Palenque's Scenic Swiss Trains

Old Oct 9th, 2006, 06:53 AM
  #81  
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Maudie: i can't answer specifically - when i took the bus i just booked the night before at the Lugano train station - they phoned the post bus reservations for me. My understanding is that they put on more buses as per demand but not sure of that. Maybe the postal bus web site has a number to call you could ask or an e-mail. If you find out please let us know.

I'll check to see if these reservations can be made in the U.S. which means a travel agent down under could do the same.
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Old Oct 10th, 2006, 10:31 AM
  #82  
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MORE ABOUT THE THREE PASS POSTAL BUS EXCURSION

You'll find leaflets in the Berner Oberland touting the Three Pass Postal Bus Excursion, and though it's a long day on three different buses, it lets you experience the Alps from high up as the trip takes you over three famous Alpine passes.

From Meiringen (alt 471 m) the Susten Pass bus goes first thru Innertkirchen then thru the Gadmental region and follows a narrow river valley up to the Susten Pass (alt 2224m), where it makes a brief pit stop, before the bus and road descends to Wassen (alt 916 m) and home of the Wassen Church described under the Gotthard train line, en route to Goschenen (a main stop on the Gotthard Pass rail line if you want to head to Zurich/Lucerne or south to Lugano/Italy. Also at Goschenen you can take a shuttle train up to Andermatt (alt 1447 m), a stop on the Glacier Express route towards Brig/Zermatt or east to Davos/St Moritz. This portion of the three pass tour ends at Andermatt so if going there you can also just stay on the bus.
NEXT - FURKA AND GRIMSELPASS
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Old Oct 11th, 2006, 08:40 AM
  #83  
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FURKA AND GRIMSEL PASS BUSES
From Andermatt Bahnhof (train station, alt 1447 m) another postal bus goes to Oberwald via the rugged tortuous Furka Pass Road - this is the most sinuous road the Three Pass buses ply - constantly hairpin curving itself up and over the Furka Pass (alt 2431 m) and before plunging down to Oberwald (alt 1386 m), a small town and another train station on the Glacier Express route.

(Along the Furka Pass Road you may well glimpse steam trains plying a portion of the former course of the Glacier Express trains, described before, with the help of altamiro's great info.)

From Oberwald, a third bus takes you back to Meiringen via the Grimsel Pass route. The bus halts for a pit stop just after the actual pass (alt 2185 m) at a large barrage holding back a pristine Alpine lake. The bus actually parks on a cement slab overlooking the lake. From here it's a constant descent back to Meiringen via the Maggia Valley and the Bavona Valley.

Meiringen of course has frequent rail links to Interlaken and via the Brunig Pass to Lucerne.
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Old Oct 12th, 2006, 06:40 AM
  #84  
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THREE PASS BUS NITTY-GRITTY
Service is only in the summer, from late June thru late Sep, but in Sep especially the service may be interrupted if passes are blocked by snow. This happened two days in a row one early Sep when i wanted to take the jaunt. Buses run daily in summer.

Schedules - check the PostAuto site referenced above for current schedules, but the following haven't changed much in years:
It seems the whole 3 Pass Route can only be done in counterclockwise fashion, Meiringen-Oberwald-Andermatt-Meiringen
Lv Meiringen 9:15 or 11:10 ar Oberwald 11:05 or 12:50; lv Oberwald 13:35 ar Andermatt 15:19; lv Andermatt 15:40 ar Meiringen 17:50 - buses stop at the train stations in each town.

Part Way Variances
Lv Meiringen 9:10, ar Goschenen 11:05 - transfer to trains on Gotthard line to Zurich/Lucerne or Lugano and Milan. Or stay on bus ar Andermatt 11:20, change to Glacier Express route trains.

Lv Meiringen 9:15 or 11:10, ar Oberwald 11:05 or 12:50 - transfer to trains on Glacier Express route to Brig or Davos, St Moritz. (I did a long but great day trip once by leaving Meiringen at 9:15, then taking a train from Oberwald to Brig and then the ultra scneic Lotschberg mainline to Spiez and back to Interlaken, my base - couldn't ask for a more scenic day trip! But have a Swiss Pass or something as the fares would be very expensive without it.

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Old Oct 12th, 2006, 07:41 AM
  #85  
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You have tempted me to go on the Bernina Express. Is it true that in winter it doesn't do the full route from Davos to Brig? If it just up to Tirano, would it still be worth the trip around 20 Dec?

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Old Oct 12th, 2006, 09:15 AM
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eu - The Glacier Express runs all winter between Zermatt, Brig and Davos and St Moritz. There are trains on the Bernina Pass route, including i believe the official Bernina Express, running all winter as well.

