Palenque's Scenic Swiss Trains

Old Jun 3rd, 2008, 06:48 AM
  #241  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,320
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
A SWISS POSTAL BUS RIDE FROM HELL

Or so it seemed... usually on Swiss postal buses on Alpine pass routes you have a mixture of tourists and locals using the bus for short hop transportation - including the proverbial farmer types in overalls, etc.

So it was a bit bizarre when i turned up at Meiringen's bus depot to hop the Sisten Pass bus to Goschenen that i spotted a group of young American teens - a Jewish group from NYC with two rabbis along to chaperone.

This is not surprising but the behavior of these kids was - they all, about 15 or so, were puffing cigarettes outside the bus and cussing and swearing - some had boomboxes playing rap type songs - they were just the atypical group of American kids touring Europe.

And i thought they must be doing something else here rather than hopping the Susten Pass bus - but when the bus driver opened the doors they indeed board and took seats throughout the bus - with their earplugs vibration rather loudly with music, etc.

The youngish rabbi in control and i say that loosely, seemed to get along well and relish his role.

TBC
jewish people rabbi
talk of biking down the pass to Goschenen
pit stop puffing en masse
slouched over oblivious
PalenQ is offline  
Old Jun 4th, 2008, 12:19 PM
  #242  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,320
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The kids were not the typical teen group you see traveling around Europe but were rather rambunctious loud noisy kids oblivious to the scenery they were going thru. Their heads were pretty much in their video games they had - the rabbi tried in vain several times to interest them in something they were going by - they'd look up for a sec and head back down.

the kids spread out throughout the bus and the normally proper Swiss folks aboard did raise their eyebrows a bit when the kids were acting like teens in a play field, lunch room, etc. Loud, loud, loud - music blaring, yelling obscenities at each other, etc.

One of the kid's had a bicycle with him for some reason and when he got on after putting the bike in the under the bus storage depot, the driver told him he'd have to buy a ticket for the bike

the kid freaked out and a lively argument with the driver ensued. The rabbi just sat there saying nothing.

The kid finally had to pay and then went to his seat cussing the driver 'xxxx rip-off', etc. And the rabbi just sat there.

At one time when the bus had to slowly manouver around some traffic snarl one kid spotted some Jewish people (they had skull caps on) he shouted to the rabbi "Rabbi - Jewish people!&quot the rabbi waved to the Jews outside the window.

When the bus took a pit stop all the kids got off and it seemed that all of them quickly started puffing away on cigarettes.

No this was not your typical high school tour group but what happened next was TOTALLY amazing

TBC
PalenQ is offline  
Old Jun 5th, 2008, 11:59 AM
  #243  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,320
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Inserting this here for future reference - it gives the cost of Swiss Passes bought from Swiss Rail at stations in Switzerland - in CHF or Swiss Francs, currently officially $1.05 = 1 CHF plus 3% cost of changing money would be $1.08 - call is $1.10 to each CHF

www.swiss-pass.ch
PalenQ is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2008, 01:01 PM
  #244  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,320
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
A quick look at www.swiss-pass.ch for prices of Swiss Pass sold by Swiss Railways in Switzerland shows a rather significant IMO difference in prices and substantial savings by buying the pass outside of Switzerland before leaving home:

Sampled one pass - a 3-day single adult Swiss Flexi costs 249 CHF

vs Raileurope $210

currently officially $1.05 = 1 CHF plus 3% cost of changing money would be $1.08 - call is $1.10 to each CHF

ths 249 x 1.10 = $274

or $64 more

i must be doing something wrong - will check more thoroughly and make more than this one random comparison - anyway take a look yourself and see if i am right - hard to believe it so.

RailEurope i think would add $18 s&h for orders that inexpensive but other agents do not - in any case i always suggest budgeteuropetravel.com for their expertise IME and no mail fee i think except on rush orders.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Jun 12th, 2008, 01:00 PM
  #245  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,320
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
WHAT'S THAT BIG YELLOW EYEBALL POSTER DOING ON MOST REGIONAL TRAINS?

When several years ago i first started seeing the large pictogram of a black eyeball on a yellow poster on the front walls of many Swiss train cars i was perplexed until reading the fine print that this meant that the train is self-controlled - there are not conductors to check tickets usually on these regional trains and you are supposed to validate your ticket yourself before boarding by sticking it into the self-canceling machines.

And if you don't and there are the not all that uncommon spot checks by railway officials to catch scufflaws then you'd have to pay the fare plus a hefty penalty fine to boot.

