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To get a rail pass or ... Not?

Read a lot on rail passes and got really confused, so I am asking for help here. Really appreciated.

I am planning a trip to berner oberland for 3 days in mid to late September with my wife. Planning to take a night train from vienna to zurich and then to berner oberland on train. Stay 2 nights in murren. Plan to do both Schilthorn and Jungfraujoch. On the 3rd day, plan to take a train to paris in late afternoon. Based on this itinerary, would you recommend swiss rail pass, half fare pass, berner oberland pass, or any other pass, or no pass at all?

Thanks for all your help.

Posted by
27470 posts

Are you aware of the lack of direct night trains between Vienna and Zurich? That if you take the best, with only one change in the middle of the night, you will leave Vienna at 10:40 at night, stop at
St.Pölten Hbf dep 23:09

Linz Hbf dep 00:05

Wels Hbf dep 00:18

Salzburg Hbf dep 01:40

Innsbruck Hbf dep 03:41

Bludenz dep 05:26

and arrive at your changing spot, Feldkirch, at 5:40 where you will wait for 2 hours for your connecting train into Zurich at 7:38, arriving Zurich at 9:20?

Have you ridden night trains before? I have, and have ridden my last one. Some others on here are similar. Note I did not say slept on the night trains. As you see from the timetable extract above you will be jostled awake several times during the night plus having the anxiety of needing to be off the train at 5:40.

I'll let others speak about the various Swiss passes.

Posted by
16462 posts

Nigel nailed it on the head. This night train run leaves a lot to be desired. Consider a plan B making an overnight along the way. Your current plan gets you to Muerren at about 1 pm. Make an overnight stopover along the way for a good nights sleep, and you can get there by 3 pm if you leave Vienna at 5:30 pm the day before.
In Switzerland, the Half Fare Card gives the biggest bang for the buck.

Posted by
3 posts

Nigel,

Thanks for your time. Sounds like you spent a few min searching for the right overnight train for me. However, that wasn't my question.

With regards to your post on overnight train, there is a direct train from vienna to zurich. Take a look at the following link.

http://www.seat61.com/international-trains/trains-from-Vienna.htm#Vienna-Switzerland

"You'll also find a direct EuroNight sleeper train Wiener Walzer from Vienna (depart 22:26) to Zurich (arrive 07:20) "

The above line is a direct quote from that website.

If you want to search from a different site, here's another link.

http://www.raileurope.com/europe-travel-guide/austria/how-to-book-train.html

The overnight train you mentioned is probably searched from the following link.

http://www.bahn.com/i/view/index.shtml

So...

can someone please comment on my original question?

Thanks

Posted by
16883 posts

I suggest the Swiss Pass for 3 days at about $265 per person, covering almost all transportation (just hop onto trains, buses, boats, trams) and museums you may use during your stay, but just 50% off the lift from Muerren to Schilthorn and 25% off from Wengen to Jungfraujoch. Buy this in advance so you have it when you cross the border. The official border station is at Buchs, not Feldkirch, so it's a safer bet to buy a ticket to Buchs (but buses between Switzerland and Feldkirch are covered by Swiss Passes).

Seat 61 can't reflect the frequent schedules changes caused by construction, etc. The night train schedule through DB does currently (through September) show a morning connection at Feldkirch. How to Look Up Train Schedules Online gives you the DB train schedule link and tips for using it.

Book the TGV from Basel to Paris now to get a better price. Rick’s France rail travel page has the link and tips for buying “Prems” rate TGV tickets through SNCF (cheap, reserved, nonrefundable, available three or four months ahead of your travel date) to print at home and pay with PayPal. It does not tend to work with US credit cards, unless you have an extra level of security set up.

Posted by
16462 posts

Looks like a chink in DB's armor. Better book now as it shows double cabins booked up already many days in late September. Pick up the Half Fare Cards when you arrive at Zurich Hbf.

Posted by
6898 posts

If you are going to both the Jungfraujoch and the Schilthorn, it is advisable to have a pass of some kind. At full fare, the fare from Lauterbrunnen to the Jungfraujoch is 176CHF ($197.38). For the Schilthorn from Muerren, it's 77CHF ($86.26). Simply purchasing a Swiss 1/2 fare at 120CHF, your 50% fare savings on the two trips will pay for the 1/2 fare card. Then, it's 1/2 fare for everything else for the remainder of your stay. You'll come out a bit ahead. There are also alternate options and discounts with the Swiss Card or the Swiss Pass.