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Best Seats, Gotthard Express, Bernina Express, Glacier Express, Golden Pass

Has someone been on these trains and found some 2nd class seating better than others? What should we ask for when making reservations?

Posted by
7209 posts

With all of that traveling around in trains don't forget to actually stop and get "out" and see Switzerland. The transport system is great and the trains wonderful - but don't spend ALL of your time sitting staring out of a train window.

Posted by
27349 posts

I can't answer your question, but I bet the Man in Seat 61 does, on his website. That's for the rail part of your itinerary. There's a great deal of information there (including a way to save money on the Bernina Express tickets). Just keep scrolling down.

Posted by
994 posts

Generally speaking if you are going to be in second class you'd be better of taking the normal train on those lines. On the expresses second class is usually full and you can't switch from side to side to get the best view or take the pictures you want. The same goes for first class in high season. But on the normal trains you can usually hop back and fourth, let down windows etc.

Posted by
33123 posts

Agree with Jim. I only take the normal trains and I move from side to side, to the back of the train, to the vestibule. What reserved seats? Normal trains in Switzerland don't do reservations.

I was happy with base seats on the left from Brig on the Glacier Express, I was back and forth on the Bernina, I don't know what the Gotthard Express is but if it what uses the old line through the Gotthard Pass I liked the left but you swing around so much it doesn't matter, the Golden Pass is in 3 chunks - Luzern-Meiringen I prefer right, Meiringen-Luzern, left, Meiringen - Interlaken, left, Interlaken - Spiez, right, Spiez to Montreux including the change at Zweisimmen it doesn't matter because you are mostly in the woods, if you are second class you won't pay through the nose to ride above the driver going down into Montreux.

Posted by
360 posts

We took the Golden Pass in second class and I just reserved our seats in advance for a few Swiss Francs in a panoramic car -- completely worth it for that convenience (went from Montreaux to Interlaken). However, since we had already driven around the country side the day before, we felt like we were seeing the same thing, so in the end, we didn't think the Golden Pass was worth it vs. the regular train. But if it's the only way you'll see the countryside in that area, it might be worth it.

Posted by
19 posts

I am having a big problem making seat reservations for Gotthard Express. the sbb.ch website is not so easy to navigate. Any suggestions?

Posted by
19 posts

Yes, I did a dummy reservations also, but it is very confusing. I put in from Lucerne to Bellinzona and they are asking with EXT, IC, VAE, ICN. I have no idea what that means. Also the trip is longer than 2 hours so I have no idea what to choose. The website is so confusing and the telephone number they give me charges you 1.19 per minute to talk to them. Does anyone have a better phone number I can call and speak to a human?

Posted by
20309 posts

From what I can see, there is only 1 daily "Gotthard Panorama Express" and it only operates April 14 to October 22. In April, it only appears to operate on Saturdays and Sundays and Holidays. It used to be called the William Tell Express, and can include a boat ride from Luzern to Fluelen where you get the train, (or reverse direction). EXT 2893 is the train number for the south-bound train. EXT 2892 is the number of the north-bound train.

Posted by
19 posts

Does it depart at 11.05 and arrive 15.54? How about seats and specification of window, mid, aisle. Corridor or open seats. If we want to sit together how do I specify? Thanks so much in advance!

Posted by
20309 posts

Yes, 11:05 for the boat departure from Luzern Bahnhofquai. How many is "we"?

Posted by
19 posts

Just 2. Also is the procedure that they send an email to you to confirm and you go to the counter at the station when you get there to validate the reservations?

Posted by
19 posts

Just 2. Also is the procedure that they send an email to you to confirm and you go to the counter at the station when you get there to validate the reservations?

Posted by
20309 posts

Not sure about that. When I did go to the reservation page for the train, you could specify window or aisle seats.
BTW, you can use the contact page to send questions. You'll get an email response the next day on weekdays. They are very good about that.

Posted by
1 posts

Hi, Pocaj. How did the reservation process for the Gotthard Panorama Express (GPE) work out for you? I'm finding the SBB site confusing to get tickets online and reserve seating for 'the' GPE from Luzern to Bellinzona/Lugano. A link (https://www.sbb.ch/en/leisure-holidays/travel-in-switzerland/panorama-trips/travelling-gotthard-panorama-express.html) under Booking says that a "SBB.ch
Link opens in new window under “Reservations Switzerland”" but I cannot find this new window. In the Ticket Shop search screens, it isn't clear to me what is being offered between Luzern and Lugano or if getting a Swiss Travel Pass prices out better for us. I'm looking to buy in advance the necessary tickets and reservations for two adults to go from Luzern to Lugano via the GPE (combined steamboat/train) for the last week in August 2017. Any advice? Thanks.

Posted by
12 posts

I know it's terribly 20th century, but I found that phoning the Rail Europe toll free number got me a real person who could answer all my questions and make all necessary reservations for a fairly complicated train journey to and from Zermatt. Also, we found that 1st class coaches were so much more comfortable and uncrowded, they were worth the price difference (though admittedly, we booked months in advance and took advantage of a promotion).

Posted by
3175 posts

atmccall----according to your trip report you were using a Eurail Global Pass for your travels, so how did that work? Did you call Rail Europe for reservations on the Glacier Express or something? The regular regional trains from Visp to Zermatt don't even have a first class.