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Geneva to Zermatt train

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
A couple of quick questions about the train from Geneva to Visp
I know the Swiss transfer ticket is the cheapest solution but can you reserve seats with that ticket ?
We are a group of 12 , so will we have any issues getting seats together on Saturday Feb 16th ( half term )?
Is 1st class worth the extra money ?
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Interested in responses to this as we are a group of 4 travelling from GVA to Zermatt by train on 26th jan.
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We’ve just bought saver day passes for our transfer over New Years, works out cheaper than the transfer ticket at 104 franc return, but I don’t know how this would work for a group booking??

https://www.sbb.ch/en/travelcards-and-tickets/tickets-for-switzerland/1-day-travelpass/saver-day-pass.html
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If you look at the connection you're planning to get on the SBB website a bit nearer the time, it'll give you an indication of how busy the train is likely to be. No seat reservations with a transfer ticket unfortunately.

I'm guessing it’ll be pretty busy - that’s one of the most popular days of the season to be travelling. First class is nice, but for the sake of a couple of hours on a train is it really worth it? Only you can judge.
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Hi,
Transfer ticket or no transfer ticket, seat reservation on the Geneva - Visp route is only possible on 1-2 trains a day (the ones that go to Milan), so it is not an option. I would not worry too much as there are two things in your favour : trains originate at the airport (which I assume is your starting point), and they are so frequent (every 20-40 minutes) that I would simply wait for the next one if the one I aimed for was really too crowded. A beautiful ride, by the way!
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As Balso said, you have the benefit of getting on the train at the start. Plus since you can't be sure what time you will arrive (air traffic delays etc) booking a seat on a particular train isn't that practical. Best just to get the first one that rolls in with space.
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Re first class: I've done that a few times and it is definitely more comfortable but the standard class seats are ok
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
But in 1st class groups (which are rather noisy by nature) are bit frowned upon...
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buy standard seats, then grab a meal in the restaurant, which only does table service to 1st class area.....once you have a table you can stay there the whole trip
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@gwatts10, The Swiss Transfer ticket is being withdrawn soon but you can purchase one now and it will be valid for a while. See this thread - http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=139250#3288697
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polo wrote:
buy standard seats, then grab a meal in the restaurant, which only does table service to 1st class area.....once you have a table you can stay there the whole trip


The Geneva to Visp train does not have a restaurant car. That line is very much the poor relation of the Swiss railway system.
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@JohnMo, Yes, I have done that journey and remember there was no restaurant car. It was a comfy train though and not busy when I did it but that was off season. You can always stock up with snacks from the Migros supermarket in Geneva airport but remember the Migros doesn’t sell alcohol. There is a wine/beer shop near the Migros if you want such refreshments. I was actually travelling to Saas Fee and caught the Postbus from Visp to Saas Fee.
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I have done this train route a couple of times on a Saturday (Saturday before xmas) and when I get on at the airport I usually have the carriage to myself. It gets busier further down the line.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Book 2nd class.

The carriages suck and the trains are among the slowest in the world.

But there are always plenty of seats or standingroom.

And there is always another train right around the corner.
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It depends on which train time you are on. They are 2 per hour, and has been stated you should be able to gauge how busy it is now assuming you have bought your flights, by going on the SBB site. You would be looking at an hour after landing -ish. The station is directly under the airport. No restaurant car, however if you can afford it 1st class helps in a few ways, its less busy, much wider seats, and room for luggage, plus less of a frantic rush if on a Saturday and you are going from one platform to another in Visp, you are wanting to sit together as a group. Swiss pass is finishing, however I have just bought mine for travel in March, and the Swiss tourist office in London said no issue. This is also the cheapest way of buying these by a small margin. The journey by the way is one of the best you can imagine. Speed is decent, and the carriages are basic, except first class is a little better as you would imagine. Try to get seats on the right of the train for the best views. Enjoy snowHead
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twoodwar wrote:
It depends on which train time you are on. They are 2 per hour, and has been stated you should be able to gauge how busy it is now assuming you have bought your flights, by going on the SBB site. You would be looking at an hour after landing -ish. The station is directly under the airport. No restaurant car, however if you can afford it 1st class helps in a few ways, its less busy, much wider seats, and room for luggage, plus less of a frantic rush if on a Saturday and you are going from one platform to another in Visp, you are wanting to sit together as a group. Swiss pass is finishing, however I have just bought mine for travel in March, and the Swiss tourist office in London said no issue. This is also the cheapest way of buying these by a small margin. The journey by the way is one of the best you can imagine. Speed is decent, and the carriages are basic, except first class is a little better as you would imagine. Try to get seats on the right of the train for the best views. Enjoy snowHead


I would second that. If it is a nice day, the views across the lake and over to the high Alps and Mont Blanc in particular are fantastic.

