trains in Switzerland

Old Jul 26th, 2005, 05:52 AM
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trains in Switzerland

Five adults will be going to Switzerland and we're not sure which train pass to get there. We're traveling from Geneva to Grindelwald, from Grindelwald to Lucerne, Lucerne to Zermatt, and back to Geneva to fly home. The passes in the books comfuse us and we're not sure which to purchase. Our trip will be 9 days long.
MarieMarchesi is offline  
Old Jul 26th, 2005, 06:08 AM
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Hi MarieMarchesi,

Go to the Swiss Rail website at Put in each of your journeys, then price each out as if you were going to purchase tickets. Be sure to note the half-fare prices too. When you're done, you can compare these point-point prices with the passes available to see which would be cheaper. I've found that the cheapest route for me is the Half-Fare Card, which costs 99 chf and then you pay only half fare for each journey.

swandav2000 is online now  
Old Jul 26th, 2005, 06:10 AM
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ps, please note that two travellers travelling together each get 15% off the fares.

swandav2000 is online now  
Old Jul 26th, 2005, 06:41 AM
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I think a major factor in your decision is the extent to which you plan to ride mountain cableways. With the Swiss pass these are discounted at 25% and with the Swiss card, they are discounted 50%.

Your train trips with the pass on the regular SBB trains are of course included in the cost of the pass; with the cARD you pay half. But a pass valid over 9 days is not cheap.

If you have the CARD, the trip from Geneva to Grindelwald is built-in to the cost of the card as your inward journey. Your outward journey is also built-in.

I have used only the card because of what I do when I am there.

To add to the mix, there are regional passes, but for as much as you are changing locations I think a Swiss-wide pass would be indicated.

It really becomes a question of multiple criterion optimization with one huge constraint: You cannot predict the weather. A trip to the Jungfraujoch on a cloudy day is not a good idea in my book. I can ride up part way and look at clouds much more cheaply.

One good thing about the rail passes, you initiate the day by writing it in with a pen.

I had a Swiss card this year, and rode in from Munich. Before I got to the Swiss border, I wrote in the date. The conductor checked the card and that was sufficient. The first time I had one, we went to the ticket office in the rail station to have our card initialized. The agent handed me a ballpoint pen.

The 8 day pass is 261 chf.
The 15 day one is 3650 chf
The Card is 174 chf for 1 month.

The price list is in a pdf file and is a little hard to find. I had to buzz around trying to locate the rascal, but it is there. The hot spot is on the right of the screen.

The site initially pops up in German, but English is an option.
Then you can use the search function to find the right spot.

Try this spot. It is in English and you will see the bold faced caption Download on the right of the screen with prices under it.
bob_brown is offline  
Old Jul 26th, 2005, 06:52 AM
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And if you have any problems or questions, don't hesitate to send an email to SBB because they are really helpful. Someone will return your email not later than two days. Their customer service is really good (unlike the French rail site's).
francophile03 is offline  
Old Jul 26th, 2005, 06:54 AM
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Make that cost for the 15 day pass 361 chf for two people or more together,

The 8 day one is 298, same conditions. I must have been looking at it cross eyed. (not an uncommon occurrence.)

At any rate, look at the pdf file. It has all the prices in all the possible configurations.
bob_brown is offline  
Old Jul 26th, 2005, 11:16 AM
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The Swiss system includes trains, busses, and boats, all of which are very clean and amazingly prompt, so I always choose second class fares. So to get from A to B you might end up taking a train, then a boat, then a bus.

They are also relatively inexpensive. Geneva to Grindelwald, for example, second class, is about 73CF, or about $51US, but would be only half that with the half fare card, which I favor for longer periods, as the passes that would cover 9 days, for example, can be fairly costly.

I would suggest you also give some consideration to planning your routes. When I looked up the cost, above, they routed from Geneva to Bern to Interlaken, to Grindelwald. That may be the quickest and cheapest routing, but much of the scenery is very mundane. If you specify Geneva to Grindelwald via Gstaad, you may pay a little more, and take a little longer, but you will be going through some beautiful country passing over the mountains above Montreux, well worth, in my opinion, extra time and money.

If you find a pass that costs just a bit more than point to point tickets, I would get the pass, as it gives you a lot of flexibility in adding trips at no increase in cost, and you don't have to enter the station to buy tickets, you can just board the train.

Enjoy your trip.
clevelandbrown is offline  
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