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Swiss train passes & cableway tickets in advance


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Steele
Steele
5 posts
new member
Jun 24, 2021 - 4:30 PM

Hello. Planning to spend 9 days in Switzerland the first week in July. I will be staying 2 days in Zermatt, 5 days in Wengen, and 2 days in Lucerne. I will have the Swiss Half Fare Card.

1. For trips to the mountains like Gornegrat (Mattehorn), Jungfraujoch, Schilthorn, Grindelwald First, do you recommend I buy tickets online in advance? Is it cheaper to buy in advance? I want flexibility in case of bad weather. However, we don't want to run out of seats going to these places for me and my wife. July is a busy season, but with the pandemic and Switzerland just opening up to tourism, not sure which is smarter, buying in advance now or buying closer to the day of the actual trips.

2. Same question goes for the train tickets between Zermatt, Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Grindelwald, Murren, and Interlaken. Buy advance tickets or wait until I get there?

3. Same question goes for Golden Pass between Interlaken and Montreux. Buy advance ticket or wait until I get there?

Thanks in advance.

--Steele

Ildiko
Ildiko
1345 posts
top member &
moderator
Jun 24, 2021 - 6:54 PM in reply to Steele

Hi Steele and welcome to MySwissAlps.com!

Thank you for your question.

I suggest you buy your Swiss Half Fare Card online in advance, you can purchase it here: www.myswissalps.com/swisshalffarecard/price.

Good weather is important for mountain activities, so I'd recommend to only buy tickets once you're sure you'll be making the trip. You can buy them online or on the spot:

Although seat reservations are not compulsory on the Golden Pass we recommend it on the Zweisimmen to Montreux leg (Interlaken-Montreux). You can buy your seat reservation and ticket for the Golden Pass here: www.myswissalps.com/goldenpass/tickets.

You haven't mentioned them, but for other panoramic trains like Glacier Express (www.myswissalps.com/glacierexpress) and Bernina Express (www.myswissalps.com/berninaexpress) etc. you need to buy your tickets online and also it is obligatory to reserve your seats in advance. You'll find the list of panoramic trains here: www.myswissalps.com/activities/scenictrips/train.

I think these pages will be useful for you too:

I hope this helps,

Ildiko

Last modified on Jun 25, 2021 - 6:54 AM by Ildiko
Steele
Steele
5 posts
new member
Jun 25, 2021 - 4:48 AM in reply to Ildiko

Ildiko,

Thank you so much for your reply. I have a couple of follow-up questions.

1. Is there something wrong with Happy Rail site? I attempted to purchase the Half-Fare Card twice and it would not complete the transaction. The spinning wheel just kept spinning after I hit pay with my credit card for the whole 19 minutes. My bank states no transactions posted and issues with my credit card. I emailed Happy Rail, but no response and no other way to contact them. Do you recommend another source of this half-fare card?

2. So for my Golden Pass day, I am planning to start my day from my hotel at Wengen to Interlaken, catch the golden pass train in Interlaken to Montreaux; don't want to take the 5 hour trip from Lucerne-Montreaux. I then plan on spending a couple of hours sightseeing Montreaux and then head back to Wengen. What is your recommendation of transport at the end of my journey from Montreaux to Wengen? Is there another place I should visit this day along the way? Or is this enough for 1 day (train ride and Montreaux)?

3. For reserving seats on the Golden-Pass for between Interlaken-Montreaux only, Happy Rail took me to the Zweisimmen to Montreaux. How do I purchase Golden Pass tickets from Interlaken to Montreaux? Do I stay in one train from Interlaken to Montreaux or must transfer somewhere in between?

4. Lastly, as you mentioned when buying point-to-point rail tickets at the station could I expect a long line and inconvenience? Half-Fare card is most economical for our travel considering our itinerary, but not sure if the Swiss Travel Pass is worth the skip the line ticket purchase?

Thanks again for all your help and advise.

--Steele

Anna
Anna
1697 posts
top member &
moderator
Jun 25, 2021 - 9:39 AM in reply to Steele

Hi Steele,

1. I'm sorry you're having problems accessing the Happy Rail site. I'm not sure what's going on there. Have you tried the other resellers listed on the link? www.myswissalps.com/swisshalffarecard/price

2. For your journey back from Montreux to Wengen, in addition to taking the Goldenpass in reverse, you could also travel via Brig. This journey takes about 3 hours and might involve a few change of trains. If you have enough time, I would stop in Brig for a little sightseeing. You can plan your journey using the SBB timetable.

