Does Glacier Express operate mid-October 2018?

Does Glacier Express operate mid-October 2018?

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denise1966
denise1966
7 posts
new member
Jan 10, 2018 - 4:32 PM

We will conclude our river cruise on Oct. 17. Had hoped to take train from Zurich to Zermatt that day and then Glacier Express from Zermatt to Chur on the 18th. It looks like the timetable only has schedule through the 14th. Does that mean that it doesn't run on our dates? Appreciate any information.

Lucas
Lucas
7273 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 10, 2018 - 5:03 PM in reply to denise1966

Hi Denise1966 and welcome to MySwissAlps!

Yes, that is correct. They shut down the Glacier Express train between Oct.15 & Dec.9 (around that time every year).

You can still do the exact same route but on regular Swiss trains rather than the panoramic Glacier Express and no reservations are needed. You can use the Swiss railways timetable to plan out the trip that day (and all other trips you will be making).

denise1966
denise1966
7 posts
new member
Jan 10, 2018 - 6:47 PM

Thank you. Oh, I'm so disappointed. I did use the timetable and see the train from Zermatt to Visp-Andermatt-Chur. Other than the type of train car, do I assume that everything else is the same as GEX? Hubby is a train enthusiast and was excited about the special technology utilized on the GEX. Bright side is that the regular train actually gives us more flexibility with timeline.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4756 posts
expert
Jan 10, 2018 - 11:24 PM in reply to denise1966

Hi Denise -

In Summer months, there are often steam powered locomotives pullng trains.

I'm not so sure about October... there is special symbol in the SBB timetable for such trains..Weekends tend to be the times that they run.

The Brienzer Rothioorn Bahn is exclusively steam powered...or close to it.

They are oil-fueled...no shoveling coal.

Perhaps the attached would interest him....? Don't know if it it is running in October, or if you will be near Lake Lucerne. Could find out if needed.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Jan 10, 2018 - 11:28 PM by Slowpoke
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denise1966
denise1966
7 posts
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Jan 11, 2018 - 1:00 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Wow - Thank you for all of the great info! We only have 2 days due to a deadline for our return home, but will take a look and see if he wants to adjust the original plans. Or, we'll just have to plan a return trip! Ironically we live in Hawaii where there are NO trains. Perhaps it was when his family spent a year in Denmark (Dad was a professor) that his six year old self fell in love with locomotives.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4756 posts
expert
Jan 11, 2018 - 1:28 AM

Hi Denise-

<<" Or, we'll just have to plan a return trip! Ironically we live in Hawaii where there are NO trains. Perhaps it was when his family spent a year in Denmark (Dad was a professor) that his six year old self fell in love with locomotives.">>

Seems like you might need another trip. ;-)

Slowpoke

Removed user
Removed user
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Jan 11, 2018 - 2:37 AM in reply to denise1966

>> Hubby is a train enthusiast and was excited about the special technology utilized on the GEX.

What sort of technology exactly?

Alpenrose

denise1966
denise1966
7 posts
new member
Jan 11, 2018 - 3:11 AM in reply to Removed user

We watched a documentary about the GEX which detailed the narrow gauge and cog wheels required for the steep inclines. We have made a point to seek out unique trains when we travel.

Removed user
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Jan 11, 2018 - 3:51 AM in reply to denise1966

>> We watched a documentary about the GEX which detailed the narrow gauge and cog wheels required for the steep inclines.

Well, the good news is that the regional trains utilise the same technology, as they travel over exactly the same route.

The only thing different about the Glacier Express is the more upmarket fitout of the carriages and panoramic windows.

Switzerland has many cogwheel trains. Do you have time to try out some other cogwheel routes?

Alpenrose

Arno
Arno
10765 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 11, 2018 - 1:23 PM

Hi Denise,

As a train enthusiast he will probably love the local trains on the same route too. If this is your first trip to Switzerland, the main risk is you will want to come back. It happened to me too. There are so many trains surrounded by wonderful scenery.

