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Switzerland Rail Pass

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Feb 17th, 2014, 10:23 AM
  #1
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Switzerland Rail Pass

Hi, I'm asking this on behalf of my sister who is going to Switzerland.

Her itinerary is from Geneva to Interlaken to Zurich to Chur to catch the Bernina Express. I think it's for 1 week. She is looking to buy the 8 day Swiss Pass and is 25 years old with her boyfriend being 26 and the cost is 334 USD per pass.

What they plan to do is travel around Geneva for a bit, travel to Interlaken and take the Jungfrau Railway, travel to Zurich and around there, and then travel to Chur and take the Bernina Express.

So she was wondering if she has chosen the best option or if there were other deals available? And if she's right in that in includes transport to the cities as well as within the cities. She knows there's also some free admission to museums and other discounts and that you'd need a reservation fee for the Bernina Express and Jungfrau Railway.
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Feb 17th, 2014, 10:42 AM
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www.swisstravelsystem.com has all the fares to compare - hard to tell - I hve had umpteen passes and always end up using them more than I think - like in Interlaken area on a nice afternoon just hopping on a lake boat (boats are covered as well as city buses and trams and nearly all trains - gondolas and trains to mountain tops only get 50% off (254 from Wengen/Grindelwald to Kleine Schiedegg and Jungfraujoch - 100% covered to Wengen, Grindelwald, Lauterbrunne, Murren, Gimmelwald - any conveyance linking any towns or cities is 100% covered - reason why the gondolas from Lauterbrunnen to Murren is covered in full (and connecting train once up top) - otherwise 50% except Jungfraujoch 25% on parts.

You could look into the Half-Fare Card which costs about $140 I think to buy then gets you half-off everything that moves in Switzerland or the Swiss Card - exactly the same as Half-Fare Card but you get two train trips - one from any airport or border station to any place in Switzerland and then one out to any border station or airport.

The Bernina Pass supplement is about 12 Swiss francs I believe and there are regular local trains on the same route you can just hop on - I actually prefer those trains rather than the official Bernina Express that is IME always chock full so you are stuck in your seat - on the more sparely full locals you can hop back and forth as the scenery dictates (best scenery is however mainly on the west side or left side going towards Tirano, Italy - official train gives commentary and is marginally faster - the world's slowest express train as they call it sometimes - because it doesn't stop as much as the locals.

But consider that in Geneva you may want to take a lake boat trips (covered in full) or the Chocolate Train to Gruyeres and the Nestle chocolate factory for a Willie Wonkaesque tour, etc.

Sometimes a 3-day Swiss Flexipass can be a better deal overall than the consecutive-day passes - in between your first and last day of unlimited 100% covered travel you do get 50% off just about everything else in between but once the last day is used up the pass expires.

For lots of great info on Swiss trains, passes, etc I always spotlight these superb IMO sources - www.swisstravelsystem.com (as mentioned above - the official site of Swiss Tourism and has on it the official site of sbb.com or Swiss Federal Railways and links to Bernina Express official site (where you can make reservations and the official trains often do sell out in advance - no reservations possible I believe for individuals on the Jungfraujoch trains - just show up - never a problem IME getting on though they always seem to be quite full - other good sites www.budgeteuropetravel.com (any questions call Byron there - I've bought passes from him for years - always has answers whether you are buying or not IME); www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com.

I like the pass even if it is a bit more expensive overall than say the Half-Fare Card - the card takes knowing precisely what you will be doing to calculate its efficacy and if at all close in price go for the pass - you may well use it more than you think and you can just hop on any train practically without going to the ticket window.
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Feb 17th, 2014, 10:50 AM
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Even though you have provided quite bit more details than many posters, it is still not sufficient to find "best" option. It is quite a chore to actual compute out "best" option. Many come to this forum looking for an easy answer. There is no easy answer. You with need to be content to be good enough or do extensive spreadsheet computations if you need to be certain.
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...s-187218-2.cfm

First, a few things. The pass price for 25yr old and 26 yr old are different. Also it matters which days you are actually traveling. Are they traveling long distance every day or just on certain days?

