Switzerland "Special Train" timetable confusion

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swissman
swissman
6 posts
new member
Jun 14, 2018 - 3:52 PM

Hi, I am planning a trip around the end of April thru first of May, 2019, and I can't seem to be clear about two sections of our trip:

1) Based on the timetable for the Gotthard Pass Train from Luzern to Lugano, it leaves a little before noon, and arrives 5.5 hrs later? So, three is no way to go early and come back the same day, vis the express train? if so, any suggestions on reasonable accommodations for a party of 3-4 couples.

2) I have been trying to find dates of operations for the cheese train from Weisimmen to Montreux. One site indicates December to April, another January to March? Totally confused, and can't find the ticket costs. If operating during April, does it require reservations like the train?

Thanks so much for any help

1960man
1960man
593 posts
top member
Jun 14, 2018 - 10:57 PM in reply to swissman

The cheese train ran Jan - March 2018. No idea when it will run in 2019.

Regarding the Gotthard, there is no need to use the special train if it doesn't suit your timings, there is a regional train service over the Gotthard mountain route every hour. Journey time over the mountain route Erstfeld - Bellinzona is 1.5 hours. There are faster trains through the bas tunnel.

The problem is that the romance has gone from the Gotthard mountain route because all the main rail traffic now goes through the base tunnel. Part of the romance of the mountain route was your train interacting with a busy mixture of long distance international trains carrying passengers between northern and southern Europe, and huge freight trains carrying all manner of goods between Germany and Italy. Seeing these trains above or below you on spirals or loops but then not passing the train until up to 10 minutes later was the fascination.

swissman
swissman
6 posts
new member
Jun 14, 2018 - 11:51 PM in reply to 1960man

Thanks, 1960man, that explained why I was not finding the info I needed. I assume the Cheese Train is available in 2019 only if there is enough interest?

That was a great help!

rockoyster
rockoyster
3979 posts
expert
Jun 15, 2018 - 2:31 AM in reply to swissman

Hello Swissman,

The Cheese Train runs: OPERATING PERIODS MAY–JUNE: MONDAY TO THURSDAY JULY – AUGUST: EVERY DAY SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER: MONDAYS, WEDNESDAYS AND THURSDAYS

You can take the Gotthard Panorama Express from Luzern to Lugano and take a fast train back on the same day. Or you can go the other direction (fast to Lugano or Belliinzona and slow back).

The Gotthard Panorama Express only starts running towards the end of April (it was 21 April this year). See also www.sbb.ch/en/leisure-holidays/ideas/offer.h tml/zuege/gotthard-panorama-express.

Removed user
Removed user
0 posts
new member
Jun 15, 2018 - 6:30 AM in reply to swissman

Hi swissman,

>> I assume the Cheese Train is available in 2019 only if there is enough interest?

The Cheese Train will be running between 4 Jan and 31 Mar 2019 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only.

Alpenrose

Arno
Arno
11272 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 15, 2018 - 10:00 AM

Hi Swissman,

You can certainly do the Gotthard Panorama Express as a day trip: see "Gotthard Panorama Express as a day trip from one base" on www.myswissalps.com/go tthardpanoramaexpress/ gettingthere.

In your case you would arrive in Lugano at 16.38. You can take InterCity trains back to Luzern, where you arrive about 2 hours later. A walk in Lugano is worth it, but if you don't want to make your day that long you can also consider to only go as far as Bellinzona and go back to Luzern from there. The Bellinzona-Lugano leg is not the highlight of the route anyway.

Have fun!

swissman
swissman
6 posts
new member
Jun 15, 2018 - 4:21 PM in reply to Arno

Thanks rockoyster, Alpenrose666, and Arno,

I know each of you are experts, and I really appreciate the comments. But let me see if I understand some things. The Cheese Train will be running in 2019 from Jan - Mar on weekends, then May (date?) - Sept at different days of the week. I assume I can purchase reservations and/or tickets on MOB Panoramic, but it was not clear about which was the Cheese Train. I will look further into that.

Then about the Gotthard Panoramic Train, the previous times I mentioned are correct. Is there any big difference in this train over the regional train 1960man mentioned? Arno, you mentioned an overnight stay, which looks like a good option now. Is Lugano better to stay and visit, or Belliinzonia? Also, to understand you correctly, an intercity train goes from Lugano to Luzern in around 2 hours via the new bas tunnel?

Thanks again for all of the expert advice from each of you! You have helped clarify the Swiss train system.

Arno
Arno
11272 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 15, 2018 - 8:14 PM in reply to swissman

Hi Swissman,

Actually I meant to stay a few hours in Lugano and travel back the same evening, may be after dinner. But an overnight stay is a good idea if that fits your plans. The fast trains back indeed go via the long base tunnel. Not scenic but very fast. To reach Luzern you'd normally change in Arth-Goldau.

If you stay overnight then Bellinzona is an option if you like castles (there are 3) or if you prefer another scenic train route back the next day: Bellinzona - Locarno - Domodossola - Brig - Spiez - Interlaken - Luzern. In other cases I'd stay in Lugano. There's more to see in town and you could take one of the two funiculars up the mountain, and/or do a boat trip before you travel back.

1960man
1960man
593 posts
top member
Jun 15, 2018 - 11:35 PM

I prefer Bellinzona to Lugano. Nice town centre and three extensive castles.

You get the same views from the regional train over the Gotthard mountain route and it is much easier to choose train times

1960man
1960man
593 posts
top member
Jun 15, 2018 - 11:40 PM in reply to rockoyster

The schedules and link rockoyster posted are to the Chocolate train (Gruyere and Broc) not the cheese train (Chateaux d'Oex).

Confusingly, the chocolate train includes cheese...

Last modified on Jun 15, 2018 - 11:41 PM by 1960man
Arno
Arno
11272 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 16, 2018 - 5:13 AM

By the way, from Lugano you could take the Bernina Express back too. So many options!

swissman
swissman
6 posts
new member
Jun 16, 2018 - 6:07 PM in reply to Arno

Thanks Arno, you have been very helpful, and have given me some great options.

Also, thanks to 1960man. You mentioned the Cheese Train is also the Chocolate Train between Gruyere and Broc. That does not seem to be the same train as the one between Zweisimmen and Montreux, right? It leaves Zweisimmen at 10:45 AM, and arrives back there at 16:52 PM that same day. It goes to Château-d'Œx, so that may be a different train than the Chocolate Train?

Thanks again to all of the comments and help. All of you have been such great help!

1960man
1960man
593 posts
top member
Jun 16, 2018 - 10:59 PM in reply to swissman

Yes, that's right - two different offers visiting different cheese places.

Last modified on Jun 16, 2018 - 10:59 PM by 1960man
rockoyster
rockoyster
3979 posts
expert
Jun 16, 2018 - 11:05 PM in reply to swissman
swissman
swissman
6 posts
new member
Jun 17, 2018 - 3:42 PM in reply to rockoyster

Thanks to both of you for clarification and the links for each. You have been very helpful. This will help a lot in planning our trip.

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