I'm sure he'll be interested in the Bernina Express too: no cogwheel technology - it is one of the steepest narrow gauge railways without that technology in the world, so lots of spiral loops to gain altitude: www.myswissalps.com/be rninaexpress. It does run on your travel dates.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4756 posts
expert
Jan 11, 2018 - 2:53 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Denise...not suggesting a change in plans, unless you want to, but the lines from Interlaken into the Lauterbrunnen Valley to either Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen, the steep and scenic connecting loop between Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald, and the branch line...much of it inside the mountain up to Jungfraujoch.... all are meter gauge and rely on cogwheels. The scenery is stunning, too. Overall, you are closer to Zürich, as well, if it matters. And, perhaps a bit more variety. There are some funiculars in the area, as well.

www.swissholidayco.com /Public/Assets/User/fi les/Map-of-Jungfrauregion1.jpg

The Schynige Platte Bahn is unusual - 80 cm gauge. The lococomotives are electrical,look like bricks, and were built in 1911.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Schynige_Platte_Railwa y

Cograil trains are not uncommon in Switzerland.

The Rheineck Walzenhausen Bahn also has an unusual gauge...1.2 meters - almost but not quite standard gauge.. just about 48 inches.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Rheineck%E2%80%93Walze nhausen_mountain_railw ay

I grabbed some random photos from my hard drive showing some of those trains and attached them below.

Slowpoke

Slowpoke

Last modified on Jan 11, 2018 - 2:54 PM by Slowpoke
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denise1966
denise1966
7 posts
new member
Jan 11, 2018 - 5:32 PM

I'm blown away by all of the information - you folks have been so helpful (it's what we call Aloha in the islands!). I will definitely suggest other alternatives to Hubby but I think he also wants to see the Matterhorn - it's kind of like coming to Hawaii without going to Waikiki Beach. Happy to know that the regional trains will provide much of the same experience - and with some additional flexibility that may actually be a benefit.

Yes, it definitely sounds like a return trip may be in the works - and this one would be ground-based rather than a cruise which gives much more flexibility. This is my first experience outside of North America - and I'm sure it won't be my last! I'm looking forward to visiting your beautiful country - one of my neighbors has been and was jealous when I told her of my travel plans.

Mahalo, Denise

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4756 posts
expert
Jan 11, 2018 - 6:44 PM in reply to denise1966

Hi Denise-

Here is an option which you could consider. Two days makes it kind of tight (if I have your timing correct- I'm a little uncertain about what you do after Chur. But it is not impossible, and has slack time to look around a bit built in. It includes the Matterhorn.

Checking your available time:

<<"We will conclude our river cruise on Oct. 17. Had hoped to take train from Zurich to Zermatt that day and then Glacier Express from Zermatt to Chur on the 18th.">>

<<"We only have 2 days due to a deadline for our return home,">>

That implies that you will return to your departure airport (presumably Zürich) on the night of the 18th? Is that correct?

An Alternative including the Jungfrau Region -

https://www.myswissalp s.com/jungfrauregion

For guidance on the overall geography, I suggest this map:

map.search.ch/?pos=670464,1

Since the mountains determine the location of the train routes, it is helpful to zoom in to the point where the train lines show up:

map.search.ch/?pos=

Follow your original plan to got to Zermatt on arrival. Look at the Matterhorn, possibly from Gornergrat, if there is no cloud cover to interfere.

Many river cruises end at Basel; I was not aware that they end at Zürich, but it is certainly possible. Basel to Zermatt takes 3 hours 15 minutes. Zürich to Zermatt takes 3 hours and 12 or 19 minutes.

Second day -

Total trip -

Zermatt to Wengen, then Wengen to Zürich airport. Each section approximately 3 hours.

First part - Zermatt to Wengen, via Interlaken Ost and Lauterbrunnen

Depart 0813, arrive Wengen 1119. Uses the newest piece of rail technology on that choice of routes.... a boring but fast tunnel underneath the Alps from Visp to near Spiez, then onward to Interlaken Ost.

