Best rail pass for 16 days in Switzerland

Best rail pass for 16 days in Switzerland

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webjammer
webjammer
9 posts
new member
Nov 16, 2017 - 9:41 AM

Hello Experts,

I have tried my best to use the calculation spreadsheets and all the information provided by you. However, I am still not sure as to which rail pass is best suited for me. I have already created my itinerary and am happy to share the same with you. The trip is for 15N 16D. Could you kindly give your expert advise as to which pass should I go for - Swiss Travel Pass or Half Fare Card. Thanks again.

Day 1 - Morning/Afternoon - Arrive at Zurich and then catch a train to Lucerne. Evening - relax at Lake Lucerne and visit Old Town

Day 2 - Morning - Mt. Rigi and/OR village of Stoos with the ski lift to the Klingenstock peak for entire day. Evening - Relax Plan B - If the weather does not permit, then all activities listed on Day 3

Day 3 - Morning - Swiss Transport Museum, Nine Towers, Chapel Bridge and Lion Monument. Afternoon/Evening - Jesuit Church and KKL culture and convention Centre.

Day 4 - Lucerne to Lugano (in the morning as per the timetable) - Gothard Panorama Express (by boat and then train) OR take the old San Gottardo railway line with normal trains. In the latter case, I will take the boat to Flüelen, then train to Erstfeld and from there to Bellinzona on the old line. Get down at Bellinzona and see the Castles and then head towards Lugano in the evening. Evening – Dinner at Piazza della Riforma

Day 5 - Morning - Monte San Salvatore, Lugano Town, Parco Civico and Waterfront. Evening - At leisure in Lugano

Day 6 - Lugano to Tirano by Bernina Express (Bus 5950 and then local train) in the morning. To check timetables

Plan A: Take a local train from Tirano to a "stop on demand" station called Bernina Diavolezza and get off there, walk some steps uphill to the valley station of the Diavolezza, leave my luggage in a locker there and get up to Diavolezza provided the weather is good. Then back to Bernina Diavolezza and take a train to Morteratsch to visit the cheesemaking dairy and finally hike into the valley for some steps for the views of the glacier and then back to St.Moritz. Evening - at leisure in St.Moritz

Plan B: In case the weather is bad – take a train to Morteratsch and hike into the valley for some steps for the views of the glacier and then to Pontresina and then visit the Diary Cheesemaking sennerei-pontresina.ch/standort e/alphuette-m. Closing time 17.00 hrs. Evening - at leisure in St.Moritz

Day 7 - Morning - Hiking which will cover the route "Punt Muragl - Muottas Muragl - Munt da la Bês-cha - Chna Segantini - Alp Languard - Pontresina". I would be willing to start early in the day and go to Alp Languard via Schafberg

Evening – Back to St.Moritz. Have a stroll through the town and check out the chocolate production if any

Day 8 - Morning/Afternoon - Glacier Express from St.Moritz to Zermatt. Evening - at leisure in Zermatt

Day 9 - Klein Matterhorn. Evening - at leisure in Zermatt (if weather permits, or else Gornergrat)

Day 10 - In case I have already covered Klein Matterhorn, I shall go to Gornergrat - Would then take a picture of the reflection on the lake by getting down at Rotenboden and walk down for Riffelsee. Late Evening - Catch the regional train to Montreux via Visp

Day 11 - Early Morning - Catch a local/regional train from Montreux to Vevey and take the bus to Corsier - Chaplin's World, walk through the old town of Vevey and to the lake. View both Chaplin's statue and "The Fork" near the food museum. Late Afternoon/Evening - Local Train to Chillon Veytaux and visit Chateau de Chillon latest by 6 pm. Get an audio guide and then take a lake cruise to get back to Montreux OR walk along the Lakeside Promenade Fleuri

Day 12 - Morning - Ship luggage from Montreux to Grindelwald. Take the Golden Pass Panoramic Line to Interlaken and then take a train to Brienzwiller to visit Ballenberg Open Air Museum. Evening - Take a train back to Grindelwald via Interlaken

Day 13 - Visit Jungfraugh for entire day (depending on the weather). Plan B - Take a day trip to Bern

Day 14 - Visit Schilthorn for entire day - Planning to cover Lauterbrunnen Valley, Murren, Trummelbach falls, to walk along the shelf from Murren to Grutschalp and walk around Gimmelwald. Then back to Grindelwald

