Trains France/Switzerland

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Jun 26th, 2016, 11:25 AM
  #1
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Trains France/Switzerland

Hello! My husband and I are going to France and Switzerland in 3 weeks. Deciding on which rail pass to buy is confusing. We are starting in Sallanches, France traveling to 1-Interlaken, 2-Lucerne, and finally 3-Zurich where we fly home from. My question is: which rail pass do we get? We will be dividing a week between the 3 cities in Switzerland and likely be using other forms of public transit.

My second question is once we decide on which pass to buy can we book our tickets for the major legs of our trip before we go, or is it easier once you get there to do it? Thanks so much!
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Jun 26th, 2016, 12:11 PM
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ira
 
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Hi M,

You probably will not need a Railpass.

You can find the prices for your Sallanches --> Interlaken at www.voyages-sncf.com and your trains within Switzerland at http://www.sbb.ch/en/home.marketingurl_$$$en$$$index.html

Enjoy your visit.

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Jun 26th, 2016, 12:13 PM
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Trains France/Switzerland
Posted by: melgold3 on Jun 26, 16 at 3:25pm


For one stop answers to your questions I suggest that you look at http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/ and then call Byron. You can get passes, tickets, and seat reservation through his site.

If you are a Europe train newbie see an illustrated introduction at http://www.enjoy-europe.com/hte/chap17/rail.htm.
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Jun 26th, 2016, 12:17 PM
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the only pas you would consider is some kind of Swiss Pass -nothing for France - either Swiss Pass or more likely the Berner Oberland Pass, covering trains and many conveyances like boats and cables in both the Interlaken and Lucerne areas - buy that pass locally only -no need to buy online - buy at any station in covered area.

For lots on Swiss trains and passes check www.ricksteves.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.seat61.com (check latter for info on discounted tickets from France to Switzerland).

But do check out the Berner Oberland Pass!

buy a discounted ticket for France to Interlaken - www.voyages-sncf.com - the French National Railways site (SNCF)
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Jun 26th, 2016, 12:39 PM
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Unless you are going to the Berner Oberland AND you are going to be traveling around a lot within it then the BO pass is a waste of money.

If you are simply going from A to B to C then I agree a pass in Switzerland is unnecessary.
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Jun 26th, 2016, 12:48 PM
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Yes as dukey1 says it all depends on what you will do -simple three train rides just buy regular tickets but it does not take many trains or gondolas to mountain tops to make the BO or Swiss Pass pay off.

taking the world-famous Jungfraujoch train alone can make the B O Pass worth it.

But the other plan to consider is the Half-Off Card at about $135p.p. and then you get have off everything that moves - including the Jungfraujoch train - full fare over $200 so the Half-Off Pass or B.O. Pass can indeed pay off quickly depending on your actual plans.
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Jun 26th, 2016, 03:47 PM
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Thanks so much everyone!

So it sounds like maybe the Half off or BO pass but not the full rail pass. The hard thing is that we don't know exactly what we are going to do in each city (trying to have some spontaneity) so it's hard to say if we will traveling a lot when we get to each city.

I tried to book our tickets from Sallanches-Interlaken on http://www.voyages-sncf.com/ and it said they couldn't find any results for the search. Is this because it is too early to book it? Or am I too late?
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Jun 27th, 2016, 09:53 AM
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Try a larger city near Sallanches - one on a TGV line and see what comes up.
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Jun 27th, 2016, 10:35 AM
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ttt
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Jun 27th, 2016, 12:06 PM
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Is this because it is too early to book it? Or am I too late?>

Certainly not too early to book - can book at least 60 days or if not more. Full-fare tickets would be rare to be sold out especially in first class - check other dummy dates to see.

Not being on a TGV line Sallanches to Interlaken involves French regional train/bus to Geneva, then via Bern to Interlaken. Now the Swiss Pass may come into play as it would cover the Geneva to Interlaken train or or of course do it with the Half-Off thing which you can buy in Geneva.

Regional train Sallanches to Geneva are cheap and a flat fare pretty much I think.

There is however a dramatically more scenic way Sallanches to Interlaken - via Chamonix and the awesome Chamonix to Martigny, Switzerland scenic train (fully covered by a Swiss Pass or use the Half-Fare ticket from Chamonix on.
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Jun 27th, 2016, 01:56 PM
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https://www.google.com/search?q=cham...w=1745&bih=868

Pictures of the Chamonix to Martigny scenic railway- at Martignytake a train to nearby Visp and then thru the new tunnel to Spiez and change for Interlaken (Ost station not West if heading to the hills)- could be as quick from Sallanches via Chamonix and Martigny than via Geneva-Bern-Spiez and a whole lot more scenic.

Sallanches has direct trains to Chamonix that take 59 minutes (well almost direct you do have to change trains in St-Gervais-les-Bains due to track width (gauge) differences - from normal or standard gauge to narrow-gauge to navigate inclines and declines the train makes better and to go around sharper curves.
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Jun 29th, 2016, 08:14 AM
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Thank you so much PalenQ! I will look that up.
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Jun 29th, 2016, 10:02 AM
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I have not timed each route - via Geneva or via Chamonix/Martigny but bet that the time is not much different though the scenery is dramatically finer via Chamonix - the train also stops at the Aiguille de Midicable car station from where you can take one of the most thrilling aerial cable rides in the world - first up to Aiguille de Midi then across a sea of ice to Pte Heilbronner in Italy and back- the most awesome cable car ride I have ever taken -not for the squeamish!

https://www.google.com/search?q=aigu...HZmaAykQsAQIHg
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