Other service every half hour, more or less, at xx13 and xx37. That assumes that no snowfalls like the current one block travel. ;-)

Cograil from IO to Lauterbrunnen - very scenic cograil from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen. As you pull into Wengen, you get a quick glimpse along the Valley, essentially what is shown in the attached image.

Wengen is a nice village Nice scenery , and plenty of restaurants and shops. Walk north 10-15 minutes from the train station to the viewpoint by the church to see that view along the valley...weather permitting. Have lunch at the Hotel Bellevue if you want to see that scenery while you eat.

Check this link for a map..scroll down:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/wengen-or-grindelwald-as-home-base

Depending on how much time you want to spend looking around or exploring further, eventually take the train back down to Lauterbrunnen, then IO, and onward to Zürich or the airport. Many trains per hour from Zürich to the airport, which take 9 to 20 minutes. I used Zürich as a destination, because I was not sure what your timing is.

Wengen to Zürich

Depart 1603, arrive Zürich in 2 hrs 55 minutes at 1858. Every 30 minutes at xx03 and xx33.

Options at Wengen -

map.search.ch/?pos=638268,161060&z=64

During the 5 hours I have proposed at Wengen, you could as an option, ride the very scenic cograil from Wengen to Kleine Scheidegg, possibly even to the Jungfraujoch.

www.myswissalps.com/ju ngfraujoch

To the Jungfraujoch, change at Kleine Scheidegg, 1 hr 11 minutes at xx24 and xx54 all day. Hangout for a while, return at xx13 and xx43, one hour 16 minutes to Wengen, and approx. 3 hours more to Zürich.

However, if I were doing it, not being enamored of the quite expensive trip to Jungfraujoch. I'd possibly ride as far as Kleine Scheidegg, get out , look around, and return to Zurich via Grindelwld and IO.

All the sightseeing depends on having clear weather. Good chance in October,but not guaranteed.

Leave your luggage at IO - lockers and left luggage office)

(Check the map that I linked earlier to understand that.)

Actually, my own preference after arriving in Wengen would be to walk 5-8 minutes to the cableway to Männlichen, up above Wengen. Ride up. 5 minute ride, every 20 minutes.

Have lunch there. Look around, walk a bit, return. There is grand and stunningly scenic easy walk from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg, but the timing might be tight , unless your prepared to walk quickly. Nominal 1 hour and 1/2, but it takes me a good deal longer because I look around a lot and take photographs.

www.myswissalps.com/hi king/maennlichen-kleinescheidegg

Nicknamed "The Grannies' Walk. I'd not suggest it unless you had absolutely stunning clear sunny weather, and could take a later arrival to Zürich than 1858 if you get slowed down. People do it in sneakers ( training shoes) but you need good grippy soles for the gravel path on downhill sections. I wear boots to help my ankles, but they are not critical.

Sounds complex. Is not really, and there is plenty of backup contingency transport typically a half hour later (cableways only until late afternoon) if you miss a train.

Pictures around Wengen and Männlichen attached. Männlichen Gipfel is a little peak about 100 meters higher, overlooking the top station of the cableway at Männlichen.. Picture attached.

Switzerland offers far too many wonderful options. The Glacier Express is a terrific, easy journey. But, it is also easy to use the wonderful transport system, so , it is easy to explore the other options.

Slowpoke

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denise1966
denise1966
7 posts
new member
Jan 11, 2018 - 7:13 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Great ideas! And yes, you have our timing approximately correct. Viking Cruise ends at Basel, but our package ("Paris to Swiss Alps") includes 2 nights in Zurich with 10/17 as "departure day" (this is the day we would plan to head to Zermatt). We fly home on morning of 10/19 out of Zurich Airport which provides us with 2 full days with which to see as much of your incredible countryside as possible.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4756 posts
expert
Jan 11, 2018 - 7:41 PM in reply to denise1966

Hi Denise-

I live in the USA, in New England, and am a US citizen. ;-)

I'd not spend that much time in Zürich on my first trip, if I understand your dates correctly. What date do you disembark in Basel? Or, does your tour take you places while you are based in Zürich...I'm still not clear.