Day 13 and 14 would be adjusted according to the weather conditions

Day 15 - Morning/Afternoon - Hike on the Route First - Bachalpsee - Faulhorn - Bussalp. Evening - Relax at Grindelwald on the Indoor/Outdoor Swimming Pool

Day 16 - Early Morning – Ship the bags from Grindelwald to Zurich and take a train back for half day tour in Bern and then Zurich Airport OR via Lucerne (will try to take Bruenig railway as I read it somewhere that the route is more scenic only if the weather is good). In case I go via Lucerne, then Afternoon/Evening - Take a stroll at Limmat in Zurich and then back to Zurich Airport for my return flight

rockoyster
rockoyster
3392 posts
expert
Nov 16, 2017 - 10:21 AM in reply to webjammer

Hi webjammer and Welcome to MySwissAlps,

Get a 15-day Swiss Travel Pass starting on Day 2 of your trip.

webjammer
webjammer
9 posts
new member
Nov 16, 2017 - 10:54 AM in reply to rockoyster

Hey Rockoyster,

Thanks so much for this!! Much appreciated :)

webjammer
webjammer
9 posts
new member
Nov 16, 2017 - 1:54 PM in reply to rockoyster

Hello Rockoyster,

Just had another quick question. In case I have the half fare card and there is a super saver ticket which is available post my search, (for example if the super saver discount fare from Luzern to Arth Goldau is 3.3 CHF instead of the regular 6.6 CHF). Would I be eligible for a further fare discount which comes down to 1.65 CHF?

Thanks again

Lucas
Lucas
5608 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 16, 2017 - 4:09 PM in reply to webjammer

Yes, with all that traveling the Swiss Travel Pass would be much easier (even in the end if it worked out slightly more expensive on your spreadsheets) not having to buy tickets all the time is worth a lot too.

The Swiss Half Fare Card does not quite get you 50% off on the smaller fare trips and already discounted supersavers...if a supersaver fare is 3.30chf than you it might get down to 2chf something. At those low prices it is a wash really!
The timetable will give you prices on those trips with the proper discounts included when you close to your trip time.

rockoyster
rockoyster
3392 posts
expert
Nov 16, 2017 - 8:01 PM in reply to webjammer

Hey webjammer,

Close the spreadsheet! With the STP you just hop on any train and go. You have done a lot of planning but you still need to be flexible. My experience was that I used the STP far more than I expected. Being so easy to use means you can just decide to travel anywhere that takes your fancy.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Nov 16, 2017 - 8:42 PM in reply to rockoyster

<<"flexible">>

Hi Rockoyster.... for sure, on a long and complex trip such as the one described, flexibility is almost essential.

So, the Super saver fares noted my not be practical. If I recall correctly, they are for a specific train at a specific time....?

Slowpoke

rockoyster
rockoyster
3392 posts
expert
Nov 16, 2017 - 9:21 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Correct Slowpoke. With SS ticket, you miss the specific train departure, you buy another ticket to get you to your destination.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Nov 16, 2017 - 10:40 PM in reply to webjammer

Hi Webjammer -

Sounds like a great tip...for certain times of the year. Not so good in November or April/May.

When are you traveling?

Please check out all of the links on this page:

www.myswissalps.com/ab outswitzerland/nature

Slowpoke

rockoyster
rockoyster
3392 posts
expert
Nov 17, 2017 - 2:33 AM in reply to webjammer

Hi webjammer,

A few of comments on your plan.

Assuming you are travelling in summer then Lake Cruises on Lake Lugarno would be well worth a look on day 5. Free with STP.

Regarding your luggage transfers on days 12 and 16. You are planning to use the express luggage service right? www.sbb.ch/en/station-services/services/lugg age-and-flight-luggage/luggage/expres s-luggage.html

Be aware that Zurich Airport is NOT currently an express delivery serviced station. See www.sbb.ch/content/dam /sbb/en/pdf/en_bahnhof -services/en_dienstleis tungen/en_gepaeck/Stat ionen_Reisegepaeck_Exp ress_EN.pdf

On Day 12 it may be more economical to carry your baggage and leave it at Interlaken Ost while you visit Ballenberg.

You know that Jungfraujoch from Grindelwald you only get 25% discount on trip cost with STP? A strange anomaly of the Swiss Travel system is that you still get 50% of that trip with a Swiss Half-fare Card. One of life's great mysteries.

