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Normal train Glacier Express route or Centovalli?

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Serenetee
Serenetee
47 posts
active member
Oct 15, 2019 - 4:47 AM

Hi, we will be traveling from Lugano to Zermatt on 24 Nov.

We understand that the GE train will not be operating on this day so would like to check how can we travel on normal train but on the GE route from Lugano to Zermatt?

Rockoyster has advised before to travel on Centovalli Express which is the fastest from Lugano to Zermatt. We would like to explore if the GE route worth the long journey?

Thabk you!

Best Regards!

Arno
Arno
14117 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 15, 2019 - 5:21 AM

Hi Serenetee,

That route only includes half of the Glacier Express route, and it's not the best half in my opinion. Still very nice, but the Centovalli route is certainly a great alternative. If you opt for the Glacier Express route, then be sure to avoid the new tunnel and follow the classic route with a change in Göschenen, which is part of the Gotthard Panorama Express route. Please find details on the below pages, and check the Route tab for exact routes and timetables:

Last modified on Oct 15, 2019 - 5:21 AM by Arno
Serenetee
Serenetee
47 posts
active member
Oct 15, 2019 - 8:10 AM in reply to Arno

Thanks Arno!

“That route only includes half of the Glacier Express route, and it's not the best half in my opinion.”

Sorry Aron but are you referring to the Centovalli Express?

If so, then yes it’s only half of the GE route.

I would like to find out how to cover as much of the GE route from Lugano? Do we have to go to Chur and starts from there? I did some reading in this forum and learnt that the most beautiful GE stretch is some where between Disentis and Andermatt. Am I right? But the Centovalli Express does not cover that stretch.

Thanks!

Arno
Arno
14117 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 15, 2019 - 8:58 AM

Hi Serenetee,

There are two options:

  1. Lugano - Göschenen - Andermatt - Brig - Zermatt. This is part of the Gotthard Panorama Express route and part of the Glacier Express route.
  2. Lugano - Locarno - Domodossola - Brig - Zermatt. This includes the entire Centovalli line. Brig to Zermatt is a tiny section of the Glacier Express route indeed, but so short that I didn't even think about mentioning it :-)

You can theoretically travel to Chur first, but that's an extremely long day. And you should keep in mind day light hours, only from about 7:45 to 16:45. Traveling before or after isn't useful as you won't see anything.

There is another option via St. Moritz or Chur if you can spend two days on this trip. You can then include the entire Bernina Express and Glacier Express.

www.myswissalps.com/be rninaexpress

Last modified on Oct 16, 2019 - 6:21 AM by Arno
Serenetee
Serenetee
47 posts
active member
Oct 15, 2019 - 9:40 AM in reply to Arno

Thanks Arno!

i think option 1 world be a good choice! Will definitely consider this!

Just wondering will we be missing any beautiful scenery between Disentis and Andrrmatt? Where is the highest point of the Glacier Expeess route?

Just a little info, before going to Zermatt, we actually would take the Berina Express from St Moritz-Tirana. Then to Milan-Lugano. That’s the reason I do not know how to connect to the beginning of Glacier Express.

Thank you!

Arno
Arno
14117 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 15, 2019 - 10:15 AM in reply to Serenetee

Hi Serenetee,

How do you plan to reach St. Moritz then? Perhaps you can include the remainder of the Glacier Express then.

Disentis to Andermatt is the Oberalp Pass, which is the highest point and one of the highlights. It's all explained on our page: https://www.myswissalps.com/glacierexpress/gettingthere.

Last modified on Oct 15, 2019 - 10:17 AM by Arno
1960man
1960man
2320 posts
top member
Oct 16, 2019 - 12:12 AM

Disentis - Andermatt is the highest section of the so called GE route (which in truth is just a connecting set of normal Swiss alpine railway routes) - ie the Oberalp Pass

There are only 4 really spectacular sections of the so called GE route - in order East to West: Albula railway north ramp loops and spirals Tiefencastel - Filisur - Preda, Ruinaulta (Rheinschlucht aka Rhine gorge) between Reichenau Tamins and Ilanz; Disentis - Oberalppass - Andermatt; the loops around Grengiols and Fiesch (on the Andermatt - Brig section)

Last modified on Oct 16, 2019 - 12:23 AM by 1960man
1960man
1960man
2320 posts
top member
Oct 16, 2019 - 12:14 AM in reply to Arno

"This is part of the Gotthard Panorama Express and part of the Glacier Express."

Hi Arno,

Could I suggest that you don't refer to the Gotthard mountain (Gotthard Bergstrecke - GBS) route as the 'Gotthard Panorama Express' in this way as this is the sort of thing that causes confusion across this forum. The GPE is one special (irregular) train on the GBS and does not run when Serenetee is travelling.

