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 Iain
Edmonton, AB, Canada
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 Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
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 www.trenitalia.com, but you would need to book at www.sbb.ch/en. (Tickets booked on the Trenitalia site can only be picked up in Italy.)

You will NOT benefit from a railpass.