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Please Help with Switzerland Rail Planning

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Jan 8th, 2007, 11:00 AM
  #1
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Please Help with Switzerland Rail Planning

My DH and I will be arriving in Zurich at 11:30 on May 16th. From there we want to go immediately to Grindelwald (connect in Interlaken) where we are staying at the Hotel Belvedere for two nights. Will do Jungfrau, etc. on these two days.

Then on Fri. May 18th we will embark on the next leg of the trip, from Interlaken to Montreux, staying at the Eden Palace hotel for one night. Saturday morn we will wake up (possibly visit Vevey market if it's not too far) and then intend to take the TGV to Paris.

Several questions: We want to take the Golden Pass train and know this can be broken up in two parts - is it worth doing the panoramic VIP seats for both segments of the trip or should we just do that for the Interlaken/Montreux portion of it? Also is it possible to travel directly from Zurich to Interlaken or will we have to connect somewhere?

Then on Saturday when we go to Paris, from which city is the best to get the TGV from Montreux? Lausanne??

Would getting a Swiss Pass be beneficial to us so that we can get 50% off our other excursions, or are we better off buying everything separately. As you can see we are only in the country about 3 1/2 days.
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Jan 8th, 2007, 11:08 AM
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as for efficacy of a pass, it's all online - www.sbb.ch will have fares in Swiss francs - then figure 50% off except for the three minimum 100% covered travel days then go to www.budgeteuropetravel.com for Swiss Pass prices, which have changed recently but still i believe are significantly cheaper than in Switzerland. www.raileurope.com is the main seller - budget europe works thru them but are experts - call their info number 800-441-2387 and all your questions here will be answered by experts who've traveled the rail in Switzerland many times. So it's easy to figure out the cost of a pass for point-point and things like the Half-Fare card (sold locally) - but you are taking fairly long train trips so the 100% free coverage days may tip the balance. Actually the Lucerne-Interlaken Golden Pass portion to me is just as scenic as Interlaken-Montreux, where the most exciting part is the drop down thru vineyards to Lake Geneva. there are direct Zurich Airport/Zurich-Interlaken trains and it's the quickest route but the Zurich-Lucerne-Brunig Pass-Interlaken route is infinitely more scenic - have to change once in Luzern. Lausanne is the best and only city from Montreux practically to pick up TGVs to France.
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Jan 8th, 2007, 04:28 PM
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Thanks for the info!
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Jan 8th, 2007, 04:39 PM
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IF you can get the VIP seats in the very front of the train they are definitely worth it; for that matter, so are the ones which face the rear.

And the route over the Brunig Pass is also worth the time and effort.
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Jan 9th, 2007, 07:40 AM
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<is it worth doing the panoramic VIP seats for both segments of the trip or should we just do that for the Interlaken/Montreux portion of it?>

Dukey has described the unique Panoramic seats on this train - the ones in the very front are like driving the train - these seats swivel i believe, a novelty on trains. As they are just the nominal reservation fee (only required on Zweissimen to Montreux i believe) go for them but don't be let down if can't get one - the scenery is the attraction.
Perplexed as to what you mean by 'both segments' - there are three segments of the Golden Pass (formerly called Panoramic Express that only did the Interlaken-Montreux route) - one goes from Lucerne over the Brunig Pass and then down to Lake Brinze and along this pristine Alpine body of water to Interlaken-Ost (East) station, where this narrow-gauge train ends because it can't continue on on the wider gauge tracks from Interlaken-Ost to Zweisimmen, where narrow-gauge tracks resume - meaning you must change trains at Interlaken-Ost and Zweissimen as trains can't physically go thru. (There are plans to remedy this by adding a third rail to prevent seemeless running Lucerne-Montreux, which group tours highly desire. As it is now in Zweissimmen everyone gets off one train abd boards another so it's not a real hassle. There are Panoramic cars on all three segments.
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Jan 9th, 2007, 08:27 AM
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The TGV to Paris leaves at 7:22 or 9:22 but there are plenty of trains between Montreux and Lausanne in the morning as a lot of people commute between the two cities.
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Jan 9th, 2007, 10:48 AM
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Actually I was thinking of taking the 1:22 TGV which puts us in Paris at 5:01 (we have to check in at our apartment by 7 p.m. in the 7th arron., so I think this should work. We would like the morning to spend in Montreux since we have limited time in Switzerland as it is and will be spending 2 weeks in France.

PalenqueBob, what I meant by "both segments" was because we're stopping the journey in Interlaken to stay for two nights in Grindelwald, so we're not going all the way through on the one day. That's why I phrased it as "both segments." So I will try to reserve the panoramic VIP seats from Luzern to Interlaken OST and then two days later from Interlaken to Montreux (changing in Zweissimmen).
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Jan 16th, 2007, 08:14 AM
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If for some weird reason you have trouble getting on Paris-Lausanne TGV there are even more from Geneva, just a short train ride from Lausanne/Montreux.
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Jan 16th, 2007, 08:40 AM
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>So I will try to reserve the panoramic VIP seats from Luzern to Interlaken OST and then two days later from Interlaken to Montreux (changing in Zweissimmen)

AFAIK there are only VIP seats available from Zweisimmen to Montreux.
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Jan 16th, 2007, 09:21 AM
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but there are panoramic or observation cars on other segments but these are not nearly as novel as the VIP seats on the narrow-gauge Zweisimmen-Montreux section where they may be worth the extra hassle - not so much greater on other segments IMO
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Jan 16th, 2007, 10:54 AM
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I don't know the details of onward to Paris routes, but getting a train from Montreux to either Lausanne or Geneva is incredibly easy - they run all the time. The train station in Montreux is centrally located and easy to walk to.
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Jan 16th, 2007, 11:11 AM
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Thanks Suze - we may train from Montreux to Vevey's Sat. morning market (upon your recommendation!) and then train from Vevey to Lausanne - which also should be pretty easy right?

Oops although we won't have anywhere to put our luggage - nevermind we'll have to get back to Montreux to the hotel to get our luggage before heading onto Lausanne!!

You can't walk from Montreux to Vevey could you?
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Jan 16th, 2007, 08:03 PM
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If you want to go to the wine/farmerís market in Vevey on Saturday, there are luggage lockers in Veveyís train station where you could store your luggage, you do not have to go back to Montruex to get your luggage. (Note that you could also just store it in the train station in Montreux and then take a train from Montreux to Lausanne or Geneva to connect to a TGV.)

Montruex and Vevey are less than 10 minutes apart by train, trains run very frequently. You can walk it, its about 5 miles and virtually all of it is along the lake, but then you would have to leave your luggage at the station in Montreux. You can also rent bikes for free at the train station and bike it which IMO is easier. (The free bike program may not be running in May, although I think it starts May 1; check guidebooks.) Vevey and Lausanne are about 20 minutes apart by train.

The Vevey train station is walkable to the lake side area where the wine/farmerís market takes place. Itís maybe half a mile.

There are luggage lockers and/or manned storage rooms in virtually every train station in Switzerland. You could even stop in Lausanne and see the old town and store your luggage there while you did that.
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Feb 22nd, 2007, 08:38 AM
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<You can't walk from Montreux to Vevey could you?>

Yes i have done just that and it seems it was like 4 miles or so, mainly along the lake on nice paths. A trolley bus also plies the road and Swiss Passes are valid on it.

Vevey struck me as one of the nicest Swiss lakeside towns - spectacular setting jutting out into the lake as i remember.
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