My point exactly Martyn. Go to your local station and ask for a return to Freiburg and the ticket office will look at you as if you came from outer space! But, go to a local station in Switzerland and they’ll look up the best offers and issue the ticket there and then.
In Continental Europe business travel by train is the norm. Day passes, half fare passes, interrail discounts, super saver tickets are all available online or in a ticket office. Free travel for children with an adult is quite usual. Most people going to Rome from Milan now use the train. Germans, Dutch, French all use train travel for business leaving their cars at home. Most stations have cheap and easy parking so Europe is really geared up for fast train travel at reasonable prices.
It seems the UK is great (if expensive) for train travel within the UK, but beyond the borders and under the channel, it’s a big no no I’m afraid, and what a pity. The Channel tunnel is great but travel through it should be easy and inexpensive – and the fact that most of the debt to build it was written off by the banks, reinforces that. That it’s not is, in my opinion, close to criminal.