Gotthard Panoramic Express & Gotthard Base Tunnel

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Philancy
Philancy
4 posts
new member
Dec 19, 2017 - 4:35 PM

What is the best way to combine the Gottard Panoramic Express and a ride through the Base Tunnel? We will be in Switzerland the end of September, 2018. We are train buffs and want to do both. Is it possible or advisable to combine both experiences? Thank you.

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Dec 19, 2017 - 11:35 PM in reply to Philancy

Hi Philancy, and welcome to MySwissAlps!

Yes, it is possible to do both.

The Gotthard Panorama Express leaves a bit late in the day to give you much time in Lugano though, as it doesn't get there until 16:38 (and doesn't run on Mondays). If you are traveling second class, be aware that only the first-class carriages have the panoramic windows. Reservations are compulsory in both classes.

If you wanted to make the most of the day by exploring Lugano, which is a lovely lakeside city, and will be at its best in September, you could take a boat and regional train along the same route as the Gotthard Panorama Express, and leave earlier in the day. No reservations are required for either the boat or the regional trains.

After exploring Lugano, and perhaps staying for dinner, you could take the Gotthard-Basistunnel route back to Luzern at the end of the day.

You can use the Swiss Timetable to plan your trip.

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

To get the Gotthard Panorama route including the boat sector, you will need to do a timetable search in two stages:

  • "Luzern Bahnhofquai" to "Flüelen (See)". Use advanced search, and limit the transport type to "Ship".
  • "From Flüelen" "To Lugano" "Via Göschenen" and select trains as the type of transport. When you have chosen a connection, click on the plus sign to see the intermediate stops. If they include "Gotthard-Panoramastrecke" this confirms it is the Gotthard Panorama Express route.

For the Gotthard-Basistunnel route, just do a timetable search for Lugano to Luzern (or vice versa), as the Gotthard-Basistunnel route is the default (i.e. fastest) route. In the intermediate stops, you will see "Gotthard-Basistunnel".

I have attached a couple of PDFs showing possible connections leaving Luzern at 8:12 or 9:12 in the last week of September. Those connections utilise regional trains, and would get you to Lugano early enough to have a look around.

The actual Gotthard Panorama Express departs Luzern at 11:12 (boat) and arrives in Lugano at 16:38.

Alpenrose

Last modified on Dec 20, 2017 - 7:38 AM by Chantal
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Philancy
Philancy
4 posts
new member
Dec 20, 2017 - 2:12 PM

Thank you for such a thorough answer. I have some work to do!!

Another thought. Is it possible to leave Zurich in the morning, go to Lugano by regional train through the Gotthard Base Tunnel then take the Gotthard Panoramic to Fluellen the a regional train to Zurich?

Also, is the experience on a regional train the same as second class on the Gotthard Panoramic Express when you pass through the older tunnel?

Thank you.

Chantal
Chantal
944 posts
top member
Dec 21, 2017 - 10:54 AM in reply to Philancy

Hi Philancy,

It would be a very long day. I personally wouldn't like to do it, but if you don't mind being on a train all day, you could do it.

Yes, the experience is the same. The regional train is taking the same route.

Arno
Arno
11340 posts
expert &
moderator
Dec 21, 2017 - 4:38 PM

Note that if you want to experience the new long Base Tunnel, you will have to take an IC or EC train, not a regional train. IC and EC trains only have a few stops. Just Arth-Goldau and Bellinzona from the top of my mind. All details are in the timetable Alpenrose referred to. Of course the regional route is much nicer scenery wise :-)

Last modified on Dec 21, 2017 - 4:39 PM by Arno
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Dec 22, 2017 - 12:46 AM in reply to Philancy

>> Is it possible to leave Zurich in the morning, go to Lugano by regional train through the Gotthard Base Tunnel then take the Gotthard Panoramic to Fluellen the a regional train to Zurich?

As others have said, yes. But I would do it the other way around.

You would want to ensure you travel the Gotthard Panorama route entirely in daylight so you can enjoy the beautiful scenery. So if you take this route on the way to Lugano, you could spend a longer time in Lugano without having to rush back in daylight. Sunset in the last week of September 2018 will be between 19:22 on 23 Sep and 19:08 on 30 Sep.

When going through the Basistunnel, it doesn't matter if you do this after sunset, as tunnels look the same whether it is night or day.

If you want to do the Gotthard Panorama trip without the boat sector (which would certainly shorten it, given you want to do a round trip from Zürich), simply use "From Zürich" "To Lugano" (or vice versa) "Via Göschenen" in your timetable search to get the Gotthard Panorama route between Flüelen and Lugano. Leave out "Via Göshenen" to get the Basistunnel route.

The map attached below shows a blue arrow pointing towards the Gotthard Panorama route, with lots of twists, turns and loops (required to get up and down mountains).

The red arrow points towards the Gotthard-Basistunnel, going in a fairly straight line underneath the mountains.

Alpenrose

Last modified on Dec 22, 2017 - 12:53 AM by Removed user
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