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Understanding the Rail System

I am really needing someone to educate me on some of the train travel. As previously mentioned my family and I are flying into Switzerland and after two days heading to Italy where we have some friends. However, I notice that in Rick Steve's map from Zurich to Milan the trip is only 5 hours but when I look at the Swiss, German and I believe even the Italian the duration of the trip is upwards of 11 hours. I even look at it from Bern to Milan or Interlaken to Milan. Am I missing something? We are willing to forego Interlaken and spend some time in Appenzell if we could just get to Milan within a couple of hours. We are thinking of point-to-point tickets but now I am wondering if the trip is that long wouldn't it be wiser to buy a Eurail Pass? Any and all help is appreciated.

Moises Rodriguez

Posted by
668 posts


Not sure where you are looking for your information, but the German railsite shows 4 trains with times around 4:30. Two change at Arth-Goldau, one at Chiasso and one non stop. Hope this helps.

Iain, Edmonton, AB Canada

Posted by
8700 posts

There are several direct trains. Times range from 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours. The standard 2nd class fare is 55 EUR, but Smart fares start at 19 EUR. I got the fares at, but you would need to book at (Tickets booked on the Trenitalia site can only be picked up in Italy.)

You will NOT benefit from a railpass.