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Carry Luggage on Swiss Train or use Station-to-Door Service?

Two seniors here, but in very good shape, traveling by train (not panoramic) from Lugano to Lucerne with a medium sized luggage and one carry-on each. Would we be able to get all four bags up the train steps in due time or should we send the larger ones on? Thanks!

Posted by
661 posts

Terry,

It sounds like you are over packing. A 21x14x9 rolling bag each should suffice. Keep them under 25lbs. each. Maybe a small backpack to share. This will make your entire trip easier.

You will usually have time to board. Conductors watch to be sure the platform is clear before leaving.

Posted by
6 posts

I knew someone would suggest that! I WILL try to consolidate. Remember, 2 seniors. Can't just carry Tylenol anymore :) Thanks for letting me know conductors will be watching.

Posted by
8889 posts

Person 1 gets on/off first, and person 2 hands bags to person 1 and then gets on themselves. Just don't walk back from the train, or the conductor will think you are just seeing somebody off. And don't mess around and block other people getting on and off.

At Lugano it is the usual 1-3 minute stop, so don't waste time. At Luzern the trains turn around (change direction, it is a dead-end station), so they sit in the station for up to 10 minutes. You may also have to change trains en route.
You will have exactly the same luggage issues getting to Lugano and from Luzern

If you send the luggage station-to-station, it does not travel on the same train as you. It takes up to 24 hours to arrive.
Details here: https://www.sbb.ch/en/station-services/services/luggage/luggage.html

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks, Chris! That's a big help. One more question: I notice our seat numbers are on our tickets. Are the train cars signed so that we can see which car is ours? Don't want to waste our three minutes looking!

Posted by
24613 posts

Swiss stations are divided into alphabetic areas A, B, C, D, E. The screens will show which letters the train will occupy, and will indicate which letters for First Class and which for Second Class. That's a start. Many of the important trains are noted on a list posted in a cabinet on the platform showing where each of the numbered cars will stop relative to those letters. Check that one if you can, and position yourself at the correct letter before the train pulls in in. Each carriage is numbered on the outside and so is the class of that carriage. Some seats may be upstairs and some down as many trains are double deckers.

What does it say on your ticket? If your ticket is in German the car or carriage number will be signified by the word "Wagen" and the seat number by "Platz" or Plz. It may also indicate window or aisle. Window is Fenster.

Posted by
6 posts

Wonderful information, Nigel! Thank you! Ticket in English does say "Train 358 EC Coach 07". We did choose second class. I hope we don't need to carry our luggage to the top level! Your answer does relieve our concerns.

Posted by
5502 posts

Be ready to get off the train before it actually stops. If you wait until it stops to start gathering your bags and things, you will get caught in the onrush of people getting on.

Posted by
5498 posts

Also, if you are not sure of the train car number, it's much better to get on any car and walk through the connecting cars rather than be left standing at the station as the train pulls out.
As two 70+ travelers, DH gets on with the two 9x14x22 rolling bags and I follow with the two personal items, one using a shoulder strap so I have a hand for the handrail.

Posted by
24613 posts

The information for your train is

Route information for EC 358

Station / stop Arrival Departure Platform

Milano Centrale dep 10:10

Monza arr 10:21 dep 10:23

Como S. Giovanni arr 10:48 dep 10:51

Chiasso arr 10:58 dep 11:03 7

Lugano arr 11:30 dep 11:34 3

Bellinzona arr 12:00 dep 12:02 1

Arth-Goldau arr 12:56 dep 12:58 5

Rotkreuz arr 13:13 dep 13:24 3

Luzern arr 13:41 dep 13:54 7

Olten arr 14:27 dep 14:30 10

Basel SBB arr 14:55 7

So when you board in Lugano the current plan is platform 3 and the train will be there for 4 minutes. That service is worked by the newest Swiss tilting trains and is one deck. They look very much like German ICE trains.

The SBB (Swiss Federal Railways) own and operate that train. If you go to their website you can get a lot of information. Use the shortcut web address of "rail.ch" which will take you to the interactive page in English.

I don't know your date of travel so I used one this week. Pop in Lugano (choose the first one in the pop up window, the others are suburban station or bus stops) and Luzern (the German spelling) and again choose the first one, put in the date of travel and 11:00 to bring up your 11:30 departure. As you see the variety of choices come up notice that your train (the one with zero changes, a few minutes slower than the one with a change) is indicated for platform 3.

Note that if you scroll all the way down there is a map of the Lugano station area and the current weather.

Click anywhere in the result for the train you want except the red ticket area and then you get much more information.

See that your destination will be into platform 7 and note the "TT" which indicates Tilting Train. Click on the line saying "Show Train Information" or the plus symbol. If you clicked on the plus symbol you can see the intermediate stations and the legend "Gotthard-Basistunnel" which tells you that you will burrow deep under the Alps which makes the train very fast, but the scenery in the tunnel is a bit dark. Nevermind, there will be plenty of scenery when you get to Luzern.

If instead you had clicked on "Show Train Information" you can see that your train has 7 cars in it and your car 7 will be the last one at the back, and that it will line up in area (Sektor) "G" mid to end of that area. That's where you want to be when you wait for the train. Make sure that Lugano is underlined when checking or you will see the result for Luzern if that is underlined - it might confuse, because you will be in Sektor C in Luzern when you get off.

There is even more information available. If you at the previous screen or main screen when you first arrived were to scroll right up to the top you will see choices of Timetable, Travelcards & Tickets, Station & Services, etc.

Hover over Station & Services and in the middle is Our Trains. Click on that and you can see which types of trains are used (not as boring as it sounds). Scroll down until the pictures come up of the different trains and click on the box which says ICN Tilting Train. That is your scheduled train type. Notice that it is all one level and 7 coaches long. The train is symmetric so as you look at the front coach it looks just like the rear one (yours). Click "More Info" and a close up big photo comes up with information about the train. "No" for Low entry means you will have a step or two up into the train. Scroll through the photos to see the inside - most are of First Class with the red "1", but there are some of 2nd. The second class ones are the last 3, number 12, 13, 14.

Happy Travels!!!

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you so much, Stan and Laura for your wonderful advice. And Nigel! You are so gracious and generous with your specific and comforting information. I wasn't familiar with that particular website, and it answered all my questions. I can almost hear the clickety-clack! We are spending a slow-paced week in Lake Como and environs early October then traveling up to Switzerland for another week. We usually rent a car or use car transfers, so this is our first rail experience. I will be thinking gratefully of you all as we sit back and enjoy this beautiful train ride.

Posted by
6 posts

Nigel, we have returned from our wonderful trip to Lake Como and Switzerland. We are most grateful to you for your precise information on the train lap of our trip from Lugano to Lucerne. Everything you noted was exactly correct and was most assuring as this was a new experience for us seniors! I would somehow like to give you some token of our appreciation, but since I can't, we will be sending a donation to a family with a critically ill child in your name.

Posted by
23 posts

Terry and Nigel you have made my Day!!!!