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PalenqueBob - NEED advice about Swiss train routing

PalenqueBob - NEED advice about Swiss train routing

Old Dec 17th, 2006, 04:34 AM
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PalenqueBob - NEED advice about Swiss train routing

PalQ,

As a holder of an honorary Doctorate in Fodors Swiss Rail Travel, I seek your advice.

The situation is that I have two major stops (several days) in Berchtesgaden and the BO next May/June. East-to-west or vice versa, the length of that rail commute is horrendous and am looking at an intermediate stop AND perhaps a scenic train to "soften the blow" of that major traverse.

I was looking into staying in or near Bad Ragaz, maybe somewhere in Western Tirol to break the journey into more manageable chunks, and recommendations?

The possibility of a scenic train is also compelling (coupled with the intermediate stop). Is there any such thing that could work for me? Maybe something towards Davos/Klosters? It the ONLY way out of the BO (by train) back through Zurich? A short jaunt through Italy isn't out of the question if the routing necessitates.

I can leave VERY early, but don't want to hit the Berchtesgaden Bahnhof at 9:00pm (next day with intermediate stop) either.

Thanks in advance for your help.

MvK
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Old Dec 17th, 2006, 04:48 AM
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I'll certainly defer to Bob or Cicerone or Swanday on this but can answer your question: there is more than one way out of the BO (where in the BO do you want to be?).. You mention Davos/Klosters which are closer to a route through Sargans and St. Margrethen (as a route to/from Germany).

Have you considered taking the Glacier Express from St. Moritz or even Chur over to Brig and then making your way up through the Lotschberg Tunnel to Spiez/Interlaken?

The GE is not Bob's favorite I know and it is a long day.

Bernina Express down from St. Moritz is spectacular but that would be an even longer route to get back into Switzerland.

Interesting quandary but certainly not odious.
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Old Dec 17th, 2006, 05:27 AM
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Dukey,

I'm going to have to get a better map! Any suggestions for on-line resources for visually mapping this route? Free, not for purchase...just need a visual reference to see how this all plays out.

Thanks for the help, I'm going to need it for this portion of the adventure.

MvK
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Old Dec 17th, 2006, 05:44 AM
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http://www.bueker.net/trainspotting/maps.php
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Old Dec 17th, 2006, 06:02 AM
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Hi MarkvonKramer,

I'm a bit confused about your question. Do you want recommendations from Germany to the BO or from the BO to somewhere else? Anyway, here are some more thoughts --

Go from the BO to Lake Geneva (via Gstaad and the Golden Pass).

Go from the BO village to Kandersteg and then on to the Valais (Brig/Zermatt); takes about three hours.

Go from Germany/Austria (maybe Innsbruck) to Scuol (about three hours), from which you can see the Engadin region.

Hope this helps!

s
(ps, hello from Mittenwald!)

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Old Dec 17th, 2006, 06:24 AM
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Swandav2000,

Sorry for causing the confusion, that's typical for me these days.

TO/FROM BO (Mürren) with Berchtesgaden on either side, as starting point OR ending point. All other locations are irrelevant for this portion of the trip, I'm either coming or going (I may never figure that out).

I seem to be wanting to go/come from the opposite direction of your suggestions.

Thank you for your reply. Hope I didn't make matters worse.

MvK
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Old Dec 17th, 2006, 06:30 AM
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I would also be interested in more responses to this question.
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Old Dec 17th, 2006, 06:42 AM
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Well, NOW I understand the question about having to go through Zurich. The answer is still no if you were willing to change trains in St. Margrethen and drop down southwards toward Sargans but from there it could be a very circuitous route over toward the BO.

Again you could go all the way to Chur and thake the Glacier Express over to Brig and go from Brig up to the BO.

Having that map which KyBourbon referenced would help.

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Old Dec 17th, 2006, 06:44 AM
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Hi again,

Are you originating/departing from the Zurich airport?

Anyway, here are some thoughts:

Zurich airport to Muerren, Muerren to Scuol (six hours), then Scuol to Berchtesgaden (about 6h20).

Zurich airport to Muerren, Muerren to St Gallen (4h30), St Gallen to Berchtesgaden (6h39).

I think I'd go via Scuol even though it's a bit longer.

Hope this helps!

s

ps, my google earth is stuck right now, but you may want to get it loaded and play with it -- it could help you visualize the trip.
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Old Dec 17th, 2006, 07:05 AM
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Swandav2K,

Zurich, not necessarily the airport, was what I was trying to avoid, traveling exclusively by train. No real reason, just trying to find an alternate route to/from the BO from/to Berchtesgaden. kybourbon's map link has already proven itself worthy.

We'll fly into Germany (FRA) and return via same unless I can find a reasonable open-jaw FRA and MUC (or reverse) solution.

I'm trying to make the long journey more palatable by 1. scenery AND 2. adding an intermediate stop, sbout mid-point between the BO and Berchtesgaden.

MvK
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Old Dec 17th, 2006, 08:33 AM
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Hi again,

Why avoid Zurich airport? It's extraordinarily easy to navigate, quick to exit, and has a train station in the basement. It's about 3h30 from the BO.

Rail schedules at www.rail.ch.

s
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Old Dec 18th, 2006, 09:10 AM
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I must have really fouled-up. Let me make this as simple as my feeble mind will allow (what, no crayons?).

