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Scenic trains vs Standard

I'm traveling to Switzerland Aug 30- Sept12. We start in Zurich, then Appenzell, Lucerne, Murren, Lausanne. I'm looking for recommendations on train travel. We will have a 15 day Swiss Travel Pass. What are the best scenic rides? Should we just take the standard train between legs of our trip? Are the scenic trains located at the train depots in each of the cities or a different spot.? Any recommendations much appreciated. Thanks!

Posted by
20012 posts

All of the "scenic trains" leave and stop at the regular train stations. The only difference is that they have panorama viewing cars, and a higher level of food and beverage service, and a headset that will give you a multi-lingual description of the sights as you pass them on the train. They have a "reservation" fee, mainly to pay for these extras, and also to guarantee that you have a seat in the panorama cars. But regular trains run these routes on an hourly basis.

This page will give you a rundown.
https://www.sbb.ch/en/leisure-holidays/travel-in-switzerland/international-guests.html

Posted by
8889 posts

Mary, the scenic trains run to the same stations as the normal ones, and run on the same tracks. They are slotted in between the normal ones. All the rail routes operate what you call "normal trains" at least once per hour. You see the same mountains whichever train you take.
Stations are usually in the middle of towns, on the edge of the central area, so everywhere is within walking distance. Why would you build a separate station, perhaps in a less accessible location, just for one or two trains a day? - illogical.

This map shows some of the scenic routes, overlaid on a map of all the rail lines: https://www.swissrailways.com/sites/default/files/upload/documents/uebersichtskarte_2017_en.pdf

Should we just take the standard train between legs of our trip?

Not sure what other methods of transport you are considering. Trains (with connecting buses to the smaller villages) connect everywhere. And you already have a rail pass which covers all trains, buses and boats.

Posted by
192 posts

Thanks for your replies. I appreciate the help to this newbie Swiss traveler. I wasn't sure how it all worked and honestly wasn't sure if the Scenic trains might have their own rails. I should have known that the Swiss would have everything worked out so efficiently!!! I am glad to be enlightened before I leave on my trip. Thank you !!!

Posted by
991 posts

We brought the 15 day Swiss Travel pass at Zurich Airport. We did not take the Glacier or Bernina Express but used the Regional trains that took the same route. The seats may have been a little less comfortable and did not have those panorama viewing windows but the scenery was the same looking out from an open window. Also got better photos as there was no glare from the glass. Just hop on the train with the pass and wait for the conductor to come by and check your ticket. Make sure you have your ID with you. We only got asked to show our passports on our last train trip back to Zurich.No other time did they ask for it. I downloaded the SBB app on my iPhone and it was great. I used it all the time to check train times and platforms. (I had a data plan to do this).

Posted by
192 posts

MPaulyn
Thanks for the help! Great idea on the app. I should be able to use it with wifi on my iPhone although not in real time. Can't wait for this trip!
Mary

Posted by
219 posts

Of the places you are going, I love the "Golden Pass" route from Lucerne via Meiringen to Interlaken Ost. It takes you past several large bright blue-green lakes, mountains, and waterfalls. All the trains are the same, and leave hourly at 5 minutes after the hour from track 12 in Lucerne. They all have panoramic windows, comfortable seats in 2nd class, and roomy WC's. At Interlaken Ost you'll change to a little old-fashioned train going to Lauterbrunnen. (Be sure the train carriage that you get on says "Lauterbrunnen" and not "Grindelwald" on it. The train later splits off into 2 separate valleys, and you need to go to Lauterbrunnen in order to get to Mürren.)
The view on the ride to Appenzell is quite beautiful. The view from Interlaken Ost to Lauterbrunnen and up to Mürren is sensational!

As mpaulyn said, the SBB Mobile app is extremely helpful. I was glad I purchased an international/global cell data plan for the trip.

I got checked for my passport at least once a week (I was there for five weeks), so be sure you keep it with you. The fine without it is large.

Posted by
192 posts

Thanks Linda for your input! I can't wait. It has been 33 years since my last trip to Switzerland!

Posted by
192 posts

I'm here and the trip is spectacular! Leaving for Murren tomorrow am. Which modes of transportation can I use to get from Lauterbrunnen to Murren? Postbus, train, cable car?? The map is so Tiny that I received with the Swiss Travel Pass and the RS guidebook seems to only list the Postbus as a free option from Lauterbrunnen to Murren?? Thanks much!!
Mary

Posted by
20012 posts

Either one of the two ways is valid with the Swiss Travel Pass. Where are you staying in Muerren? One of the two might be better depending on where you are staying.

Posted by
991 posts

Mary - When you get to Interlaken get off the train at Interlaken Ost. Get the regional train to Lauterbrunnen. (20 mins). when you arrive in Lauterbrunnen, you will see signs for Grutschalp cable car for Murren. Follow these signs and you will see the cable station (opposite the rail station). It about a 5 mins ride up the mountain. The Murren train will be waiting. Just walk right on it. It takes about 10 minutes (stops at Winteregg first). Its really easy and will make much more sense when you get there. The Swiss pass will take you all the way to Murrren. Have a great time! We stayed in the village this past July and had the best time.

Posted by
192 posts

Hi Mpaulyn
Lol! Everything has really gone well and yes, I agree, it will all make perfect sense once I've done it! Funny how that works! Thanks for your help again. We enjoyed both Appenzell and Lucerne immensely and can't wait to experience the Berner Oberland as well!
Mary

Posted by
20012 posts

When you exit the Muerren BLM train station, take a left and it will be up hill for a little way, under a hotel overhead passage, then it flattens out. Its about 1/4 mile from the train station to the Bellevue, where the backside of the hotel will be on your left. I believe there is an entrance there. If you get to the Allmendhubel Funicular station, you went about 100 ft too far.