Palenque's Scenic Swiss Trains

Old May 19th, 2006, 01:02 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,088
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
t
ronkala is offline  
Old May 19th, 2006, 04:40 PM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,566
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Bob, please finish this post, its so informative.
Maudie is offline  
Old May 20th, 2006, 05:15 AM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 258
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Tagging for future reference. would love to hear more if PalenqueBob is still around!!
LSUvetgirl is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2006, 06:31 AM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 5,641
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
After taking a hiatus during the winter months to refurbish its rolling stock the Glacier Express is up and running again. The train, proclaiming itself as the world's slowest express train, now has, on some services, spanking new Premium first and second class cars will dome ceilings - meals are now served at your seat, eliminating the previous need to reserve a place in the dining car, which often was impossible on short notice.
PalQ is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2006, 09:49 AM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 5,641
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
More details on the new "Glacier Express Premium" service featuring:
New luxury panoramic cars in both first and second class
In-seat catering of meals and drinks
Headphones for info and commentary in 6 languages
the Premium Service is currently only on trains #904 and 908 from Zermatt to St Moritz and #907 and 911 from St Moritz to Zermatt.
PalQ is offline  
Old Aug 23rd, 2006, 10:11 AM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 5,641
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
THE PALM EXPRESS BUS: LUGANO-ST MORITZ
A great way to tie in with the Bernina Pass rail route is to take the Palm Express Swiss postal bus that links Lugano to St Moritz, where the Bernina Pass route begins its southward spiral to Italy.
One of the finest of the fabled Swiss postal bus rides, this one is dubbed the Palm Express because it links Lugano and the palm-fringed Swiss Riviera to St. Moritz.
From LUGANO the bus rolls along the shores of idyllic LAKE LUGANO, passing thru the ancient lake town of GANDRIA. Then, entering Italy (customs checks involve Italian officials coming on the bus and spot checking documents - in 2007 Switzerland is scheduled to abandon border checks as it joins the Schengen Accords i believe) the bus goes overland to LAKE COMO, stopping for a coffee/WC break at cute MENAGGIO, one the Lake Como's marquee resorts, before hugging the lake until leaving it to traverse a wide valley to CHIAVENNA, alovely bustling regional town where the bus often makes another short pit stop. Then the bus re-enters Switzerland, plying the lush BREGAGLIA VALLEY until it starts seriously climbing via a series of incredibly sharp hairpin turns that the bus somehow impossibly barely navigates, during which the driver's hand is constantly on the loud oompah-like sounding horn to alert oncoming traffic. It finally corkscrews up the famous and gorgeous MAJOLA PASS (alt 5,955 ft), entering the Upper Engadine, where the scenery is suddenly one of a typical Alpine wonderland. After the village of MAJOLA, one of Switzerland's hiking meccas and a thriving spa and resort, the road passes a string of pristine lakes to St. Moritz (alt 1775 m).
PALM EXPRESS ITINERARY PLANNING
The Palm Express route poses some intriguing itineraries:
From Interlaken area - take mainline trains to Brig and via the Simplon Tunnel to Domodossola, Italy and then hop the Centovalli train (another neat mountain railway to be covered later) thru a part of Italy to Locarno, Switzerland and then train to Lugano - and then another day take the Palm Express to St. Moritz.
From Milan - take train to Lugano and then bus to St. Moritz.
SWISS PASSES - Swiss Passes are valid on the Palm Express the whole route even though it plies a bit of Italy - but reservations are required and they cost several bucks. I'll try to get current info on this in future postings. I made bus reservations at the Lugano train station, where friendly staffers called the bus company to reserve. Swiss Flexipasses would get 50% off the bus if not using a 100% covered travel day.
Swiss Passes and Swiss Cards and Swiss Half-Fare Cards also cover in full the Centovalli train line even though it goes largely thru Italy - considered a Swiss train for these purposes.
PalQ is offline  
Old Aug 23rd, 2006, 11:09 AM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 4,198
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
bookmarking for my next Swiss trip!
kwren is offline  
Old Aug 23rd, 2006, 03:12 PM
  #28  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 54
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
> The Centovalli Line

This often overlooked route was one of the highlights of our 2002 trip to Switzerland. We just took a regular scheduled railcar service starting from Locanao and did the through trip to Domodossola, then returned.

Its a different experience from the the "Express" routes, both in terms of the scenery and the overall journey.

Cheers,

Bill
Bill_Bolton is offline  
Old Aug 23rd, 2006, 04:11 PM
  #29  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,566
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
PalQ,
Glad you are continuing this thread and I can't wait to hear about the Centovalli - it is on our list to do next year.

