Train from Chiusi to Lauterbrunnen

Jan 2nd, 2011, 05:00 AM
  #1  
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Train from Chiusi to Lauterbrunnen

I have to train from Chiusi in Tuscany to Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland on Saturday 18 June. As I understand it, the Italian train roster/table is only available two - three months before the date one wants. By using the SBB website, I have found an possible itinerary. It starts at 08h10 on that Saturday in Chiusi and arrives in LB just after 16h00.

Can I use this for planning purposes only, or would it be pretty much correct even though it is longer than three months in advance?

I also saw mention of discounts if booking well in advance; is that adviseable?
Duvies is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2011, 05:51 AM
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Trenitalia changes their schedules mid-Dec and mid-June, but they typically don't change much. To see the schedules (and prices) on Trenitalia, enter a date within 7 days. The fast trains in Italy only stop at main stations so you can only get IC or R trains from Chiusi. To catch a faster train (AV,ES), you would have to get to Florence first. Did the schedule you found have a change in Milan?

http://www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/inde...003f16f90aRCRD
kybourbon is online now  
Jan 2nd, 2011, 06:07 AM
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I don't see that Chiusi-Lauterbrunnen connection at SBB; I only see one that takes almost 18 hours and requires four changes.
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Jan 2nd, 2011, 06:08 AM
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Schedules like that rarely change by more than a few minutes - you can rely on schedules being similar for the foreseable future.

You will most likely have to change at Florence, Milan and perhaps Brig as Trenitalia is slashing cross border trains - there are some that go Milan to Spiez (where you have to change for Interlaken-Ost, where you have to change for Lauterbrunnen) but more and more you also have to change at Brig. Leave plenty of time between trains if opting for the online discounts which may well be non-changeable non-refundable. Milan Centrale is a huge station that can be flummoxing at first encounter with zillions of tracks, etc.

If you will be getting a Swiss Pass then just book a train to Brig (Swiss border) and use your Swiss Pass from there all the way to Lauterbrunnen.
PalenQ is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2011, 08:43 AM
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It starts at 08h10 on that Saturday in Chiusi and arrives in LB just after 16h00.>


www.bahn.de the site I prefer to use because it seems infallible and is also a snap to use shows the same - for a date within the next few months as a sample

But the 16 minute transfer time in Florence would be a concern to me since the IC train from Chiusi IMO could be late - you could take a 6:36am train from Chiusu but that would no doubt mean getting up really early - but you are talking about online discounts so if they are not changeable and you miss the 16 min connection in Florence you'd have to buy a full fare ticket on the spot - I would say leave Florence and hour later and give yourself a 1 hour and 15 min transfer time in Florence - putting you in Lauterbrunnen probably about an hour later than 16:00 but giving you more peace of mind about the dicey to me Florence transfer time.
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Jan 2nd, 2011, 08:56 AM
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Thanks for your responses. If memory serves (where did I save that itinerary?), the route is something like this: Chiusi - Florence - Milan - Brig - Spiez - Interlaken - Lauterbrunnen. I can recall the trains in from Brig further on have very small change over times; sometimes only eight minutes. Fortunately the ones in Italy have a bit more time; the one in Milan leaves us with 40 minutes. Zerlina, when I started searching, I also found schedulestaking 18 hours. Believe me when I say that panic got the better of me for a while!

PalenQ, I think I am going to purchase the 8 day Saver Pass for Switzerland on your recommendation. Quick one on that: is it better to buy them online before I go, and do I validate it in Brig or Milan or Chiusi?
Duvies is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2011, 09:14 AM
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Quick one on that: is it better to buy them online before I go, and do I validate it in Brig or Milan or Chiusi?>

Currently (checked last week) for two it was about $60 total cheaper to buy that pass in the U.S. before getting to Switzerland and that is the reason I would buy before hand. You could easily buy the same pass in the Brig train station as well but pay more. (It has been significantly cheaper to buy in U.s. rather than in Switzerland much of the past several years I have been monitoring - why don't know as the passes sold here are marketed by the Swiss Federal Railways, the same as in Switzerland. Same pass, same benefits, etc. I have bought passes for years from www.budgeteuropetravel.com because I like to order by phone and aks any questions and they are IME experts but the price is universal no matter where you buy the pass - prices being set by Swiss Railways - handling and mailing fees can be added on however so ask about that - where I buy there is none if ordering so many days in advance I think. Others like ricksteves.com charge a flat $15 regardless (but there you get some discount if ordering travel goods from them I think) - but you will still have to take the pass up to a ticket window in Brig and have it validated - to start the 8-day period before boarding any Swiss train. The only way around this is to have the pass pre-validated at time of purchase (agents are aloof to do this IME because once validated it is no longer refundable - they can do it however but I would wait and validate it in Brig and in Switzerland I would not worry about missing train connections because there will be another train within an hour if not half hour and in Switzerland, unlike in Italy, you can hop on any train anytime and once your pass is activated you never need to go to a ticket window but just hop on any train. In Italy nearly all long-distance trains require reservations before boarding so that is a bit of a hassle for pass holders.
PalenQ is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2011, 11:01 AM
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>>>Currently (checked last week) for two it was about $60 total cheaper to buy that pass in the U.S. before getting to Switzerland and that is the reason I would buy before hand.<<<

