>> 1) In looking at the train options, some trains have the term RE in a white box with a red border, and some have IC 2 in a red box. What does this mean?
- RE stands for RegioExpress
- IC 2 stands for InterCity train on route 2, which is the route from Zürich to Lugano.
You don't need to worry about the type of train. The RegioExpress trains just stop at more stations along the way than IC trains do. Just pick whatever connections suit you best.
>> 2) They have different directions listed: Zurich, Erstfeld, Bellizona. Are they all still going to or through Lucerne?
Those indicate the final destination of the train.
For a trip from Lugano to Luzern, it will only be the final connection (usually from Erstfeld or Arth-Goldau) that stops at Luzern. That's why you have to get off the previous train/s and transfer at Erstfeld or Arth-Goldau.
>> 3) Are we safe just buying 2 tickets at the station when we are in Lugano? By that I mean are there always seats available? Can the ticket get us all the way to Lucerne, or do we need to buy tickets at each transfer?
Yes, tickets never sell out. You can just get one ticket for the whole trip from start to finish. The ticket will be valid for the whole day, and you can break your journey en route if you like, as long as you complete the trip within the same day.
>> 4) Do the trains stop at all the towns listed when you look at the breakdown of the trip, or are those just towns they pass through?
Only actual stops are listed in the breakdown of the trip, not all the towns/villages passed through. The exception is tunnels, which are also listed, but without any time attached to them.
>> 5) Some portions of the trip list the term BUS 411 . Does this mean that part of our trip is on a bus?
Yes, it would, but this is very unusual, and Bus 411 as a connection for the trip Lugano-Luzern does not sound at all correct, as that bus heads from Göschenen into remote areas. Can you be specific about what journey you found that includes Bus 411?
>> 6) Do tickets on these trains requires seat reservations?
No. The only trains in Switzerland for which reservations are compulsory are the Glacier Express, the Bernina Express and the Gotthard Panorama Express. Reservations are possible (but optional) on InterCity (IC) trains.