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Train Reservations

Do you need train reservations during the Christmas Holiday 12/24-12/30 for any of the mountain sites or travel between major tourist destinations? Will have a Swiss Travel Pass

Thanks

Posted by
20332 posts

Generally no, but look at the travel you are looking at. www.sbb.ch/en.
If the the date and planned train shows 3 body icons, then maybe you might want to purchase reservations. 5 CHF per seat reservation.

Posted by
23434 posts

The only time (other than a sporting event) that we found trains absolutely packed was Dec 26 and 27 and the same around the first. I would encourage reservations for those days.

Posted by
107 posts

So I was looking at the scenic train from Lucerne to Interlaken that leaves at 14:06 on 12/26. On the Golden Pass website, it appears there is only three cars and many of the seats are already reserved. In order to get good seats for viewing for 5 people is it recommended to get reservations? Also, we will be traveling with the Swiss Travel Pass. Where do we reserve seats with this pass. Some sites say reservations are required but not available with this pass.

Posted by
107 posts

Ok, reservations at Golden Pass site. Got it.

So they only show three cars for the train at 14:06. Are there more cars to the train that are open seating and not reserved?
The good seats in 2nd class car is already fairly full.

Posted by
33137 posts

I absolutely dislike the goldenpass website.

I use the sbb.ch/en website run by the Swiss National railways.

If you look there for the 14:06 on the 26th you can see by looking at the little stick men icons that the train will be quite empty. It is not the fancy posh tourist train but the hourly local normal service which is used commuters, many of whom probably won't be travelling between Christmas and New Year.

The local trains are three cars without doors between, all open plan, and pairs and quads of seats have a table between them with a map of the route on it. Although it says on the website that reservations are available that is not the rule on that line. Then again, if you are a large group and would like to stay together perhaps it isn't a bad idea.

Where did you see that all the "good" seats are taken? How are you defining a good seat?

Is your railpass first or second class?

Posted by
107 posts

So on the Golden Pass website it shows this. Is this the only site that has reservations for Swiss Travel Pass 2nd class holders?
Looks to me like this train is filling up the 2nd class car at this time. We have a family of 5 and were looking to sit on the side you can see the best. Shows 9 free seats

Also, the reserved seats seem to be 8. I thought they were 5?

http://reservations.mob.ch/reservation/reservation/reservation/reservation/reservation/reservation/reservation/reservation/reservation/reservation/f?p=151:2:1687528742358449::NO:::

Posted by
7209 posts

The Bistro Car has 30 seats available...why not choose those?

Posted by
33137 posts

Well I'm not confused.

The link you share does show as you say. But the train is not a Golden Pass tourist train.

The page on the SBB website to reserve (CHF5 per) is https://www.sbb.ch/en/travelcards-and-tickets/tickets-for-switzerland/seat-reservations.html but the 14:06 is not available for reservations as it is an IR (inter regional) train and not an IC (Intercity) which would.

Any locals (say, Chris F?) willing to weigh in on this one?

Posted by
8889 posts

I wasn't going to as most of the points are already covered.
If you want an old fashioned timetable listing all the trains, the one for Luzern to Interlaken Ost is here: http://www.fahrplanfelder.ch/fileadmin/fap_pdf_fields/2018/470.pdf
As you see, there is a train at 06 minutes past every hour, 06:06, 07:06, 08:06, . . . . 20:06, 21:06. Swiss timetables are as predictable as clockwork! These trains will be taken by locals going about their normal business, and they don't book in advance.
The three coaches listed here: http://reservations.mob.ch/reservation/reservation/reservation/reservation/reservation/reservation/reservation/reservation/reservation/reservation/f?p=151:2:1687528742358449::NO:::
are extra panoramic ones added to some of these trains. You can choose to travel on them if you wish, making a reservation, or join the locals in the normal red coaches. Your choice.

Posted by
107 posts

Ok, so some of the trains basically have tourist cars and red cars (maybe a bit less fancy). MOB website is taking reservations just for its 3 "Golden Pass labeled" cars. I'm assuming because leave the same time.

Does is cost extra with a Swiss Travel Pass 2nd class to ride in the Dining Car? I thought I read that somewhere.

Also seems like it is 8 euros to make a reservation on some sites.

Posted by
33137 posts

The normal red cars have huge picture windows which are the full height of the train, including about a third of the roof.

They aren't particularly fancy, but plenty comfortable with plenty of legroom, and because the rail gauge is narrow gauge they aren't overly wide.

Going towards Interlaken from Luzern I would sit on the right facing forward. As you leave Luzern the lake views will be to the left but that soon passes as you head up. Over Christmas I expect that you will have snow at some point, although since I don't ride that train in the winter I don't know the best winter views. Because the train isn't overly wide the view out both sides is easy without moving.

You will stop at small towns along the way, and then seeing mountain lakes out the right side as you climb. Do you know that part of the line is a rack railway (cog wheel as it is called in the US) and the train seamlessly joins and leaves the rack? When you reach the summit at Brunig the train then drops ( with fab views especially to the right) down towards the Brienzersee through scenic old woods and forest. If it is running (don't know in winter) there is the big waterfall across the lake at Giessbach. Into Meiringen where the train changes ends, and now the best views are out the left side (just turn around because your seats are on that side. You travel along the edge of the Brienzersee and can see all the way. Then over the bridge into Interlaken Ost where the train terminates.

A beautiful trip. Enjoy.

Posted by
107 posts

Thank you for that information. Very Helpful.
Two more questions....

Since we will be traveling late December, I'm assuming it gets dark early. What is the latest we should leave to get the most of the views from Luzern to Interlaken?

Can you ride on the trains labeled Golden Pass on them without reservations for possibly a bit more comfort?

Posted by
8889 posts

In December, the last train I would consider getting is the 15:06 out of Luzern, arrive Interlaken Ost 16:55
It starts getting dark around 16:30 (4:30 PM), and is fully dark by 17:30. On the section from Meiringen to Luzern you are running with the lake on your left, I would expect the other side of the valley to be in shadow before that.

And there will be snow.

On the seat plan earlier, it says you are only allowed to sit in the bistro car if you are buying food.

Posted by
219 posts

Can you ride on the trains labeled Golden Pass on them without
reservations for possibly a bit more comfort?

Yes, I know you can ride on the Golden Pass labeled train carriages, at least from the Luzern to Interlaken part of that route.

In the Bistro car of the train they don't allow you even to drink your own water from a water bottle. You must drink or eat only items you purchase from the Bistro, and you can only sit there if you buy something from them.