Plan help to take 4 panoramic trains March 2018

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Dan
Dan
6 posts
new member
Nov 3, 2017 - 2:16 PM

Hi, we are traveling to Switzerland from 23 March 18 to 6 April 18, a total of 15 days. We plan to do the 4 scenic journeys, William Tell Express, Bernina Express, Glacier Express, and Golden Pass.

1. Are all the 4 journeys available during our time of visit?

2. Are they all covered by the Swiss Travel Pass, including the bus journey in Bernina Express?

3. Do all the 4 journeys have regular trains if we do not intend to travel by Panorama trains?

4. What is the cost of seat reservation for Panorama trains if we possess a Swiss Travel Pass? I suppose no seat reservation is required for regular trains.

5. This being our first trip to Switzerland. Can you suggest where and how many days we should spend at the various towns during the rail journeys. We intend to spend more days at Berner Oberland.

Many thanks

Lucas
Lucas
9586 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 3, 2017 - 6:08 PM in reply to Dan

Hi Dan and welcome to MySwissAlps!

First, have a look at our information pages on these trains - they should answer most of your questions.

  1. All but the Gotthard Panoramic Express, which usually starts running in mid-April (April 14 in 2017) but I don't see a schedule posted for 2018 yet. Here is this years schedule.
  2. Yes, except a mandatory reservation that is required for all but the Golden Pass route.
  3. Yes
  4. See links above for each train
  5. The key towns (starting and end points) for they trains are Luzern, Montreux, Zermatt and Chur. All are great towns and I would recommend visiting each even if you weren't taking any of those trains. Chur perhaps isn't too interesting but necessary on the transfer between the Glacier Express and Bernina Express.
    Luzern is worth at least 3 nights, plus your time in the Bernese Oberland region in towns like Lauterbrunnen and Wengen (a week in that area is a good idea).

Let us know if you have further questions!

Use the Swiss railways timetable to plan out all your train trips. The trains are denoted on the timetable as GEX, BEX, GPE and Belle Epoque or Belle Panoramic (heritage style and modern style panoramic trains between Zweisimmen and Montreux on the Golden Pass route).

Cheers

Last modified on Nov 3, 2017 - 6:10 PM by Lucas
Removed user
Removed user
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Nov 4, 2017 - 12:24 AM in reply to Dan

>> we are traveling to Switzerland from 23 March 18 to 6 April 18 ... We plan to do the 4 scenic journeys, William Tell Express, Bernina Express, Glacier Express, and Golden Pass ... Are all the 4 journeys available during our time of visit?

The Gotthard Panorama Express will operate daily for a short pre-season period over Easter, from Good Friday to Easter Monday (30 Mar to 02 Apr 2018).

After that, it will not operate again until the main season starts on 21 Apr 2018.

From 21 Apr until 14 Oct 2018, it will operate Tuesday to Sunday (not Mondays, except for 21 May 2018 apparently, which must have something to do with Whit Sunday being on 20 May).

Departure time southbound from Luzern will be 11:12 (the same time as in 2017). For the northbound trip, departure from Lugano will be at 09:23 (a couple of hours earlier than in 2017).

Bookings will be available from Jan 2018.

Alpenrose

Lucas
Lucas
9586 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 4, 2017 - 7:13 AM in reply to Removed user

Ah ha! Found a fact sheet for 2018!

See a PDF attachment below of the 2018 schedule for easy reading.

Please login to see the attached documents
Dan
Dan
6 posts
new member
Nov 4, 2017 - 8:39 AM in reply to Lucas

Thanks for all your help.

Can I clarify that though the Gotthard Panorama Express only operate in late April to Oct and the Easter weekend, we can still take the same route via the regular trains and enjoy the same scenery?

Also in such instance, seat reservation is not necessary?

Many thanks

Lucas
Lucas
9586 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 4, 2017 - 10:55 AM in reply to Dan

Yes you are correct Dan on all points.

To take the regional train instead on the same route:

The timetable will normally present the quickest route and mode of transport, which mostly is not the Gotthard Panorama Express route.

Go to the advanced search options to search for boats only between Lucerne and Flüelen. Then search for the train schedules between Flüelen and Lugano: enter the via-station Göschenen to be sure to travel via the right route.

Dan
Dan
6 posts
new member
Nov 8, 2017 - 1:26 PM

Hi, for the Bernina Express, there is a bus section ( Lugano to Tirano), and a train section ( Tirano to Chur). However, I understand the bus service only operates during summer. Is there any alternative transportation for one to travel from Lugano to Tirano in March?

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Nov 8, 2017 - 2:07 PM in reply to Dan

Hi Dan,

>> Hi, for the Bernina Express, there is a bus section ( Lugano to Tirano), and a train section ( Tirano to Chur). However, I understand the bus service only operates during summer. Is there any alternative transportation for one to travel from Lugano to Tirano in March?

It seems they have extended the season during which the Bernina Express bus runs in 2018, which will be good news for early and late season travellers.

The Bernina Express bus will run in each direction from Thursday to Sunday during the early season (15 Feb to 1 Apr) and late season (1 Nov to 25 Nov 2018). During the peak season (2 Apr to 28 Oct), the bus will run daily.

So you can use the Bernina Express bus if you are travelling on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday in March. If you are not travelling on one of those days, use the Swiss Timetable to find an alternative route. It will most likely involve some travel in Italy which is not covered by the Swiss Travel Pass.

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

Alpenrose

Last modified on Nov 8, 2017 - 2:09 PM by Removed user
Dan
Dan
6 posts
new member
Nov 8, 2017 - 3:15 PM

Thanks for the reply.

Can I know if the bus section in Bernina Express covered by Swiss Travel Pass?

Also is there a need for seat reservation for the bus?

And how to do the seat reservation for the bus?

Many thanks

Last modified on Nov 8, 2017 - 3:17 PM by Dan
Lucas
Lucas
9586 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 8, 2017 - 4:16 PM in reply to Dan

You can make reservations for both at the same time. Use the link here for reservations and when you are on the Rhaetain Railway site enter Chur to Lugano.

Yes, this route is covered by the Swiss Travel Pass - our Swiss Travel Pass page has a PDF map so you can see everything that is covered.

Dan
Dan
6 posts
new member
Nov 21, 2017 - 5:02 AM

Hi, we will be travelling to Switzerland 23 March 18 to 6 April 18.

Can I know what can we do during this late March/early April period?

What are the chances that we can view the mountain peaks? Is it worth travelling to Zermatt to visit Matterhorn? How about hiking? Are all the scenic rail journeys in operation?

Thank you.

Lucas
Lucas
9586 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 21, 2017 - 7:16 AM in reply to Dan

Hi Dan,

What to do will depend on where you have finalized your itinerary or is that still up in the air?

If you are still trying to decide on an area to stay visit have a look at our list here: https://www.myswissalp s.com/regions

The most popular region (and the one you said you were looking at in an earlier post) is the Bernese Oberland but hiking there will be limited due to the altitude of many mountains there.

Hiking is not really possible at that time, at least over 1800- 2000 meters as snow would still be quite abundant. Snowshoeing or light hiking in the valleys would be more likely. The most popular region is the Bernese Oberland but hiking there will be limited due to the altitude of many mountains there.

Whether you can have nice views on the various Swiss mountains will depend on the weather when you are there - it could be great with no issues - but clouds covering the views can happen any time of year.

I liked visiting Zermatt and seeing the Matterhorn for sure - it will still be busy in March and early April.

Last modified on Nov 21, 2017 - 7:17 AM by Lucas

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