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Boarding time for Swiss trains before departure


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TravelElla
TravelElla
73 posts
active member
Jun 30, 2022 - 7:17 PM

Good day MSA Forum members

With all the info regarding the punctuality of departure times for Swiss trains, what is the time-duration for a train being at a platform between arrival and departure time? For instance, if the departure time of the train is 9h46, from what time is that train then already there at the platform so that one can board the train?

Secondly, I have heard from a family member, who had visited Switzerland earlier this year, that the doors of the trains are closing 1 minute before the actual departing time. There are buttons to press to open the doors again, but this takes time, and so it can happen that you miss a train by one minute. So if you have really only a few minutes to change trains/platforms (especially with luggage), how realistic is it to be in time for such a departure?

Your input and feedback regarding these matters will be very helpful.

Thank you

TravelElla

Ildiko
Ildiko
2528 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 30, 2022 - 7:37 PM in reply to TravelElla

Hi TravelElla,

the time between the arrival and departure is usually a few minutes, depending on the train route and the station size.
Yes, there are buttons to push if the doors are closed.

It has never happened to me that I missed the train as there wasn't enough time to get on - and I used to travel with bags and a baby buggy, so I was quite slow, trust me :)

Make sure to arrive in time to the train station, I like to arrive there 10 mins before the departure, so I can still check the platform on the billboard and not just in the app. And I have enough time to get to the platform.

If you are worrying because of the short connection times, you do not have to. It is part of the efficient train system. And in most cases, the platforms are close to each other. You can read about this here: www.myswissalps.com/train/practical/howtotravel.

Is there any particular change that concerns you?

Ildiko

TravelElla
TravelElla
73 posts
active member
Jun 30, 2022 - 9:02 PM in reply to Ildiko

Hello Ildiko

Thank you very much for your feedback and reassuring regarding my questions.

My planning to be at the train stations and to get the platform, is mostly with more than enough time prior to the scheduled departure time on the SBB timetable.

I am not so worried about the days that we are going to do sightseeing (only with a backpack), because one can move quicker without a suitcase :)

My 3 main concerns are:

1. Küssnacht am Rigi Train station to change to the Bus (with luggage) - 5 min change time (regarding the google photo's it is really close to one another, only down the subway and up the stairs to the bus stop)

2. Interlaken Ost Train station to change Platforms - 7 min change time from Platform 2A/2B to Platform 7 (with luggage)

3. Zweisimmen - 3 min change time from Platform 7 to Platform 5 - with luggage: only 1 medium size suitcase per person :)

Otherwise, we can catch an earlier train in Spiez at 9:38 / arrival time Zweisimmen at 10:20 (Platform 12) - then it is 40 minutes before the 11:02 PE Train departs from Zweisimmen to Montreux .

Please advise on the above.

Greetings

TravelElla

1960man
1960man
4408 posts
expert
Jun 30, 2022 - 10:08 PM in reply to TravelElla

I think you are worrying unnecessarily.

Getting on and off trains in Switzerland is no different to any other country, and the service is famously efficient. The time a train gets to a platform depends - as with all trains - on what station you are at and if the train is calling briefly at an intermediate station or stopping at a terminus before forming a new service.

At the change points you mention, the times are designed to be achievable by all travellers - including those with heavy luggage, skis, climbing equipment etc. All three station you mention are really quite small, especially Kussnacht am Rigi

As I've mentioned before in many of my posts , take a moment to think how long - say - 5 minutes is. A good experiment is to sit at home and time 5 minutes on a timepiece or stopwatch - it is longer than you imagine, then think how far you can actually walk in that time - it is further than you might think.

Arno
Arno
15694 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 1, 2022 - 5:16 AM

On small stations, a train may arrive 30 seconds before departure. Once the doors close, it will departs seconds later. As mentioned above, it's all very efficient usually.

I've done all 3 connections you mentioned and never missed one if the arriving train was more or less on time. If a train is very late it might be different but that's rare.

