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Zermatt to Zurich on a Friday morning - do I need a reserved seat?

Zermatt to Zurich on a Friday morning - do I need a reserved seat?

Old Feb 22nd, 2012, 09:24 AM
  #1  
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Zermatt to Zurich on a Friday morning - do I need a reserved seat?

Hello,

I'm leaving for Zurich in week, and will travel to Zermatt (via Visp) by train. I have a first class rail pass for the Zurich to Visp train and 2nd class tickets for Visp up to Zermatt. I leave Zurich at 9:00 a.m. on a Friday. Should I try to purchase seat reservations for us (4 people) as it is at the tail end of rush hour and beginning of the weekend? Should I try to reserve for both trains?

I will not be able to do so until I arrive in Zurich, which is late the night before we leave.

Many thanks,
Chels
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Old Feb 22nd, 2012, 09:47 AM
  #2  
 
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No. You don't need a reservation in my opinion.

Stop worrying.

Even the early morning trains from Zurich HBH to Zurich Flughafen have empty seats.

And nobody in Switzerland would waste money on a first-class ticket. Second class is good enough.

All those people you see sitting in First Class?

They are all fat Americans.

Tschuss,
Pepper
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Old Feb 22nd, 2012, 10:00 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
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Well, it is a school holiday (for our part of Switzerland, anyway).

I suggest you go to www.sbb.ch and check the expected occupancy for the train you want to take - next to the specific train info you'll see one to three little human silhouettes. If there's three for the train you're thinking of catching, it means high occupancy and reservations wouldn't be a bad idea for a group of four. If there are only one or two silhouettes, then reservations aren't necessary.

For example, the 10:32 am train on Friday, March 2, from Zurich HB (main station, not airport station) to Visp shows very high occupancy in second class, probably groups, but low occupancy in first class. (it also shows possible construction delays on that trip). Earlier trains show two silhouettes. If you're on the earlier trains with moderate to high occupancy between Zurich and Visp, IMO, reservations aren't necessary but will make things easier - your choice. If occupancy is expected to be low (one silhouette) for the train you have in mind, then don't bother.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2012, 10:06 AM
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"And nobody in Switzerland would waste money on a first-class ticket. Second class is good enough.All those people you see sitting in First Class? They are all fat Americans"

Actually, many of them are commuters or business travelers. For example, my former boss, who now works in Zurich, was offered the choice of a car subsidy or a first class GAO (train pass). She went with the GAO. Whenever I travel on the train for business (which I do a lot), it's in first class - that's the default booking made by our corporate travel department. DH takes our cocker to Zurich once a month to see her oncologist at the University of Zurich veterinary cancer clinic and they always go first class - it's quieter and calmer for a blind, 13 yo English cocker.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2012, 12:22 PM
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But, correct me if I am wrong here, doesn't the Swiss Transportation Authority (or whatever it is called) anticipate things like school holidays and sporting events and add cars onto the trains?

For example, when I was in Wengen during the Jungfrau Marathon in September, I noticed that the train from Lauterbrunnen to Interlaken had more cars than usual on the Saturday of the Marathon.

And I know for a fact that there were MORE trains running than normal from Lauterbrunnen up to Wengen and Kleine Scheidegg on that day.

You would see three trains in a row all going up to Wengen at the same time.


Just sayin'

I can't see the OP being stranded in Visp.

But, hey, make reservations if you want to.

Tschuss,
Pepper
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Old Feb 22nd, 2012, 12:34 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
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Oh, and by the way....

Good for you that you sit in first class. Bravo! Well Done!

You know what they say:

"A fool and her money........"

Have a nice day.

Tschuss,
Pepper
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Old Feb 22nd, 2012, 02:36 PM
  #7  
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Thanks for the responses. The SBB rail site did show medium-level occupancy for the morning train to Visp that I plan on taking. I thought we could risk not having reservations to Visp, but was more concerned about Visp to Zermatt as we have 2nd class seats for that leg of the journey as it is not covered by the Rail pass. I was concerned that there may be a drove of weekenders, and we would spend that beautiful ride standing up.

Thanks for the input. I may just reserve Visp to Zermatt when we arrive in Zurich, and take my chances from Zurich to Visp.

@Pepper - Eurail Select Passes, which save quite a bit of money depending on your countries of travel, routes and plans, only come in first class. Many of the "fat Americans" that you see may actually be saving money.

@FoFoBT - When I travel for business, our corporate policy is also business or first class if travel is longther than 1.5 hours. I say enjoy it as much as you can - a lot of perks are disappearing.

Cheers,
Chels
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Old Mar 20th, 2012, 06:09 AM
  #8  
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Hello, all,

Just a quick update as a thank-you for your responses. I just returned from a lovely trip. As predicted, I did not need seat reservations. However, I must admit, first class on all the trains that I traveled was very full - and not with Americans. They were mostly older Swiss travelers or business commuters in first class.

One thing for which I was not prepared - it was "Sports week" in many countries. (Similar to Spring Break in the U.S.) The trains were loaded with kids, and Zermatt was very busy. Even with the heavy load of passengers, we still did not have a problem with train seats.

Many thanks for your responses and your help.

-Chels
Chels is offline  
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