So if you have a Swiss Flexipass you then must also have your date filled in in case the sleuth squad descends on the train. Otherwise with a pass you can just hop on any train anytime in Switzerland - with the exception of the few Specialty trains like the Glacier Express where you must have reservations and pay a supplement with a pass as well.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Jun 13th, 2008, 10:28 AM
  #246  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,320
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
COPYING A CURRENT THREAD Q ON "PANORAMIC TRAINS IN SWITZERLAND" - ARE THEY WORTH IT?

Panorama trains in Switzerland
Author: indiancouple
Date: 06/12/2008

We will be doing several train journeys in Switzerland during our upcoming trip in August. One of them will be Luzern to Interlaken (via Brunig, Meiringen). There is a convenient train at 8:55 am, but there is a Panorama train at 9:55 am. Are these Panorama trains worth it ? If it really gives a superior experience, we do not mind delaying our plans by an hour. But if it is more of a marketing gimmick, we would rather catch the earlier train. Any views ?

Author: PalenQ

I'd say it makes a difference on what scenic line and then it's about half marketing gimmick and half a more bizarre experience

that said between Luzern and Interlaken there is not the dramatic scenery that there are on other mountain lines where seeing something out of the domed 'panoramic' glass ceilings may be worth it.

On this Brunig Pass line the views are out the huge side windows on every train - can't see Panoramic cars being much a plus

You would need i think a first class pass or ticket to use the panoramic cars on this train - if have a 2nd class pass you'd have to pay a upgrade to first class.

there may be some panoramic cars in 2nd class but not sure - there are on Glacier Express for instance.

Author: schuler

The windows are bigger, the seats a bit more comfortable and it's air-conditioned.

If I were going on a different line (Andermatt - Zermatt) I might consider the upgrade. The trip is quite scenic to Interlaken with lots of nice chalet houses, fields, valleys and mountains, but it's not the spectacular scenery you get on other lines.

Take the convenient train.

Author: swandav2000

Hi indiancouple,

Also consider that, in the Panoramic coaches, the windows do not open. I've heard that the a/c is not very strong and the cars can be stiffling in August. On the regular trains, the windows do open to let in fresh air.

Author: PalenQ

Ann Panormaic cars are inevitably stuffed full

i actually prefer the regular cars and regular trains over the same routes where i can scoot from side to side for changing views on each side of the train

On the stuffy full panoramic cars on special trains i'm stuck in my seat.

Give me the regular cars anytime - and no reservations hassles and costs.

Author: indiancouple
Date: 06/12/2008, 11:08 am

Thanks everyone for the very quick response. I checked, and it seems they do have 2nd class travel on the panorama coaches on this train. So there will be no extra charge. But if there is no particular advantage, we might as well catch the more convenient train.
I like the idea of openable windows on the regular trains. Sounds more comfortable, and easier to click pictures out of an open window.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Jun 19th, 2008, 12:35 PM
  #247  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,320
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
SCENIC SWISS TRAINS IN A NUTSHELL

I think i'll give my (subjective) rankings and brief descriptions of what i consider to be Switzerland's most scenic rail trips.

1- Bernina Express
2- Jungfrau Railways Interlaken-Grindelwald-Kleine Scheidegg-Wengen-Lauterbrunnen-Interlaken
3- Gornegrat Railway Zermatt
4- Grutschalp-Murren
5- Martigny-Chamonix
6- Chur-St Moritz
7- Brig-Zermatt
8- Interlaken-Spiez-Lotschberg (old line)
9- Brunig Pass Interlaken-Lucerne
10- Golden Pass Interlaken-Zweissimmen-Montreux
11- Gotdthard line Lucerne/Zurich to Lugano
12- Glacier Express Chur-Brig
13- Rhone Valley line Montreux-Brig
14- Centovalli Domodossola-Locarno
15 - Landquart-Davos-Filisur
Brief descriptions as to why i consider these scenic to follow

Note: Appenzell Train and St Moritz-Scuol Tarasp lines not Rated - have not taken it.

As always interested in others opinions on these or other scenic Swiss trains!
PalenQ is offline  
Old Jun 22nd, 2008, 10:00 AM
  #248  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,320
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
And to add to the scenic train list - the train from Lake Lucerne to Rigi

and scenic trains i've not taken - train from Alpnachstad up Mt Pilatus
PalenQ is offline  
Old Jun 22nd, 2008, 11:15 AM
  #249  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 10,884
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
"And to add to the scenic train list - the train from Lake Lucerne to Rigi"


Hi Pal,

Just to clarify, there's the Vitznauer Rigi Bahn that goes from Vitznau to Rigi Kulm. You can get to Vitznau either by car, boat or bus. Vitznau lies directly on the Vierwaldstättersee (Lake of Lucerne).