3. Seat reservations on the Goldenpass is not obligatory. But seat reservation on the Zweisimmen - Montreux leg is recommended because this is a popular stretch. You can find more information about making seat reservations here: www.myswissalps.com/goldenpass/tickets If the Happy Rail link doesn't work, scroll down the the MOB link at the bottom of the page.

4. You can buy point-to-point tickets from the counter or ticket machines. Most of the ticket machines have options for English now. Alternatively, you can download the SBB mobile app and purchase your tickets online. You can download the app from this page: www.myswissalps.com/aboutswitzerland/practical/websites

Let us know if you need further information.

Regards,

Anna

Last modified on Jun 26, 2021 - 7:50 AM by Anna
Annika
Annika
6672 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 26, 2021 - 7:02 AM in reply to Steele

Hi Steele!

HappyRail should normally work. It might have been a temporary glitch. You could check your spam folder to make sure their answer didn't accidentally end up there. If you experience ongoing issues with HappyRail, please let us know and pass on your order number, allowing us to look into it. Otherwise, one of the other retailers as suggested by Anna is fine too.

As for the (in)convenience of buying additional tickets: I think that's a matter of personal preference. I for one prefer the Swiss Travel Pass (https://www.myswissalps.com/swisstravelpass). The ease of use is great: we often change our plans on the spot because weather allows for more activities, because we suddenly feel for a nice detour, because we decide on the spot to take a boat trip rather than a train trip, and so on. We don't have to spend time on getting tickets for each trip and we don't feel constrained by tickets we've already bought. To me, this adds to a relaxed and fun way of traveling. But again, that's very personal. Many travelers get by just fine with the Swiss Half Fare Card.

This page explains how to choose: www.myswissalps.com/train/ticketspasses/practical/chooserailpass. I hope it's helpful!

Last modified on Jun 26, 2021 - 7:04 AM by Annika
Steele
Steele
5 posts
new member
Jun 26, 2021 - 7:07 AM in reply to Anna

Thanks Anna.

So for the Golden Pass round trip from Interlaken to Montreaux, how do I reserve and purchase tickets the whole way and back? Do I need to purchase separate point-to-point tickets between Interlaken-Spiez, Spiez-Zweisimmen, Zweisimmen-Montreaux. Or can I buy for the whole way down to Montreaux, tour Montreaux for about 3 hours, then hop back the Golden Pass train back to Interlaken. I'll be starting my journey from Wengen and want to start early and not miss the train. I have the Swiss Half Fare card.

The vendors you suggested, Happy Rail, isn't working and so this is all confusing to me. Sorry.

In SBB site, I can purchase point-to-p0int tickets from Zweisimmen-Montreaux and back. When I do this, is this considered "reserved seating"? Or do I have to do something else to get reserved seating? These routes are labeled "Golden Pass"

Now to get to Interlaken Ost to Zweisimmen I don't see any trains labeled "Golden Pass". I'd like to reserve these seats too if possible. Am I doing something wrong?

I see trains from Interlaken Ost to Montreaux, but those travel all the way to Visp or Brig. I don't believe these are Golden Pass trains.

Please unconfuse me :-)

--Steele

Last modified on Jun 26, 2021 - 7:41 AM by Steele
Annika
Annika
6672 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 26, 2021 - 7:28 AM in reply to Steele

Hi Steele! I think we were writing posts simultaneously :-). Did you read my notes about HappyRail? Anna also provided an overview of alternative resellers at www.myswissalps.com/swisshalffarecard. Many more than just HappyRail are listed there if you scroll down a bit, like this one: https://shop.switzerlandtravelcentre.com.

With a Swiss Travel Pass you wouldn't need tickets at all. If you have a Swiss Half Fare Card, you do need discounted tickets. You can get a regular discounted return ticket Interlaken-Montreux (see www.myswissalps.com/traintickets/switzerlandhalffare). Anna explained how to arrange for seat reservations (if you want to: they're not obligatory) and mentioned an alternative link in case HappyRail doesn't work for you.

I hope this helps you out! Let us know if you need further assistance.

Last modified on Jun 26, 2021 - 7:30 AM by Annika
Steele
Steele
5 posts
new member
Jun 26, 2021 - 7:44 AM in reply to Annika

I think our messages crossed. I had to edit it for additional question. See above. Thanks.

