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Hop off/on trains &seat reservation in Switzerland


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Sia Sia
Sia Sia
10 posts
new member
Jun 1, 2022 - 3:18 AM

Hello,

we plan to use a 3 day Swiss Travel Pass when traveling from Zurich to Wengen through Lucern. Is it easy to hop off at Lucern and Interlaken to do some sight seeing and catch a later train to continue?

Also, if we break up the (same day) journey to Zurich-Lucern, Lucern-Interlaken, Interlaken-Wengen ... for which part of this journey would you recommend we reserve seats?

Thank you.

Ildiko
Ildiko
2099 posts
top member &
moderator
Jun 1, 2022 - 6:53 AM in reply to Sia Sia

Hi Sia Sia,

Yes, it is easy to hop off at Lucerne and Interlaken, there are plenty of trains you can hop on later. You can check it in the timetable: www.myswissalps.com/timetable.

You do not need any seat reservations on this route.

Actually, you do not need seat reservations for 99% of all trains and buses in Switzerland. You can simply board with your Swiss Travel Pass. Exceptions are some international trains and some panoramic trains like the Glacier Express and Bernina Express.

Learn more about how to use your Swiss Travel Pass: www.myswissalps.com/swisstravelpass/howtouse

The Lucerne - Interlaken route is very beautiful, you can read about here: www.myswissalps.com/goldenpass/gettingthere

I hope this helps,

Ildiko

1960man
1960man
3781 posts
expert
Jun 1, 2022 - 9:53 AM in reply to Sia Sia

You can 'ride at will' with an STP and there is no need to reserve seats on any trains in Switzerland on the main network because the trains are very frequent and all main trains have plenty of seating capacity.

My quick guide to how railways in Switzerland work follows:

The Swiss railway operating/timetable concept - a quick guide

Switzerland's railways are a lot different to very large countries in many parts of the world, such as USA and Brazil.

Passenger trains run very frequently on a dense network, so that the rail network operates like a whole-country version of the transit of a large metropolis such as New York.

This means that it is not necessary to reserve seats in advance or buy additional tickets except on a very small number of specific special services.

It also means that short connecting times between trains are worked out so that they are easily possible, even with luggage.

The operation of the national network (aka Swiss Travel System) is by what is called the 'taktfahrplan' principle, i.e. that trains run at the same times past each hour at least every 1 hour on most lines, and half hourly where necessary, and all services are programmed to interconnect with each other at nodal points with a minimal connecting time. This minimum connecting time is built in and is designed to enable you to continue a cross country journey without waiting for ages between trains if you have to change trains.

Within this concept, ‘freedom type’ rail passes such as the Swiss Travel Pass and Saver Day Pass act in the same way as 24 hour pass tickets on many city transit systems around the world, in other words they allow ‘hop on hop off ‘ travel on all the main modes of transport which make up the Swiss Travel System – federal railways, private railways, post buses, city buses, city trams, local railways, lake boats.

It doesn't matter which type of train you get on on the main national network (which includes all SBB, BLS and private railways).

If you are worried about short connecting times between key train - don't be! Take a moment to think about how much time it actually takes to change trains at a small and medium sized stations. Short connecting times between trains are worked out so that they are easily possible, even with luggage. Taking 7 minutes as an example. This might not sound a lot of time but think about how far you can actually walk in a straight line in 7 minutes. At an average walking pace even with luggage most people can cover about 700 metres in 7 minutes, which is far further than the distance needed to walk between platform of connecting trains at most Swiss stations (really all except Zurich HB)

Train classifications decode can be found on the electronic version of the Swiss National Timetable, as can timetables for each railway line in Switzerland

Home page: www.fahrplanfelder.ch/en/welcome.html

Explanation of symbols: www.fahrplanfelder.ch/fileadmin/fap_explanations/pdf-Dateien/2022/Zeichenerklaerung.pdf

Train types lexicon: www.fahrplanfelder.ch/fileadmin/fap_explanations/pdf-Dateien/2022/Zugcharakterisierung.pdf

Ildiko
Ildiko
2099 posts
top member &
moderator
Jun 1, 2022 - 11:31 AM

Hi Sia Sia,

if you would like to learn even more about how to travel on a Swiss train, please visit www.myswissalps.com/train/practical/howtotravel.

You'll find many useful information there.

Let us know if you have further questions,

Ildiko

Sia Sia
Sia Sia
10 posts
new member
Jun 2, 2022 - 3:38 AM in reply to Ildiko

Thank you sooo much Ildiko and 1960Man! Super helpful.

I was using the SBB mobile app and having some trouble finding exactly what time the Luzern–Interlaken Express leaves Luzern (for some reason couldn't find "PE" in the timetable in the app). I found this PDF that seems to have a timetable and platform numbers listed: www.zentralbahn.ch/sites/default/files/sales%20manual_english_web.pdf ...page 21.

Thanks again!

Ildiko
Ildiko
2099 posts
top member &
moderator
Jun 2, 2022 - 7:28 AM in reply to Sia Sia

Hi Sia Sia,

I like the SBB website more (or app) as it is usually up to date. So I prefer that one instead of the pdfs.

You won't find PE on that part of the route, as it is only shown in the timetable between Montreux and Zweisimmen. Sorry for the confuse.

Ildiko

Arno
Arno
15217 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 2, 2022 - 9:23 AM in reply to Sia Sia

Hi Sia Sia!

The "PE" label is used for panoramic trains such as the GoldenPass Panoramic and GoldenPass Belle Époque. The Luzern-Interlaken Express is a "normal" (but very comfortable!) regional train. You'll find details under the header "Timetable" at www.myswissalps.com/goldenpass/gettingthere.

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