On RailEurope or BETS, the cost of this 8 day saver pass is $348 (2nd cl). On the Swiss website it is 326chf which Oanda says today is equal to $348. Not seeing the difference unless it's in the mailing fee. There does appear to be $1 difference in the cost of the 1st cl pass between sites ($522 on RE/Bets and 489.60chf on the Swiss site which is $523.63). Was there some type of sale last week?
kybourbon is online now  
Jan 2nd, 2011, 07:11 PM
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Well there was probably a price adjustment as I said could happen in previous posts - but when I did check last week or two weeks ago or whatever and did post here with equivalent prices a $60 difference total on a Saver Pass p.p. So will re-check and get back - in any case if you figure in the 3% fee most folks pay for foreign credit card fees that makes it about $15 cheaper by your figures - but things can be in flux - I do know what I compared recently and thus said it.
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Jan 2nd, 2011, 08:53 PM
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I've since found the OP's Chiusi-Lauterbrunnen connection: for June 11, 2011, and valid only until June 11, 2011.

On June 12, Trenitalia changes its schedules, not generally by much, but there can be minor changes.

The orderly Swiss are not going to suggest connections that are not guaranteed, and since only Trenitalia can set schedules within Italy, the only connection SBB offers after June 11 is one with guaranteed international trains.
Zerlina is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2011, 09:28 PM
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>>>in any case if you figure in the 3% fee most folks pay for foreign credit card fees that makes it about $15 cheaper by your figures<<<

I bought tickets online from sbb.ch recently and did not pay a 3% credit card fee. I don't think most people pay a 3% fee (especially on Fodor's) as most tend to use credit cards that don't charge such fees. Perhaps you can avoid a mailing fee by purchasing from sbb.ch as you can select the station in CH where you want to pick up when you purchase tickets.

Duvies - If you're attempting to book discounts on Trenitalia you might have to split your purchase into separate legs as the discounts won't show if one leg is not part of the offer such as Chiusi/Florence leg (only has slower trains). You would need to book Chiusi/Florence, Florence/Milan. The Florence/Milan leg look for mini-fares. You can often get Smart fares for the EC trains between Milan/Basel for 19€. The train stops in Brig and Spiez, but it would cost more to book the ticket Milan/Speiz (about 70€) than if you get the Smart fare.

http://www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/inde...003f16f90aRCRD
kybourbon is online now  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 06:29 AM
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bourbon - I'll have to find the calculations I posted - I used at that time $1.08 to france - so franc may have gone down or whatever - anyway I will retrieve the math and you can find my mistake, if any.

It is best to call your credit card because many do charge 3% and you assuming that most do not I do not think is accurate. Yes FodorGarchs may have a card that does not but the average tourist... I have three cards and all charge 3% - though I travel yearly to Europe it is not worth it to me to change to a 0% card - well maybe it would be but...

anyway will check back.
PalenQ is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 08:25 AM
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Hi Everybody,

What if I buy the Passes in Brig when the train stops there? I think it has a stop over of about 30 minutes, but of course I will have to check that closer to the time. Will that be sufficient time to find the office and buy the Pass for the three of us? I am a bit sceptical of buying online and picking it up somewhere else, but then maybe I am just old fashioned.

I could not really get a price on my connection Chiusi -L/brunnen, but I think Kybourbon's advice on individual tickets is great. I will certainly do homework on that. And thanks for the advice on purchasing a ticket to Basel; never thought of that.
Duvies is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 08:39 AM
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Well an 8-consecutive-day Swiss Saver Pass per person in 2nd class costs $316 US - and that would be about 300 Swiss francs if you figure in the 3% foreign transaction fee most credit cards charge and current exchange rate - so if prices in Loonies are similar then you'd be saving only about 25 Swiss francs>

kybourbon - this is what I posted Dec 21 based on prices then and an exchange rate from NYTim4es of about $1.08 - could have been a temporary spike?

