High occupancy levels on airport trains

High occupancy levels on airport trains

Share this page on Facebook Share this page on Google+ Share this page on Twitter Print this page
Create an account to receive an e-mail when someone replies to this thread
Posts: 15. This thread is closed.
debflint
debflint
19 posts
new member
Jul 5, 2015 - 9:13 AM

Hi,

Our outline travel plans are to travel from Geneva Airport to Wengen. We're staying in Wengen for 10 days before we return to Geneva. We are a family with 2 young kids (aged 3 & 6) and have already purchased a half fare card. Whilst we're in Wengen we plan to travel around by train & cable car but haven't yet decided where to go.

We're travelling from Geneva Airport to Wengen on a Monday afternoon in August. When checking the ticket price on the Ticket Shop it shows that there is high to very high occupancy expected on our ideal train time. Would you suggest buying a ticket in advance to ensure space for us and our luggage?

Also some of the connections in the journey (at Bern, Spiez and Interlaken) only have 5 minutes between trains. Seeing as we will have 2 young kids and heavy suitcases this time seems tight. Are swiss trains generally very punctual? If we miss our connections, would our ticket still be valid on the next available train?

Thanks in advance

Debbie

Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 5, 2015 - 1:48 PM

Hi Debbie,

Which date and time are you planning to take a train from Zurich airport?

debflint
debflint
19 posts
new member
Jul 5, 2015 - 7:09 PM in reply to Annika

We travel from Geneva airport to Wengen on Monday 17th August, leaving Geneva around 1.30 - 2pm. I can only see up to 30 days in advance so I checked the train times for Monday 3rd August to see what the times/fares would be. These were the ones that said high occupancy expected.

Thanks

swisscat
swisscat
18 posts
new member
Jul 5, 2015 - 11:46 PM in reply to debflint

We made the same journey (last Wednesday in July, slightly earlier in the day) last year, albeit with 3 x 14+ 'children' and are returning this year but via Basel, funnily enough we nearly had flights on 17th. I too wondered about occupancy levels and debated about paying for 1st class to avoid the problem, however when it came to it there was no need and we managed to get seats together on all trains. The connections were no problem although I have to admit I was glued to the SBB fahrplan page beforehand so I knew where I was going! If the worst comes to the worst then , yes, the tickets are valid for the day regardless of which time train you take, You can get a print out from the ticket machine at the station but to be more honest this was more hassle than anything else - print it at home before you go. It sounds obvious but when travelling with little ones it's best to decide who will be looking after which children before you set off!

Where are you staying in Wengen? Depending on where you plan to visit and your budget I would thoroughly recommend the 6 day Jungfrau pass (or maybe in your case the 8 day Bernese Oberland pass? I don't know too much about that one) worth its weight in gold for not having to buy tickets each time, also it didn't seem too reckless to go somewhere for a short while as it was already paid for.

Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 6, 2015 - 8:07 AM in reply to debflint

Hi Debbie,

Sorry, you indeed said Geneva Airport, not Zurich. The train from the airport won't be a problem as that's where the train starts, so it will be empty. Trains from Bern to Interlaken can be quite full, but as swisscat said, in reality things can also be better than expected. I would recommend to check again within 30 days before your trip to see the actual occupancy expectations for your travel date. One train can be much better than another. First class can help, although with children that's not always a good idea as many travelers expect a quiet working environment in first class. What also helps sometimes is to board in the head or tail of the train, if the majority of travelers is waiting in the middle of the platform. Displays on the platform show you where first and second class carriages will be located once the train pulls into the station, so you can anticipate.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2653 posts
expert
Jul 6, 2015 - 7:22 PM in reply to debflint

I looked at the schedules. I checked the arrival and departures tracks at Bern and Spiez.

You'll have 8 minutes, not 5 minutes, at Bern and I.O.

4 minutes is a"normal" allowance.

Iif you are worried about Bern, stick to the middle of the train. The pedestrian transfer tunnel is near the middle of the station. It is not a "terminal' where the trains reach a dead end and have to reverse.

Spiez looks like a short connection, short, but I looked up the tracks. There are maps on the SBB web site

www.sbb.ch/content/dam /infrastruktur/trafima ge/bahnhofplaene/plan-spiez-a4.pdf

As I suspected from the short connecting time, the trains are on opposite sides of one platform. You'll need to walk 20 feet. Get up with your bags and stand by the exit doors before you arrive if you want to be fast off the incoming.

Don't dawdle, and manage the kids at the stations.

I.O might be tight- used to be that there were narrow stairs/tunnel/ slow tourists/ luggage etc.

You will have to use the tunnel - tracks 2 and 8....

www.sbb.ch/content/dam /infrastruktur/trafima ge/bahnhofplaene/plan-interlaken-ost-a4.pdf

Trains run every 30 minutes...if you miss one, no big deal.

As you go up the hill from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen, sit on the right. When you near Wengen station, don't fiddle with your luggage like everyone else does. look out the window. With clear weather, you see the attached image.

Please login to see the attached documents
debflint
debflint
19 posts
new member
Jul 6, 2015 - 8:09 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Wow - amazing view Slowpoke! Thanks also for your detail on the transfers for our journey. We feel much more informed & confident about it now.

