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Are train arrivals and departures reliable?

I'm looking at a Interlaken to Milan Malpensa route, and some of the wait times are only 14 minutes. (the one in Spiez seems to be in every route I've looked at) If we miss the connection, what do we do? How hard is it to find the next train? Having never taken the train in Switzerland (or been there at all), I wanted to make sure before committing.

Thanks!

Posted by
467 posts

The times are very reliable and almost always on time. They will warn you ahead of time if they are running behind on an electronic board in the train. It also shows upcoming stops.

On the SBB app expand your route to see each track arrival and departure ahead of time. When you are getting about 5-10 minutes out from your stop, make your way to the exit door with your luggage. Exit and look for signs that point to your desired new track.

14 minutes is plenty of time if you know your route tracks ahead of time. Click on each section of your route in the app or (+ sign on website) to expand and it shows you each stop your train makes, as well as which track you’ll arrive at and which you’ll need to leave from.

We regularly successfully make train changes with luggage in under 10 minutes when prepared ahead of time.

Posted by
4883 posts

I'd download the SBB app now and play with it. Swiss trains are so dependable they usually run to the second . If a train is scheduled to leave at 12:00, it pulls out of the station at 12:00:01. If you get to the platform at 12:00:59, you will see the butt end of the train in the distance. When switching trains, be ready to depart the train by standing at the door and be ready to jump off as soon as the door opens, then move quickly to the next platform. Lots of luggage will be your enemy.
Italian trains are less dependable, but for our recent May trip, did run on time. The regional trains into Milan are usually packed,SRO, and there are no seat reservation for regional trains.
When is your trip- this year or 2024?
Safe travels!

Posted by
20258 posts

If you are looking at the 9:30 am departure from Interlaken Ost, for instance, it arrives at Spiez on Track 2, and the departure to Domodossola is 14 minutes later on Track 3. These Tracks are on either side of the same platform, so you will walk 20 feet across the the platform to board your continuing train. The train from Interlaken Ost originates there, and it makes only one intermediate stop along the way, at Interlaken West, so it would be highly unlikely to be late. The average Swiss would probably equate the chances of missing that connection with the chances of being struck by lightening.

Posted by
545 posts

Of all the countries in Europe, Switzerland has the greatest chance of being on time.

Posted by
1466 posts

After "commuting" to Zurich and other Swiss cities for almost 20 years, I would say that departure and arrival times in Zurich and Geneva are almost always punctual. However, I have had several issues in the mountains and down south in Ticino.

Budget some slack when going to the airport, as usual.

Posted by
1800 posts

"some of the wait times are only 14 minutes"

When you travel from Interlaken to other places in Switzerland you will often encounter wait times of 5 minutes or even less. That is done on purpose, as we do not like to wait for trains. 14 minutes is actually unusually long a wait for a train, but I understand that it is impossible for SBB to give efficient connections everywhere.