I'll re-check prices at www.budgeteuropetravel and www.raileurope.com to see current prices you quote - quite an increase it seems!
PalenQ is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 09:54 AM
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OK checking those two sources shows that the price of the 8-day Saver pass is now $348 - I guess prices got so out of kilter they had to make an adjustment - but my point is always to check both sources in case like a few weeks back there were siginficant disparities.

Duvies - there are still direct trains from Milan to Spiez - see if one of these is convenient as then you could activate your railpass on the train itself and not even have to get off at Brig - the rule being a railpass must be activated by a railway official at a station in the country except and unless the railpass holder is coming into the country on a train from another country then the conductor will activate it on the train without charge - so perhaps there is a direct Milan to Spiez train you could take around the time of the Milan-change at Brig connection you have?

But to your question about 30 mins being enough time to buy a pass in Brig - it may well be as this is not a huge station but there can always be lines - I think getting the actual pass would not take very long though you will need all the passports and names, etc so have these printed out clearly to hand to the clerk - but if you miss the train there will be abother one within an hour for sure you can just hop on.
PalenQ is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 12:12 PM
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Well it seems that the only direct Milan to Spiez train leaves Milan at 11:38am most days - all the rest require, it seems at least with a quick glance, changing at Brig - this in the Italian Railways' wisdom of scrubbing most cross-border trains between Italy and France, Switzerland and Austria - making it a bother for travelers - for years there were plenty of direct Milan to Spiez/Bern/Geneva trains but very few now. Indeed there was even one Florence to spiez direct train I believe.

They call this progress?
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 05:12 PM
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>>>Well it seems that the only direct Milan to Spiez train leaves Milan at 11:38am most days<<<

There are 4 per day for Milan/Basel with stops in Spiez(the Milan/Geneva trains do not stop in Spiez) although the other times will probably not work. 7:28 am EC 50, 11:38 EC 52, 18:28 EC 56, 20:10 EC 158.

Another Smart Fare option on Trenitalia is to book Milan/Geneva which has a stop in Brig (stops are Brig, Sion, Montreux, Lausanne), but not Speiz. Departure times of 8:28, 12:28, 17:20, 19:28.

If you can't get Smart Fares and you plan to pick up the passes in CH, it's cheaper to book Milan/Brig (33€) than Milan/Speiz (57€).

As for credit cards, you do need to know whether your credit cards and ATM cards have any fees. Most credit union issued cards (Visa/Mastercard)do not charge 3% nor does Capital One. None of my credit cards charge 3% which I think is the highest fees of any cards. There are other low/no fee cards, and wiki has a list of some (not all). The chart is for debit cards and credit cards.
http://www.flyerguide.com/wiki/index...reign_Exchange

>>>the Pass for the three of us?<<

Are you traveling with a child? If so, there are other discounts available on Trenitalia.
kybourbon is online now  
Jan 4th, 2011, 02:20 AM
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Hi PalenQ and Kybourbon, I will have to check with the CC companies on whether I will be charged a % of the purchase. I know it was done before, and being from South Africa, there propably will be charges. Even if there are, it sounds better to me to have the passes up front, it ticks off one more thing on the 'to do' list. I will still try and get my mind around buying it on line and then picking it up in Brig/Spiez.

KB, my sister is traveling with DW and me, so unfortunately no further discounts.

I will have to spend the weekend working out a schedule of stops, but the information everybody gave me, is absolutely awesome and I appreciate it. I said somewhere that I thought just reading threads/posts and not posting would be enough, but I was wrong. It would have helped a lot, but look at the detail you get. Fodors Forums rock!
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Jan 4th, 2011, 05:34 AM
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There are 4 per day for Milan/Basel with stops in Spiez(the Milan/Geneva trains do not stop in Spiez) although the other times will probably not work. 7:28 am EC 50, 11:38 EC 52, 18:28 EC 56, 20:10 EC 158.>

Yes indeedy - I was only talking about a thru the border train that may work for davies - if he/she decided to leave Chiusi earlier and could hook up with that, making the overall journey much easier than having to get off in Brig (if they had a Swiss pass in hand only however)

Contact RailEurope in South Afrika for their Swiss Pass prices - you could go to any travel agent in your home country and buy these - again check prices and avoid any 3% fee if you cards have one as you'd buy in Rands.
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Jan 4th, 2011, 09:17 PM
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PalenQ, you are brilliant! I did not even give a thought to the possibility of them having an office in SA (it is called RailEurope after all!). I have found their mail address and physical address and await a response to my mail sent to them last night. Thanks for the advice.
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