Last modified on Jul 1, 2022 - 5:19 AM by Arno
TravelElla
TravelElla
73 posts
active member
Jul 1, 2022 - 8:12 AM in reply to 1960man

Hello 1960man

Thank you for your feedback, I really appreciate it.

Yes, 5 minutes sounds very short connecting time, but in real life, I walk 400m - 500m in 5 minutes during my morning walks :) so I do believe you!

Greetings

TravelElla

TravelElla
TravelElla
73 posts
active member
Jul 1, 2022 - 8:14 AM in reply to Arno

Hello Arno

Thank you for your answer and first hand experience with these mentioned connections.

We are looking forward to use the Swiss Railway system!

Greetings

TravelElla

carlthewebmaster
carlthewebmaster
5 posts
new member
Jul 1, 2022 - 8:03 PM

We've transferred from Train to Bus and back with lots of luggage, stroller, etc. at Kussnacht many times. I'd call the connecting time about 1-2 minutes easy. I can say also that there's both a ramp and stairs for the train platform and for the bus/main station side.

EASW
EASW
57 posts
active member
Jul 1, 2022 - 8:19 PM

Just wanted to chime in on my husband’s and my experiences so far in using the Swiss transport system. Up until yesterday, timetables and connections had been flawless. However, yesterday at the Spiez station we were to make the connecting train to Visp. I noted 8 minutes before it was supposed to arrive that the SBB app posted there was a platform change, so we went to that platform and the train never arrived. Seeing that the announcement on that platform never reflected the train arriving, I grew concerned and even asked a local resident who confirmed that per the app there had been a platform change. I still don’t what happened. Another issue is that at the Spiez station there was no monitor on the platform displaying the updated status of all the incoming trains and no SBB agent on the platform to ask. We had to wait an hour for the next train which delayed us in getting to Zermatt.

Also in transferring to the connecting train in Visp, we had to go from platform 7 to 3; we were supposed to have six minutes, but our train arrived a couple minutes late at the station and with several other trains all emptying at the same time, it was a very close connection to get down and up the ramps with luggage in tow; the doors literally closed behind us as we got on and the train took off immediately.

I am not relaying in any other way but as precautionary to check the app frequently for updates and ask for clarification, if needed. Having to make quick decisions with an unfamiliar process can cause problems. I still wish I understood what happened with that train in Spiez.

1960man
1960man
4408 posts
expert
Jul 1, 2022 - 9:56 PM in reply to EASW

The situation at Spiez sounds very unusual - and odd. Personally I would warn against using an app, over watching the station indicators and listening for announcements, or indeed simply watching for the train coming in from the north. I use Spiez station often and the train to Visp is always very obvious. I have never known it depart from any platform other than 3 or 4

Last modified on Jul 1, 2022 - 9:57 PM by 1960man
Anna
Anna
3924 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 2, 2022 - 6:46 AM in reply to EASW

Hi EASW,

Thanks for sharing your experience travelling on Swiss trains. Sometimes delay or last minute changes do happen. In most cases these would be conveyed over the PA system onboard and reflected on the timetable as well. But yes, there had been a few times I missed a connection as well because of sudden changes in the timetable.

Hope the rest of your trip went smoothly.

Regards,

Anna

EASW
EASW
57 posts
active member
Jul 2, 2022 - 10:11 AM in reply to 1960man

the original platform was 4; it was changed to 2. The train we got on an hour later was also on 2. The only display on the platform was for the incoming train on that track. We should have checked the train updates on the monitor in the tunnel between the tracks when we were switching platforms. By the time I thought about it, it was too late.

Last modified on Jul 2, 2022 - 10:12 AM by EASW
TravelElla
TravelElla
73 posts
active member
Jul 5, 2022 - 7:26 AM in reply to carlthewebmaster

Hello carlthewebmaster

Thank you for this reply regarding connection at Küssnacht am Rigi between Train/Bus.

Good to hear that this will work easy due to first hand experience of fellow travellers.

Greetings

TravelElla

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