Golden Pass route vs. Glacier Express

Golden Pass route vs. Glacier Express

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Posts: 4. This thread is closed.
azbudgies
azbudgies
6 posts
new member
Mar 19, 2016 - 9:47 PM

Four seniors traveling in early September 2016 from Geneva to Luzern wishing to experience the special scenery of Switzerland via the special trains available and are in a quandary as to the best route or train journey to take. I have read about the golden pass route, the 3 different trains and required transfers to go from Montreux to Luzern. I have read about the glacier express train, it's route from Zermatt to Chur and have several question I cannot find answers to. We can only do one of the two journeys, cannot do the entire glacier express route so was thinking Brig to Andermatt, then on to Luzern OR Brig to Chur, then on to Luzern, just to ride on part of the route and experience the Glacier Express. Alternatively take the Golden pass route to Luzern using the 3 trains. Question - is the 33 CHF seat fee required per ticket on the Glacier express no matter how far one rides, no matter where you get on or off?

What is your recommendation on which train or journey to take since we can do the entire Golden Pass route but would only be able to do a portion of the Glacier Express route, clearly the Glacier Express is more expensive, particularly if we must each pay the 33 CHF seat fee no matter the distance traveled. At this point we are not planning to purchase a Swiss Rail Pass. I have had difficulty using the timetable and fare portion of the schedule, it appears the Golden Pass Route only displays fares from 2015 so do need some help, please.

To summarize: Either route is fine for us; purely from a scenic perspective is one option better than the other for us as first time visitors, beginning in Geneva, ending in Luzern. Thank you so much. Nathan

Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 20, 2016 - 11:13 AM

Thanks for joining us Nathan!

If you're traveling from Geneva to Lucerne, the Golden Pass line makes much more sense than the Glacier Express. Of course both rides are different, but beautiful both in their own way. If you're happy with either ride, I'd simply pick the Golden Pass if I were you.

As for your further questions: the Glacier Express seat reservation fee is fixed indeed, regardless of the exact distance you're traveling. It's mentioned at our Glacier Express page. The timetable lists all current fares, including those for the Golden Pass. Note that you will have to enter a couple of via-stations like Zweisimmen and Meiringen,using the "Advanced search" option, to force the timetable to display the Golden Pass route. Otherwise it will automatically pick the most direct route between Montreux and Lucerne. Next, pick one of the connections displayed and click "Fare/Buy". Make sure to fill out the correct details, like "No reduction" as you'll be traveling without a rail pass.

azbudgies
azbudgies
6 posts
new member
Mar 21, 2016 - 12:56 PM in reply to Annika

Thank you Annika for the quick and thorough reply. Based on your response I looked further at the Golden Pass Timetable for our travel date of September 8th, Geneva to Lucerne and came up with a few additional questions. We will plan on the Panoramic train Montreux-Zweisimmen

1. Considering our travel date would it be a good idea to purchase tickets in advance or is it okay to buy once in Switzerland? If buying in advance your recommendation on how far in advance to buy.

2. If I read the schedule and fare information correctly the Montreux to Lucerne 2nd class fare is 75 CHF but the timetable recommends a seat reservation fee of 21 CHF each - your thoughts on the reservation for our date - good idea or not needed?

3. Looking at the connecting times and bearing in mind we will be carrying our luggage and we are seniors but are mobile seniors, it appears 5 to 10 minute connecting times are common for our 3 connections (Montreux, Zweisimmen and Interlaken). Should this be a problem - in the US it would never work and a connection would be missed for sure. Your thoughts -

Again - thank you for your time

Nathan

Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 21, 2016 - 5:57 PM

Hi Nathan!

1. Buying Golden Pass tickets in advance isn't necessary. Please refer to the "Tickets" section of our Golden Pass page.

2. The same goes for seat reservations: they're not obligatory, unless you'd like to try to reserve one of the few VIP seats that are available on some of the trains between Montreux and Zweisimmen. It's explained on the page I linked to as well.

3. The time for changing trains should be enough, even if you carry some luggage. Swiss trains generally ride very punctually. Most stations aren't that big, and in case of very short time frames, the connecting trains often leave right from the opposite platform. If you think traveling with luggage might still be inconvenient, you can see whether one of the SBB's luggage services fits your needs.

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