Thanks for the compliment.
<<"I arrive in Zurich day 1 Sept 7 and head straight for Appenzell, day 2 and 3 back to Lucerne ( hoping to do steamer and Rigi), then head day 4 to Lugano, staying overnight. Day 5 going to Pontresina for 2 nights where they have the Engadin card. Day 7 we move on to Zermatt for 2 nights then day 9 go to Bern for 3 nights and do day trips, then to Geneva for 2 nights then depart on 20th Sept in morning. (we will not get 15 days use from my calculation) and those passes are so dear!!">
You are doing a lot of traveling. Your itinerary includes quite a bit of time in cities. I tend to stay in the smaller towns and villages.... making sure that I have good public transport available. That is easy in Switzerland, even if the public transport in the more rural area has thinned out a bit, because so many people have cars these days.
And, it is rare to find a place where no English is spoken, although I don't know if they speak 'Strine, mate. Just joking....there are a lot of Aussies and New Zealanders traveling to Switzerland.
Certainly, your pattern of staying more than one night in almost every location makes a lot of sense. I'd favor Luzern over Bern, although Bern should not be missed. Luzern has the lake and nearby mountains.
If pressed for time, I'd (just my very personal opinion) eliminate Lugano or Geneva and add to Luzern. And, if i were staying two night on Lake Geneva (Lac Leman) , I'd favor Montreux over Geneva.
There is good train service to Geneva airport from Montreux. Four per hour. The ones at xx23 and xx48 take 1hr 16 or 1hr 21 minutes with no change of train.
Bern has a wonderful old town....which is only a few centuries old after a major fire and rebuild after 1405.
As written, you seem to have missed the Jungfrau region, although perhaps that is included in the day trips from Bern. Certainly, that is the single most well known and, in my opinion, spectacular region in all of Switzerland. It is certainly wise to have flexibility in the Bernese Oberland, because the weather..... clouds that can completely obscure viewing....can change rapidly. That is quite unpredictable more than 48 hours ahead of time....even 24 hours. The Alps make their own weather.
As a consequence, I'd stay at Interlaken (if you want to travel widely from that base). Bern is only about an hour from Interlaken Ost. Or, instead and much preferred, stay in one of the villages in the valley(s) - Grindelwald, Wengen, Mürren, or (on the valley floor) Lauterbrunnen.
If you travel there from Bern you are on the order of about an hour and a half or two hours from starting a journey up to the heights. The weather can shift unexpectedly in that time.
I like Wengen. Here is a little light reading about Wengen (and the region):
<<"I have booked most hotels except Lugano and 3rd day in Bern. I was thinking of stopping in Lauterbrunnen instead, but the thought of lugging bags is putting me off. I know you have to book the panoramic trips, but I am hoping from Sept 7 it won't be too busy.">>
I'm sorry to hear that an experienced traveler such as yourself is carrying so much luggage that it controls your ability to see some of the best scenery. Shame on you! ;-)
However, the Swiss have some help for you. There are various ways ( you might call them schemes) to deal with that. Luggage can be reliably sent ahead for various costs and with various timings. Interlaken Ost is one of the stations that participates in the faster luggage transfer schemes.
You could, for example, stay a night or two in the Jungfrau region while your heavy luggage goes ahead of you to Bern.
Also, Interlaken Ost is generously equipped with luggage lockers accessible 24 hours per day:
with 101 large and 36 small ones.
The left luggage offices at many stations are not open late, so if you are shipping luggage ahead, watch for that. You pick up shipped luggage at the left luggage offices.
At IO, the left luggage office is open from 0700 to 1830 seven days of the week.
At Bern: 0800 to 1900 on weekdays and Saturday, 1000 -1900 on Sunday.
I have used the luggage shipment services many times for large bags. When I used to travel to Switzerland on business, with holiday time afterwards, I'd have two sets of clothes/hiking boots, etc. or suits, etc, and ship one or the other to a country village or to the airport at the end of the trip. Completely reliable.
As with all things Swiss, you pay for good service, so keep an eye on the prices. I tend to use the slowest one.
The panoramic trip in the Jungfrau region that you must book is the one from Kleine Scheidegg up to Jungfraujoch. All others do not require reservations.
Do you have specific day trips in mind from Bern?
Why did you choose Lugano? Geneva? Do you have specifics in mind?