In any case, Zürich is my favorite city in Switzerland, by far. I go for culture - museums, art, quite good restaurants ( not cheap), local jet-lag recovery when I first arrive, and to see some friends who know the city well. Hotels are not cheap either. It is nice to visit, but it is perhaps more a really city experience than an intensely Swiss experience.

www.myswissalps.com/zu rich

Many also go for shopping on the expensive Bahnhofstrassse. Not for me. ;-)

I don't go to Zürich for scenery. It is far from the Alps or from my favorite parts of Switzerland in the countryside. There are some nice places at the other end of the lake, an hour or so away, near Rapperswil, where I sometimes do my jet-lag de-foggification at Hurden. Attached.

The moderators of the forum and I share the belief that Zürich is not our recommendation for first time visitors to Switzerland. The phrase we use is"...unless you have specific reasons for going there." Instead,we recommend either or both of Luzern and the Jungfrau region. Scenery. Cograil trains.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Jan 11, 2018 - 7:44 PM by Slowpoke
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denise1966
denise1966
7 posts
new member
Jan 11, 2018 - 9:29 PM in reply to Slowpoke

We arrive in Basel on 10/15 with tours and afternoon bus to Zurich for 2 nights (cost included with cruise). 10/16 includes tour of Zurich along with lake cruise. We'll head out on our own that morning (10/17) while others head home. Wish we could extend through the weekend but I want to be in Kona on the 20th for my son's birthday (silly because he'll be 28, but I'm a mom).

Agree that I wouldn't have planned that length of time in Zurich, but it's paid in the cruise. We were going to check out the Tram Museum but it looks like they may not be open on Tuesday. I can always drag the husband around shopping.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4756 posts
expert
Jan 11, 2018 - 10:06 PM in reply to denise1966

Hi Denise-

<<"We arrive in Basel on 10/15 with tours and afternoon bus to Zurich for 2 nights (cost included with cruise). 10/16 includes tour of Zurich along with lake cruise.">>

<<"Agree that I wouldn't have planned that length of time in Zurich, but it's paid in the cruise.">>

Everyone approaches cost from their own perspective. Even if Zürich were paid for , I'd "waste" the money and skip it. The only exception would be if I knew that I would be coming back...soon. Consider the overall cost of getting there vs the added cost of skipping but paying for the last day or two on less than magnificent stuff.

In our business, we used to say "Sunk Costs are truly sunk." Meaning, since it's spent, you can't get it back. So, then consider th enew opportunity vs. the one you paid for, and, if you see a better opportunity, forget your previous choice, vven though it was the best at the time, and go for the better opportunity.

Just one person's approach. ;-)

Of course, if the weather in the Alps is solid clouds and fog, forget it.

You can check that out a lot of ways. Local tourist offices are helpful, because it is such an important issue no matter where you are in Switzerland.

The Bernese Oberland is something you'll never forget. Zürich is nice. Lake cruise...OK, but Lake Lucerne is 10 time better. Well, maybe only 6.4 times better.

<<"We were going to check out the Tram Museum">

The transport museum in Luzern is about an hour away. Major.

<<"www.myswissalps.com/lu cerne">>

If I had one day to spend, and could not get to the Bernese Oberland, I'd spend it in Luzern.

It is so close to Zürich, with frequent train service, that is the obvious choice. I'd skip the lake boat on Lake Zürich and take the one on Lake Lucerne, if you want a lake boat. You migh even get one of those steam-powered paddlewheelers. They are marked in the time table:

www.lakelucerne.ch/en/ timetable-fares/timetable/

Make sure you get the right seasonal timetable.

www.myswissalps.com/bo atlakelucerne

Thee are different parts of the lake, and different routes, and this thread concentrates on views associated with a hike around the southernmost part, but you might find the pictures of the lake and mountains interesting:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/the-swiss-path-and-southern-lake-lucerne

Slowpoke

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