The Swisspass is a comprehensive product that covers city transports at "many" cities. Which cities? Look at the bulls-eye marked cities in http://www.swisstravelsystem.com/en/...s-pass-en.html "show map of validity" about half way down the page.

The list of covered museums and high mountain transports are also listed as well as marked on the map. Unfortunately, you have to go to each site to get cash prices to fill out a spread sheet on your own. It would be nice if there is a site that lists all the high mountain transports, boats, museums, and the Federal railway system so one could just click the items of interest to compare cash vs. pass fare. Alas, I have found no such site.
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Feb 17th, 2014, 11:17 AM
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First, a few things. The pass price for 25yr old and 26 yr old are different.>

I assume you are talking about a Youthpass for those under 26 and the requisite solo adult pass for the 26 yr old - but I think if you take a look at the Saverpass which gives about an 18% or so reduction for having two names on a pass that could be cheaper or as cheap as one solo pass and one youthpass - not sure but when I have time to feed my curiosity I will look it up. If the price is about the same get two solo passes so if you want you can take separate trains or sit in separate cars! Both people of a Saverpass need not be present however for the pass to be used by just one person say the other does not want to do some short trip, etc.
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Feb 17th, 2014, 12:34 PM
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looking to buy the 8 day Swiss Pass and is 25 years old with her boyfriend being 26 and the cost is 334 USD per pass.>

$334 seems to be the cost of a Youthpass for 8 straight days - $410 or about for a solo adult 2nd class pass and added together both are cheaper all in all than two Saverpasses so Greg's point is valid to buy two different passes and not the Saver (as you now in retrospect seem to have figured out!)
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Feb 17th, 2014, 12:45 PM
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So she will travel from Geneva airport or Geneva town to Montreux - Gstaad - Interlaken - Junfgfraujoch - Interlaken - Berne - Zurich - Chur - Samedan - Tirano and leave Switzerland there.

Seat reservation is possible, but not compulsory for the Jungfrau railway. It's compulsory for the airconditioned Bernina Express trains, but not for the standard trains (every hr) along the Bernina line.
The Jungfrau trip costs 135 USD with Swiss Pass. The Bernina railway is covered by Swiss Pass (except the seat reservation fee).
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Feb 17th, 2014, 01:54 PM
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Seat reservations are not possible on local trains over the Bernina Pass rail route? Just curious and neckervd unfailingly seems to have all the data so thanks in advance.

There is an Early Bird Special for the Jungfrau Trains I believe that could cut the cost down somewhat - or last time I was there there was.
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Feb 17th, 2014, 02:10 PM
  #8
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Yes, her bf will have to buy an adult pass, I guess they didn't know that or knew it? But she will be buying the Youth Pass.

This is the Jungfrau railway: http://www.swisstravelsystem.com/en/...raubahnen.html Would it be/not be covered under the SwissPass? It says "free travel on panorama routes" and that is listed under there. Why would it cost an additional $135? Unless that's another trip?

Thanks for all the links!

There is a Bernina Express bus that goes from Tirano to Lugano. I'm guessing this is not included in the SwissPass?
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Feb 17th, 2014, 02:35 PM
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the bus is included in the Swiss Pass even though it goes thru a part of Italy but there is a mandatory sear reservation/supplement - pass pays for the basic bus fare - reservations required.
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Feb 19th, 2014, 07:20 AM
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Jungfrau railway: Why would it cost an additional $135?
Because that corresponds to the tariff!
You may hace a look at
http://www.jungfrau.ch/en/tourism/tr...al-travellers/
http://shop.jungfrau.ch/en/tickets/b..._from_store=de
https://shop.swissrailways.com/downl...tskarte_en.pdf