Just to expand on which is the “right” side to be on. Geneva airport is the terminal station so the trains leave from the same end they have come in from. You want to be on the right hand side in the direction of travel. Obviously if the train is already in the station you won’t know which way that is! As you come down the stairs the train will usually be on your left hand side. In that case you want to be sitting in the seats on the far side from the boarding platform. If the train is on your right hand side as you come down the stairs (not so common) then you want to be in the seats nearest the platform.
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@gwatts10, imo it's not worth it on the transfer ticket (it's nearly 100 Fr. more). First class is a bit nicer but the main benefit is that it's quieter. Travelling with a group I wouldn't bother.
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Agreed re side of train John Mo, however I was not certain it always came in on the same platform. I have used first class because of reasons stated, but particularly as we were a family group and we wanted to sit together. Not a done deal from visp up, on Saturday as it can be very busy in my experience. Depends what you want and what you want to/can spend. Your choice as they say
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Due to arrive GVA on 26th Jan at 16:40. I assume there'll be no problem getting a train between 6 and 7 pm and returning the following Saturday to get to GVA by 1pm?
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We did this trip at Easter to Visp then post bus up to SaaS Fee. Train was fine. Lots of space, comfortable seats. Coming back we had to change in Lausanne due to engineering works. Train will be fine, sit back and enjoy the scenery!
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Should be no problem time wise. Around 3 hours 50 mins including the Visp change to Zermatt. Check the sbb timetable for exact times halfhand.
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For the return journey, it can be pretty crowded getting on at Visp. If you have time, stay on the Zermatt train until Brig then catch the Geneva train from there - should be easier for a group to get seats together.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Thanks to everyone for great answers ( except Whitegold of course ) I guess we will stick with 2nd class and hope we are on the platform early enough to circle the wagons and ensure we get 12 seats together
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@twoodwar, @1gunsalute, Thanks for the tips.

@gwatts10, Apologies for the (minor) thread hijack Toofy Grin
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What's it like taking skis / snowboards on the train? We're thinking of taking the train to Zermatt the Saturday before Christmas, but I came across a review of Zermatt that someone had posted on another website which said that the train "is not equipped for ski equipment". It was a grumpy review from someone who'd clearly had a bad holiday, but it did get me wondering...
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You can take whatever you want on the train - there's plenty of room and lots of people will have skis.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
As above, absolutely no issue with Ski gear
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Thanks for that - it's good to know that it won't be a problem. I had visions of spending the whole journey trying to stop our skis falling over or tripping people up whilst simultaneously keeping the children occupied!
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It's a superb journey that I've done a few times before. Enjoy the views and Zermatt!
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I managed to get 2 grandparents, a 5 year old, a wife, 3 massive bags and two Evoc bike bags on the train from Geneva to Zermatt no worries so you'll have no bother with skis !
Main point is no catering between Gva and Zmt so make sure you stock up. Migros in Gva train station worth a whip round before you hop on. Makes the journey so much more fun with a bottle or two of bubbles and a charcuterie plate !
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No alcohol in Migros though.
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Wine shop just before in the station though snowHead
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Thanks everyone for the info. I'd be trying to get two children, a wife, 1 massive bag, 1 snowboard/ski bag, and 4 carry-on bags onto the train so there's plenty of opportunity for things to go wrong! Migros beforehand is a good tip to keep everyone fed.
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Keep an eye on your luggage, I had my main bag stolen (boots/clothes etc) stolen somewhere between Martigny and Geneva, the guard said someone reported a black guy wheeling a bag off round Lausanne who didn't look like a ski tourist, but he was out of the station before anybody could question him........
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Sorry to hear that, but thanks for the warning.
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Something to note - the connection at Visp can be fairly snug. There is usually an 8 minute window to get over to the platform for the Zermatt rack and pinion train. A fairly long period of time until you add skis, boots, bags and family in tow! We always get everything ready before we pull into Visp and make a charge for it!
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@Run28, is the 8 minutes correct? I think the minimum transfer is 15 minutes (13 minutes on return). Regardless your point is right about not dawdling if you have lots in tow. Having said that I usually pop out to the coop at the front of Visp station to get a coffee (or something stronger if I need some apres ski training).
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