We will be traveling in Switzerland in late September and had planned to take the first leg of the Glacier Express from Zermatt to Andermatt before then getting a connection to Lucerne. We would be traveling 2nd class using a Swiss Pass. We now see that the only GE train available for 2nd class is the earliest...before 8 am. What are your opinions on taking a later train on the same route that is not the tourist train Glacier Express? Are views of scenery and comfort appreciably better on the Glacier Express? Thanks
When I took regular trains on the route of the Bernina Express (not Glacier), I was quite happy with them. You can always see fine out your own window, and the regional trains may be less crowded, so you can move seats. In regular train cars, you can probably open the window and stick out your head. The observation cars on the tourist train help you to see better out the opposite window without moving around, but those cars also have reputation to be warm/stuffy and can get booked up with tour groups. The regional trains have an extra connection at Brig, but those go like clockwork.
I have over the years ridden and enjoyed very much all of the Swiss tourist train routes but I have never been on the extra fare extra fine hermetically sealed named trains with the bent over wine glasses. I far prefer the local trains with the opening windows - for the reasons given above.
Many years ago we took the Glacier Express from St. Moritz to Zermatt. I didn't see the big difference scenery wise overall on this train trip than many others we took in Switzerland.
A note for when you're looking up train times for non-Glacier Express trains on that route: if you use the Swiss rail site make sure you put in "Andermatt" as an intermediate stop. Otherwise it will give you times for the less scenic but faster inter-city route.