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DB Bahn vs TGV/SBB

Traveling from Basel to Munich by train
and looking for suggestions

One route TGV Basel to Zurich then SBB to Munich

One route DB Bahn to Karlsruhe then to Munich

Past experiences on DB bahn and TGV are they are routinely late
and i will miss connections ( which are 7 min )

Any suggestions from others what they would chose

Posted by
1634 posts

The TGV from Basel to Zurich is just another SBB train. So on that route you travel Basel - Zurich on SBB and beyond that on DB.
The other route is all DB.
The connections are fine (7 minutes is normal). But if you pick the route via Zurich you are free to just take an earlier train to Zurich.

Posted by
99 posts

looks like seat reservations are just a request?
seems you cant pick a seat on your own?

Posted by
20072 posts

German trains have optional seat reservations costing 4.90 EUR 2nd class or 5.90 EUR for 1st class on IC, ICE, EC trains. Swiss trains have optional seat reservations for 5 CHF on IC trains and some others. It is unusual for people on Swiss trains to get seat reservations, they are so frequent.

If you would like a longer transfer time you can adjust the transfer time at https://int.bahn.de/en by clicking on "Transfer time" and setting it to 10, 15, 20, and longer. then your search results will show results that may differ from what you see under "normal" times. You might see a train change in Mannheim instead of Karlsruhe. Mannheim has escalators in the center of all the platforms, and the platforms are loser for your itinerary than at Karlsruhe. Through Zurich, they will just show you an earlier train, which you could take anyway.

Posted by
99 posts

Seems for Swiss train seat assignments leaving Zurich for Munich its a request and they
just give u a seat? Zurich to Munich is operated by swiss trains or DB bahn?
Do they have quiet cars on swiss trains to Munich?

Posted by
20072 posts

It is Euroctiy train. It has a Swiss crew to the Swiss border, then an Austrian crew to Lindau, then Deutsche Bahn to Munich. When you buy a seat reservation from DB, they just assign you a seat automatically. You don't get to choose. Seat reservations cost 4.90 EUR.

The SBB indicates that it is a tilting train, so it is a good bet it is one of these.
https://int.bahn.de/en/trains/long-distance-trains/ice_t

BTW, the train to Munich departs from Track 33, which is underground at Zurich. You will arrive on the upper level of the station and you will see an escalator down beside the train. Take that down to the Sihlquai passage and walk to the down escalator for Platform 33-34. Train change should take about 3 minutes.

Posted by
1634 posts

You have to understand how train travel in this part of the world works. It is not like air travel. It is mass transit. More like taking a commuter railway in the US.
In order to travel you need a ticket. A ticket is just a receipt that you have paid to be allowed to take trains on a particular route. A standard ticket from Basel to Munich (via either route) allows you to take any trains on that route for the time your ticket is valid (for international tickets that is 2 days I believe).

Such tickets are available in unlimited supply. They never sell out.

The railways also sell discounted tickets. They come with restrictions. For example, a discounted ticket for Basel - Zurich - Munich will have the train number of a particular Zurich - Munich train on it. So you must take that train on that part of your trip, or your ticket is not valid, but from Basel to Zurich you can still take any train (there are six per hour...)

Now with such a ticket, if you were to miss your connection due to a delay on your incoming train (rare in Switzerland) you can just travel with the next available train, and you do not need do do anything at all but find that train and get on.

A ticket does not guarantee a seat. It is perfectly possible that more people board a train then there are seats on a train. So in that case some people will have to stand. And if you do not want to risk that, you get a reservation. That gives you exclusive use of a seat.