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Train Travel in Switzerland

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Jun 11th, 2014, 06:12 AM
  #1
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Train Travel in Switzerland

Two of us (ages 24 & 25) will be traveling from Geneva to Interlaken to Zurich to Chur (for the Bernina Express). We will stop the Bernina Express in Tirano and take a train from there to Milan.

We are trying to work out what pass to choose. We are looking at the Flexi Pass and Swiss Pass, and are actually opting to go for the latter because of the Bernina Express. First I just want to confirm the cost of these point-to-point tickets:

Geneva to Interlaken = CHF 34.50 = 41.74 CAD
Interlaken to Zurich = CHF 24.50 = 29.64 CAD
Zurich to Chur = CHF 19.50 = 23.59 CAD

I also just want to confirm whether transportation within those places would be covered by the passes. We are only spending 1 night in Geneva on the day we land and the hostel we will be staying at is giving us passes to get around.
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Jun 11th, 2014, 06:19 AM
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I do not think (but am not absolutely certain) that the segment from Tirano to Milan would be covered by any pass. The reason being is that particular segment is run by Tren Nord and not by Trenitalia (which would accept a pass).

Assuming you are going to travel, or want to travel in one of the Bernina First Class panorama cars the cost of a seat reservation is always over and above any pass prices (IOW passes don't cover that cost).

A Swiss Flexi would also cover the Bernina would it not?

I assume you got the ticket point to point prices on the SBB.CH website.
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Jun 11th, 2014, 06:21 AM
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Oops, sorry..just re-read your post and realize you weren't trying to cover the Tirano-Milan segment with a pass. Anyway, you'll enjoy the trip I am sure as it affords spectacular scenery and the connection in Tirano is easy (the two stations are across the square from one another). Only "issue" is the possible wait for the connection to Milan and there is not a whole lot to see and do in Tirano, unfortunately.
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Jun 11th, 2014, 06:58 AM
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all your trains listed are covered in full by a Swiss Pass and since you are under 26 you can get the much cheaper Youthpass - two solo youth passes probably about the same price as s Saverpass but you each have your own pass - say one wants to take a boat trip on Lake Geneva and the other does not or go your own ways.

How many days total will you be using Swiss trains and transports covered by the pass - which includes boats, city trams and buses, postal buses and gives 50% off cable cars to no where (mountain tops) and also free entry to 470 Swiss museums such as those in Geneva.

A consecutive-day pass if the 4-, 8- 15-, etc day forms comport to your stay are the best deals per day or look at a 3-day Swiss Flexipass (but never more than a 3-day flexi - a 3-day flexipass is almost always a better deal than a 4-day or longer one since in between your first and last day of 100% covered travel you get 50% off practically everything that moves in Switzerland on days between your first and last 100% travel days - after using your last 100% covered day the pass lapses entirely.

Great sources for info on Swiss trains, passes, the Bernina Pass Railway - to me the most dramatically scenic in all of Europe - check out these IMO superb sites - www.swisstravesystem.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com.

From Geneva to Interlaken you can take the Golden Pass scneic train route without any extra charge with a Swiss Pass - this actually leaves from Montreux - takes a bit longer than the more faster Lausanne-Bern-Interlaken route but is much more scenic.
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Jun 11th, 2014, 07:47 AM
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Thanks Dukey! We aren't expecting to cover Tirano -> Milan by any pass, in Italy it's going to be all point to point tickets and we are hoping the total cost of travel (incl. ferries, within cities) will be below 150CAD.

The Swiss Flexi Pass will give us a 50% reduction for the Bernina Express + the reservation fee, if I'm not wrong. It doesn't have a youth discount. While for the Swiss Pass we'd only have to pay the reservation fee (hope I'm not wrong about this) and has a youth discount.

We were going to buy 2nd class passes. Are first class seats really that much more highly recommended than second? And would we be able to pay the difference rather than switch to a 1st class pass?

