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Swiss rail connections

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
A bit of information for anyone skiing in Switzerland, or thinking of it. For a few years now we have flown from Liverpool to Geneva for skiing trips. Often to Switzerland, where the best way of getting to Zermatt for example and a number of other resorts is by train, from the station which is directly under the airport. We have always used the 'Swiss transfer' ticket. This enabled transfer in one journey, to your resort and back again. Anywhere in Switzerland for circa £95 second class. Sadly this has been discontinued as of early this year, ( we used this in March for the last time).
I looked at rather expensive tickets online with SBB. I then phoned the Swiss travel service in London for advice. This was that currently, (hinting perhaps at changes?) the most economical tickets are the Saver day passes. Each person would need to buy one for the journey to the resort, and another for the return. These can currently be purchased 60 days in advance, and at such timings the best prices are 70CHF second and 88CHF first class. In other words 140 and 176CHF respectively return. Circa £116 and £146.

If your journey is to for example Zermatt as ours will be, with a 4 hour rail journey, these are decent enough prices, especially the first class with extra room, and a less frantic change to the cog in Visp.

Hope this is of use. snowHead
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@twoodwar Yes, really useful, thanks. We used to use the Swiss Transfer Ticket a lot, but recently found that hiring a car worked out cheaper overall. Which is a shame, because I actually prefer using the train/télépherique, especially on the journey back to GVA from the resort (it's always me doing the driving and I find the bus/train much less stressful than the rush hour 'round Lac Lémain, filling-up, and concern that a nutter car hire guy will scratch the car and then charge me).
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I used the rail to get to Saas this summer. Excellent service of course but the pricing is a bit painful. When a hire car is cheaper for a whole week than return tickets for two it feels like something is mispriced...
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jedster wrote:
I used the rail to get to Saas this summer. Excellent service of course but the pricing is a bit painful. When a hire car is cheaper for a whole week than return tickets for two it feels like something is mispriced...


Crazy isn’t it? The Swiss day pass is very good but it needs you to be more on the ball than the old transfer ticket. We travel to Zermatt (well, Täsch) and as a rule of thumb: one person = cheaper train; two people = broadly the same; three people = cheaper to hire a car. We have our own parking so if you have to pay for parking that might be different.
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@jedster, a car to Zermatt requires a garage at cost, and then the train anyhow up from Tasch, so the price to me is ok,ish. Particularly v the trains in the UK!
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@JohnMo, posts crossed!
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Could the three day Interrail Switzerland pass at £128 for an adult turn out to be better value.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Not at £116 for 2 passes, plus you can travel when you want and have a weeks as opposed to a 3 day holiday?
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@twoodwar, The Interrail Switzerland pass website states you can use the pass "on 3 days of your choice during a set period of 1 month. Travel on back-to-back, consecutive days, or spread them out during the months. It's up to you. On each day, ride on as many trains as you like between midnight and midnight". The adult price is £133 (or in my case as a senior £119). https://www.interrail.eu/en/interrail-passes/one-country-pass/switzerland
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Fair do's @Alastair Pink, I had not realised that. A simple transfer as I would need though, would still be best served by a saver day pass. I would effectively waste a journey and pay £17 extra. At least people can take a view though, which was the intention of my post.
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@Alastair Pink, Thanks for that. Have you used the Interrail Swiss Pass yourself?

Is it like the transfer ticket in that you can fill in the first travel date as you board the train? This allows for delayed flights etc. Does it get round booking day tickets via SBB that ties one to specific days and or train times.
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@cad99uk, I used the Interrail Switzerland ticket for a holiday last year, the only trains you have to book a seat on are special ones like the Glacier Express which I think cost 30CH, write in the journey you are doing, for instance going from Geneva airport to Zermatt you put in Geneva to Visp then Visp to Zermatt I shall try and find my old ticket to let you know how many journeys we did over the week. It does not cover any of the resort trains or lifts.

@twoodwar, I should have pointed out that it was three days over the month.
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@cad99uk, I've not used the InterrailSwiss Pass myself, previously I've always used the (no longer available) Swiss Transfer ticket. I take twoodwar's point that if you're just doing a simple transfer to resort then 2 saver day passes will be cheaper, but the interrail 3 days of your choice means that if you want to during your stay you could have a day out by train to somewhere else.
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@Alastair Pink, I was just looking at the cheapest option to the now defunct Swiss transfer ticket. The Swiss travel centre's advice to the cheapest current option was the intention. A lot of other useful options have been brought up, which is great.
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My son will be travelling from GVA to Zermatt, one way, next February, on a Saturday. The Saver Day Pass looks like his best option, but I notice the prices seem to vary -at the moment between 49CHF and 70CHF for dates 60 days away. Either way, cheaper than the CHF102 single ticket price. Probably a daft question, but I assume you don't need to nominate a particular train?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
you have a choice of any train on the day the ticket is for @caughtanedge,
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Just a quick point Interail will only take you to Interlaken in the Bernese Oberland it's not valid on the BOB or WAB train lines
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@D G Orf, Good point.
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re other thread!
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Alpybus to Verbier.
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Wrong resort
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@twoodwar, don’t bother with 1 class - as a daily user of good old SBB just book second class and reserve a seat if you want to but the train starts at the airport so you’ll always find a seat. The SBB app tells you what trains are busy or not.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Just going to jump in on this topic as seems a pointless creating a new one for a similar question.

I'm booked for Zermatt with a TO (Inghams) which i think is a coach transfer then train (i assume) from Tasch. Does anyone know how long this usually takes?