Maudie
Maudie is offline  
Old Aug 24th, 2006, 08:46 AM
  #30  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 5,641
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
thanks Maudie - Bill i agree with you that the Centovalli is often overlooked - may not have the dramatic glaciers, etc. but certainly is a sweet ride a neat part of Italy and Italian Switzerland.
THE CENTOVALLI LINE
One of Switzerland's less heralded but most unusual rail lines, the Centovalli Railway runs between Domodossola, Italy and Locarno, Switzerland, going up one pretty Alpine valley to crest over a gentle pass and the track down another. Scenery, though not nearly as exotic or dramatic as on the Bernina Pass route, is still magnificent - gorges, mountains in the distance, Mediterranean vegetation and cute Italian villages punctuated by slender Italian-style church towers.
The Centovalli is not a tourist train full of camera-clicking foreigners like the Glacier or Bernina Expresses but is used mainly by locals; for tourists, however, it provides a delightful offbeat but utilitarian link between the Bern-Brig-Simplon-Milan mainline rail route and the Locarno and Lugano "Swiss Riveria" area.
From DOMODOSSOLA the narrow-gauge few car tram-like Centovalli Railway chugs 33 miles through first the VILGEZZO VALLEY in Italy and then the CENTOVALLI ("Hundred Valleys" because of its plethora of side valleys) in Switzerland on its way to its Locarno terminus.
CENTOVALLI NITTY-GRITTY
FART (Ferrovie Autolinee Regionali Ticinesi) trains blow about hourly between Domodossola and Locarno, taking about 1.75 hours.
Though it runs thru Italy the whole route is valid with Swiss Passes as well as Eurailpasses valid in Switzerland.
PalQ is offline  
Old Aug 24th, 2006, 10:04 AM
  #31  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 5,641
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
For current schedules and reservation fees (SF20) or about $16 for the Palm Express bus with a pass as well as details on many scenic Swiss trains and buses visit the following web site of the Swiss Travel System, which i believe is a government site just giving objective information. Tons of info on traveling in Switzerland by bus, train, boat, etc.

Palm Express: Swisstravelsystem, Swiss Travel System, Swiss ...Discover Switzerland by train, bus and boat. The highlight of any Swiss trip is a ride along one of our many ... Palm Express Route: St. Moritz – Lugano ...
www.swisstravelsystem.ch/Palm_Express
PalQ is offline  
Old Aug 25th, 2006, 08:50 AM
  #32  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 5,641
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
THE GOTTHARD MAIN LINE
The Gotthard main line, linking Lucern or Zurich with Lugano and the Swiss Riviera, a part of a major transalpine rail route linking Germany to Italy via Switzerland, is by any reckoning one of Europe's most dramatically scenic main rail routes.

From Zurich or Lucerne, rail lines from these cities merge at Arth-Goldau, from where the line heads south towards the Gotthard Tunnel.

After Arth-Goldau the line skirts idyllic Lake Lucerne, girdled on all sides by Alps, before steadily ascending a pretty valley to Goschenen, where it enters the 9.3-mile-long Gotthard Tunnel, burrowing under the St. Gotthard Pass to emerge in Switzerland's Italian-speaking Ticino region at Airolo. (At Goschenen a side line shuttles steeply up to Andermatt, on the Glacier Express route to Brig, Chur and St Moritz.)

A highlight of the Gotthard line to me is at Wassen, just before Goschenen, where the tracks weave like a drunken sailor and do two incredible loops inside the mountain, baffling passengers and causing their heads to spin with a deja vu experience as they pass Wassen three times! You first pass the tiny village puncutated by its slender white church spire, at ground level going south...a few minutes later, higher up the mountain after the train does a loop inside the mountain, the train passes Wassen and its church again, at a higher level, but this time heading north! Then after another loop inside the rocks, the train emerges even higher above Wassen and its church, by now lying far below, as the train once again heads south, finally leaving Wassen and its church a mere memory.

After the Gotthard Tunnel not only does the language change but so does the scenery and architecture, now all of a sudden Italian looking, even though the traditional Swiss efficiency and tidiness still holds sway. (Wood in woodpiles is still impeccably cut to the exact same lengths!)

Now as the train rushes down the Ticino Valley, the line does another sleight of hand as it makes four complete loops inside tunnels, further disorienting passengers' sence of direction before it reaches Lugano and the Swiss Riviera. After Lugano, tracks hug the shores of gorgeous Lake Lugano to Italy, skirting Lake Como and going thru Como to emerge in the huge industrial and smoggy area surrounding Milan, before reaching the Milan Central station.

Unlike some of Switzerland's Alpine rail lines, the Gotthard trains don't poke along, but, rather with the aid of some of the world's most powerful locomotives, barrels up miles-long inclines at 50 mph.
PalQ is offline  
Old Aug 25th, 2006, 07:52 PM
  #33  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,566
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Still reading with great interest PalQ.

Maudie
Maudie is offline  
Old Aug 26th, 2006, 01:16 PM
  #34  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 10,884
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Hi PalQ: I live near Arth-Goldau and use the Gotthard line quite often.

Just a minor detail: after Arth-Goldau, (which lies at the foot of the Rigi) you pass by Lauerzersee, go through Seewen and Brunnen (where one can see the Mythen and Stoos) and then finally go along the Vierwaldstättersee.