You are going to have a great trip.

Last modified on Nov 17, 2017 - 2:35 AM by rockoyster
webjammer
webjammer
9 posts
new member
Nov 17, 2017 - 11:01 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Hello Slowpoke

Thanks for going through my plan!! I would be travelling in mid august which I presume is the summer season. Will surely go through the link that you have provided. Thanks so much :)

webjammer
webjammer
9 posts
new member
Nov 17, 2017 - 11:11 AM in reply to rockoyster

Hello Rockoyster

Thanks so much for the valuable info. Yes on Day 5 I will be doing the lake cruise in Lugano.

Day 12 - That is a good suggestion. Could you further elaborate as to where do I keep my luggage at Intelaken OST? Do they have lockers or something? Just need some idea here

Day 16 - Oh yes! In that case, what does one do? Should I use the express service for Zurich Main Station and then from the main station take it along to the airport? I have a flight to catch at 22.15 hrs. Looking for your expert advise here as well :)

Trust me I myself found this so WIERD!! If a person is opting for a 15 days STP, one deserves to get at least a 50% waiver for Jungfraujoch. It is a mystery indeed!!

Look forward to your suggestions. Thanks again :)

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Nov 17, 2017 - 1:57 PM in reply to webjammer

Hi Webjammer -

<<"Could you further elaborate as to where do I keep my luggage at Intelaken OST?">

Information about the stations is available on the SBB website. Not all stations have lockers or a left-luggage room . IO does:

Left Luggae - seven days a week,

www.sbb.ch/en/station-services/railway-stations/further-stations/station.7492. html

0700 to 1830

Lockers -

www.sbb.ch/en/station-services/railway-stations/further-stations/station.7492. html

101 large and 36 small. 7 CHF or 5 CHF for 24 hours.

Always accessible.

<<Trust me I myself found this so WIERD!! If a person is opting for a 15 days STP, one deserves to get at least a 50% waiver for Jungfraujoch. It is a mystery indeed!!">>

No mystery.

The mountain railways in the Jungfrau region are privately owned and run and maintained.

The SBB (Swiss Railroads Union) subsidizes their costs to a certain degree. That is negotiated between the railroad and SBB.

By the way, if you ride the train from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen and on to Kleine Scheideg or Jungfraujoch, the portion between Lauterbrunnen and Wengen is very cheap. Might even be free with the STP (?). That is because it is travel between two population centers...towns... and the Swiss Federation as a social policy wants intercity travel by public transport to be readily accessible to all its citizens. So, that part of the trip is highly subsidized. From there on, it is an excursion trip on a private railway. That fare is up to the railroad.

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Nov 17, 2017 - 1:59 PM in reply to webjammer

Hi Webjammer -

<<" I would be travelling in mid august which I presume is the summer season.">>

All of the regions will be easily accessible, and that is the height of the tourist season. You will have lots of company. Just wanted to make sure you were not making those plans for November or April....not so good in the high Alps. Lots of services and hotels are closed between seasons.

Slowpoke

webjammer
webjammer
9 posts
new member
Nov 17, 2017 - 2:43 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Thanks a lot Slowpoke. Sorry but there was another query for Day 16 - I guess you might have missed it

Rockoyster said to Be aware that Zurich Airport is NOT currently an express delivery serviced station. See www. sbb. ch/content/dam /sbb/en/pdf/en_bahnhof -services/en_dienstleis tungen/en_gepaeck/Stat ionen_Reisegepaeck_Exp ress_EN.pdf

Day 16 - Oh yes! In that case, what does one do? Should I use the express service for Zurich Main Station and then from the main station take it along to the airport? I have a flight to catch at 22.15 hrs. Looking for your expert advise here as well :)

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Nov 17, 2017 - 3:35 PM in reply to webjammer

Hi Webjammer-

<<"Day 16 - Oh yes! In that case, what does one do? Should I use the

express service for Zurich Main Station and then from the main station

take it along to the airport? I have a flight to catch at 22.15 hrs.

Looking for your expert advise here as well :)">>

That should work.

Just make sure that you get the luggage turned in at Grindelwald on time.

Or, you can take it along with you if you do not have too much to handle, and put it in a locker or leave it at the left luggage office in Bern or Luzern.

Probably cheaper.

