Scenic trains, swiss pass/card,

Scenic trains, swiss pass/card,

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Posts: 13. This thread is closed.
tigervet
tigervet
9 posts
new member
May 26, 2010 - 11:18 PM
I will be travelling from Australia in about 2 weeks. I am looking at doing the Bernina and Glacier express.
I will travel from Chamonix to Brig to start with. According to the map, it says there is no 50% fare but in the product descripton for the Swiss car or pass, that it's included. So is it included, if not how much would the journey be and would I need to book in advance if travelling on Jul 17?

The Swiss pass does not seem to offer much of an advantage vs point to point tickets for the scenic trains according to the travel agent here. Even taking into account that I will be taking the scenic train at Junfrau on another day. The whole route from Chamonix through Brig, St Moritz to Tirano works out cheaper even with the booking fees included vs 3day pass. Doesn't make much sense to me? I thought the whole idea of a pass was to save money?

Also, if I stop over in St Moritz, can I then pick up whichever train in the morning-for example, can I book on the early train? The trains seem to stop at different points on the way to Tirano.
Arno
Arno
7329 posts
expert &
moderator
May 27, 2010 - 2:24 AM
Hi tigervet,

Welcome to the forum! The Swiss Pass grants free traveling on the section from Chamonix to Le Châtelard (the border) and further on to Brig. The section Chamonix - Le Châtelard is marked with a (2), which indicates that passes for half price traveling (e.g. the Swiss Half Fare Card) are not valid there.

In order to see whether a Swiss Pass is cheaper than point to point tickets, you should compare prices. These are the regular prices for the trips you mentioned:
  • Chamonix - Brig: CHF 55 (this is estimated: from the border to Brig is CHF 40.80, I added about CHF 15 for the French section)
  • St. Moritz - Tirano: CHF 29
  • Interlaken Ost - Jungfraujoch: CHF 181.80
With a Swiss Pass, this is what you would pay:
  • Chamonix - Brig: free
  • St. Moritz - Tirano: free
  • Interlaken Ost - Jungfraujoch - Interlaken Ost: CHF 111.75 (free to Wengen, 25% discount from there)
Have you planned more transfers? How will you travel from Brig to St. Moritz? By train as well? A pass can indeed save (a lot of) money, but it depends on the amount of traveling.
You can pick any train from St. Moritz to Tirano. Seat reservations are not required for most trains, except for the Bernina Express. The timetable shows whether you need to book a seat in advance for a particular train.
Last modified on Dec 28, 2014 - 4:35 PM by Arno
tigervet
tigervet
9 posts
new member
May 27, 2010 - 3:14 AM
Hello

Thanks for your response. As I mentioned, I want to do the Glacier and Bernina Express. This fills in the gap between Brig and St Moritz. The prices you quote are less than what I have been told-where is your pricing coming from and how do I book it to obtain same? Is getting the train from Chamonix to Brig likely to be a booking problem at that time of the year?
tigervet
tigervet
9 posts
new member
May 27, 2010 - 3:19 AM
Sorry, I also meant to ask what the price difference is to buy the Swiss pass in Europe vs buying one now, when I may not receive in time (travelling on Jun13)s
tigervet
tigervet
9 posts
new member
May 27, 2010 - 3:30 AM
I have just gone to look up trains from Brig and it does not say which is or not Glacier Express. How am I supposed to distinguish so I can actually compare prices and then know which I am booking?
tigervet
tigervet
9 posts
new member
May 27, 2010 - 4:11 AM
And...would the swiss pass cover the transport of a car to and from Zermatt?
tigervet
tigervet
9 posts
new member
May 27, 2010 - 10:12 PM
Hi again
After a bit more research which seems to confirm that the Swiss pass will in fact cost more than just point to point, it appears as though a Swiss 1/2 fare card might actually be ok if is valid for all of my Swiss travel. The part from Chamonix to Swiss border not covered, but looks like the rest of it is, including the GE and BE? The problem I now have is trying to obtain one as quickly as possible before leaving. Can you confirm that the 1/2 fare card will also be for Jungfrau?