Yup, I got the point to point prices on SBB.CH

PalenQ, we are going to be staying in Switzerland for 6 days but only 1 night in Geneva, 2 nights in Zurich and we are counting the last day on the Bernina Express. We don't really know what to do about Jungfrau because I've read that sometimes it takes days for it to be clear to go up, so we aren't sure when to buy tickets for that. We find the Youth Swiss Pass to be cheaper, but I'm not sure if I'm understanding the Flexi Pass properly. Since it's non-consecutive, could we use it for the Geneva -> Interlaken day Golden Pass (100% off), Interlaken to Wengen and back for the Jungfrau with a night train to Zurich if it works out (50% off), and then Zurich -> Chur + Bernina Express (100% off) and the rest of the time pay 100% of the cost which I don't think would include much traveling? We are trying to budget exactly how much we would need and we don't really want to misunderstand something and then have to pay more than we expect.
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Jun 11th, 2014, 07:51 AM
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In terms of First vs Second on the Bernina, IMO, the First Class panorama cars might be better for you but only because the windows IN those cars are much MUCH larger than the windows in the Second carriages. The scenery, obviously, is the same.
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Jun 11th, 2014, 01:38 PM
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The Swiss Flexi Pass will give us a 50% reduction for the Bernina Express + the reservation fee, if I'm not wrong. It doesn't have a youth discount. While for the Swiss Pass we'd only have to pay the reservation fee (hope I'm not wrong about this) and has a youth discount.>

Well the flexipass will give you 100% off if you use one of your unlimited travel days - like you say in your last post - on days of 100% covered there is absolutely no difference between a Swiss (consecutive day) pass and a flexipass. I do not think you get any 50% off on the reservation fee (really a supplement - I think you pay this on top of using the pass but not sure now that you mention it).

And yes the Youthpass is only offered on consecutive-day passes and in that case has the exact same benefits as a regular (over 25 years old) pass - I like consecutive-day passes because it is carte blanche - in cities like Geneva just hop on the tram or bus or lake boat - not thinking about what it will cost, etc.

But I think you can not avoid the steep supplement on the GE with any pass.
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Jun 11th, 2014, 03:19 PM
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Thanks Dukey! I will talk to my travel companion and see if we can go with 1st class, although I think this is unlikely because of the complications with the pass.

PalenQ, I meant to say that it would be 50% of the ticket and we'd also have to pay the reservation fee. Thanks for the clarification about the passes! I agree that the Youth Pass gives you more freedom, but I think once we finalize every single aspect of our itinerary, we will try to calculate what's best. We are in the process of doing so right now, but it's still hard to determine exactly how much we will travel/go to museums, etc.

Another thing I noticed are those supersaver tickets, but you can't book them until 14 days prior to the day. How long does it typically take for us to get the passes mailed to us? Should we wait until early August to buy them? Or just forget about the supersaver tickets and buy a pass this month?

This is the trip we want to take:
http://www.swisstravelsystem.com/en/...raubahnen.html
I'm trying to understand if this is all one train like the Bernina Express or if we'd have to switch between stations because I remember seeing something else on another website with different trains. Here we only make reservations for Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch and back for CHF 10 and book Interlaken OST -> Lauterbrunnen -> Kleine Scheidegg as separate trains. Please let me know if this is right! I just want to avoid any potential messes.

Also, please let me know if you preferred to go up in the morning or afternoon.
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Jun 11th, 2014, 03:35 PM
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To clarify that last paragraph:
Interlaken OST -> Lauterbrunnen -> Kleine Scheidegg & back (separate trains)
Kleine Scheidegg -> Jungfraujoch & back (CHF 10 reservation fee)
Will the cost of the "Jungfrau Railway" as in the whole thing from Interlaken -> Jungfraujoch and Jungfraujoch -> Interlaken be included under 1 price and booked together? CHF 197.60 + CHF 10 reservation OR CHF 145.00 + CHF 10 reservation for a Good Morning/Good Afternoon Ticket?
And then
25% discount with Youth Pass
or
50% discount with Flexi Pass.
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Jun 12th, 2014, 05:08 AM
  #10
 
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50% discount with Flexi Pass.>

From Wengen or Grindelwald to Kl Schiedegg and Jungfraujoch is only 25% off max with any kind of Swiss Pass.

