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Need advice on train tickets from Zurich to Lucerne, please

Need advice on train tickets from Zurich to Lucerne, please

May 29th, 2007, 08:09 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 307
Need advice on train tickets from Zurich to Lucerne, please


My husband and I will arrive at Zurich airport at 7:00 AM on Saturday, June 2nd. We want to take the train to Lucerne for a couple of days and then return to Zurich on the train. We would like to reserve 2 round trip first class seats if possible.

I was just out on the train website. I need some advice. How much time do we need in order to get our luggage from the flight from USA and get thru customs, etc. We arrive at 7 AM. What train departure time should we make reservations for? I am thinking around 10 AM. We are older and I am sort of slow so we don't like rushing around.

Second, Do we even need reservations? Do you think we could get first class tickets that morning at the ticket window for one of the morning trains?

Third, if we go ahead and purchase tickets for a specific train and we miss it for some reason, can we use the tickets for a later train or do we lose the tickets?

I would appreciate any advice on this. Thanks!!

gopack is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 08:35 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,678
Hi gopack,

No need at all to reserve. The trip takes about an hour and there are several trains every hour. It would be sort of like reserving a seat on a bus or subway in the US!

If you first class, there will be a lot of empty seats, so even less reason to reserve a seat.

However, if you want to just save time when you arrive, you can buy your tickets online at the SBB (www.rail.ch). I've done this before and printed off my own printer -- works fine. The tickets are good for 24 hours, so no need to restrict yourself to only one train.

It usually takes about 45 minutes -- if that -- to go through immigration, get luggage, and go through customs. I usually aim for a train departure about an hour after I arrive, and I always have time to stop in a grocery store on the way.

If you are older, as you say, you may want to take one of the free luggage carts at baggage claim, and take it all the way to the train station to make it easier on yourselves. They are designed to be used on the escalators (much easier than it looks -- just be sure you've engaged the brake by letting go of the handle), or you can use the elevators down to the station levels.

Anyway, the Swiss system is idiot-proof, and you'll get the hang of it quickly.

Have fun!

swandav2000 is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 04:26 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 852
You might save yourself a bit of cash by buying a second class seat. Swiss trains are very nice and the difference between first/second class is negligible, though you will have more companions in second class.

I agree that there is no need to reserve ahead and that you should be to the train in about an hour.

Enjoy Luzern. It is a beatiful city.
JN is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 05:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,079
I would not think reservations would be a problem. I rarely get a reservation on a Swiss train, nor do I go 1st class.

The difference between the two classes is not that dramatic in my opinion.

There will definitely be fewer people in 1st class, and if you elect to ride there, there is virtually no need for a reservation.

The difference in cost is not all that great depending on your budget. Second class is 26 chf; first is 43 chf, one way.

If your flight is on time, you can make the 8:47 train. Passport control is usually fairly quick and customs is not much of a problem either. If for some reason there is a delay, enjoy some good Swiss chocolate and take the 9:07 train to Luzern.

There are other trains, but they require a change.

brookwood is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 05:48 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,079
PS There are also elevators that take you down to the train level. With my luggage and walking problem, I take the elevator.

The trains that leave at 47 minutes past the hour are no-change connections.
They would be more convenient because you would not need to change with luggage.

brookwood is offline  
May 30th, 2007, 12:29 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 307
Thanks, everyone, for your quick replies. I guess we will just get tickets when we get to the station and not reserve ahead of time. One less thing I have to do before we leave.

gopack is offline  
May 30th, 2007, 01:39 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,019
Should not the 9:07 time be 9:47? The connections from the airport to Luzern that require no changes leave at 47 minutes past the hour.

The last time I was in the airport train station, which was last August, we used the elevators because of our luggage.

There should be very little problems buying a ticket to Luzern after you arrive. The Swiss ticket agents are usually capable of handling several languages for the purpose of selling tickets.

In fact, on the inter city trains operated by the Swiss, I recall that announcements were made in German, French and English. Some of them may also include Italian.

I find it amazing that so many educated people in that part of the world can switch among several languages.

We were at the Klein Matterhorn and a gentleman there was explaing to various people what we were viewing. He was comfortable with German, French, Italian, and English. I conversed with him in English and he was fluent.

I asked him which language he learned first and he said he learned French and German as a child. Italian came soon after, and he took loads of English in school.

bob_brown is offline  

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