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Golden Pass/ Wilhelm Tell Express in Switzerland

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Dec 5th, 2011, 10:33 PM
  #1
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Golden Pass/ Wilhelm Tell Express in Switzerland

I want to spend a couple of days travelling in the Golden Pass and the Wilhelm Tell express. Will it be possible to do these journeys, to and fro, in a single day each? I am planning to stay around the Inter-laken area( Lauterbrunnen) or even Lucerne( not yet decided).
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Dec 6th, 2011, 12:38 AM
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Hi Blwetorch,

Interlaken is about the mid-point of the Golden Pass. It runs from Montreux on Lake Geneva, past Zweisimmen and Gstaad, to Interlaken, and then to Luzern. The entire trip will take five hours; then you have to add on getting from Interlaken to Montreux to start (2h40) and getting from Luzern back to Interlaken (2h). So, altogether that is about 10 hours inside a train in one day.

How much time will you have in the Jungfrau region? If you only have a few days, it would be a real shame to waste one of them sitting inside a closed-up carriage. It's far better (imo) to stand on top of a mountain or walk down a mountail trail and experience the incredible country with all of your senses.

If you only have a few days, you may just want to go to Montreux and back (that would be about five-six hours). Or, even better, just go to Gstaad and stroll around that town.

Have fun!

s
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Dec 6th, 2011, 02:37 AM
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Thanks swandav2000....yeah, 10 hrs would be a bit too much. Unfortunately, I would like to stay in the BO area for about 5 days...and a couple of these scenic train journeys are part of my plan....may be, I shall cut it down to just 1....even if that is covered in 2 days.
I like your idea about Gstaad.........would like to fit it in my plans. Regards
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Dec 6th, 2011, 03:29 AM
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seat61.com/switzerland

good info.
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Dec 6th, 2011, 09:02 AM
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Thanks qwovadis......I am checking up that site too..
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Dec 6th, 2011, 09:57 AM
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The Golden Pass as swandav says is a 5-hour trip in total. But if you stay in Lucerne at the end of it then the next day it is easy to hop the William Tell Express to Lugano - the first part is on a boat to Fluelen then transfer to train over the Gotthard line to Lugano.

Great sites for info on Swiss trains and boats and specialty trains - www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com. check www.swisstravelsystem.com to a link to the Golden Pass and William Tell expresses.
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Dec 6th, 2011, 10:58 AM
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On both the Golden Pass and William Tell express routes there are local trains operating over the same tracks and with obviously the same exact scenery.

the official William Tell Express and Golden Pass Express do give commentary en route I believe and cars have domed observation 'panoramic' cars as well but even from regular trains or boats you can see perfectly well. The commentary en route seems to me to be the major difference.
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Dec 6th, 2011, 07:37 PM
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Thanks a lot for the info PalenQ.......I am sure, this will help me schedule my stay and activities in that area. I am building up my trip part by part.
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Dec 7th, 2011, 11:38 AM
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thanks - the William Tell boat portion is first class only - if you have a Swiss Pass or Swiss Card in 2nd class you must pay an upgrade to join the William Tell - this covers a full meal on board so is not just a reservation fee but you actually get something worth something! The Golden Pass has carriages in both classes though the vaunted VIP seats are in first class only - these have you perched in special seats right next to the driver so it seems you are driving the train! Again with a 2nd class pass you can pay an upgrade. And again there are regular trains running about hourly in addition to the 'official' Golden Pass train, which I believe between Montreux and Zweissimmen requires a seat reservation of a few Swiss francs before boarding. I believe the other portions of the Golden Pass Zweissimmen to Interlaken and Lucerne do not require any seat reservations - so I have been told in Switzerland when I've asked - but to get a place in the observation cars they are recommended.
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Dec 7th, 2011, 01:47 PM
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http://www.goldenpass.ch/default.asp?Language=EN

Official site of the Golden Pass train - if interested in VIP seats you should book them months in advance on this site - several have said they have done this and you need not have a pass or ticket to just make a reservation I've been told.
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Dec 7th, 2011, 06:43 PM
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Thanks PQ.....I can see that the Golden Pass line consists of 3 sections. Does one have to change trains, on the way....or the same train continues?
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Dec 7th, 2011, 10:54 PM
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Hi again,

You have to change trains a number of times -- because the width of the track varies. You can see exactly how many times you have to change by using the Swiss rail site

www.rail.ch

Have fun!