Maybe i'm missing your point but it seems you've mixed up these trains a bit - kindly rephrase your question if this does not answer your query. Sincerely PalQ
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Old Oct 12th, 2006, 10:07 AM
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Priceless. Thank you so much, PQBob...
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Old Oct 15th, 2006, 09:57 AM
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PQBob,
Does the Engelberg mountain train leave from the Luzern station? Is it a private line?
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Old Oct 16th, 2006, 07:17 AM
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Engleberg mountain train leaves from Lucerne and goes direct to Engelberg, twice every hour, taking about one hour - it's an S-Bahn line "S S4".

Railpasses, including Eurailpasses are valid on this line. Thus it's not a 'private' line in the sense that railpasses are valid on it, including Eurailpasses valid in Switzerland or two country Eurail passes including Switzerland.
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Old Oct 19th, 2006, 11:19 AM
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THE OFFICIAL THREE PASSES TOUR, A K A "GLACIERS & PASSES" (Dreipassefahrt)
Finishing up with this neat bus tour - i just found a brochure i brought back and whilst you can do the three pass jaunt on your own as i wrote above by changing buses, there is an official Three Passes Tour that begins and ends in Grindelwald, picking up at Lauterbrunnen, Wilderswil, Interlaken West and Ost stations and points between Interlaken and Brienz, Meiringen and Innertkirchen from where it does the Three Passes and then returns via Innertkirchen and Meiringen, Interlaken to Grindelwald.

Thus no matter where you stay in the BOB - even Murren or Gimmelwald you can easily hook up with this once daily bus.

OFFICIAL 3 PASS BUS TOUR NITTY-GRITTY
In past few years tour has run very Tue and Fri from the 3rd week in June to mid-Sept - 'guaranteed journeys', returning to Meiringen about 17:15 and Grindelwald about 19:00. There is a lunch stop in Andermatt. Route description is provided. Price: (2005) SF 50 from 16 yrs old
SF44 with Swiss Pass
SF39 kids 4-16
(note with Swiss Pass on your own you only pay the SF10 or so 'Alpine Ticket')
buses will be scrubbed if passes are blocked by snow - not unlikely first and last few weeks.

Info: www.grindelwaldbus.ch; Grindelwald Bus Grund 10, 3818 Grindelwald
ph (0) 33 854 16 16
E-mail [email protected]

some tidbits from the brochure:
'From the first stop on the Susten Pass there is a magnificent view of the Stein Glacier.'
'along the Furka Pass you will experience the high quality and renowne skills of our drivers and you will also see from the road the Rhone Glacier'
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Old Oct 20th, 2006, 06:50 AM
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GROSSE SCHEIDEGG ROUNDTRIP - BUS & BOAT

While talking of buses in the Interlaken BOB area one would be remiss not to mention the FANTASTIC Grosse Scheidegg Roundtrip, also offered by Grindelwald Bus as detailed above.

This day journey starts in Interlaken, goes up to Grindelwald and then up and over Grosse Sheidegg Pass from where it descends to Meiringen and Brienz, from where you take a boat on Lake Brienz to Interlaken.

This is a dramatically scenic bus ride:

Even the Interlaken to Grindelwald section is pretty, following a rushing river up the Schwarze Lutschine Valley to Grindelwald, which, arguably, offers the finest panorama of high ice-bound peaks and glaciers in all the Alps - from here the bus plies impossibly narrow roads just wide enough for the bus as it shashays around hairpin curves en route to the famed vista and pass of Grosse Scheidegg (alt 1960 m), from where you can see all over the gorgeous Grindelwald amphitheatre laid out below. The surrealistically beautiful landscape here of lush Alpine meadows framed by rugged majestic peaks will forever be ethced in your mind's eye!

But the trip even gets finer as the bus now descends a 'wildly romantic' (to quote the brochure) to Schwarzwaldalp, a remote untouched mountain village especially known for its lumbering and its many plump Swiss cows (up in higher pastures in summer) and the Rosenlaui with its awesome Glacier Gorge and past Reichenbach Falls (where Sherlock Holmes' arch enemey Dr Moriarity met his doom by falling into the falls, i believe) before twisting down every so carefully, bus driver's hand constantly on the unique oompah horn, to the valley at Meiringen and onto the famous wood carving village of Brienz, from where you board a boat to go back to Interlaken and from there back to Grindelwald for those starting there.

The price includes: Tour of a saw mill in Schwarzwaldalp, lunch in a restaurant in this idyllic remote Alpine village, entry to the Rosenlaui Gorge, boat Brienz-Interlaken.

A stupendous adventure but not for the queasy stomach type as the bus ride can be scary.

GROSSE SCHEIDEGG NITTY-GRITTY
Buses leave Interlaken West train station every Wednesday (only on Wed) from early June thru late Sep (again scrubbed if passes are blocked by snow); arriving back in Interlaken at 17:45 and Grindelwald about 19:00.
Price: Over 16 yrs old - SF90
Swiss Pass SF 78; kids 4-16 SF60, under 4 free. www.grindelwaldbus.ch for current info. Reservations required, departures guaranteed.