There's another Rigi train that starts in Goldau and goes up to Rigi Kulm. You can get to Goldau by car or train.

The Vitznauer Rigi Bahn is a bit more scenic but the Goldauer Rigi Bahn is more accessible.



kleeblatt is offline  
Old Jun 24th, 2008, 11:46 AM
  #250  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,320
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Schuler - merci

I was remiss not to clarify the Rigi bahns like you did - i have taken the train from the lake up - very nice and have walked from the summit to Goldau but not taken the train. thanks for clairfying that. Did not you say that you lived near Arth-Goldau?
PalenQ is offline  
Old Jul 1st, 2008, 07:28 AM
  #251  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,320
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I probably have mentioned this elsewhere but i just got my first Newsletter SBB (Swiss Federal Railways e-mail newsletter and found it full of interesting stuff and special deals on transport things all over Switzerland

to get on the free subcription list

[email protected]
PalenQ is offline  
Old Jul 1st, 2008, 08:17 AM
  #252  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 10,884
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
And for those of you who'd like to view it before subscribing, here's the link:
July 2008 newsletter:
http://tinyurl.com/5jllfh

Yes, I do indeed live near Arth-Goldau. Drove through it today and will be there tomorrow.
kleeblatt is offline  
Old Jul 3rd, 2008, 10:41 AM
  #253  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,320
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
This thread's tag only

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...p;tid=34707687
PalenQ is offline  
Old Jul 9th, 2008, 01:01 PM
  #254  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,320
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
BERNINA PASS TRAIN LINE IS NOW A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE

Though UNESCO normally reserves these honorary denatations for buildings or scenic areas it just announced that the Bernina Pass railway is now a World Heritage Site.

It cited the line's many tunnels and viaducts, including some famous 360 degree viaducts built on pillars.

I'm not sure yet whether it's only the St-Moritz to Tirano, Italy portion or if the whole Chur-St-Moritz-Tirano Rhatische Bahn line is included.

But anyway a testimony to the line's dramatic beauty.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Jul 28th, 2008, 08:44 AM
  #255  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,320
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
topping upon request of AA Frequent Flier
PalenQ is offline  
Old Aug 14th, 2008, 09:36 AM
  #256  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,320
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
SCENIS SWISS TRAINS IN A NUTSHELL

THE BERNINA PASS TRAIN

To me the most gorgeous of many gorgeous Swiss trains is the Bernina Pass Route between St Moritz and Tirono, Italy, going up and over of course the Bernina Pass. This rail line is said to be the only rail line to cross the Alps north to south - thus trundling up and over the Alpine spine between northern and southern Europe rather than tunneling under the Alps.
St Moritz to Tirano, Italy is only about two hours and though going to Tirano is a good way to take trains from there to Lake Como (Bellagio) or Milan and on i suggest doing this as a day trip from St Moritz and making a whole day out of exploring the Bernina Pass glacier top of the world atmosphere.
You can get off near the pass at either of two stations - Bernina Ospiz or Alp Grum and do a popular walk around an Alpine lake and to the base of a glacier.
Lots of folks walk between the two stations also on fairly flat wide paths.
The Bernina Pass line, and the special Bernina Express services, as well as detailed on open-air cars on ordinary trains can be found far above in this thread where i took a very detailed look at this amazing rail line.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Jan 5th, 2009, 12:23 PM
  #257  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,320
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
In recent months a poster who is extremely knowledgeable about Swiss travel and train, etc. has re-appeared on Fodor's - DalaiLama - click on his/her name for lots of great insights and links on Swiss topics. Someone said he/she even speaks Swiss German (or writes) it like the Deutscher Swiss (?)
PalenQ is offline  
Old Jan 6th, 2009, 12:47 PM
  #258  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,320
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Author: DalaiLlama

sorry in above post about Dolly i mis-spelt Lama

click on DalaiLlama for a lot of great Switzerland insights, including trains.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Sep 2nd, 2010, 10:09 AM
  #259  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,320
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
marking this to start working on it again, after losing it in Fodor's blackhole!
PalenQ is offline  
Old Mar 13th, 2012, 09:18 AM
  #260  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,320
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Where is Dalail Lama - different name? Anyone?
PalenQ is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -