Train types in Switzerland

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Does it matter which type of train I take?

There are many different train types in Switzerland. In practice, it is rarely relevant which train you take. The main difference is that long distance trains are more comfortable, stop only in the larger towns, and are quicker. Regional trains stop everywhere and are slower. So in reality you simply take the train that takes you to your destination most efficiently, according to the timetable. Regardless of the train type.

There is no price difference between trains. If you have a ticket for a specific route, you can board any train that takes you to your destination. Rail pass holders can board each train type as well. Seat reservations are mostly not required.

Common train types

The Swiss timetable shows the type of train on the route you request. The most common ones are listed below:

  • EC: EuroCity trains connect Switzerland with other countries;
  • IC: InterCity trains connect the major cities within Switzerland;
  • ICE: InterCityExpress is a high speed train between Germany and Switzerland;
  • IR: InterRegio trains connect regions within Switzerland and typically stop in cities and mid size towns only;
  • Panoramic trains: for abbreviations and more details regarding the Glacier Express and other panoramic trains, please see our scenic train pages;
  • R: Regio trains operate on relatively short routes and typically stop at all stations;
  • RE: RegioExpress are similar to IR trains but often have more stops;
  • RJ: Railjet trains operate between Austria and Switzerland;
  • S: S-Bahn trains offer frequent connections in and around major towns and cities, and typically stop at all stations;
  • TGV: the Train à Grande Vitesse offers high speed connections from and to France.
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