Anna
Anna
1697 posts
top member &
moderator
Jun 26, 2021 - 8:16 AM in reply to Steele

Hi Steele,

I hope you've managed to get your Swiss Half Fare Card online from the alternative resellers if Happy Rail is still inacccessible. Do keep us posted on this.

To answer your question about how to purchase the Golden Pass ticket:

1. If you are planning to travel and return via the same route, you can buy a return ticket Wengen - Zweisimmen - Montreux - Wengen from the SBB website. Also, you can download the mobile app here and buy tickets on the go.

2. As mentioned previously, seat reservations on the Golden Pass is not obligatory. But if you want to guarantee your seat on the Zweisimmen - Montreux route, it's recommended to make seat reservations separately. You can find more details about making seat reservation on the Golden Pass line here: www.myswissalps.com/goldenpass/tickets (scroll down to the MOB website if the Happy Rail link still presents some issues).

3. If you would like to reserve your seat on the Interlaken to Zweisimmen stretch, you can find details on how to do this here: www.myswissalps.com/train/reservations/howtouse

4. You are right, the trains travelling from Interlaken to Montreux via Brig are not Golden Pass trains. These are inter-regional trains. This is an alternative route for you if you prefer a different view or experience for your journey back.

I hope this clears some of your confusion.

Regards,

Anna

Last modified on Jun 26, 2021 - 8:17 AM by Anna
Annika
Annika
6672 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 26, 2021 - 9:01 AM in reply to Anna

Hi Steele! In addition to Anna's helpful information: the leg Interlaken-Zweisimmen is operated by regular regional trains. They aren't labeled "GoldenPass" in the timetable. The train types for each leg are mentioned under "The train" at www.myswissalps.com/goldenpass and under "Timetable" at www.myswissalps.com/goldenpass/gettingthere. Seat reservations aren't even possible for the stretch Interlaken-Zweisimmen. You can just hop on with your pass/ticket :-)!

The page Anna linked to explains when seat reservations are required and/or possible.

Steele
Steele
5 posts
new member
Jun 26, 2021 - 12:15 PM in reply to Annika

Hi Anna and Annika,

Happy Rail was not working for me, I tried many times, and they have not responded to my email since 3 days ago.

I purchased my Half Fare from SBB and purchased my Golden Pass journey from MOB.

For Golden Pass journey, I purchased the following:

1. Point-to-Point tickets from Wengen to Interlaken early morning.

2. Interlaken to Montreaux, with reserved seatings from Zweisimmen to Montreaux.

3. Then return that afternoon from Montreaux to Interlaken with reserved seatings.

Question...Got my tickets for Interlaken-Montreaux-Interlaken via email and also able to print these tickets from MOB site. However, no tickets for the train ride between Wengen-Interlaken, even though in my purchase area in MOB website it states that I paid for it.

Shouldn't I have gotten tickets for the train ride from Wengen-Interlaken also? I called MOB and the gentleman I spoke to was a little confused, and so I emailed them also.

Without tickets from Wengen-Interlaken what do we show when we board the train? Is it enough to show the invoice from MOB?

Additionally, there is little time between train transfers, do we have to take our MOB tickets to a ticket counter to get another ticket or do we just go straight to the train platform and board the train with the MOB tickets?

Thanks again for any your thoughts.

--Steele

Anna
Anna
1697 posts
top member &
moderator
Jun 26, 2021 - 12:55 PM in reply to Steele

Hi Steele,

Has the MOB responded to your query? I think they are the best people to provide clarification on this. If you have the invoice, I think there should be no problem getting the tickets and/or boarding the train.

The transfer time should be sufficient. Just be aware of which platforms you need to get off and get on. The online tickets are valid for travel. But if in doubt, you can always check at the SBB customer service counters in Interlaken or Wengen at the start of your trip.

Please keep us updated. Let us know if you need more information.

Regards,

Anna

Annika
Annika
6672 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 27, 2021 - 10:31 AM in reply to Steele

Hi Steele,

Good to hear you managed to arrange for your Swiss Half Fare Cards and your seat reservations.

As for the tickets Interlaken-Wengen: that section isn't operated by MOB, and I don't see Wengen in the list of rail stations in their ticket purchase module. So I'm not sure what happened there. I agree that it's best to wait for the MOB to answer your question, as they can look into the details of your order. You do need valid tickets for any section of the train journey by the way. Showing an invoice won't be sufficient.

As for HappyRail: they address questions during European office hours (CEST). If you still want to clarify the credit card issue, you can wait for their answer or call them (www.myswissalps.com/aboutus/partners/happyrail).

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