Also, avoiding this wording will help to prepare everyone for the December 2020 change when the train operation on the GBS will change fundamentally with the takeover by SOB - and whatever branding they end up using

Serenetee
Serenetee
47 posts
active member
Oct 16, 2019 - 1:00 AM

Thanks Arno & 1960man!

Arno, we will arrive in Zurich & will take a train to St Moritz. Fyi, we will travel Switzerland in a round circle covering from North to west then finally flying out from Zurich. As we are meeting our son on 27 Novin Genève so some itineray may be slightly rigid due to the timeline.

1960man & Aron, yes I read that Oberalp Pass is the highest point of GEX and would love to cover it if possible! So if I travel via the 1st option Arno suggested earlier, that is, “Lugano - Göschenen - Andermatt - Brig - Zermatt”, will this route covers the Oberalp Pass? If not, how should I travel from Lugano to Zermatt so as to cover the Oberalp Pass?

Thanks to both!

Arno
Arno
14117 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 16, 2019 - 6:30 AM in reply to 1960man

Hi 1960man,

Sorry, I should have written Gotthard Panorama Express "route" (I edited my answer now). It's indeed not that specific train that needs to be used here; any train will do. The same applies to the Glacier Express route. I think the Express trains branding attracts a lot of attention and sort of helps people to identify the routes. They could have branded the routes instead of the trains but I'm sure they have a reason for that. So in the end it's easier for us to just go along with that and use "Golden Pass line", for example, as that's what people know about. They don't (typically) know about ZB, BLS and MOB. That's too confusing for a train ride of a few hours :-)

Last modified on Oct 16, 2019 - 6:30 AM by Arno
Arno
Arno
14117 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 16, 2019 - 6:34 AM in reply to Serenetee

Hi Serenetee,

In that case, you could consider traveling from Zurich to St. Moritz via Andermatt and Disentis. You will then cross the Oberalp Pass and also see the Rhine valley (see my previous link for all the Glacier Express route details and a zoomable map). It will take twice as long, but this makes more sense than trying to do it all on the day you depart from Lugano I think.

Last modified on Oct 16, 2019 - 6:35 AM by Arno
Serenetee
Serenetee
47 posts
active member
Oct 16, 2019 - 1:05 PM in reply to Arno

Thanks Arno for the suggestion!

I have checked the route from Zurich to St Moritz via Andermatt and Disentis but it is going to take more than 6 hours and many changes of train. I’m not sure if we can take this long journey after 14 hours of flight. 😅

1960man
1960man
2320 posts
top member
Oct 16, 2019 - 11:26 PM in reply to Serenetee

You are adding in so many variables that I think you need to reconsider your whole itinerary. You may need to choose to drop one of the 'spectacular' routes as you can't hope to do absolutely everything in one trip, especially in late November when the days are short.

Are you rigid about wanting to visit the Ticino canton (Lugano etc)?

If no, you could go St Moritz - Tirano (not Tirana which is the capital of Albania!) - St Moritz as a day trip then St Moritz - Chur - Zermatt

If yes, you will have to forego the Oberalp Pass, unless you add it in as a there and back from Andermatt , ie Göschenen - Andermatt - OberalpPass - Andermatt - Brig

Or you need to allow 2 days not 1 to get from Lugano to Zermatt

1960man
1960man
2320 posts
top member
Oct 16, 2019 - 11:30 PM

One other alternative is:

Lugano - Bellinzona (train)

Bellinzona - Thusis (express bus over the San Bernardino pass route)

Thusis - Reichenau Tamins (RhB train)

Reichenau Tamins - Rhine gorge - Disentis - OberalpPass - Andermatt - etc (RhB / MGB train)

Serenetee
Serenetee
47 posts
active member
Oct 17, 2019 - 2:51 AM in reply to 1960man

Thanks 1960man!

Yes you are right, I probably can’t do everything in a trip especially in November with short daylight.

Perhaps I should forgo the Oberalp Pass and reserve it for the next trip. I think visiting the Ticino canton & the Bernina Express is still the priority over the Oberalp Pass. 😊

1960man
1960man
2320 posts
top member
Oct 17, 2019 - 11:33 PM in reply to Serenetee

But I don't see how you are going to fit in the Bernina line either given that the Bernina Express bus Tirano - Lugano doesn't run in mid winter.

Serenetee
Serenetee
47 posts
active member
Oct 18, 2019 - 8:16 AM in reply to 1960man

Hi 1960man, we are going to Milan from Tirano and will take train to Lugano from there.

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