Jan 9, 2015 - 9:19 AM
Welcome to MySwissAlps, DaniT!
I think you've composed a great itinerary. It includes some of Switzerland's most beautiful regions and wonderful scenic train trips. It is a bit hectic though, since quite some long train journeys are involved, and the time to explore the town or region you're staying in is limited. If you check traveling times in the timetable and find that the journeys are too long, you should focus on just one or two regions instead. But if you like train traveling and want to get a good impression of several Swiss regions, you should definitely stick to this plan. Of course many variations are possible, but you simply can't see all of Switzerland in 10 days. And I wouldn't add more traveling time to this schedule if I were you, e.g. to visit Lausanne as well.
Assuming your itinerary roughly stays the way is it now, I would advise to consider an 8 day Swiss Travel Pass for day 2-9. The first trip from Zurich to Lucerne is rather short and inexpensive. The last day spent in Zurich doesn't involve expensive traveling either. The 8 day Swiss Travel Pass would be convenient and would cover the transfers you mention. I assume you also plan to make some day trips from Lucerne and Zermatt. In that case, the Swiss Travel Pass will also provide free traveling (on trains, boats and buses) or provide a discount (mountain trains, cable cars). You'll be flexible too, which can come in handy during the days you spend in Lucerne, Interlaken or Zermatt: if weather over there is bad, you may want to travel elsewhere instead. If you want to make sure you pick the cheapest option, you should make calculations as explained here.
As for your further questions:
1) The difference between 1st and 2nd class is explained here. September isn't tourist high season anymore, so you shouldn't expect very full trains.
2) Yes, you can buy an upgrade ticket for 1st class if you have a 2nd class Swiss Travel Pass.
3) You're right, there are no senior discounts.
I hope this helps you to make further decisions!