Lots of lockers at Bern, a fair number at Luzern.

Slowpoke

rockoyster
rockoyster
3392 posts
expert
Nov 17, 2017 - 7:14 PM in reply to webjammer

Hello again webjammer,

Slowpoke has answered all your questions with his usual aplomb. (Thanks for demystifying the Jungfraujoch pricing Slowpoke).

One more thing; on Day 12 make sure you have reservations on Golden Pass Montreux to Zweisimmen at least. It will be busy in August.

webjammer
webjammer
9 posts
new member
Nov 18, 2017 - 6:20 AM

Thanks a lot Rockoyster. Will take a note of that.

rockoyster
rockoyster
3392 posts
expert
Nov 18, 2017 - 6:28 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Slowpoke,

I have been thinking a bit more about this Jungfraujoch pricing mystery.

You wrote . . . "No mystery. The mountain railways in the Jungfrau region are privately owned and run and maintained.The SBB (Swiss Railroads Union) subsidizes their costs to a certain degree. That is negotiated between the railroad and SBB."

Fair enough. But the real mystery is a punter who shells out CHF120 for a Swiss Half-fare Card gets a 50% discount yet a tourist investing CHF485 (in 2018) for a 2nd Class Swiss Travel Pass only receives a 25% benefit. Those subsidy negotiations must have taken a strange turn somewhere along the way.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Nov 18, 2017 - 10:30 AM in reply to rockoyster

<<"Fair enough. But the real mystery is a punter who shells out CHF120 for a Swiss Half-fare Card gets a 50% discount yet a tourist investing CHF485 (in 2018) for a 2nd Class Swiss Travel Pass only receives a 25% benefit. Those subsidy negotiations must have taken a strange turn somewhere along the way.">>

G'Day Rockoyster -

We enter the realm of speculation. The product manager(s) for those passes did not explain the logic of their decisions to me.

To understand the scale of the business, approximately 1 million people visit Jungfraujoch every year.

Apart from the profit motive of the BOB, there is another company ( the Jungfrau Bahn) involved.

www.bloomberg.com/rese arch/stocks/private/sn apshot.asp?privcapId=20388145

www.jungfrau.ch/en-gb/corporate/about-us/jungfraubahn-holding-ag/

When you see the words "strategic alliance" you can assume some kind of deal on cost and profit sharing exists.

The Grindelwald-Männlichen Gondola Cableway Company gets involved, too.

Other parties to the negotiations are surely some staff of the Confederation associated with public transport, the Swiss national tourist office ( My Switzerland.com), some members or staff of Parliament :

(www.admin.ch/gov/en/st art/departments/depart ment-of-environment-transport-energy-communications-detec.html. Currently, the minister for that segment is Doris Leuthard),

the officials of the Canton and Gemeinde, probably the hotel keepers association for the area...

The processes of Swiss governance are highly consultative, tend to work from the bottom up, rather than the top down, and local officials have a substantial powers.

Tourism is a major industry in Switzerland. Various estimates I have seen put it among the top three- Banking, Pharma/Chemicals, and Tourism.

Extracting the maximum amount of money from the tourists with all ranges of spending ( from budget travelers to luxury travelers) , while keeping them thinking happily that they have gotten their money's worth is, it seems to this observer, a guiding principle of the complex management of tourism. Since it is that important, you can be sure that there are a lot of government as well as private interests involved.

Finally, the Swiss think long term in national matters.

BOB was founded in 1890.

They have had a long time to develop their arrangements.

One additional thought has crossed my mind on this matter.

Almost every Swiss citizen or resident carries a "Halb-tax" or "Halb-Abo" card which gives them essentially the same 50% discount as the one month Half-fare Card available to tourists. There may be some benefit for system management and day-to-day operations in having synchronized benefits. On the other hand, the STP is used mostly by tourists.

(Although, there is or was available a one year general abonnement which for a few thousand CHF per year, gives a Swiss resident essentially the same benefits as the STP.).

I have not had a chance to query the key negotiators to clarify the reasons for the situation which troubles you so much. ;-)

Please let us all know if you find an answer, assuming you choose to take action rather than merely "thinking about." ;-)

And, I am sure that I have missed some perspectives; likely the forum management and most participants in the Forum have as well, since few are Swiss citizens. Although, come to think of it, Lucas is a Swiss resident, so he may know all the answers.

Slowpoke

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