Seat reservation:
it seems that RbB now accepts seat reservations (probably because of no ending demands from overseas).
https://www.rhb.ch/Sitzplatzreservat...62.0.html?&L=4
European travellers would never have the idea to book seats in local and commuter trains, however.
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Feb 19th, 2014, 11:55 AM
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This is the Jungfrau railway: http://www.swisstravelsystem.com/en/...raubahnen.html Would it be/not be covered under the SwissPass? It says "free travel on panorama routes" and that is listed under there. Why would it cost an additional $135? Unless that's another trip?>

that is apparently talking about a Jungfraubahn Pass - you get a discount on that pass itself by having a Swiss Pass but unless you are doing other trips in the area not covered by a Swiss Pass the Jungfraubahn Pass is not worth the extra money - costing more than $135 - much more I think.
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Feb 20th, 2014, 10:14 AM
  #12
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I'm a bit confused. So the train to Jungfrau is covered by the Swiss Pass, but then the mountain railway around that region is 135 (25% discount?). It is not worth the extra money?

If you were to rank the panoramic railways how would you rank them?
http://www.swisstravelsystem.com/en/...routes-en.html
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Feb 20th, 2014, 12:23 PM
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The Jungfraujoch train starts from Kleine Scheidegg and terminates, after going largely thru tunnels, at the Jungfraujoh station and the Top of the World sea of ice, etc.

That is the Jungfrau tains and with a Swiss Pass you get a 25% discount on this portion.

Now to get to Kleine Scheidegg from Interalekn you have to take a train to either Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen then change trains at either one - at Lauterbrunnen to Wengen and on to Kl Scheidegg - from Grindelwald change to the train to Kl Scheidegg (different routing than from Lauterbrunnen, Wengen - those trains from Grindelwald and Wengen to Kl Schiedegg are also only discounted 25% with a Swiss Pass - trains to Lauterbrunnen, Wengen or Grindelwald from Interlaken-Ost are 100% covered by a Swiss Pass.

Look at the map that comes with a Swiss Pass to see which lines - and buses, boats, etc are fully covered and which ones are only discounted.

I'm not sure where neckervd got the additional $135 - figuring it from Grindelwald or Wengen or from Kleine Schiegg but I assume from Grindlewald and Wengen as Swiss Passes cover getting to those towns in full.

Capiche?
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Feb 21st, 2014, 07:12 AM
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I think it's easy to understand: Swiss Pass holders pay 75 per cent of the standard fare between Grindelwald or Wengen and Jungfraujoch.
All discounts: http://shop.jungfrau.ch/en/tickets/b..._from_store=de
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Feb 21st, 2014, 09:11 AM
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Yes still one wonders how they can get away with charging so much for a few kilometer train ride - needs some competition I guess!
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Feb 21st, 2014, 10:24 AM
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Competition:
there are tons of cog railway and cableway lines to other peaks of the Alps.

If you want to build a second Jungfrau railway, you may do so: count about 1 billion USD for the construction of the tunnel and 100 million USD maintenance costs per year.
(extrapolation from actual Swiss high mountain tunnel building and maintenance costs).
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Feb 21st, 2014, 11:03 AM
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well maybe some helicopters could do it cheaper than about $200 p.p.! LIke the one I believe the Bagnoud clan runs (or is that Air Zermatt?)
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Feb 21st, 2014, 01:06 PM
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Tariff of Air Glaciers Lauterbrunnen:
Heli flights:
30 min around Jungfrau with short glacier landing: 330 CHF/pax (375 USD).
http://www.helikopterflug.ch/Gletscherlandungen/
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Feb 22nd, 2014, 01:45 PM
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everytime I've taken the Jungfrau Railway - several times in the past when I could afford it - the train was jammed packed - board early to get a window seat - it does make one stop out of tunnel half way up or so and you can go out on a viewing platform to be like a mountain climber climbing the cliff's here.

You would think you were in Japan or China by the looks of the camera-toting Asians on the train - makes it all the more interesting - the Jungfrau is a top destination of the burgeoning number of Asians coming to Europe - billboards in the area are even at times in Japanese or now Chinese!
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Feb 24th, 2014, 09:55 AM
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Yes, two third of all Jungfrau railway passengers are Asians. About 10 per cent are Swiss people or other nationals living in Switzerland.
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