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Interlaken to Wengen

I'm taking the train from Zurich to Wengen and have only 3 minutes in Interlaken Ost to change to the Lauterbrunnen train. Can someone please tell me if that's likely to be enough time? If the Interlaken train is a little late, will the Lauterbrunnen train wait for it?

Posted by
16883 posts

It won't wait. These trains run every half hour and are not reserved, so you can catch the next one.

Posted by
8985 posts

My experience is that trains will typically wait five minutes or so, if incoming trains are little behind schedule. But even if you miss the connection it's not a big deal.

Posted by
115 posts

Hmmm. . . will it wait or won't it??? It's a big deal only in that dinner at my hotel (already paid for) ends at 21:30, and the trains up to Wengen at that time are only 1/hr, according to the Swiss timetable I looked at. And I can't get to Interlaken any earlier. I've been to Interlaken Ost before, although it was a LONG time ago, and as I recall it's a small station so the transfer should be easy. Maybe 3-4 minutes is enough?

Posted by
27752 posts

This post is in the Austria Forum but I am glad that a few people have seen it.

When the mainline train pulls in be ready to hop off.

If you are coming on the Zentral Bahn from Luzern move to the door as you cross the railway bridge next to the (presumably sleeping) lake steamers.

If you are coming on a main line railway from Spiez and points further away move towards the door as the train leaves Interlaken West.

I have no way of knowing if it is enough time for YOU because I have no idea how much luggage you have, how well you handle it, if you are a slow walker or a fast one, how many people you have with you, how much time you will need getting off the train, nor how far you will be from the staircase to the tunnel between tracks.

Do you need the ramps or are you OK on stairs with your luggage?

If you are prompt and don't dawdle and already have your ticket you should be fine.

The doors on the little train won't be closed as long as people are actively boarding.

You don't say when this is, although it sounds like late at night, when there may be fewer people heading up the hill.

Otherwise, just go with the flow of people also all heading to Lauterbrunnen. Don't get on the bit to Grindelwald although if you do you can change if you move quickly when the train is divided.

Posted by
115 posts

Thanks to you all, I'm feeling less anxious about it. I always travel light (one roll-on) although never as light as I want to, and walk fairly fast. I appreciate the tips you've given and will definitely follow them!

Posted by
4477 posts

HI, we did the same trip last September. We had plenty of time, but I'm the type who is ready at the door the minute the train stops. Also, just be aware that there are two train stations in Interlaken....so you don't get off at the wrong location and miss dinner! I remember the train from Lauterbrunnen went to Wengen every 30 minutes, but it wasn't synchronized with the other train, so you end up waiting ~15-20 minutes to head up to Wengen.

Gorgeous area! Hope you're able to stay several days. : )

Posted by
115 posts

Does anyone know if I can buy the Interlakken-Lauterbrunner-Wengen ticket in the Salzburg station where I'll begin the trip? I'd like to have it before leaving so I don't have to buy tickets en route as there is very little time between trains in Interlakken. I have an Austria-Swiss rail pass but it's my understanding that tickets to Lauterbrunnen & Wengen will be needed in addition. Betty

Posted by
18312 posts

It might help is you give us the date and train number and time. Or, are you coming from Zürich via Bern or Luzern. Looking at the departure board for either SBB or DB, I see two connections per hour until 19:00. You said there is only one connection per hour when you arrive. I see one at 19:05 and one at 20:02.

Prior to those two trains the arrival board shows trains from Luzern at 55 after the hour (1800 & 1900) and from Bern at 57 after the hour. You'd have 8 or 10 minutes to catch the 19:05 train or 5 or 7 minutes to catch the 20:02 train. What am I missing?

So you probably have a little more time to make the connection. The bad news, those arriving trains come in one or two platforms from #2, from which your train to Lauterbrunnen departs.

Posted by
8889 posts

Betty, no, you can't buy an Interlaken-Wengen ticket in Salzburg, wrong country and wrong train company.
But, you should be able to by the ticket at Zürich, or any other station in Switzerland, if you have time. Swiss ticket machines will sell tickets for any journey in Switzerland, even if it is a different railway company. On the ticket machine (which will be quicker than queueing for the manned ticket counter) just select "different starting station" and continue from there.
But, you will have to allow some time for this. If you only have 10 minutes between trains at Zürich that will not have any spare time to buy a ticket.

