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Seats on scenic trains with Swiss Travel Pass

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M day5051
M day5051
11 posts
new member
Jan 8, 2020 - 9:42 AM

Good evening from Mike and Karen in Australia.

I would like some advice on purchasing the Swiss Travel Pass and booking scenic trains with seat reservations please.

Our plan is to purchase the Swiss Travel Pass, 8 day first class. (Booking first class due to the extra room for luggage and difficulty in lifting heavy items overhead)

we arrive in Zurich 28th August 2020.

Saturday 29th August 2020 we will travel on the 06:05 Golden Pass train to interlaken and then make our way to Wengen. (How do we reserve 1st class seats for this trip)

Tuesday 1st September 2020 we will travel from Interlaken via Brig to Chur on the Glacier Express Train. (How do we reserve 1st class seats for this trip)

Wednesday 2nd September 2020 we will travel on the 08:32 Bernina Express Train Chur via Pontresina to Tirano. (How do we reserve 1st class tickets for this trip)

Wednesday 2nd September 2020 we will disembark the Bernina Express Train in Tirano and catch the bus to Lugano where we have seen on this forum that we should sit on the left side of the bus. Can you please advise (How we reserve 1st class tickets for the train) and (How to reserve two tickets on the bus trying to ensure we can choose a seats on the left side of the bus.

I have tried to use the different sites but have become a little confused when trying to make reservations. I was wondering if I can make reservations for the four trips in one go or do I need to make one reservation then pay for this before making the next reservations as I thought there may be a way to make all the reservations in one go and make the total payment in one transaction.

I was looking for advice if I should look at purchasing the Swiss Travel Pass now and make all the reservations now or is there any benefits on waiting until closer to the travel dates to make the purchase and make the reservations.

Any assistance and advice will be greatly appreciated.

Regards Mike and Karen.

rockoyster
rockoyster
8864 posts
expert
Jan 8, 2020 - 10:17 AM in reply to M day5051

Hello guys and Welcome to MySwissAlps,

You are too soon to make reservations and you don’t need to buy the STP in order to do so anyway.

For the good oil on the GEX and BEX see www.myswissalps.com/forum/topic/glacier-and-bernini-express-reservations.

The only part of the Golden Pass route you will travel on between Zurich and Wengen is the Luzern - Interlaken Express. It’s just a regular commuter train (despite the grand title). The scenery is lovely. You don’t need reservations especially in 1st Class.

I strongly recommend using the SBB Mobile app (bit.ly/2ICIUHi) for checking train, bus, boat and cable way timetables, finding fares* and buying tickets on-line if required. In the unlikely event you don’t have a device capable of running the app then you can use the timetable on the SBB website (bit.ly/2HH1U7B). If you are not familiar with using the SBB timetable it is worth first reading the instructions at www.myswissalps.com/timetable.

* The SBB website shows half-fare prices by default, the mobile app allows you to nominate whether to show full or half-fares (by editing the passenger details in settings) and is also smart enough to offer you the Saver Day Pass (www.myswissalps.com/saverdaypass) if that offers the best fare. The app can also display a platform map (at least at the larger stations) to help you make connections. You can also easily filter modes of transport (eg bus or ship).

The app (or website) will always show the fastest, most direct routes unless you tell it you want to go a longer way round by including other stations to go VIA. For example, if you wanted to follow the Golden Pass route you would need to search the SBB app looking for Luzern to Montreux via Interlaken and Zweisimmen.

Based on your personal itinerary you should read “How to choose the best travel pass” (www.myswissalps.com/train/ticketspasses/practical/chooserailpass), download the handy spreadsheet calculator and do the math. The spreadsheet also includes links to the “Where it's valid" page for all available passes. Be sure to check those pages for each pass you are considering. Study the map AND read all the text on those pages to fully understand what is covered by the respective pass.

Have a look at trip reports at bit.ly/2GEdluh and bit.ly/2GEUfob.

rockoyster
rockoyster
8864 posts
expert
Jan 8, 2020 - 10:34 AM in reply to M day5051
M day5051
M day5051
11 posts
new member
Jan 8, 2020 - 10:43 AM in reply to rockoyster

Thanks Rock Oyster. Much appreciated. Regards Mike.

Ildiko
Ildiko
861 posts
top member &
moderator
Jan 8, 2020 - 11:35 AM in reply to M day5051

Hi Mike and Karen,

you are very early to do the reservations. Usually you can book seats 3 months ahead of time.

You need to reserve your seats only for the panoramic trains, on local trains there is no need to do that, further information at www.myswissalps.com/train/reservations/howtouse.

Later, you can book your seats via these recommended resellers:

For buying the Swiss Travel Pass:

There is also a luggage service provided by SBB, it might be useful if you do not wish to handle your luggage: www.myswissalps.com/train/practical/luggage.

Also see:

Annika
Annika
6200 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 9, 2020 - 7:02 AM in reply to rockoyster

Hi Mike and Karen! HappyRail often allows to arrange for your seat reservations earlier than the 3-4 months timeframe. They'll then provide you with the actual reservation as soon as they can arrange for it, which is indeed about 3 months prior to your travel date. This allows you to be done with the order and payment process in an earlier stage. You can give it a try; they're listed at the pages mentioned by Ildiko, and the direct links are here:

Last modified on Jan 9, 2020 - 7:03 AM by Annika
rockoyster
rockoyster
8864 posts
expert
Jan 9, 2020 - 7:06 AM in reply to Annika

Hi Annick’s,

Both the Glacier Express and the Bernina Express can be booked up to 6 months out on the official railway websites. Just saying . . . . .

Jmbau13
Jmbau13
3 posts
new member
Jan 9, 2020 - 8:32 AM

Is this still the case though? I have a pref for the official websites, but haven’t been able to book on either of the official railway sites for May.

