Boarding train in Saltzburg. How do I validate the Swiss Rail pass?
Unlike Eurail-brand passes, all Swiss Travel Passes are now sold pre-validated for the window of time that you choose at purchase. If it's a flexi style of pass for travel during a month, then you enter the specific dates of use yourself, as usual for that style of pass.
The pass kicks in when you cross the border, usually at Buchs, so you only need an Austrian ticket to cover you that far. If all else is relatively equal, I would choose the RailJet running directly from Salzburg to Zurich (with nice scenery) and a connection there, rather than connecting via both Munich and Zurich (and entering Switzerland at St. Margrethen).
You might find the cheapest way to go is to buy a Sparschiene ticket at www.oebb.at, the Austrian company that operates the Railjet trains and has co-operation agreements with SBB, the Swiss rail company. Sparschiene tickets are like airline tickets, nonrefundable and for the specific day and train that you have chosen. I just checked the other day, and in July they are going for 34 EUR per person and includes the connecting train to Luzern from Zurich. That will beat using a Swiss Travel Pass for that day plus a Railjet ticket to Buchs SG. Then you can use the Swiss Pass for another day.
Thank you,that was the answers I was looking for.