Posted by
115 posts

Thanks, Chris. Do you know if I can simply buy it on the Lauterbrunnen train? I don't see very well and am not sure that I can find--and read--a machine in the short time between trains.

Posted by
8889 posts

Betty, I doubt you can buy a ticket on the train. This is not normal in Switzerland. All stations, even if they are unmanned, have at least one ticket machine. If a ticket inspector catches you on a train without a ticket, you are likely to get an on-the-spot fine (80 Franks!).

But, you can buy the ticket in advance on the Internet from the Swiss Federal Railways site: www.sbb.ch/
This will give you a print-at-home ticket. The fare from Interlaken Ost to Lauterbrunnen is CHF 7.60.

You can also buy tickets on a mobile phone. I have never tried this myself. You need to download an App first, and obviously your phone needs to work in Switzerland. Details are here: http://www.sbb.ch/en/travelcards-and-tickets/e-tickets/mobileticket.html

Posted by
115 posts

Chris, This is SO helpful. Thanks very much! I should have said earlier that I purchased an Austria-Swiss Rail Pass which gives a 25% discount on these Alpine trains, so I was hoping that I could just pay the difference to someone on the train. I'll check out the website you provided and see if I can use my pass to purchase the ticket ahead of time. Thanks again. Betty

Posted by
115 posts

Chris, Hi, it's me again. i've slightly tweaked my itinerary and now will have about 40 minutes between trains in Zurich. That should be enough time to get from Platform 7 over to 16 AND find a ticket machine for the Lauterbrunnen-Wengen ticket. Could you please tell me generally what the machine looks like (e.g., color) and where they are usually positioned? I'm a little afraid of the Zurich station because it's HUGE. Or, if you think this is enough time to go inside and buy the ticket at a window (where I could use the pass), please advise. Again, thanks very much. Betty

Posted by
31471 posts

This provides a look at the Swiss ticket Kiosks.....

http://www.sbb.ch/en/station-services/am-bahnhof/dhl-service-point/automatic-ticket-machine.html

With a transfer time of 40 minutes, you should have more than enough time to buy your tickets, either at a Kiosk or at a staffed ticket office. Everything is very efficient in Switzerland so you shouldn't have to wait in a queue for long at a staffed ticket window.

If you haven't travelled in that area before, here's a quick description of the route you'll be following.....

  • You'll first travel from Zürich to Interlaken Ost (about two hours, depending on which train you choose). As I recall, Ost is the second stop.
  • When you arrive at Interlaken Ost, transfer to the small Berner Oberlandbahn for the trip to Lauterbrunnen (about 20 minutes). Be sure to check the digital display on the side of the car you board to ensure it's going to Lauterbrunnen and not to Grindelwald.
  • When you arrive in Lauterbrunnen, transfer to the Wengernalpbahn cog-wheel trains (they'll probably be waiting), for the short (~14 minute) trip up the hill to Wengen.
Posted by
5195 posts

I am unsure that you will be able to get your 25% discount from a ticket machine. You will not be able to purchase tickets on the train. The discount for this last little portion of your trip is small enough that I would buy the ticket in advance from the machine so that you have one less worry.

Posted by
8889 posts

Ken and Carol got it spot on.
I also doubt you can get 25% discount tickets from a machine, only full and half fare, but I have never tried. But 1/4 of CHF 7,60 = CHF 1,90; not worth arguing about.

Ticket machines are scattered all over Zürich station.
I always use the ticket machines, because if you wait at the ticket window you get stuck behind tourists asking lots of questions :-)

That link about ticket machines is good. Go to: http://www.sbb.ch/en/station-services/am-bahnhof/dhl-service-point/automatic-ticket-machine/online-demo-billettautomat-sbb.html
and click on "alternative connections".

Posted by
115 posts

Ken, Thanks SO much for these specifics. The website showing what the ticket machines look like is incredibly helpful to someone with sight limitations! And the names of the trains to Lauterbrunnen & Wengen--also VERY helpful. Now i know what I'll be looking for. Betty

Posted by
31471 posts

Betty,

You're very welcome!

Gueti Reis!