of a country. If you are planning to use a Eurail Pass or something similar, I'd highly recommend this book. If your travel tends to be spontaneous, this book is for you. If everything is prearranged, I don't recommend it. I have found it to be worth every penny.