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German rail strike impact on trains booked via SBB


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Posts: 13 
kim11
kim11
531 posts
top member
Aug 31, 2021 - 7:49 AM

We (fully vaccinated from US) are scheduled to arrive in Switzerland from Germany via train on 4 September. German train drivers union have announced strike from 1 Sept to 7 Sept. I am holding tickets purchased from SBB as follows:

Friedrichshafen to Basel IRE 3042

Basel to Interlaken ICE 275

I can't tell if the IRE and the ICE we are booked on are SBB trains or DB trains. My questions for you good and knowledgable people:

1. Are these SBB or DB trains? How can I find out?

2. If SBB trains does the German rail strike impact them?

3. If these are DB trains (so highly likely to be impacted/cancelled), how can I find out from SBB the status? I have been searching SBB website and cannot find any contact information other than a general customer service phone number. I would prefer to contact them via email as then I will have better "proof" of the reply I receive.

Thanking you in advance!

Anna
Anna
1469 posts
top member &
moderator
Aug 31, 2021 - 1:43 PM in reply to kim11

Hi Kim11,

The strike will impact on long distance train travel in Germany. Your trip from Friedrichschafen to Basel may be delayed or restricted. But from Basel onwards, your trip won't be affected. You can use the SBB timetable to check the status of your train connection. I assume where trains are not in operation during this strike, there will be buses to transport passengers. You can check the Deutsche Bahn website for updates, and use the online contact form if you need further clarification: www.bahn.com/en/contact

www.bahn.com/en/booking-information/streik

Regards,

Anna

kim11
kim11
531 posts
top member
Aug 31, 2021 - 2:04 PM in reply to Anna

Thank you Anna!

I have learned (as you suggest) that the train from Friedrichschafen to Basel is indeed operated by DB. It is not yet possible to learn if that train will be cancelled.

I have also learned that it is possible to book trains from Bodensee area originating in either Konstanz or Romanshorn that are entirely under SBB operation.

I was on the phone with an SBB support agent for nearly an hour. As one might expect, there is lots of confusion and uncertainty for everyone around this strike (let alone Covid, my goodness!) One very valuable piece of information I learned from the agent is that while it is not possible to learn from the SBB site which trains are under SBB vs DB operation, one can learn that from the bahn.de site (under "Details").

Rather than wait to learn if the first leg of our journey is cancelled by DB I have decided to cancel our original tickets and book travel from Konstanz to Interlaken.

Anna
Anna
1469 posts
top member &
moderator
Aug 31, 2021 - 5:16 PM in reply to kim11

Hi Kim11,

Glad you managed to speak to a support agent and get more details. Thanks for sharing the information! I'm sure someone from the forum will find them useful too.

Have a smooth trip and hope everything goes well for you.

Regards,

Anna

Annika
Annika
6579 posts
expert &
moderator
Sep 6, 2021 - 12:50 PM in reply to kim11

Hi Kim! By now you should be in Switzerland, if everything turned out as planned. I hope your inbound journey through Germany was relatively smooth, in spite of the strike. I wish you a wonderful stay and I hope you'll enjoy every bit of the holidays in your beloved Jungfrau region :-).

kim11
kim11
531 posts
top member
Sep 6, 2021 - 1:51 PM

Thank you Anna and Annika!

Yes, we made it to Switzerland with no problems whatsoever. We arrived Saturday 4 Sept. It was a full day - taxi, car ferry, 5 different trains -- but thanks to the fabulous Swiss rail system we made every connection. Even though we had connections as short as 5 mins. And that's with two backpacks and four suitcases! Amazing.

The weather in Wengen is glorious since we arrived. It is not nearly as busy here as we have become accustomed to. Have yet to see any large tour groups. Usually the village and surrounding area is chock full of groups. Masks are of course required in all inside areas (hotels, restaurants, shops, bars, grocery stores, etc) and on all public transportation. However it seems any requirement for FPP2 masks has gone away. Most everyone are wearing the basic medical masks (this was also true in Germany other than in very crowded restaurants and beer halls)

Things are very quiet at Kleine Scheidegg, it's not completely overrun as it has been for many years already. COVID, lack of large tour groups, and the fact that V-Bahn now runs directly from Grindelwald to Eigergletscher (bypassing KS) then on to Jungfraujoch have all contributed to this happy fact. It was quite enjoyable yesterday not to have to wait in long lines for everything and jostle about!