If you would also be able to answer my other queries as soon as possible that would be great as running out of time and wanting to book the BE and GE legs in particular.
tigervet
tigervet
9 posts
new member
May 27, 2010 - 10:19 PM
Another question about the Swiss Card. Is it cheaper to buy in Switzerland than on the internet? And do I already need to be in possession of one to book the train journeys I want to use it on or will I just need to show it when I get there?
Arno
Arno
7329 posts
expert &
moderator
May 28, 2010 - 9:02 AM
Hi tigervet,

The prices I listed are from the timetable as explained here. These are the standard fares you would pay in Switzerland for any train on those routes. The only thing that can make those trips a bit more expensive are seat reservations, which you only need for popular panoramic and international trains. If, according to the timetable, seat reservations are not required for a particular train, you can just hop on with a valid rail pass or a regular ticket. Seat reservations are completely separate from tickets or passes. So you may book a seat even if you do not have a pass or ticket yet. As long as you have both a seat reservation and a valid ticket or pass once you board the train, all is fine.

As for buying a pass locally or in advance: the "How to purchase..." section on the Swiss Pass, Swiss Card and Swiss Half Fare Card pages lists the purchase options. Click the purchase link for Australia to see the current online prices. Whether a local purchase or online purchase is cheaper, depends on the current online prices, the current exchange rate and the current local prices. Pass delivery to Australia usually takes 5 days, but please check that while ordering, as it is different per supplier.

The pages of the various passes I just mentioned also have a link "Overview of the network..." to a detailed map showing exactly what's included. If a route is marked as included, any train (regular, Glacier Express, etc.) using that route is covered.

The timetable does make a difference between regular trains and Glacier Expresses: they're marked with "Schnellzug GLACIER EXPRESS". For example, the one leaving at 10:40 on June 28.

I'm not sure what you mean by "Would the Swiss Pass cover the transport of a car to and from Zermatt?" Would you like to have a car transported? That's possible, but not to and from Zermatt.

I hope this answers your questions. If not, just let me know!
Last modified on Dec 28, 2014 - 4:35 PM by Arno
tigervet
tigervet
9 posts
new member
May 28, 2010 - 9:53 AM
Hi again

Thanks for all the info. Yes, for part of the trip I will be with a car and I believe we need to get it to Tasch but we have to do part of that journey by train. I am wondering if it needs to be booked and whether the 1/2 fare card will cover any of the fees as I haven't had a chance to investigate it yet. We will be going from Interlaken.
Arno
Arno
7329 posts
expert &
moderator
May 28, 2010 - 10:09 AM
If you drive from Interlaken to Täsch, you will indeed need to use the Lötschberg car train between Kandersteg and Goppenstein. The Swiss Half Fare Card does not cover that. It's more like a ferry than a regular train. You can't book it in advance. You pay CHF 20 to 25 (depending on the day of the week) at the spot and drive your car on the first available train. Trains leave at least every 30 minutes. More information can be found on the BLS website.

In Täsch, you can park your car next to the rail station. Trains to Zermatt leave frequently and they're discounted with the Swiss Half Fare Card.
tigervet
tigervet
9 posts
new member
May 29, 2010 - 5:33 AM
Ok, that's great. Thanks.
Back to the Bernina Express...I'm figuring that accommodation in St Moritz will be really expensive. I have noted that others mention some places just north of St M but that don't seem to be stops on the BE trip. I am wondering if I can go to St Moritz and then back track on a different train, then go back again the next day to pick up the Bernina Express in St Moritz. And also if you have any suggestions about any of the other stops from Chur to St Moritz that are nice to stay.
Annika
Annika
4355 posts
expert &
moderator
May 30, 2010 - 4:18 AM
Hi tigervet, accommodation in St. Moritz can be expensive indeed. Cheaper options can be found in St. Moritz Bad, the district along the western/southern bank of the lake, but it's not very romantic there. You could indeed decide to spend the night elsewhere. Other towns, which are in fact stops along the Bernina Express route, are Pontresina, Samedan, Filisur and Bergün. All four of them are situated beautifully. Pontresina and Samedan are in the Engadine withs its snow-capped mountain tops. Filisur and Bergün are small towns to the north, embedded in a friendly green landscape. Filisur is close to the famous Landwasser viaduct, crossed by both the Bernina Express and Glacier Express. There's a hotel right next to the railway station there.

Another option would be to choose a town which isn't a stop on the Bernina Express, but can easily be reached from St. Moritz. Examples are Bever and La Punt; both require only a short train ride to St. Moritz or Pontresina, where you could get on the Bernina Express.

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