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Continuous pass/Golden Pass

I've visited all train sites including Deutsche Bahn, but haven't be able to discern answers to the following:
I will be travelling over 8 days from Zurich, 2 nights Lucere, 2 nights in Interlaken (side trip to Bern), 2 nights in Lausanne or Montreux, (side trip to Lausanne), back to Zurich and to the airport.

l. If I buy a continuous pass, can I get on any train that has a free seat? Do I just show up at the station? Can I prebook if I wish to buy a first class seat as I know the approximate times I wish to travel.
2. If I have a continuous pass, and wish to take a Golden Pass train, do I have to buy an additional ticket? Do I need a reservation on a Golden Pass train?
3. Do the Golden Pass trains take the same route as the regular train lines from Zurich to Lucerne, to Interlaken to Montreux or Lausanne?
3. Is the difference merely the speed or is it lack of stops or route that makes the Golden Pass trains a separate entity? Do they go out of the same stations?
4. For 8 days of travel is a flexipass a better buy than a continuous pass?
5. I wish to buy my passes through Rick Steve's and am unsure which to buy, as I may like to take some legs on Golden Pass trains
depending on the advice above.

Any advice is appreciated.

Posted by
16894 posts

The Golden Pass route is just a series of trains, all covered by Swiss Travel Passes. It is not particularly faster nor fewer stops than other routes (e.g. to/from Interlaken via Bern). You can hop on most trains in Switzerland without a reservation and use any available seat. A seat reservation is recommended for the Zweisimmen-Montreux leg of this trip in high season, or if you want to lock in a nose-cone VIP seat (try through the link above).

If your trip fits into 8 days, then I'd prefer the fuller coverage of the consecutive-day pass for about $380 2nd or $609 1st instead of just 4 days in a month for $300 2nd or $480 1st. I would enjoy the same views from 2nd class instead of springing for 1st. The only time you'd have to buy separate tickets is for high-mountain lifts or the Wengen-Jungfraujoch mountain train where the pass offers discounts, not full coverage.

See or DB train schedules for stations and connections. To view the route via Zweisimmen, you must enter that as a "mid-point" of the trip, otherwise, DB will show the faster routes via Bern. You may see the Interlaken-Zweisimmen direct train described as a Regional-Express; those particular departures stop at both Interlaken Ost and Interlaken West stations, but if coming from the Lauterbrunnen Valley, then your connection station will be Interlaken Ost.

Posted by
8889 posts

Q1) If you have a Swiss Rail Pass, you can get on any train. Yes, you just show up at the station and get on the next train going in the right direction. ALL Swiss railways run at least one train per hour, and connect with each other. In the unlikely event of there being no seats empty, you just stand. You cannot pre-book seats in either first or second class.
For trains in Switzerland, the best web site is Swiss Federal Railways:

Q2) There is not one Golden Pass train. It requires 3 or 4 trains:
1) Montreux to Zweisimmen
2) Zweisimmen to Spiez
3) Spiez to Interlaken Ost
4) Interlaken Ost to Luzern
The "Golden Pass" train is an extra train with panoramic windows specially for tourists. It takes exactly the same route as the regular trains, but makes fewer stops. This one train requires reservations, but you can turn up at Montreux or Luzern and just get the next train without having to book.

Q3) The abovementioned Golden Pass route IS NOT the quickest route from Montreux to Luzern, it is an alternative route. When looking up times on be sure to enter 'via Zweisimmen and Interlaken Ost', to ensure it picks the route you want.