All travel and destinations prior to and following either option below has no bearing on the advice sought here.

Option 1. Travel TO Mürren FROM Berchtesgaden; Rather than the more traditional route directly west from Salzburg, Innsbruck, over through Winterthur, Zurich and then south to Interlaken and points beyond, I'd like to approach the BO from a more southerly route, ALL BY TRAIN.



Option 2. Travel TO Berchtesgaden FROM Mürren; Rather than the more traditional northerly route back to Zurich, Winterthur, St. Gallen... then east through Austria, I was looking for a different route, heading eastward sooner, followed by the norhtward trek. ALL BY TRAIN.

My primary ambition is a more scenic route between the two listed destinations but I don't want to make a 3-day trip of this. I'm not trying to avoid any locations, airports, etc. If its not possible, no problem. I'll be in Europe so little else matters!

MvK
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Old Dec 18th, 2006, 10:24 AM
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ttt
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Old Dec 18th, 2006, 11:08 AM
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MarkvonKramer: I'll add to the good advice from Dukey, Swanday and others and i appreciate your title foolishly heaped on my. Your question is not easy to answer, i must profess!

Option 1-

You could train Murren-Interlaken-Spiez-Brig and pick up local trains or the Glacier Express trains eastward to Chur and go on to Austria that way via Sargans (could stop in Davos for the night - a short detour off the route) but this takes longer than you may like - about 7 hours i suspect to Chur, but if making Davos your overnight then it could be fine, then go onto Salzburg the next day.
This is the only realistic route i think to approach BOB all by train from the south. A variance of this would be to in Andermatt on the rail line take a bus right to Meiringen and then go by train or boat to Interlaken - probably a bit quicker but not all by rail (but Swiss Pass covers the bus for the cost of an Alpine bus ticket - CH 10 last time i took it.

Option 2 - Rather than taking the main route via Bern and Zurich i'd propose a delightful route as a prettier and more quaint alternative:
You could go Interlaken-Lucerne by the ultra scenic Brunig Pass route to Lucerne, then take the train to Arth-Goldau from where a cute side line route will take you via Rapperswill and Pfaffikon, on Lake Zurich, to St Gallen, meandering through a rugged terrain. I took this route once from St Gallen to Lucerne and found it really nice - meandering through rather rugged terrain between St Gallen and Rapperswil - think this route is run by the SudOst Bahn (railpasses valid, both Swiss and Eurail). And there are hourly direct Lucerne-St Gallen trains over this route that take just 2 h 15 min. I was just talking to a friend who lived in this area as a child and she raved about this route - i think she called the Vorlatenberg Express route or some such thing. So though it doesn't go directly east from BOB - no rails do because of the high Alps - it's kind of like you are looking for and not that much slower all in all than the Zurich route. You've whetted my appetite for Swiss trains and i'll have to repeat this trek myself as i did it years ago, but do remember it being very swell alternative to faster main lines.

Cheers!
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Old Dec 18th, 2006, 11:34 AM
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Thanks so much PalenqueBob. The Glacier express was looking terribly long, slow, and expensive. I wanted to get a bit further down the line than Chur so that is out of the question.

I'll research your second option and your enthusiasm has me enthused! I'll have to look at the schedules and travel times to see if I can make it fit.

Again, many thanks for sharing your knowledge. I'll let you know if it works out and how the trips turns out if we decide to go that way.
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Old Dec 18th, 2006, 02:00 PM
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PalQ,

I think you mean the Voralpenexpress ("alpine foothills express"):
http://www.voralpen-express.ch/

It is a very nice train line, although as the name say you won't travel through the snowcapped mountains. There are hourly trans from Lucerne to Romanshorn on the Lake Constance (Bodensee).
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Old Dec 19th, 2006, 07:57 AM
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altamiro - thanks - that's the name and Mark von Kramer should not expect dramatic glacier-strewn scenery on this train thru the foothills, but rather scenery similar to what he'd find on the Glacier Express route, which to me is the single most overhyped scenic train ride in Europe - not that it's not really nice, but not up to expectations of the words Glacier Express implies and a huge marketing effort has led to expectations that just are not meant and the train can be an all-day tedious ride for non rail buffs.
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Old Dec 19th, 2006, 08:05 AM
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The Voralpenexpress: The journey between Pfäffikon and Arth-Goldau is indeed very scenic. You'll see the Rigi, Mythen, Lauerzersee, wooden farm houses, green pastures and our high moor. The "local" train for this line is the SOB: the Sudost Bahn.

I live near this line and often have to wait for the train to cross the road. That's when I start swearing and call it: You SOB you!
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Old Dec 19th, 2006, 08:16 AM
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Herr Schuler:

Thanks for your comments - of course i now realize how scenic that portion is and this train line even crosses Lake Zurich on a long bridge.

But the question i have for you is that the name Voralpenexpress implies to me, like Glacier Express and Bernina Express, that there may be special Voralpen Express fancy trains on this route as well...or is it just a nickname for all trains on that line?
Also do you know if this is a normal gauge line, which i think, or narrow-gague, which i previously thought but could not see it being narrow-gague Lucerne to A-Goldau unless both track sizes are running on the same rail bed.
Merci.
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Old Dec 19th, 2006, 08:22 AM
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Some lines ARE actually "dual gauge" and they have three rails.
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