I've read somewhere for a fee you can upgrade to train transfers which is circa 3 hours 50. I'm traveling on my own so my question would be if i do the train option how easy is that with luggage? i've got my own skis and a suitcase which is a bit awkward when you're on you'r own. Its not too bad with coach transfers because normally its airport to bus and then you're outside the hotel.

thoughts?
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I have used the SBB Supersaver tickets to good effect, especially on the return trip from Saas, Arosa, Grindelwald etc. Used to work out cheaper than the Swiss Pass but you are tied to a specific train so not quite so good for outbound travel.

https://www.sbb.ch/en/travelcards-and-tickets/buying-options/saving.html
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In answer to the two posts above, whether you travel by coach or train probably comes down to personal preference/whether the cost difference is significant . For me it would be train every time over a coach, more comfortable, room to move around etc, but there won’t be a huge amount in the travel time, once a coach stop (which I assume there will be, there usually is) is factored in. As you appreciate, the last leg is done by train in any event. I have never found travelling with luggage to be a problem, if you are coming in to Geneva or Zurich the train station is in the airport, there is the usual places to put luggage, and the change at Visp involves going down stairs/ramp and then up the other side to the Zermatt track, easily done in a few minutes. For the avoidance of doubt, if doing the whole journey by train, this is the only change, you don’t need to change again at Täsch, that’s just for people arriving by road.
I suppose the cost of the upgrade might be the question versus the cost of a Saver Day Pass - this is probably a better option than the super saver ticket referred to above as you can use it on any train during the course of the nominated day. So if your flight is delayed for example it doesn’t matter. The information on the SDP is on the same link posted above. Buy the outward leg 60 days in advance, and then the return leg seven days later for the best prices. You will need to work out if the upgrade offered by Inghams is better value than buying the ticket yourself.
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@Nadenoodlee, if its a Saturday at peak time and you want to sit together, and can afford it, 1st class is useful to avoid a crush at Visp, and to get a bit more luggage room as SBB do not have much space. (4 suitcases, 3 ski bags, 3x boot bags, ). No other reason. The Saver day pass upgrade is relatively small from the prices I have looked at. Much less than the old swiss transfer ticket.
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@Russeh, personally, at the risk of having an Inghams bus having to wait for another flight,(?), I would use their facility. Only 10 minutes up from Tasch, and no messing for you. Timings will be similar.
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@twoodwar, if it’s sitting together then just reserve you seats?

Also these prices are nuts! We pay 245chf per month for Mr Nn’s All Switzerland travel pass. Thanks tourists I guess?
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@Nadenoodlee, don't believe this is possible on the cog up to Zermatt. please correct me?
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@twoodwar, Check the app
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@scotsgirl@twoodwar, Thats where my head is at, if theres not that much in it circa £100 ish its probably worth doing. I'm 6'1 don't really fancy a 4 hour coach ride if there's another option. The SDP both ways first class is 98 CHF return looking at 60 days from now. Where do people put over sized items like skis? the pictures i've seen they just look like normal trains.

Also at the other end once at Zermatt, normally TO get you to the door of the hotel. I assume in Zermatt you fend for yourself once off the train or get a texi?
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I think you are looking at the price with a half fare card. You need to purchase that in addition and it generally is only economic for longer trips with more stops. Look below on the same web page for the prices without a half fare card. Skis either go on the overhead racks depending on the size of the bag, or in the racks at the end of the carriage.
Once you get to Zermatt, you have choices- you might be able easily to walk to your accommodation, depending on where it is, call/email the hotel (if it’s a hotel) from the train and they will collect you for free, or, at worst, take one of the electric taxis waiting at the station.
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Thanks @scotsgirl, really helpful!

This is what i'm looking at on the SBB website by the way, even if it is 176CHF it's still worth it i think.

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Yes, in the right hand side it says ‘1xsaver day pass, half fare card’ . The site defaults to the price with a half fare card.
When you get to the page on the site that asks for your name and date of birth immediately below that is a box saying ‘discount’. Click on that and choose ‘No Discount’ and tha price will recalculate to the non half fare card price. It shouldn’t be as much as 176 if you are 60 days out from travel.
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Russeh wrote:
@scotsgirl@twoodwar, Thats where my head is at, if theres not that much in it circa £100 ish its probably worth doing. I'm 6'1 don't really fancy a 4 hour coach ride if there's another option. The SDP both ways first class is 98 CHF return looking at 60 days from now. Where do people put over sized items like skis? the pictures i've seen they just look like normal trains.

Also at the other end once at Zermatt, normally TO get you to the door of the hotel. I assume in Zermatt you fend for yourself once off the train or get a texi?


I would 100% do the train. There is luggae spots around the train. I've also once stood skis up and clipped them to an upright pole using straps on ski bag. (Basically saying you will find a way.)

I've only got the train from Zurich but there I have taken a luggage trolley onto the platform itself so there is no issue moving/carrying your luggage around. That only comes on the train change at Visp which might be harder but one bag and skis is doable.
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Our skis boots and cases go on the luggage rack above the seats. Much larger than uk racks. We have one case which won’t fit and this has to be put in between unoccupied seats
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Most of the Swiss trains I've travelled on (a lot) have cycle/ski racks at either end of each carriage. My ski bag loops over a hook and it's job done!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Many Swiss trains I've been on have a triangular luggage space between the back to back seats into which my main aircraft hold bag just fits. Smile My skis (in their plastic skitube) normally fit on the overhead luggage rack.
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So much luggage whats up with you people?

Chilloit your on vacation..travel light and rent
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@stanton, Most serious skiers have their own boots, and as regards skis not many rental shops carry Telemark skis. Madeye-Smiley
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