I was able to book a reservation for the B Express only - it won’t let me buy a ticket yet. The G Express will not allow me to have either a reservation or a ticket, it tells me I can’t do it until 92 days before.

rockoyster
rockoyster
8864 posts
expert
Jan 9, 2020 - 10:15 AM in reply to Jmbau13

I stand corrected. The GEX is only 3 months in advance but at least you get to pick your seats which the reseller operations don’t enable you to do. The resellers don’t secure you a seat prior to 3 months. They just take your money and make the reservation on your behalf when reservations open.

Don’t stress about tickets. You can buy one of those anytime prior to boarding once you have a reservation.

Susan siek
Susan siek
20 posts
new member
Jan 9, 2020 - 3:37 PM

Hi All,

Looking through this conversation, I had just purchased the STP First Class 4 days from 25 January 2020. I noticed all dates blocked until the date that I started the booking as of 25 January to 24 February 2020 are unblocked. I wanted to book on 27 January from Interlaken to Montreux using the classic train. I have not select yet as I worry it will activate the pass? I will be landing on 23 January only. Can you guide me on this? Do I just select 27 January it will guide me to the next step to book the train I wish to take? And also the seating that I wish to select? Appreciate your comment. Many thanks.

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rockoyster
rockoyster
8864 posts
expert
Jan 9, 2020 - 7:41 PM in reply to Susan siek

Hello Susan,

Your heading off on a different subject here but see www.myswissalps.com/swisstravelpassflex/howtouse.

With your pass you don’t need tickets for the Golden Pass route (www.myswissalps.com/goldenpass). You can make reservations including seat selection at bit.ly/2kaq6Rf. Click the "e" for English language top right of the page. (where it says "Sprachwahl: d i f e"). Then change the class of travel, date of travel and start/end points to suit. Reservations are not compulsory but are recommended on the Zweisimmen to Montreux leg (which is where the Panoramic and Belle Époque trains operate) during peak tourist season.

The Belle Époque trains depart Zweisimmen at 11:05 and 16:25 daily.

Last modified on Jan 9, 2020 - 7:42 PM by rockoyster
M day5051
M day5051
11 posts
new member
Jan 10, 2020 - 12:43 AM in reply to rockoyster

Hi Rockoyster.

Thank you for all your advice and assistance along with all the other posters who have given me advice as it truly is appreciated.

My two questions are: Which is the Official Websites for the Glacier Express and the Bernina Express as I would like to book through these site so we can pick our seats when bookings open as you stated in a previous post instead of being allocated seats by resellers.

Question two: Reading some posts it states to sit on the right side of the train for the better scenery when travelling from Brig to Chur and from Chur to Tirano. Can you advise when looking at the seating plan of the train if the right side will be the side with single seats as we will be in first class.

Again thank you for your assistance.

Regards Mike.

rockoyster
rockoyster
8864 posts
expert
Jan 10, 2020 - 1:48 AM in reply to M day5051

Hi Mike,

Official sites are shop.glacierexpress.ch/gex_en/specials/daytrips/glacier-express and

shop.rhb.ch/en/bernina-express.

In 1st Class the right hand side was was where the pairs of single seats are on both trains. That’s my experience anyway. The sites say they can’t guarantee direction of travel.

Fun fact: If you continued from Chur to St Moritz on the GEX you would arrive on the right-hand side of the train and depart on the left.

Last modified on Jan 10, 2020 - 2:01 AM by rockoyster
Susan siek
Susan siek
20 posts
new member
Jan 10, 2020 - 3:19 PM in reply to rockoyster

Hello Rockoyster,

Thanks for the info. When I select the 1105am, Zweisimmen to Montreux, its not stated anyway it going to be Belle Époque trains. Is this standard?

I am coming from Luzern. What is the best suggested time from me to catch a train from Luzern to Zweisimmen so that I can meet the 1105am departure? Between Luzern to Zweisimmen, is there option for Panaromic view or classic train?

Thank you.

rockoyster
rockoyster
8864 posts
expert
Jan 10, 2020 - 8:25 PM in reply to Susan siek

Hello Susan,

What is the best suggested time from me to catch a train from Luzern to Zweisimmen so that I can meet the 1105am departure?

You will need to use the SBB Mobile app (bit.ly/2ICIUHi) to figure that out. Just look for Luzern to Zweisimmen arriving prior to 11:00am. In the unlikely event you don’t have a device capable of running the app then you can use the timetable on the SBB website (bit.ly/2HH1U7B). If you are not familiar with using the SBB timetable it is worth first reading the instructions at www.myswissalps.com/timetable.

If you want to follow the Golden Pass route all the way you need to go via Meiringen in your timetable search. The SBB app will confirm the 11:05 is the Belle Époque.

Between Luzern to Zweisimmen, is there option for Panaromic view or classic train?

No. They are just regular trains.

Anna
Anna
730 posts
top member &
moderator
Jan 10, 2020 - 8:33 PM in reply to Susan siek

Hi Susan Siek,

The Belle Epoque trains are noted on the SBB timetable as Golden Pass Classic or Golden Pass Belle Epoque.

If you plan to catch the 11:05 Golden Pass Classic from Zweisimmen to Montreux, make sure you take the 8am or earlier train from Lucerne. Between Lucerne and Zweisimmen you will basically be travelling on a regular train.

More info about the Golden Pass route here: www.myswissalps.com/goldenpass/gettingthere

Hope that helps.

Regards,

Anna

rockoyster
rockoyster
8864 posts
expert
Jan 10, 2020 - 8:54 PM in reply to Susan siek

The 7:06am Luzern-Interlaken Express gets you to Zweisimmen at 10:20. The 8:06 Luzern-Interlaken Express is too late.

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