The St. Gotthard route goes south from Zürich, cuts through the pass tunnel, and heads into Bellinzona and Lugano. Side connections lead into Locarno from Brig, crossing the Simplon Pass and cutting through Italy. Swiss Pass travelers do not have to pay Italian rail fares to cross from Brig to Locarno via Domodossola and the Centovalli. Trains connect out of Zürich's airport and take about three hours to Lugano, Locarno, and Ascona; from Geneva, catch the Milan express, changing at Brig or Olten. For information contact the Swiss Federal Railway, here called the Ferrovie Federali Svizzere.
Secondary rail connections here are minimal and can make all but the most mainstream rail sightseeing a complicated venture; most excursions require some postbus connections. Nevertheless, there is a regional discount pass called the Ticino Discovery Card, available from the Ferrovie Autolinee Regionali Ticinesi. The pass is valid for the Lugano and Locarno areas and provides unlimited free travel for any three days in a seven-day period on buses and trains, and a 30%–50% discount on other days.
Ferrovie Federali Svizzere. 0900/300300; www.sbb.ch.