Zurich Airport > Zermatt > Basel by train

Zurich Airport > Zermatt > Basel by train

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BraunL
BraunL
4 posts
new member
Oct 16, 2017 - 6:00 PM

Hello,

My husband and I will be traveling on Monday Dec 11 from the Zurich Airport to Zermatt and then a few days later from Zermatt to Basel.

If I could please have advice on a couple items?

1) Can I use a Swiss Transfer Pass, or does it need to be to/from the same place?

2) Do i need to reserve seats for this train on a Monday? We would like to have window seats.

3) I've gone through the seat reservation tool on SBB, and get all the way to check out and don't know how to see which seats have been reserved or what is available? Are the seats assigned to me? If I pick 2 window seats, how do I know they are together before I pay?

Thank you for your help. This will be my first time taking a train is Switzerland.

Arno
Arno
9661 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 16, 2017 - 6:50 PM

Welcome to MySwissAlps BraunL!

1) Yes, you can use the Swiss Transfer Ticket. You can print it at home and board the train straight away after arrival: www.myswissalps.com/sw isstransferticket/pric e

2) 3) You do not need reservations. You can sit where you like.

Have a great trip!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
3820 posts
expert
Oct 17, 2017 - 7:42 AM in reply to BraunL

Hi BraunL -

Attached is the screen grab showing two window seats available in a car with open (corridor) seating as oppose to a train with compartments. The next steps are for payment.

Apparently, you got this far. You can see that reservations are possible only as far as Visp.

The seats will be assigned once you pay.

What do you mean by two window seats together? Most rows of seats will face in the same direction. It is less common that a set of seats exists with the two seats facing each other, unless you are in a compartment. Compartments are rare or non-existent on Swiss trains; they are more common on trains from other nations passing through Switzerland. So, unless you find a train with compartments, there is not a large chance of getting what I think you seek.

You might have a better chance without reservations. The seats that do face each other offer less leg and foot space, so they can fill up more slowly. Book without reservations and try to board the train quickly. Also, many passengers prefer to ride facing the forward direction of the train motion. Sometimes, you can find a passenger who is facing backwards in one of two facing seats, who would like to trade for a forward facing seat elsewhere.

The reservation process will allow you to book two seats side by side in a train without compartments, but, then one is not a window seat.

If you travel first class on main line trains of standard gauge, the seating will be two and two; or, on some trains and cars, one and two, as in the narrower upper deck of the double-deck cars. In second class, on main line trains of standard gauge (not narrow gauge) it will usually be three and three. ("Gauge" is the distance between the rails. Standard gauge is 1.435 meters) ) The train from Visp to Zermatt is meter gauge (narrow gauge). Second class is almost surely 2 and 2. From Zürich as far as Visp by various normal routes, the rails are standard gauge.

I also tried to book a compartment seat from Zürich to Visp, and as far as I can tell, they are not available.

Slowpoke

Please login to see the attached documents
BraunL
BraunL
4 posts
new member
Oct 17, 2017 - 1:21 PM

Thank you very much for the information.

I'm more accustomed to the trains in Germany where you can see the cars, pick your seat, and they have the seats that are 2 and 2 facing each other. So this makes sense now. Two seats side by side seems better, but if common practice is not to reserve a seat, then we may just wait and try our luck .

We are travelling on a Monday, late morning, so I would think it will be less busy.

Thank you again for all the assistance.

Lucas
Lucas
3460 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 17, 2017 - 1:42 PM in reply to BraunL

You will be just fine. I've never reserved in Switzerland on any train here; and rarely even in Germany (except for looooong train rides. :)

For Zermatt (and possibly the airport) the train starts there so it will be empty when boarding it. Lots of choice - just arrive maybe 15 minutes early and you'll have your pick of the train.

That's what I did last weekend for Zurich to Frankfurt - maybe 1/2 the train was reserved but we were there 15-20 minutes early and had our pick of the unreserved seats - this only works at major towns when the train trip starts there.

Last modified on Oct 17, 2017 - 1:44 PM by Lucas
BraunL
BraunL
4 posts
new member
Oct 17, 2017 - 1:59 PM

Thanks Lucas,

Silly question... how do I know a seat is reserved by someone? Is there a way to know before they come and kick you out? haha.

Lucas
Lucas
3460 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 17, 2017 - 5:18 PM in reply to BraunL

There will be either a paper note on the wall above the seats or an electronic sign (in the same place).
If the seat isn't reserved the wall space will be blank.

If reserved, the sign will show the towns the seat is reserved for and the seat number.
For example we took a train from Zurich to Hamburg with several stops along the way, including our stop in Frankfurt.
My seat was reserved for Frankfurt to Hamburg but was free for me to use until Frankfurt (which is all I needed).

So read the sign carefully (if there is one). You can use the seat until you arrive at the town it is reserved for.

See attached picture for example of an electronic reservation sign.

Last modified on Oct 17, 2017 - 5:20 PM by Lucas
Please login to see the attached documents
BraunL
BraunL
4 posts
new member
Oct 17, 2017 - 6:08 PM in reply to Lucas

That's fantastic information! Thanks very much for the wonderful advice!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
3820 posts
expert
Oct 17, 2017 - 7:30 PM in reply to BraunL

Guten Tag, BraunL.

Although, in der Schweiz, you are quite likely also to hear "grüetzi," grüessech (Bernese) , or sometimes the Bavarian "grüss Gott."

berndeutsch.blogspot.c om/2011/03/

<<"Two seats side by side seems better, but if common practice is not to reserve a seat, then we may just wait and try our luck .

We are travelling on a Monday, late morning, so I would think it will be less busy.">>.

I have been visiting Switzerland since 1980, and have only reserved on trips to or from Italy (Milano), Austria (Vienna) and Hannover.

Not even to Strassbourg, when we (a party of three) went from Zürich to the have lunch at the Orangerie.

Over those 37 years, the rush hour trains to/from the main cities have become more crowded, so that if I go from Bern to Burgdorf at 1700 or 1730 these days, I buy a First Class ticket, for modest extra cost, and that almost guarantees a seat, even when the second class cars are quite full.

In between rush hours, including the time that you are traveling, there have always been seats available for two people together in 2nd class.

I am not sure which route you have chosen, but the most likely one will take you to Bern, then Spiez, and then through the new "Lötschberg Basis Tunnel" to Visp in the Rhonetal. From Visp, change to the meter gauge line to Zermatt.

A significantly more scenic route than the "Lötschberg Basis Tunnel" is to take the upper route, on the old rail lines via Kandersteg. It takes about an hour longer. It makes a lot of local stops.

That option uses an hourly train called the Lötschberger from Bern to Brig ( quite close to Visp). The narrow gauge line for Zermatt is available at Brig platform 14, (across the Bahnhofplatz) so pick up the line to Zermatt in Brig and go onward through Visp. The Lötschberger has large windows and nice rolling stock. In this case, it the name refers to the higher, old route through the Lötschberg Pass, with a short tunnel section from Kandersteg that emerges at Goppenstein, and goes down the south facing wall of the Rhonetal to Brig.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Oct 17, 2017 - 7:32 PM by Slowpoke
Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
1231 posts
top member
Oct 18, 2017 - 1:06 AM in reply to BraunL

>> how do I know a seat is reserved by someone? Is there a way to know before they come and kick you out?

Something else to look out for are seats set aside for last-minute reservations.

These seats have "ggf freigeben" on the electronic display above the seat, that shows reservation details. This is short for "gegebenenfalls freigeben" (vacate if need be), which means that the seat will need to be surrendered if anyone turns up with a reservation for it.

Alpenrose

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