Few people reserve the Jungfraujoch trains and you will always get on IME and no need at all to book any trains from Interlaken to Kl Schiedegg - never need to book those. I would not book any trains.

the Good Morning ticket I believe leave really early and if it is clear in the morning hop on it - things can change quickly - otherwise I do not see much of a difference though it could be warmer I guess up top in the afternoon.
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Jun 12th, 2014, 06:58 AM
  #11
 
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How long does it typically take for us to get the passes mailed to us?>

Just a few days IME - if going in August I'd wait and keep checking to see if there is some special that pops up - if you buy and later a special pops up you can't change your pass to get it and specials often pop up on short notice, like the recent limited $50 off sale for passes sold in the U.S.
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Jun 12th, 2014, 06:58 AM
  #12
 
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Standard train fares:
Geneva airport - Interlaken via Berne: 71 CHF
Geneva airport - Interlaken via Montreux - Golden Pass: 74 CHF
Geneva - Montreux by historic steamboat:
1 adult: 39 CHF, 2 adults: 49 CHF
Montreux - Golden Pass - Interlaken: 51 CHF
Interlaken - Chur via Berne - Zurich: 92 CHF
Interlaken - Chur via Lucerne - Zurich: 76 CHF
Interlaken - Chur via Lucerne - Thalwil: 69 CHF
Interlaken - Chur via Lucerne - Biberbrugg: 71 CHF
Interlaken - Chur via Lucerne - Andermatt: 96 CHF
Interlaken - Chur via Grimsel Pass (PostBus) - Andermatt: 98 CHF
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Jun 12th, 2014, 09:01 AM
  #13
 
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About when to buy - compare prices in Swiss francs for buying passes as Swiss train stations and for buying in the U.S. - as mentioned often the price is cheaper here than there but not always - if not much of a difference - and figure in foreign exchange transaction fees if your c c has them - if no or little difference just buy when you land.
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Jun 12th, 2014, 11:00 AM
  #14
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Thanks PalenQ! We will wait until August to buy the passes and until we are in Interlaken to buy Jungfrau railway tickets. We are most likely going to get the Youth Pass. Thanks for your help!

neckervd, than you for alerting me to these train fare prices! I got the original prices I listed by going to http://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html and putting in the locations, but I see now when I click Fare/Buy that the low prices I saw is actually because of the Half-Fare travel card.
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Jun 12th, 2014, 11:55 AM
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Thanks for the thanks - Interlaken in August can be very busy - be sure to book hotels in the whole area ASAP. And having taken the Jungfrau Railway several times (though I can no longer afford to do so!) shows me that reservations are not necessary and most will not have them - I did not even know reservations were possible for individual but only groups - again I do not know the current policy but these trains are always rather full but they seem to be able to handle everyone.

Most of the trip after Kl Schiedegg is in tunnel with one belvedere photo op. And you may think you are in China or Japan judging my your fellow passengers - just adds to the lure to me.
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Jun 12th, 2014, 01:49 PM
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Wengernalp and Jungfrau railway add as many supplementary trains as needed in order to transport all people, since about 100 years. No need to book ahead.
The booking engine was just installed by the railway company in order to get rid of tons of mails from Asian and American people who wanted to book ahead at any price.
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Jun 13th, 2014, 07:57 AM
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Yes that 10 francs reservation fee is a complete waste of money IME too
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Jun 14th, 2014, 08:05 AM
  #18
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Thank you both! This is a silly question, but I just want to make sure that when we use transportation locally (within Geneva and Zurich more specifically) we are allowed to just get on a train/bus? This would save a lot of time and allow us to plan accordingly.
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Jun 14th, 2014, 09:55 AM
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If you have a Swiss Pass and using a 100% covered travel day yes you just hop on the train and when the conductor comes around just flash it to him - if it's a flexipass you must have that day's date entered on your pass - if it's in between and 50% off of course you then have to buy a ticket.

I have not taken city buses in a few years but that was always the case with city buses and trams and lake boats as well. If it's 100% covered just hop on. Things can always change but I think not in this regard.
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Jun 14th, 2014, 04:08 PM
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I should say the specialty scenic trains - some of them do require seat reservations and a supplement (a steep one on the Glacier Express of about $35 in addition to using the pass) but all normal trains you can just hop on - even some specialty trains like the Golden Pass you can just hop on - but on those to get observation seats in panoramic cars you should reserve ahead.
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