I love your tidbit about Wassen. Seeing three different views of the church is a nice fact that the Swiss like to talk about, too.
kleeblatt is offline  
Old Aug 28th, 2006, 07:15 AM
  #35  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 5,641
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Maudie - thanks for your compliment! Schuler - thanks for your details that i was hazy on - in Brunnen you refer to "where one can see the Mythen and Stoos" - i'm not familiar with what this means?? thanks in advance for clearing up.
Yes i've always thought in the several times i've ridden past the Weissenkirche what a novel thing that was and a pity that most tourists don't realize it perhaps.
PalQ is offline  
Old Aug 28th, 2006, 07:23 AM
  #36  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,726
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Bob,

Thank you for continuing this.

Our "to-ride" list is growing!

Byrd
Byrd is offline  
Old Aug 28th, 2006, 10:05 AM
  #37  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 10,884
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Hi PalQ:

Here's a website showing the three faces of the church as seen by train.
http://www.wassen.ch/

Here's a website that shows different views from the Swiss Knife Valley, or Schwyz Valley. If you go to the Panoramakarte, you'll see the different areas named. Click on Bergen, and you'll find Stoos and the Kleine und Grosse Mythen.

The Mythen is a beautiful mountain, shaped a bit like the Matterhorn as seen from Schwyz. Stoos is above Brunnen and a great ski resort.

http://flash.swissknifevalley.ch/

kleeblatt is offline  
Old Aug 29th, 2006, 07:36 AM
  #38  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 5,641
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Merci Schuler! I love the pix of the Weissen Church. And the info on the famous peaks - if i ever revise this i'll add these fine sights.
Maybe you can answer a question for me about the Alps Transit project or whatever it's called where on both the Lotschberg and Gotthard Alpine routes they are now constructing long long tunnels that apparently will burrow under much of the stunning scenery currently on these two routes.
I pretty much know the Lotschberg tunnels having gone along that route recently several times but on the Gotthard route i assume the new tunnels will start before Weissen and thus the church or village will no longer been seen on the main north-south Gotthard route. I'll have to get my detailed Kimberly & Frey Swiss Rail map out and see where i think it may go - it's an old map so won't have the new construction on it. Thanks for any insights.
I'm sure the old rail lines will continue with local service but passengers transiting the area will of course want to take the faster route and thus lose out on a lot of fine views.
Note: this map is sold at Swiss Train station counters and is huge scale with good reliefs - a great fun thing to have along on any Swiss train ride.
PalQ is offline  
Old Sep 7th, 2006, 04:10 PM
  #39  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Scenic Swiss Trains: Request For Information (Please!)

I had the very good fortune to actually win a 8-day trip to Switzerland by entering “The 100 Years of Swiss Presence in Toronto” contest, sponsored by the Swiss Consulate!

Due to unavailability of the return airfare on the date we were supposed depart Switzerland, we will stay an additional night, at our expense (no complaints here!) so it's actually 9 Days/8 Nights. The trip my husband and I will take includes airfare, via Swiss International Airlines (business class) from Montreal, to Zurich, accommodation at Best Western hotels and Swiss passes (first-class) on Switzerland Public Transportation.

We’ve never been to Switzerland or Europe before.

Although I have read the thread generously posted by PalenqueBob,

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...eBob&fid=2

with additional information kindly provided by others, I’ve been reading so much written information and Internet postings over the last few weeks; I’m simply over whelmed.

What transportation routes would you suggest? We are more than willing to pay for tourist excursion upgrades, if they are warranted.

Our October 2006, itinerary is as follows:

Zurich to Lugano
- 2 nights, Best Western Hotel Du Lac (Oct. 3rd & 4th)

Lugano to Zermatt
- 2 nights, Best Western Hotel Butterfly (Oct 5th & 6th)

Zermatt to Grindelwald
- 2 nights, Best Western Hotel Derby (Oct. 7th & 8th)

Note: I tried to book Wengen, but the hotel closes for the season a few days before our arrival in the area.

Grindlewald to Zurich
- 2 nights, Best Western Hotel Glodenhof (Oct. 9th & 10th)
- Including perhaps, a day-trip to Lucerne.

Any pertinent feedback would be very much appreciated.
tubclb is offline  
Old Sep 8th, 2006, 12:06 AM
  #40  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 10,884
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Ah yes, the NEAT. I don't know much about it even though we often hear tidbits concerning a breakthrough between regions or that they are in dire need of more money.

When I was in Sedrun, we saw a huge area squared off for NEAT workers and a hole in the earth that will let Sedrun become one of the stations using the NEAT tunnel. Sedrun is rather difficult to get to and after the opening of NEAT, they are expecting it to become a popular destination where people can live and use the train as transportation to work.

Below are two websites that will offer more info.

http://www.verkehrshaus.ch/en/museum...msimulator.php

http://www.swissworld.org/eng/swissw...rubricId=10080
kleeblatt is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

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