Voralpen Express reservations?

Voralpen Express reservations?

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rockoyster
rockoyster
3684 posts
expert
Mar 10, 2017 - 5:40 AM

My wife and I are planning to travel from Luzern to Konstanz on 2 June via St. Gallen on the Voralpen Express.

From what I can make out there is no means of making a reservation on the Voralpen. Is this correct? Is the train likely to be crowded at this time of year and if so what's the best way to ensure we secure a seat without reservation?

Lucas
Lucas
7092 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 10, 2017 - 1:13 PM in reply to rockoyster

Hi rockoyster,

I take it you are traveling to St. Gallen and then on to Konstanz on a local train?

I wouldn't worry about reservations - the Voralpen Express runs hourly from 07:39 to 19:39 daily and the journey starts in Luzern (so get there 10 or 12 minutes early and you will be among the first to get on the train). Virtually no one makes reservations on Swiss trains even when you can.

Regards,
Lucas

rockoyster
rockoyster
3684 posts
expert
Mar 11, 2017 - 12:57 AM in reply to Lucas

Hi Lucas,

Thanks for the response. It is great to have someone "in the know" to float these questions to. Yes we will be travelling by local train from St Gallen to Konstanz.

Supplementary question 1. Do you know if it is possible to pay for train tickets at stations in Switzerland using prepaid travel money card as opposed to credit card? I can load up a Visa based pre-paid card which avoids the 3% currency exchange fee charged on my bank's Visa credit card. I have read somewhere that many merchants are not happy acccepting such cards. How about SBB?

Supplementary question 2 (sorry). Would you advise buying a 1-month Swiss Half Fare Pass ahead of time and printing at home or getting one once I arrive in Switzerland. Would the pass you buy in Switzerland be more serviceable/durable than a home printed one?

Arno
Arno
10735 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 11, 2017 - 10:55 AM in reply to rockoyster

Hi Rockoyster,

1. Perhaps Lucas knows more about this than I do; I have never used such a card. They accept a wide range of credit and debit cards, and cash too, but I don't know about this one. I mostly pay using my debit card, and I choose CHF rather than my home currency EUR. This turns out to be the cheapest option.

2. Buying a Swiss Half Fare Card online makes sense. It saves time as you don't have to queue for a staffed ticket desk. Also it's the more secure option as you can print multiple copies and even keep the PDF file online somewhere as a backup. If you buy in Switzerland and loose the card, you will have to buy a new one. All purchase options are listed here, but the easiest print at home option at the moment is to buy from www.swissrailways.com/ en. After filling out your address, they will show the delivery options. Pick "Online Ticket" from the bottom of the list. They will e-mail the card within 1-3 business days (no delivery fees).

Last modified on May 17, 2018 - 11:42 AM by Arno
rockoyster
rockoyster
3684 posts
expert
Mar 12, 2017 - 12:15 AM in reply to Arno

Thanks Arno. I will follow your advice regards the Pass.

Lucas
Lucas
7092 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 12, 2017 - 11:12 AM in reply to rockoyster

Hi Rockoyster,

I haven't tried using a pre-paid Visa but you should be ok in most places and certainly should be fine at an SBB office....(they take any other Visa I know if without issue). Bear in mind that some smaller places are cash only, my German wife is always paranoid about this when travelling in Switzerland (they love cold hard cash here).

Similar to Arno, when I use my Canadian Visa I can select to pay in CHF which helps with avoiding any fees.

Lucas

rockoyster
rockoyster
3684 posts
expert
Mar 15, 2017 - 6:38 AM in reply to Lucas

Hi Lucas and Arno,

Thanks for your feedback.

Just thought I would let you know that I tried out the pre-paid travel card to purchase a ticket from DB for a trip Frankfurt to Basel. We loaded up the appropriate number of Euros and the card was accepted just like a normal credit card. We avoided the 3% currency conversion charge that our bank normally adds on to overseas credit card transactions.

I'll be testing it out with SBB shortly but would expect it to work similarly to the DB experience.

Lucas
Lucas
7092 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 15, 2017 - 1:29 PM in reply to rockoyster

Thanks for the information!

I thought it would be ok - just don't rely on it with smaller businesses.

Cheers,
Lucas

rockoyster
rockoyster
3684 posts
expert
Mar 26, 2017 - 1:56 AM in reply to Lucas

Hi Lucas,

Just thought I would let you know hat I have now bought a reservation on the Gotthard Panorama Express using the Visa Travel Cash Card. Works just like a credit card.

I also came across the following while browsing the "SBB Mobile Tips and Tricks" at www.micro.sbb.ch/mobil e/en/home.html

"Tip for young people, or those who don’t want a credit card: buy a Travel Cash Card, top it up with at least 100 Swiss francs (2.5% fee) and store it in your account. You can make your first purchase in SBB Mobile about two hours after topping up your card, but only after 24 hours on SBB.ch (the Internet code is only activated after 24 hours)."

The 2.5% fee varies from card provider to card provider. My Australian bank does not charge a top-up fee.

Lucas
Lucas
7092 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 26, 2017 - 8:07 AM in reply to rockoyster

Tips for young people! haha love it.

Thanks Rockoyster, great info.

Lucas

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