All in all we are finding this to be a wonderful time to be in Switzerland. It took lots of planning and many anxious moments thanks to COVID regulations and Deutsche Bahn strike but it is worth it! For the fully vaccinated anyway. Rumor (from reliable source) is that on Wednesday 8 Sept the Swiss authorities will begin requiring proof of COVID vaccination to enter any inside businesses. We will all just have to wait and see.

Anna
Anna
1469 posts
top member &
moderator
Sep 6, 2021 - 2:22 PM in reply to kim11

Hi Kim11,

Thanks for the updates. Glad you made it safe to Switzerland despite the train strike in Germany.

With less tourist than usual, I agree now is indeed a good time to be in Wengen and the surrounding area :)

Enjoy your trip!

Regards,

Anna

Annika
Annika
6579 posts
expert &
moderator
Sep 8, 2021 - 8:35 AM in reply to kim11

Thanks for getting back to us Kim. Happy to hear your inbound journey went fine after all. And yes, I can imagine it's beautiful to enjoy Wengen with fewer tourists than normal.

There might indeed be further requirement of a COVID-certificate for entering restaurants, museums, and so on. For other readers: we'll follow the news and announce any updates here: www.myswissalps.com/forum/topic/does-the-corona-virus-affect-trips-to-switzerland.

Kim, have great time in Wengen!

kim11
kim11
531 posts
top member
Sep 8, 2021 - 7:35 PM

Swiss Federal Council meeting today (every Wednesday) came with a press release that, as of Sept 13, access to indoor areas (restaurants, bars, hotels, etc) will require Swiss Covid Certificate and that only some of the EU certificates are compatible with the Swiss system. Nothing else like CDC vax cards from US are compatible. I am assuming (hoping?) that the press release was perhaps not detailed enough and that those of us that are fully vaccinated and already in country can continue to be allowed access to restaurants, hotels, etc. We will see as perhaps more clarification will come tomorrow. Or soon. I can't imagine the Swiss government shutting down revenue-generating venues to vaccinated travelers. That would make no sense at all.

The press release also indicated that coming Sept 14 will be an announcement about entry requirements which will go into effect Sept 20. Currently unvaccinated travelers can enter with a negative PCR test. Federal Council is considering changing this so that unvaccinated travelers wishing to enter country must produce a negative test plus go into isolation fo 7 days. Now THAT makes full sense to me!

Get your shots, my friends!

kim11
kim11
531 posts
top member
Sep 8, 2021 - 7:43 PM in reply to kim11

Thank you all for providing updates based on today's Federal Council meeting.

I think there is still not a way for non-Swiss citizens to apply for a Swiss Covid certificate? Based on today's press release this concept is still under review by Federal Council and results will be announced 14 Sept with effective date 20 Sept. Is this your understanding as well?

Ildiko
Ildiko
1263 posts
top member &
moderator
Sep 9, 2021 - 9:57 PM in reply to kim11

Hi Kim,

From September 20, there will be new travel rules.

Among others: You'll need a Swiss or EU COVID-certificate to enter public areas in Switzerland. From late September, travelers can obtain a Swiss COVID-certificate once in Switzerland, if they can prove they are vaccinated. Until then, a negative test performed within Switzerland is the way to get a Swiss COVID-certificate.

At www.myswissalps.com/forum/topic/does-the-corona-virus-affect-trips-to-switzerland you'll find more information. Please make sure to have a look at the first post in that thread. A link is also included that explains where to get a COVID-certificate once you're in Switzerland. You'll find it under the "Update September 8" and "From September 20, there will be new travel rules. part.

I hope that helps,

Ildiko

kim11
kim11
531 posts
top member
Sep 10, 2021 - 8:16 AM in reply to Ildiko

Thank you Ildiko! Yes, i have been following the suggested thread. It is very helpful, particularly the link to how to obtain covid certificate. I applied for Bern canton certificates a little over 24 hours ago and have not yet received a response.

"a negative test performed within Switzerland is the way to get a Swiss COVID-certificate."

This is new and additional information thank you! If I don't hear from Bern canton in the next few days we will try this. How long is a covid certificate obtained this way valid?

Anna
Anna
1469 posts
top member &
moderator
Sep 10, 2021 - 10:59 AM in reply to kim11

Hi Kim11,

A fellow traveller staying in Wengen managed to get the Covid certificate from Canton Bern within 24 hours. If you still do not get any response, the other option of course would be to take the PCR or rapid antigen test at any centres in Switzerland. You can find a list of test centres here: www.myswitzerland.com/en/planning/about-switzerland/covid-pcr-test/

For PCR test with negative result, the Covid certificate is valid 72 hours from last sample taken. For rapid antigen tests, it is valid for 48 hours only.

Regards,

Anna

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