Thanks also to Annika and Swisscat. We're staying in a self catering chalet in Wengen, and will probably get the Jungfrau pass.

Really looking forward to our trip!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2653 posts
expert
Jul 6, 2015 - 8:42 PM in reply to debflint

<<"Wow - amazing view Slowpoke! Thanks also for your detail on the transfers for our journey. We feel much more informed & confident about it now.">>

As Swiss cat said-

write down or printout the track numbers and times, for Bern and IO. Bern might change, IO is unlikely too. Bern is a big and busy station, but it moves people quickly to and from the tracks you will be worried about.

You are welcome. It is rare to have weather clear enough to get that view, which was taken from below and a bit outside the north end of the village, near the train tracks.

Here's a view of Wengen that I expect you will see.

Please login to see the attached documents
andrew
andrew
27 posts
active member
Jul 10, 2015 - 4:09 PM in reply to debflint

Hi Debbie,

If you want to be really picky sit at first on the left side of the train facing forward when leaving Lauterbrunnen and if possible swap over to the right after -or even in- the semi-spiral tunnel.

Also, I don't think anyone has said it already but make sure you get on the front half of the train at I.O. The rear portion goes to Grindelwald!

Have a great time in Wonderful Wengen.

Andrew

debflint
debflint
19 posts
new member
Jul 13, 2015 - 10:23 AM

Loving the detail! Thanks all.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2653 posts
expert
Jul 13, 2015 - 12:34 PM in reply to debflint

<<"Also, I don't think anyone has said it already but make sure you get on the front half of the train at I.O. The rear portion goes to Grindelwald!">>

I wonder if that is always the case. Last time I was there, my train did not split at Zweilütschinen; all of it went from IO to Lauterbrunnen.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2653 posts
expert
Jul 13, 2015 - 12:47 PM in reply to debflint

The ability to manage detail before you get there, and count on it working, is one of the pleasures of travel in Switzerland. The Swiss work hard to make travel convenient for tourists.

For example, the free luggage carts at the airport go up and down escalators with a full load of luggage.

Here are a few links to provide more detail for your enjoyment.

You already have use the SBB timetable.

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable,

and ,

map.geo.admin.ch/?X=163882.59&Y=638522.7 6&zoom=4&lang=en&topic =ech&bgLayer=ch.swisst opo.pixelkarte-farbe&layers_timestamp =18651231&layers=ch.sw isstopo.zeitreihen&lay ers_visibility=false,

and,

www.wanderland.ch/en/h iking-in-switzerland.html

and,

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/tips-about-wengen-and-the-jungfrau-region-by-kim

Enjoy! ;-)

Slowpoke

andrew
andrew
27 posts
active member
Jul 13, 2015 - 1:10 PM in reply to debflint

What Slowpoke says is technically true: occasionally whole trains go only to either Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald but if any train is indicated as going to Lauterbrunnen you'll always be OK if you sit in the front portion. Common sense, with the help of a bit of homework, will see you through.

Andrew

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2653 posts
expert
Jul 13, 2015 - 3:40 PM in reply to Slowpoke

As long as you like detail -

I quote from Arno -

<<"First class can help, although with children that's not always a good idea as many travelers expect a quiet working environment in first class.">>

In fact, on main line trains there are usually some "Silent" first class cars. They have a fair number of signs, and if you start talking loudly, or on your phone in one of those, someone is likely to call your attention to the signs. If your kids don't read German, they would be unlikely to see and understand the signage.

It is not a bad idea to obey the rules in Switzerland. ;-)

A friend rode to Interlaken a few years ago, probably from Bern, and one of the double decker cars had a modest playground for kids on the upper level. Keep your eyes open. Don't know much about them.

gondolaproject.com/201 1/11/08/childrens-playground-on-commuter-train/

For kids the age of yours, there are a substantial number of excellent playgrounds around Switzerland.

The one up above Wengen at Männlichen is especially nice because it is "on top of the world."

I think there is one partway down on the series of lifts going to Grindelwald from Männlichen, but I've not looked for it personally.

If you are in Luzern, check out the major playground at the Lido next to the Transit Museum ( Verkehrshaus.)

www.myswitzerland.com/ en-us/lakeside-lido.html

livinginluzern.info/20 12/01/05/free-access-to-lido-playground-in-the-winter/

Slowpoke

Last modified on Jul 13, 2015 - 3:41 PM by Slowpoke
Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 13, 2015 - 4:13 PM

ALL SWISS RAIL PASSES

Find out how the several passes work, what they cost and where to buy.

More

HOW TO PICK THE BEST PASS

Having trouble finding the right rail pass? Learn how to pick the one that best fits your plans.

More

THINGS TO DO IN SWITZERLAND

Suggestions for day trips and hiking trails in the Swiss Alps.

More

THE HOTELS WE SUGGEST

Browse the hotels that we like. Budget hotels, hotels near the rail stations, mid class hotels, luxurious 5-star hotels, airport hotels and more.

More

More on MySwissAlps.com

Swiss tips in your mailbox

Sign up to receive our newsletter and the latest forum messages. The best way to prepare for your trip!

Sign up

Get a customized itinerary for your trip

Let Swiss travel consultants create a customized itinerary. They can arrange for your entire trip.

More
© MySwissAlps.com 2002-2016