s
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Dec 7th, 2011, 11:09 PM
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@ swandav2000.....thanks. For this particular route from Montreux to Lucerne, they are showing 3 sections. So, possibly, we shall have to change the trains twice.....I am guessing.
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Dec 7th, 2011, 11:34 PM
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Again, you don't need to guess. If you input your route in the SBB site, it will show you the exact schedule and number of changes. If you click on the little arrow in the left-hand colum, you'll get the details about arrival time & departure time of each connection, and the track numbers.

s
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Dec 7th, 2011, 11:37 PM
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ps,

For the part from Montreux to Zweisimmen, you need to use "via Gstaad," and for the part from Interlaken to Luzern, you need to use "via Meiringen."

That will give you the exact routes!

s
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Dec 7th, 2011, 11:43 PM
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Thank you swandav2000..
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Dec 8th, 2011, 05:15 AM
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If on the official Golden Pass train the changes are a snap - everyone gets off at Zweissimmen and transfers to a waiting train - ditto at Interlaken-Ost - like swandav says due to a difference in track gauges - narrow gauge Montreux to Zweissimmen - standard gauge to Interlaken-Ost - then narrow gauge to Lucerne.
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Dec 8th, 2011, 05:25 AM
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As usual, you've gotten good advice and I don't have a lot to add that doesn't just duplicate it about the Golden Pass, but I will offer one non-named train trip that I took in Switzerland on my "named trains in Switzerland" trip:

I was based in Lauterbrunnen for about 5 days, to do day hikes and ride named trains from wherever to wherever, and I found myself more than once taking a regular train from Interlaken to Spiez and then from Spiez down to Brig, to connect in Brig to trains like the Glacier Express etc. I found the brief trip between Spiez and Brig to be one of the prettiest in Swizerland! Much of it is along a mountain slope considerably higher than the valley below, and the ride down a switchback as you approach Brig itself is like landing in a plane! The aerial view of Brig as well as much of the valley enroute were especially nice, IMO. Sit on the right as you head south.
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Dec 8th, 2011, 06:17 AM
  #19
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@ PalenQ and Swandav2000....
Thanks for all the info and resources on these trains. I am one of those train-fans, who would never tire of riding trains.....and more so, if they are such scenic trains. I am sure, my family shall enjoy them too.
Switzerland remains the highlight of my proposed tour and I am giving the maximum number of days to this country(6), with the exception of Italy( 3rd leg), where may be, I shall have to allocate 9 days.
I want to stay in the Lauterbrunnen area( anywhere in Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, or Murren) and also one night in Lucerne, may be.
I am interested in riding these 2 trains( Golden pass & William Tell)on 2 separate days, as part of our activities in Switzerland. If I have to choose, I shall choose the Golden Pass, if it comes to only one train. The only problem with William Tell is that it is taking us a bit too far( Lugano) from our staying area, which means, spending another 5 or 6 hrs on some other day to come, all the way back......which is not that great.
Switzerland is part of the 2nd leg of my tour, where I shall also cover Fuessen, Mittenwald, Salzburg and Vienna. The 1st leg consists of London and Paris.
From Paris we shall take the TGV train and arrive in either Zurich or Berne or Geneva, whichever is feasible and convenient. Then we shall take the train to Interlaken and push on to the Lauterbrunnen area, our destination. Consider that as Day-1.
For the next 5 or 6 days, we would like to ride both Global Pass and William Tell preferably...or atleast the Golden Pass. Another must-activity is moving up to the Jungfraujoch and/or Schillttorn and then hiking down partially.
We would like to stay a night atleast in Lucerne and wander around locally.
We would also like to cover Geneva/ Berne and Zurich by daily tours( we can sacrifice on these though).
On the 7th day, I am planning to somehow reach Fuessen in Germany from Zurich.
Keeping these info in mind, can you help me plan our broad activities( suggest changes if necessary), suggest bookings in hotels, etc.
We are budget travellers and we have to keep that on leash for all 30 days of our Europe tour. Please give me some suggestions along with the budget, so that I can finalize my plans.
As I have mentioned in my other thread, my wife, my daughter( 11 yrs old at that time)and me shall be travelling. My tentative dates in Switzerland are from 17th April 2013 to about 24th April 2013. Does the William Tell operate in April? Thanks.
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Dec 8th, 2011, 06:19 AM
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^^^^Just to add, that my original thread, where I am discussing my full itinerary is at http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-to-europe.cfm

Thanks
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