VARIANTS- HIKING
If not into the bus tour you can duplicate this route by taking a regular bus from Grindelwald up to Grosse Scheidegg and then walking down the valley all the way to Meiringen. (We actually hiked up from Grindelwald and walked down the valley to Meiringen but this is a marathon hike - keep in mind going downhill can be as taxing on the body as doing uphill.) In Meiringen you can hop the train to Brienz and boat or train to Interlaken from there.)

There is i believe regular bus service Grindelwald-Meiringen over this route but to be sure check the Grindelwald Bus web site. This bus is not valid ohn Swiss Passes.
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Old Oct 21st, 2006, 11:19 AM
  #92  
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If you do not mind I have a question for PBob.
Considering doing some scenic train travel through Switzerland in late November. Have only been in Switzerland in the summer. Any of your scenic train trips in Switzerland worthwhile in late November or would the weather tend to be foggy with less to see?
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Old Oct 23rd, 2006, 12:26 PM
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mjs - questions are always welcomed!

Though i too have never been to Switzerland in November, which i think could be a rainy, cloudy season, i think trains like Bernina Express, Glacier Express, Brig-Bern, Brunig Pass, etc. would still be nice, but ones to mountain tops like Pilatus, Jungfraujoch, etc. would rarely have a clear day perhaps, but this can be the case even in summer.

So my gut feeling is no - still would be scenic but days do grow short so you have less time to view the awesome scenery.

Maybe Enzian, Schuler or altamiro, who are familiar with Switzerland throughout the year could comment better but i say they're still well worth it. Lake boats run skeleton schedules or not at all and postal buses going over passes don't run of course. PalQ.

Questions- always welcomed!
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Old Oct 23rd, 2006, 12:43 PM
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MJS:
Before you come, take a look at the weather forecast and then make plans accordingly.

For good weather, go to the mountains.
For rainy weather, stay in the cities and go to the Christmas markets.

For the last two years, we've had a mild November with fog in the valley and clear blue skies in the mountains. Last year, it started snowing end of November.
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Old Oct 24th, 2006, 06:28 AM
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Thanks Schuler - you've clarified for me that November may not be an optimal month - if valleys are oft fogged up then i'd say lines like the Glacier Express that mainly go thru valleys may not be the greatest. But if mountain tops are more clear then Bernina Pass type routes may still be great.
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Old Oct 27th, 2006, 08:03 AM
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SIMPLON PASS BUS
As long as we're talking of great Swiss postal bus rides, i'll turn attention to one that ranks up there with all the others as a very scenic ride - by bus over the Simplon Pass to Italy.
Starting from Brig (alt 681 m), in front of the train station, the Simplon bus immediately starts climbing on the sinuous serpentine-like road that for centuries was the only way over the Simplon Pass before the Simplon Rail Tunnel was opened about a century ago. Who knows maybe even Hannibal and his elephants and Napoleon and his dog went over the pass on their military campaigns.

In about an hour the Simplon Pass (alt 2006 m) and a Top of the World type landscape is reached - a short pit stop here at the Hospiz, a hotel i believe. (Get off here for nice hiking and hop subsequent buses.)

Now it's downhill all the way to Domodossola, Italy (alt 271 m), where the bus terminates at the train station.

From the pass the bus goes largely along a gushing and narrow river valley to Gondo (alt 855 m), the last stop before the Italian frontier and border check. The very narrow gorge around Gondo was the cause of tragedy a few years back when the little village was practically wiped off the map by a torrential flood that killed several villagers i believe.

From Gondo the bus descends to Iselle (alt 629 m), at the small train station from where you can hop local trains back to Brig) or continues on to Domodossola, Italy, where at the station you can also catch trains back to Brig, or south to Stresa and Lake Maggiore and Milan.
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Old Nov 7th, 2006, 02:35 PM
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Hi Bob,
I have another question if you don't mind.

Just came across a great travel guide at the library, Switzerland, Rail Road Lake by Bradt (3rd edition). It has a wealth of information including all the timetable numbers. Now to my question, are timetables available freely at stations? I cannot possibly print off every conceivable timetable scenario to take with me, it would weigh a ton.

If timetables are not available then what is your suggestion?

Thanks,
Maudie
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Old Nov 9th, 2006, 12:13 PM
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Maudie- yes Switzerland has an avalanche of free printed timetables to pass out at stations - they have racks and racks of them. And you can go up to the ticket window/information window and they will print out computerized schedules for where you want to go.

And as trains usually go twice hourly on most routes, you don't really need schedules but just need to show up and there will be a train within a few minutes.
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Old Nov 9th, 2006, 02:37 PM
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Great news, thanks yet again Bob.

You are a treasure - wish I could send you a big bunch of flowers or how about a nice bottle of Margaret River wine???? I will do it in my thoughts - hope you enjoy!

Maudie
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Old Nov 9th, 2006, 11:18 PM
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I just wanted to say thanks for the answers to my question about the Swiss trains in November.
Did not sound that promising. Considered the south of France instead but at last minute decided to head off to Thailand for a completely different vacation as we have already spent three weeks in Europe this summer.
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